TOEFL® Vocabulary List

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Words that start with b
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baffle keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/baf-fle/ [b.ae1.f.ah0.l]

Definition: to confuse to a point at which no progress can be made

Example sentences:

  • The cause of many harmful diseases have baffled doctors for centuries.
  • In a debate, you might baffle the opposition by introducing new information that your opponents are not familiar with.

balanced keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bal-anced/ [b.ae1.l.ah0.n.s.t]

Definition: a state where everything is of the same size or weight

Example sentences:

  • It is essential that policy makers give careful consideration to a balanced approach when determining the most effective regulatory solutions for the platform.
  • For sugar to exist as a normal, safe part of our food, all we need to do is maintain balanced diets.

barrier keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bar-ri-er/ [b.ae1.r.iy0.er0]

Definition: A fence or other obstacle that prevents movement or access

Example sentences:

  • However, he told council he would like to protect the fence with barriers, to prevent vehicle operators from accidentally running into the fence.

basophilic keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/ba-sophilic/ [b.ey2.s.ao0.f.ih1.l.ih0.k]

Definition: Relating to tissue components that stain readily with basic dyes

Example sentences:

  • The cytoplasm remains basophilic and stains blue.

be descended from keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/be de-scend-ed from/ [no ipa available]

Definition: (be descended from) Be a blood relative of (a specified ancestor):

Example sentences:

  • The findings show that more than 95 percent of dogs in this group were descended from three original female ancestors.

be rooted in keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/be root-ed in/ [no ipa available]

Definition: (be rooted in) Have as an origin or cause:

Example sentences:

  • The Latin dubitare is rooted in an Indo-European word.

beak keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/beak/ [b.iy1.k]

Definition: A bird’s horny projecting jaws; the horny projecting jaw of animals other than birds, for example a turtle or squid.

Example sentences:

  • As a trombone player pulls in the slide to make a higher frequency sound by reducing the volume of the tube, so does a bird open its beak and pull back its head to reduce the volume of its vocal tract.

beehive keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bee-hive/ [b.iy1.hh.ay2.v]

Definition: A box-like or dome-shaped structure in which bees are kept

Example sentences:

  • The ideal places for establishing bee colonies were locations where the farm pesticide use was low, and where there were several beehives in the wild.

benefit keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/ben-e-fit/ [b.eh1.n.ah0.f.ih0.t]

Definition: something that aids or promotes well-being

Example senences:

  • Showcasing the work of those who might not have been noticed before is an excellent start that could benefit the entire industry.
  • You get the benefit of working remotely but you might not feel as connected to the company as you would like.

bereave keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/be-reave/ [b.er0.iy1.v]

Definition: Be deprived of a loved one through a profound absence, especially due to the loved one’s death

Example sentences:

  • Many families have been bereaved following the deaths of men doing an honest day's work.

biodiversity keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bio-di-ver-si-ty/ [b.ay2.ow0.d.ay0.v.er1.s.ah0.t.iy0]

Biodiversity refers to the variety of living organisms within a given area.

biomass keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bio-mass/ [b.ay1.ah0.m.ae0.s]

Definition: The total quantity or weight of organisms in a given area or volume

Example sentences:

  • Harvest index was measured as the ratio between root weight and total biomass.

biomimetic keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bio-mimet-ic/ [no ipa available]

Definition: Relating to or denoting synthetic methods which mimic biochemical processes

Example sentences:

  • Having tried to design nanosystems for almost a decade, he recently turned to biomimetic principles (mimicking nature) with promising results.

blind keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/blind/ [b.l.ay1.n.d]

Definition: unable to see or understand; showing poor judgement or understanding

Example sentences:

  • Cameras spread out around an airport eliminate blind spots and give controllers more-detailed views.
  • I was blinded by the massive bright light he kept constantly shined onto me.

blur keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/blur/ [b.l.er1]

Definition: to make something difficult to see

Example sentences:

  • Crying hard can cause your vision to blur until you wipe your tears away.

