Words - Letter S
American English Vocabulary - Letter S

The words on this page came from the VOA, Voice of America, Special English Word Book. Use the Fun Easy English dictionary for a more detailed explanation of each word.
Words - Letter S
  • sabotage - v. to damage or destroy as an act against an organization or nation ("The rebels sabotaged the railroad.")
  • sacrifice - v. to do without something or to suffer a loss for a belief, idea, goal or another person
  • sad - ad. not happy
  • safe - ad. away from harm or danger
  • sail - v. to travel by boat or ship
  • sailor - n. a person involved in sailing a boat or ship
  • salt - n. a white substance found in sea water and in the ground, used to affect the taste of food
  • same - ad. not different; not changed; like another or others
  • sand - n. extremely small pieces of crushed rock found in large amounts in deserts and on coasts
  • satellite - n. a small object in space that moves around a larger object; an object placed in orbit around the earth
  • satisfy - v. to give or provide what is desired, needed or demanded
  • save - v. to make safe; to remove from harm; to keep for future use
  • say - v. to speak; to express in words
  • school - n. a place for education; a place where people go to learn
  • science - n. the study of nature and the actions of natural things, and the knowledge gained about them
  • sea - n. a large area of salt water, usually part of an ocean
  • search - v. to look for carefully
  • season - n. one of the four periods of the year that is based on the earth's position toward the sun (spring, summer, autumn, winter); a period of time based on different weather conditions ("dry season", "rainy season"); a period during the year when something usually happens ("baseball season")
  • seat - n. a thing to sit on; a place to sit or the right to sit there ("a seat in parliament")
  • second - ad. the one that comes after the first
  • secret - n. something known only to a few and kept from general knowledge; ad. hidden from others; known only to a few
  • security - n. freedom from danger or harm; protection; measures necessary to protect a person or place ("Security was increased in the city.")
  • see - v. to know or sense through the eyes; to understand or know
  • seed - n. the part of a plant from which new plants grow
  • seek(ing) - v. to search for ("They are seeking a cure for cancer."); to try to get ("She is seeking election to public office."); to plan to do ("Electric power companies are seeking to reduce their use of coal.")
  • seem - v. to appear to be ("She seems to be in good health.")
  • seize - v. to take quickly by force; to take control of quickly; to arrest
  • self - n. all that which makes one person different from others
  • sell - v. to give something in exchange for money
  • Senate - n. the smaller of the two groups in the governments of some countries, such as in the United States Congress
  • send - v. to cause to go; to permit to go; to cause to be carried, taken or directed to or away from a place
  • sense - v. to come to know about by feeling, believing or understanding; n. any of the abilities to see, hear, taste, smell or feel
  • sentence - v. to declare the punishment for a crime; n. the punishment for a crime
  • separate - v. to set or keep people, things or ideas away from or independent from others; ad. not together or connected; different
  • series - n. a number of similar things or events that follow one after another in time, position or order
  • serious - ad. important; needing careful consideration; dangerous
  • serve - v. to work as an official; to be employed by the government; to assist or help
  • service - n. an organization or system that provides something for the public ("Schools and roads are services paid for by taxes."); a job that an organization or business can do for money; military organizations such as an army, navy or air force; a religious ceremony
  • set - v. to put in place or position; to establish a time, price or limit
  • settle - v. to end (a dispute); to agree about (a problem); to make a home in a new place
  • several - ad. three or more, but not many
  • severe - ad. not gentle; causing much pain, sadness or damage
  • sex - n. either the male or female group into which all people and animals are divided because of their actions in producing young; the physical activity by which humans and animals can produce young
  • shake - v. to move or cause to move in short, quick movements
  • shape - v. to give form to; n. the form of something, especially how it looks
  • share - v. to give part of something to another or others; n. a part belonging to, given to or owned by a single person or a group; any one of the equal parts of ownership of a business or company
  • sharp - ad. having a thin edge or small point that can cut or hurt; causing hurt or pain
  • she - pro. the girl or woman who is being spoken about
  • sheep - n. a farm animal used for its meat and hair
  • shell - v. to fire artillery; n. a metal container that is fired from a large gun and explodes when it reaches its target; a hard outside cover
  • shelter - v. to protect or give protection to; n. something that gives protection; a place of safety
  • shine - v. to aim a light; to give bright light; to be bright; to clean to make bright
  • ship - v. to transport; n. a large boat
  • shock - v. to cause to feel sudden surprise or fear; n. something that greatly affects the mind or emotions; a powerful shake, as from an earthquake
  • shoe - n. a covering for the foot
  • shoot - v. to cause a gun or other weapon to send out an object designed to kill; to use a gun
  • short - ad. lasting only for a small period of time; not long; opposite tall
  • should - v. used with another verb (action word) to show responsibility ("We should study."), probability ("The talks should begin soon."), or that something is believed to be a good idea ("Criminals should be punished.")
