of or relating to


  • filial

    The adjective filial is used to describe relationships or feelings that exist between children and their parents.

  • littoral

    The adjective littoral is a geographical term that refers to the coastal or shore region of a lake, sea, or ocean.

  • canonical

    Something that is canonical is accepted as being accurate and authoritative—it possesses all the qualities that a thing of its kind should have.

  • allegorical

    An allegorical poem or story employs allegory, that is, a literary device that uses literal events and characters to represent abstract ideas or deeper meanings.

  • empirical

    Empirical evidence or study is based on real experience or scientific experiments rather than on unproven theories.

  • ephemeral

    Something ephemeral, such as some insects or a sunset, lasts for only a short time or has a very short lifespan.

  • guttural

    A guttural sound is deep, harsh, and made at the back of someone's throat.

  • lackadaisical

    If you do something in a lackadaisical way, you do it carelessly and without putting much effort into it—thereby showing that you are not really interested in what you're doing.

  • prodigal

    Someone who behaves in a prodigal way spends a lot of money and/or time carelessly and wastefully with no concern for the future.

  • antipodal

    Two points or places are antipodal if they are directly opposite each other, such as the north and south poles; likewise, ideas can be antipodal if they are direct opposites.

  • surreal

    A situation or experience that is surreal is so strange, so abnormal, or so disturbing that it seems like something from a dream.

  • abysmal

    A situation or condition that is abysmal is extremely bad or of wretched quality.

  • topical

    The adjective topical describes something that is related to a subject of current interest.

  • venial

    A venial fault or mistake is not very serious; therefore, it can be forgiven or excused.

  • venal

    Someone who is venal is dishonest, corrupt, and ready to do anything for money.

  • apocryphal

    An apocryphal story is widely known but probably not true.

  • inimical

    If someone is inimical, they are unfriendly and will likely cause you harm.

  • quintessential

    Something is quintessential when it is a perfect example of its type.

  • remedial

    A remedial action is intended to improve or correct something that is lacking in some way, such as one's education or health.

  • cardinal

    A cardinal rule or quality is considered to be the most important or basic in a set of rules or qualities.

  • epochal

    Something that is epochal is highly significant or important; this adjective often refers to the bringing about or marking of the beginning of a new era.

  • ecclesiastical

    The adjective ecclesiastical refers to a priest or member of the clergy in the Christian Church; this word also refers to something associated with a church as an organized institution.

  • frugal

    Someone who is frugal spends very little money—and even then only on things that are absolutely necessary.

  • perennial

    Something that is perennial lasts a very long time and is enduring.

  • convivial

    A convivial atmosphere or occasion is friendly, pleasant, cheerful, and relaxed.

  • providential

    A providential event is a very lucky one because it happens at exactly the right time and often when it is needed most.

  • visceral

    A visceral feeling or reaction is strong and difficult to control or ignore; it arises through instinct or "the gut" rather than through careful thought.

  • arboreal

    The adjective arboreal refers to trees or living in trees.

  • conjugal

    The adjective conjugal refers to marriage or the relationship between two married people.

  • primordial

    The adjective primordial is used to describe things that existed close to the formation of Earth or close to the origin or development of something.

  • parochial

    Someone has a parochial outlook when they are mostly concerned with narrow or limited issues that affect a small, local area or a very specific cause; they are also unconcerned with wider or more general issues.

  • seminal

    A seminal article, book, piece of music or other work has many new ideas; additionally, it has great influence on generating ideas for future work.

  • ethereal

    Something ethereal has a delicate beauty that makes it seem not part of the real world.

  • diabolical

    If you say something is diabolical, you are emphasizing that it is evil, cruel, or very bad.

  • congenial

    A congenial person, place, or environment is pleasant, friendly, and enjoyable.

  • banal

    When you claim that something is banal, you do not like it because you think it is ordinary, dull, commonplace, and boring.

  • notional

    Something that is notional exists only as an idea or in theory—not in reality.

  • corporeal

    The word corporeal refers to the physical or material world rather than the spiritual; it also means characteristic of the body rather than the mind or feelings.