breed keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/breed/ [b.r.iy1.d]

To breed is to have babies. Example sentences:

  • Emperor penguins breed annually during the Antarctic winter.
  • The reason why emperor penguins breed during the harshest season of the year is unknown, but scientists speculate that when the chicks become independent five months later, environmental conditions are more favorable for the young birds.
briefly keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/briefly/ [b.r.iy1.f.l.iy0]

Definition: for a short time

Example sentences:

  • Sleep apnea is a chronic condition in which breathing is briefly but repeatedly interrupted throughout sleep.

bristle keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bris-tle/ [b.r.ih1.s.ah0.l]

Definition: (bristle with) Be covered with or abundant in

Example sentences:

  • n the beginning, the area had been crawling with soldiers and bristling with guns.

broaden keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/broad-en/ [b.r.ao1.d.ah0.n]

The verb, broaden is to expand, and it is normally referring to expanding your views or change your opinion. The phrase "broaden/widen somebody's horizons " is often used. Here are example sentences

  • Mt interests broadened as I grew up.
  • Studying abroad can broaden the students' vision.
  • A year of traveling, a gap year can broaden the students' horizons.
  • This trip to the Far East has certainly broadened our family's horizons.​



It's kind of funny that the word broad can communicate such an expansive range of ideas since the word "expansive" is, in fact, a synonym for broad. 

This adjective can be used to describe actual physical spaces. A broad highway, for example, would be difficult to cross because of all the cars in the many lanes of the road. 

The word can also be used more figuratively. 

  • American history covers a broad range of topics and events. 
  • broad-minded person is open to new ideas, while broad humor aims for a mass audience with obvious gags and stunts. 
brooding keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/brood-ing/ []

Brooding is the process of incubating (brooding) eggs. Here are example sentences:

  • Fossils indicate that dinosaurs might have brooding behavior.
  • Birds have many adaptations to help make brooding successful and ensure a better hatch rate for eggs
budget keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bud-get/ [b.ah1.jh.ih0.t]

The word budget can be used in three forms, a verb, noun or adjective. The adjective form is always used before a noun. The adjective form means low in price, the verb form means the amount set aside for spending and the noun form is an amount of money available for spending that is already planned for its use.

Let’s look at the verb form first. It can be used with an object or without an object

Example sentences in the verb form with an object

  • They budgeted millions of dollars to make the film.
  • The project is budgeted at more than $100,000.
  • He budgets $50 for entertainment each month.

Example sentences in the verb form without an object

  • If we budget carefully, we will be able to go on the trip.
  • We're budgeting [=saving our money] for a new car.


As mentioned earlier in the introduction in the adjective form means low in price. The following example sentence in the adjective form is shown below

  • Budget hotels - Students look for budget hotels when traveling.


Let’s look at the following phrases with the word budget in the noun form.

  • Under budget
  • Over budget
  • Within budget
  • on budget

Pay attention to these example sentences of each of the phrases:

  • The project was completed on schedule and under budget.
  • We're still within budget.
  • The director always goes over budget on his films.
  • The store has great bargains for people on a budget.​ (If you are on a budget, you have planned how you will spend your money usually because you do not have a lot to spend and need to save money.)


The word budget is often used before another noun as seen below

  • The governor will discuss the state's budget deficit/surplus.​
  • a budget crisis
  • budget cuts



bunkum keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bunkum/ [no ipa available]

Definition: Nonsense; talk that is empty, insincere, or merely for effect

Example sentences:

  • There is a good article here on what a lot of bunkum psychological ‘counselling’ often is.

burgeon keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bur-geon/ [b.er1.jh.ah0.n]

Definition: grow and flourish

Example sentences:

  • The tap-to-pay system will compete with this new application in the burgeoning mobile payments market.
  • The burgeoning population of major cities is increasing a demand for more service.

by-product keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/by-prod-uct/ [no ipa available]

Definition: An incidental or secondary product made in the manufacture or synthesis of something else