  • shout - v. to speak very loudly
  • show - v. to make something be seen; to make known; n. a play or story presented in a theater, or broadcast on radio or television, for enjoyment or education; something organized to be seen by the public
  • shrink - v. to make or become less in size, weight or value
  • sick - ad. suffering physically or mentally with a disease or other problem; not in good health
  • sickness - n. the condition of being in bad health
  • side - n. the outer surfaces of an object that are not the top or bottom; parts away from the middle; either the right or left half of the body
  • sign - v. to write one's name; n. a mark or shape used to mean something; evidence that something exists or will happen; a flat piece of material with writing that gives information
  • signal - v. to send a message by signs; n. an action or movement that sends a message
  • silence - v. to make quiet; to stop from speaking or making noise; n. a lack of noise or sound
  • silver - n. a valued white metal
  • similar - ad. like something else but not exactly the same
  • simple - ad. easy to understand or do; not difficult or complex
  • since - prep. from a time in the past until now ("I have known her since we went to school together.")
  • sing - v. to make music sounds with the voice
  • single - ad. one only
  • sink - v. to go down into water or other liquid
  • sister - n. a female with the same father or mother as another person
  • sit - v. to rest on the lower part of the body without the support of the legs; to become seated
  • situation - n. the way things are during a period of time
  • size - n. the space occupied by something; how long, wide or high something is
  • skeleton - n. all the bones of a human or other animal together in their normal positions
  • skill - n. the ability gained from training or experience
  • skin - n. the outer covering of humans and most animals
  • sky - n. the space above the earth
  • slave - n. a person owned or controlled by another
  • sleep - v. to rest the body and mind with the eyes closed
  • slide - v. to move smoothly over a surface
  • slow - v. to reduce the speed of; ad. not fast in moving, talking or other activities
  • small - ad. little in size or amount; few in number; not important; opposite large
  • smash - v. to break or be broken into small pieces by force; to hit or move with force
  • smell - v. to sense through the nose; n. something sensed by the nose ("the smell of food cooking")
  • smoke - v. to use cigarettes or other tobacco products by burning them and breathing in the smoke; n. that which can be seen rising into the air like a cloud from something burning
  • smooth - ad. having a level surface; opposite rough
  • snow - n. soft, white pieces of frozen water that fall from the sky, usually in winter or when the air temperature is very cold
  • so - ad. in such a way that ("He held the flag so all could see it."); also; too ("She left early, and so did we."); very ("I am so sick."); as a result ("They were sick, so they could not come."); conj. in order that; for the purpose of ("Come early so we can discuss the plans.")
  • social - ad. of or about people or a group
  • soft - ad. not hard; easily shaped; pleasing to touch; not loud
  • soil - n. earth in which plants grow
  • soldier - n. a person in the army
  • solid - ad. having a hard shape with no empty spaces inside; strong; not in the form of a liquid or gas
  • solve - v. to find an answer; to settle
  • some - ad. of an amount or number or part not stated; not all
  • son - n. a person's male child
  • soon - ad. not long after the present time; quickly
  • sort - n. any group of people or things that are the same or are similar in some way; a kind of something
  • sound - n. fast-moving waves of energy that affect the ear and result in hearing; that which is heard
  • south - n. the direction to the right of a person facing the rising sun
  • space - n. the area outside the earth's atmosphere where the sun, moon, planets and stars are; the area between or inside things
  • speak - v. to talk; to say words with the mouth; to express one's thoughts to others and exchange ideas; to give a speech to a group
  • special - ad. of a different or unusual kind; not for general use; better or more important than others of the same kind
  • speech - n. a talk given to a group of people
  • speed - v. to make something go or move faster; n. the rate at which something moves or travels; the rate at which something happens or is done
  • spend - v. to give as payment; to use ("He spends much time studying.")
  • spill - v. to cause or permit liquid to flow out, usually by accident
  • spirit - n. the part of a human that is not physical and is connected to thoughts and emotions; the part of a person that is believed to remain alive after death
  • split - v. to separate into two or more parts; to divide or break into parts
  • sport - n. any game or activity of competition involving physical effort or skill
  • spread - v. to become longer or wider; to make or become widely known
  • spring - n. the time of the year between winter and summer
  • spy - v. to steal or get information secretly; n. one who watches others secretly; a person employed by a government to get secret information about another country
  • square - n. a flat shape having four equal sides
  • stab - v. to cut or push into or through with a pointed weapon
  • stand - v. to move into or be in a position in which only the feet are on a surface; to be in one position or place
  • star - n. a mass of gas that usually appears as a small light in the sky at night, but is not a planet; a famous person, usually an actor or singer
  • start - v. to begin; to make something begin
  • starve - v. to suffer or die from a lack of food
  • state - v. to say; to declare; n. a political part of a nation
  • station - n. a place of special work or purpose ("a police station"); a place where passengers get on or off trains or buses; a place for radio or television broadcasts
  • statue - n. a form of a human, animal or other creature usually made of stone, wood or metal
  • stay - v. to continue to be where one is; to remain; to not leave; to live for a time ("They stayed in New York for two years.")
