ASVAB Word Knowledge

ASVAB Word Knowledge Study Guide: All You Need for The Word Knowledge Exam

With all other tests, Word knowledge is included which is similarly vital in processing the eligibility of an aspiring applicant. This study guide will help you improve your knowledge to get ready for your coming exam.

January 1, 2022

The terms and information in our ASVAB Word Knowledge Study Guide will help you improve your ASVAB score in this section. Let’s get this party started!

When you join the US military, you must complete certain evaluations to help you navigate your major specialization in the military branches. Applicants, like all other military branches, must pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), which is traditionally divided into ten test subjects. The results of the test will help determine your eligibility to join or initially enlist in the Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Army, National Guard, and other services.

Word knowledge is included in all other tests, and it is equally important in determining an aspiring applicant’s eligibility. Furthermore, it is widely regarded as one of the most important domains to pursue because it will pre-define your vocabulary skills, particularly in times of military operations that rely on verbal deliberations, and honing such skills is a necessary step in leading or supporting a specific military operation.

Our FREE 2024 ASVAB practice test is a great way to get ready for the upcoming exam! To break up the monotony of traditional study methods, thousands of ASVAB practice questions are gamified round by round. Furthermore, many ASVAB full tests will assist you in familiarizing yourself with the actual test format. Our website now has the ASVAB Study Guide 2024 for all 9 parts! Let’s begin practicing right away!

What Is Included In The ASVAB Word Knowledge Test?

The ASVAB Word Knowledge section measures your knowledge and understanding of the word meaning both individually used and when included in a sentence. You may find it difficult to remember a specific word since the English language is so rich. However, our ASVAB word knowledge practice tests are designed and simulated as the actual test to help you adapt to the test format. Improving your language and vocabulary usage will help you both prepare for the ASVAB test and boost your communication ability in your career and personal life.

Your Word Knowledge score is a part of the AFQT score that will determine if you are qualified to enroll in the military. Then, how many word knowledge questions are on the ASVAB? You have to answer 16 questions in 8 minutes on the CAT-ASVAB test, while the paper-and-pencil version asks 35 questions in 11 minutes.

As we continue with the course, take note of these two primary types of questions included in the test:

Literal Definition of a word

These questions let you choose between a set of words that may define the pre-given word.

Example 1:

Nefarious most nearly means,

A. Kindness

B. Thoughtfulness

C. Worthy                

D. Evil

With the given choices above, the answer would be D. Evil. Always read the other words to know if it is likely synonymous or antonymous with the given word.

Example 2:

Flabbergasting most nearly means,

A. Plain

B. Dumbfounding         

C. Simple                     

D. Mundane

The answer above would be “B. Dumbfounding.” Like the first note, always read the other given words to know if they are similar in nature and definition.

Example 3:

Idyllic most nearly means,

A. Picturesque

B. Dreadful    

C. Flawed    

D. Atrocious

It is apparent that the answer would be A. Picturesque, considering that the majority of the given words are antonymous with the questioned word.

Emphasized (italicized or underlined) Term

Unlike the first type of question, the emphasized word would be the crux of the question which can be answered by determining how it was utilized in the pre-given sentence.

Example 1:

Tim told his best friend, Cole,” Break a leg, bro!”

A. You’re a loser     

B. Good luck           

C. Good riddance

D. You’re welcome

It would be “B. Good Luck.” Break a leg is a common idiom that expresses your support to a certain someone.

Example 2:

As Gary finished the exam, he told his seatmate, Bryan,” Oh dude, the test was indeed a piece of cake.”

A. Difficult

B. Mind-boggling  

C. Easy

D. Strong

The answer is “C. Easy.” Like the first example, the phrase “ A piece of cake is a common idiomatic expression used by many people when expressing ease in doing a particular work.

ASVAB Word Knowledge
ASVAB Word Knowledge

Core Topics To Study/Ponder

Having much knowledge about basic to advanced grammatical appendices is a fundamental setting that is necessary for you to adapt upon taking all ASVAB tests to properly analyze the set of pre-given questions. Among these technical and grammatical components are; roots, suffixes, and prefixes.

Take note: There’s no need to memorize all of the succeeding terms but it’s more convenient to familiarize the entirety of the grammatical components for accurate deliberation.

To put it into perspective, if you’re aware that “anti” means “opposite/against” then you’d be able to figure out that “anti-Covid 19” means a notion against the concurrent Covid-19.