  • whimsical

    A whimsical idea or person is slightly strange, unusual, and amusing rather than serious and practical.

  • vernal

    Something that is vernal occurs in spring; since spring is the time when new plants start to grow, the adjective vernal can also be used to suggest youth and freshness.

  • temporal

    Something that is temporal deals with the present and somewhat brief time of this world.

  • mercurial

    A mercurial person's mind or mood changes often, quickly, and unpredictably.

  • ecumenical

    Ecumenical activities and ideas encourage different religions or congregations to work and worship together in order to unite them in friendship.

  • chronological

    A chronological history arranges events in the order that they happened.

  • circumstantial

    That which is circumstantial is not an essential or primary part of something; rather, it is merely incidental and perhaps insignificant to the situation at hand.

  • collateral

    Collateral is a security or guarantee, usually represented by personal property of equal value, that a borrower must put up when they take out a loan.

  • colossal

    Something colossal is extremely big, gigantic, or huge.

  • congenital

    A congenital condition is something someone is born with, such as a character trait or physical state.

  • conventional

    A conventional way of thinking or behaving is the one most commonly accepted by social groups.

  • cordial

    A cordial greeting is warm, friendly, and polite.

  • cynical

    A cynical person thinks that people in general are most often motivated by selfish concerns; therefore, they doubt, mistrust, and question what people do.

  • detrimental

    Something detrimental causes damage, harm, or loss to someone or something.

  • hypocritical

    Someone who is hypocritical pretends to be a person they are not.

  • inaugural

    An inaugural event celebrates the beginning of something, such as the term of a president or the beginning of a series of meetings.

  • inconsequential

    Inconsequential matters are unimportant or are of little to no significance.

  • ineffectual

    Someone who is ineffectual at a task is useless or ineffective when attempting to do it.

  • infinitesimal

    Something infinitesimal is so extremely small or minute that it is very hard to measure it.

  • interstitial

    The adjective interstitial pertains to a narrow opening or a crack between two things.

  • jovial

    Someone who is jovial is in a good humor, lighthearted, and jolly.

  • morale

    A person's morale is their current state of self-confidence, how they feel emotionally, and how motivated they are to complete tasks.

  • nominal

    Nominal can refer to someone who is in charge in name only, or it can refer to a very small amount of something; both are related by their relative insignificance.

  • noncommittal

    If you are being noncommittal on an issue, you are not revealing what your opinion is and are being reserved on purpose.

  • palatial

    A palatial structure is grand and impressive, such as a palace or mansion.

  • parenthetical

    A parenthetical remark further explains or qualifies information.

  • pastoral

    A pastoral environment is rural, peaceful, simple, and natural.

  • pathological

    If you have a pathological condition, you are extreme or unreasonable in something that you do.

  • primeval

    Something primeval is ancient or belonging to the original development of something.

  • proverbial

    Something that is proverbial is very well-known, famous, or known for its wisdom.

  • provincial

    A provincial outlook is narrow-minded and unsophisticated, limited to the opinions of a relatively local area.

  • provisional

    A provisional measure is temporary or conditional until more permanent action is taken.

  • radical

    A radical solution to a problem goes to the heart or root of it; a radical solution is most often an extreme solution to the problem.

  • residual

    Something that is residual is the part that still stays or remains after the main part is taken away.

  • sartorial

    If you have good sartorial taste, you know what to wear to your best advantage, or you have the skills of a tailor.

  • superficial

    A person or subject that is superficial is shallow, without depth, obvious, and concerned only with surface matters.

  • tangential

    A tangential point in an argument merely touches upon something that is not really relevant to the conversation at hand; rather, it is a minor or unimportant point.

  • temperamental

    If you are temperamental, you tend to become easily upset and experience unpredictable mood swings.

  • terrestrial

    The word terrestrial refers to living or growing on land; it can also refer to planet Earth as a whole in comparison with other planets.

  • torrential

    A torrential downpour of rain is very heavy and intense.

  • trivial

    Something trivial is of little value or is not important.

  • unilateral

    A unilateral decision is entirely one-sided, involving only one facet of an issue or one country among many.