  • steal - v. to take without permission or paying
  • steam - n. the gas that comes from hot water
  • steel - n. iron made harder and stronger by mixing it with other substances
  • step - v. to move by lifting one foot and placing it in a new position; n. the act of stepping; one of a series of actions designed to reach a goal
  • stick - v. to attach something to another thing using a substance that will hold them together; to become fixed in one position so that movement is difficult ("Something is making the door stick."); n. a thin piece of wood
  • still - ad. not moving ("The man was standing still."); until the present or a stated time ("Was he still there?"); even so; although ("The job was difficult, but she still wanted to do it.")
  • stone - n. a small piece of rock
  • stop - v. to prevent any more movement or action; to come or bring to an end
  • store - v. to keep or put away for future use; n. a place where people buy things
  • storm - n. violent weather, including strong winds and rain or snow
  • story - n. the telling or writing of an event, either real or imagined
  • stove - n. a heating device used for cooking
  • straight - ad. continuing in one direction without turns
  • strange - ad. unusual; not normal; not known
  • street - n. a road in a city, town or village
  • stretch - v. to extend for a distance; to pull on to make longer or wider
  • strike - v. to hit with force; to stop work as a way to seek better conditions, more pay or to make other demands
  • strong - ad. having much power; not easily broken, damaged or destroyed
  • structure - n. the way something is built, made or organized; a system that is formed or organized in a special way; a building
  • struggle - v. to try with much effort; to fight with; n. a great effort; a fight
  • study - v. to make an effort to gain knowledge by using the mind; to examine carefully
  • stupid - ad. not able to learn much; not intelligent
  • subject - n. the person or thing being discussed, studied or written about
  • submarine - n. an underwater ship
  • substance - n. the material of which something is made (a solid, liquid or gas)
  • substitute - v. to put or use in place of another; n. a person or thing put or used in place of another
  • subversion - n. an attempt to weaken or destroy a political system or government, usually secretly
  • succeed - v. to reach a goal or thing desired; to produce a planned result
  • such - ad. of this or that kind; of the same kind as; similar to
  • sudden - ad. not expected; without warning; done or carried out quickly or without preparation
  • suffer - v. to feel pain in the body or mind; to receive or experience hurt or sadness
  • sugar - n. a sweet substance made from liquids taken from plants
  • suggest - v. to offer or propose something to think about or consider
  • suicide - n. the act of killing oneself
  • summer - n. the warmest time of the year, between spring and autumn
  • sun - n. the huge star in the sky that provides heat and light to earth
  • supervise - v. to direct and observe the work of others
  • supply - v. to give; to provide; n. the amount of something that can be given or sold to others
  • support - v. to carry the weight of; to hold up or in position; to agree with others and help them reach a goal; to approve
  • suppose - v. to believe, think or imagine ("I suppose you are right."); to expect ("It is supposed to rain tonight.")
  • suppress - v. to put down or to keep down by force; to prevent information from being known publicly
  • sure - ad. very probable; with good reason to believe; true without question
  • surface - n. the outer side or top of something ("The rocket landed on the surface of the moon.")
  • surplus - n. an amount that is more than is needed; extra; ("That country has a trade surplus. It exports more than it imports.")
  • surprise - v. to cause a feeling of wonder because something is not expected; n. something not expected; the feeling caused by something not expected
  • surrender - v. to give control of oneself or one's property to another or others; to stop fighting and admit defeat
  • surround - v. to form a circle around; to be in positions all around someone or something
  • survive - v. to remain alive during or after a dangerous situation
  • suspect - v. to imagine or believe that a person is guilty of something bad or illegal; n. a person believed to be guilty
  • suspend - v. to cause to stop for a period of time
  • swallow - v. to take into the stomach through the mouth
  • swear in - v. to put an official into office by having him or her promise to carry out the duties of that office ("The chief justice will swear in the president.")
  • sweet - ad. tasting pleasant, like sugar
  • swim - v. to move through water by making motions with the arms and legs
  • sympathy - n. a sharing of feelings or emotions with another person, usually feelings of sadness
  • system - n. a method of organizing or doing something by following rules or a plan; a group of connected things or parts working together for a common purpose or goal
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