Read more >> ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension Study Guide


To make things clear, the subsequent terms are common prefixes along with their equivalent definition and how it is used in common words.

bene – good – beneficiary

Sample sentence: John is a beneficiary of an international scholarship.

de – opposing term – delimitation

Sample sentence: The research should have its own limit and delimitation manner.

dis – refuse, opposing factor of – disentangle

Sample sentence: Gwyn tried to disentangle the twisted rope.

em- / en – cause to happen – empower – enlist

Sample sentence: You’ll soon be empowered after enlisting in the service.

in- – inside tern – input

Sample sentence: You must always consider the raw inputs and subsequent outputs.

inter – between certain concepts – intermediary

Sample sentence: Jesus is the intermediary between humanity and the Almighty Father.

mid – in between or middle spot – midterms

Sample sentence: It’s crucial to pass the midterms with flying colors.

mis – wrongly, contradictory – misconception

Sample sentence: World as it is, bears a common misconception about life and death.

non – not – non-existent

Sample sentence: Chloe’s best friend is no less than a non-existent being that only resides in her imagination.

over – beyond, over – oversee

Sample sentence: The military force is established to oversee peace.

re – again – revitalize

Sample sentence: The essence of brotherhood revitalizes the sense of belongingness.

semi – initial, halfway – semi-bald

Sample sentence: Joe went to his barber and asked for a semi-bald cut.

under – beneath, below, under – underlying

Sample sentence: Every conflict has its own underlying reason.


Common suffixes along with their meaning word application:

-able  – having the capacity – breakable

Sample sentence: True love is not a breakable bond.

-al – relevance – relational

Sample sentence: It’s nice to have an improved relational thinking style.

 -ence – instance of activity – commence

Sample sentence: The proctor remarked,” Let the exam commence!”

-ation –manner or process – evolution

Sample sentence: The evolution of man is predicted to be a paradox of life.

-ful – plenty/filled with – wonderful

Sample sentence: Life is indeed a wonderful journey.

-ist – one who epitomizes – specialist

Sample sentence: Our neighbor is a resident medical specialist.

-less – not having, the act of post-removal– boneless

Sample sentence: Have you ever tried boneless milkfish?

-let – small version – piglet

Sample sentence: The mother pig was walking alongside her three piglets.

-ment – act/progress of – development

Sample sentence: Humanity is now at the edge of AI development.

-ness – bearing a certain characteristic – holiness

Sample sentence: We shall abide by the holiness of God’s word.

-er / -or – one who acts or perform – operator

Sample sentence: Mr. Doe is a tractor operator in West Virginia.

Read more >> ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Study Guide


Common Roots along with their meaning and  word application:

The common roots are words that are the primary origin of other words attached with either a prefix- (before a word) or -suffix (after a word).

bio – means ‘life’ – Biology

cede – going towards – precede

corp – a part of a single body – incorporation

dict – utterance – dictionary

domine – overwhelm/ overcome – domination

form – figure/shape – formulation

fract – breakage/scattered – refraction

graph – outlining – Telegraph

path – experience or feeling – Telepathy

press – deviate – suppress

tract – pulling action – retraction

vok – stimulate or call – evoke

Essential ASVAB Word Knowledge List

Below are the most frequent words that may appear on your ASVAB Word Knowledge exam:

  1. abandon: forsake; leave behind
  2. abate: become less in amount or intensity
  3. abdicate: give up power, duties, or obligations
  4. abhorrent: offensive to the mind
  5. abound: exist in large quantities
  6. abridge: lessen, diminish, or curtail
  7. abscond: run away, often taking something or somebody along
  8. abundant: present in great quantity
  9. acute: ending in a sharp point
  10. adversary: someone who offers opposition
  11. affect: have an influence upon
  12. aggravate: make worse
  13. allot: give out
  14. amateur: someone who pursues a study or sport as a pastime
  15. ambient: completely enveloping
  16. amity: a state of friendship and cordiality
  17. anomie: lack of moral standards in a society
  18. anticipate: regard something as probable or likely
  19. appraise: consider in a comprehensive way
  20. arcanum: information is known only to a special group
  21. obscure: not clearly understood or expressed
  22. vague: lacking clarity or distinctness
  23. limber: easily bent
  24. inertia: the tendency of something to stay in rest or motion
  25. ambiguous: having more than one possible meaning
  26. frugal: avoiding waste
  27. corrugated: shaped into alternating parallel grooves and ridges
  28. vestibule: a large entrance or reception room or area
  29. jetty: protective structure extending from the shore into the water
  30. eulogy: a formal expression of praise for someone who has died
  31. satchel: luggage consisting of a small case with a flat bottom
  32. glut: supply with an excess of
  33. slander: words were falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another
  34. vicious: having the nature of evildoing
  35. immerse: cause to be submerged
  36. lofty: of imposing height; especially standing out above others
  37. accost: approach and speak to someone aggressively or insistently
  38. despicable: morally reprehensible
  39. carcass: the dead body of an animal
  40. debonair: having a sophisticated charm
  41. spondee: a metrical unit with stressed-stressed syllables
  42. spontaneous: said or done without having been planned in advance
  43. momentous: of very great significance
  44. offish: lacking cordiality; unfriendly
  45. transpose: change the order or arrangement of
  46. fasting: abstaining from food
  47. inflexible: resistant to being bent
  48. perish: pass from physical life
  49. adept: having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude
  50. competent: properly or sufficiently qualified, capable, or efficient
  51. economical: using the minimum of time or resources for effectiveness
  52. shrine: a place of worship associated with something sacred
  53. incentive: a positive motivational influence
  54. levelheaded: exercising or showing good judgment
  55. reluctant: not eager
  56. hostile: characterized by enmity or ill will
  57. surmount: get on top of; deal with successfully
  58. barred: preventing entry or exit or a course of action
  59. warily: in a manner marked by keen caution and watchful prudence
  60. grating: unpleasantly harsh in sound
  61. vagrant: a wanderer with no established residence or means of support
  62. scrappy: full of fighting spirit
  63. dilemma: state of uncertainty in a choice between unfavorable options
  64. menagerie: a collection of live animals for study or display
  65. unaccustomed: not habituated to; unfamiliar with
  66. fluorescent: emitting light during exposure to external radiant energy
  67. rodent: relatively small placental mammals
  68. humorous: characterized by the power to evoke laughter
  69. notary: someone empowered to certify a document’s validity
  70. knead: use your hands to mix and work something into a uniform mass
  71. bliss: a state of extreme happiness
  72. impulsive: without forethought
  73. interject: speak abruptly, especially as an interruption
  74. jargon: technical terminology characteristic of a particular subject
  75. tight: closely constrained or constricted or constricting
  76. consequence: a phenomenon that is caused by some previous phenomenon
  77. obliterate: remove completely from recognition or memory
  78. unison: the state of corresponding exactly
  79. turmoil: a violent disturbance
  80. wary: marked by keen caution and watchful prudence
  81. impair: make worse or less effective
  82. ravage: cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly
  83. perpetual: continuing forever or indefinitely
  84. chide: scold or reprimand severely or angrily
  85. savory: pleasing to the sense of taste
  86. inhabit: live in; be a resident of
  87. fidget: move restlessly
  88. massive: containing a great quantity of matter
  89. flaunt: display proudly
  90. hoist: raise or haul up with or as if with mechanical help
  91. clumsy: lacking grace in movement or posture
  92. frail: physically weak
  93. utilize: put into service
  94. zest: a tart spicy quality
  95. prosperous: in fortunate circumstances financially
  96. defy: resist or confront resistance
  97. wheeze: the act of breathing with a husky or whistling sound
  98. luminous: softly bright or radiant
  99. incinerate: become reduced to ashes
  100. calligraphy: beautiful handwriting
  101. prestige: a high standing achieved through success or influence
  102. profane: grossly irreverent toward what is held to be sacred
  103. whim: an odd or fanciful or capricious idea
  104. thrift: extreme care in spending money
  105. malign: speak unfavorably about
  106. boggy: (of soil) soft and watery
  107. eccentric: conspicuously or grossly unconventional or unusual
  108. haughty: having or showing arrogant superiority
  109. augment: enlarge or increase
  110. sublime: of high moral or intellectual value
  111. hypocrite: a person who professes beliefs that he or she does not hold
  112. hygienic: tending to promote or preserve the health
  113. err: make a mistake
  114. parity: functional equality
  115. glorify: praise or honor


Finally, the ASVAB Word Knowledge Study Guide is a wonderful resource for anyone preparing for the ASVAB Word Knowledge part. This guide includes a thorough overview of the types of questions you might expect to see on the exam, approaches to these problems, as well as words to know for the ASVAB. You can improve your exam performance by using the ASVAB Word Knowledge Study Guide to build a stronger understanding of vocabulary and word usage. Furthermore, the practice questions and quizzes contained in the guide can assist you in identifying areas that require additional review and practice.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] if any issues arise.

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    Marvin Shaw - ASVAB-Prep Writer

    Marvin Shaw is a homeschooling high school teacher and an ASVAB tutor. He's one of the creators of our ASVAB question collection. With his broad knowledge and a big love for the U.S. military, he's mentored hundreds of students to successfully enter the military.

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