  • egotistical

    An egotistical person thinks about or is concerned with no one else other than themself.

  • integral

    Something that is integral to something else is an essential or necessary part of it.

  • monumental

    A monumental event is very great, impressive, or extremely important in some way.

  • literal

    The literal meaning of a sentence is the exact, accurate, or basic meaning of it, taking it word for word.

  • celestial

    The word celestial refers either to the heavens or to the sky in general.

  • substantial

    A substantial amount of something, such as food, is a lot of it.

  • beneficial

    Something beneficial is helpful, useful, or valuable in some way.

  • spatial

    The spatial aspect of a room or other area is the amount of space it has.

  • potential

    A potential event is likely to happen, is possible, or can occur.

  • abnormal

    Something abnormal is unusual or out of the ordinary in some way.

  • cerebral

    The word cerebral refers to the brain and/or its intellectual capability.

  • mortal

    All life is mortal—it will die some day.

  • incidental

    Something incidental refers to a minor occurrence that is related to something more important.

  • methodical

    If you are methodical while doing a task, you use a logical and organized system to complete it.

  • communal

    Communal property includes those goods or items that are shared in common by a community.

  • vital

    A vital part of something is very important or necessary to it.

  • lethal

    Something lethal is fatal or causes death; this word can also describe something extremely dangerous or harmful.

  • rational

    A rational person uses reason or thought processes that are based on fact.

  • advertorial

    An advertorial is a long advertisement—usually appearing in a newspaper or magazine—that has the form and feel of a normal article or editorial but which is actually trying to sell something or push a point of view.

  • preternatural

    Something preternatural is beyond what is usually considered normal; as such, it is exceptional, extraordinary, unusual—or even supernatural.

  • sidereal

    The word sidereal pertains to the stars or constellations, especially in relation to their motion in the heavens to indicate time.

  • external

    If something is external, it is on the outside or outer part of something.

  • natural

    Something that happens in a natural way is the usual or normal way that it occurs.

  • essential

    Something essential is necessary or very important.

  • moral

    Something moral, such as a choice or action, is the right thing to do.

  • gradual

    A gradual development occurs slowly in a number of steps over a long period of time.

  • individual

    An individual thing is its own thing or is apart from other things.

  • general

    When you speak about something in a general way, you talk about all of it or the main parts of it, not about its small parts or all its facts.

  • mental

    Something mental is of the mind.

  • annual

    An annual happening is once a year.

  • manual

    Manual work is done with the hands.

  • loyal

    Someone who is loyal to another person helps and is true to them for a long time.

  • critical

    Something critical, such as a decision or action, is very important.

  • legal

    Something that is legal is lawful or has to do with the law.

  • fundamental

    The fundamental parts of something are its most important and necessary parts.

  • internal

    Something internal is inside of something else.

  • fatal

    If something is fatal, it is deadly or can kill you.

  • mural

    A mural is a painting that is painted on a wall.

  • emotional

    An emotional response to something is how you feel about it, such as being happy or sad.

  • identical

    Something that is identical to something else is the same as it or is like it in every way.

  • gubernatorial

    A gubernatorial office is the position that a governor of a state holds.

  • tropical

    Tropical weather is hot and wet most of the time.

  • realize

    When you realize something, you figure it out or understand it—often after taking some time to do so.

  • typical

    A typical thing that happens is the usual or normal thing.

  • practical

    Something practical, such as a tool or idea, is useful and good for getting things done.

  • virtual

    Something virtual—such as a meeting, game, or tour—takes place online; in addition, one thing that is virtually the same as another is almost or nearly the same thing.

  • thermal

    A thermal condition has to do with—or is caused by—heat.

  • facial

    of or concerning the face

  • mutual

    common to or shared by two or more parties

  • normal

    conforming with or constituting a norm or standard or level or type or social norm

  • oral

    using speech rather than writing

  • oval

    rounded like an egg

  • parental

    designating the generation of organisms from which hybrid offspring are produced

  • political

    involving or characteristic of politics or parties or politicians

  • regal

    belonging to or befitting a supreme ruler

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.