Example sentences:

  • Sugar cane fiber, a by-product of sugar manufacturing, can be made into paper.

bailout keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bailout/ [b.ey1.l.aw2.t]

Definition: An act of giving financial assistance to a failing business or economy to save it from collapse

Example sentences:

  • The hidden costs of all the ‘Coins in the Fuse Box’ and financial sector bailouts now look poised to manifest in an uneven housing and consumer borrowing fiasco, with the Fed either incapable or unwilling to respond.
  • Now Trump may need a financial bailout or concessions from bond holders to save the company from bankruptcy

baleen keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/baleen/ [b.ah0.l.iy1.n]

Definition: whalebone

Example sentences:

  • These whales are distinguished from the toothed whales by having baleen, or whalebone, as part of the mouth structure.

basal keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/basal/ [b.ey1.s.ah0.l]

Definition: Forming or belonging to a bottom layer or base

Example sentences:

  • Cells are replaced from a basal layer of proliferating epidermal cells in contact with the basal lamina.

be blanketd in keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/be blan-ketd in/ [no ipa available]

Definition: Cover completely with a thick layer of something

Example sentences:

  • The countryside was blanketed in snow.

be in orbit around keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/be in or-bit around/ [no ipa available]

Definition: orbit

Example sentences:

  • A team of astronomers has identified nine new dwarf satellite are in orbit around the Milky Way

beached keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/beached/ []

Definition: Hauled up or stranded on a beach:

Example sentences:

  • About 20 destroyers out of the 50 interned have been beached.

bear keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bear/ [b.eh1.r]

Definition: to produce; to carry or endure, whether by physical or mental force

Example sentences:

  • This orchard bears many harvests of apples.

belching keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/belch-ing/ []

Definition: The release of gas from the digestive tract (mainly esophagus and stomach) through the mouth

Example sentences:

  • Burping is the release of gas from the digestive tract through the mouth. It is usually accompanied with a typical sound and, at times, an odor.

benign keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/be-nign/ [b.ih0.n.ay1.n]

Definition: (Of a disease) not harmful in effect:

Example sentences:

  • In actual fact, for the vast majority of cases, the childhood infectious diseases are benign and self-limiting.

bestow keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/be-stow/ [b.ih0.s.t.ow1]

Definition: to give as a gift or to give time or effort to something

Example sentences:

  • The office was bestowed on him by the chief of state. In 1903 it was decided to bestow degrees on women, and in 1904 to establish women's scholarships.

biological keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bi-o-log-i-cal/ [b.ay2.ah0.l.aa1.jh.ih0.k.ah0.l]

Definition: Of or relating to biology or living organisms

Example sentences:

  • IBM has unveiled an ambitious initiative to develop technologies that share the basic biological abilities of living organisms.

biome keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bio-me/ [b.ay1.ow2.m]

A biome is a community of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. They can be found over a range of continents.

bladder keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/blad-der/ [b.l.ae1.d.er0]

Definition: A muscular membranous sac in the abdomen which receives urine from the kidneys and stores it for excretion

Example sentences:

  • Patients were asked to empty their bladders before going to bed.

blister keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/blis-ter/ [b.l.ih1.s.t.er0]

Definition: A small bubble on the skin filled with serum and caused by friction, burning, or other damage

Example sentences:

  • Closely monitor your feet before and after exercise for any signs of potential damage, such as blisters, which can lead to ulcers if left untreated.

boast keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/boast/ [b.ow1.s.t]

Definition: (Of a person, place, or thing) possess (a feature that is a source of pride)

Example sentences:

  • This location boasts the standard decor and services of a five-star hotel.

breeding keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/breed-ing/ []

The phrases “breeding ground” and “breeding season” are often used.

A breeding ground is a place where many wild animals return to the same place every year to breed.

A breeding season is a specific season of the year when animals breed.

Example sentences:

  • Migratory animals migrate hundreds of miles over the course of a year, coming back to a breeding ground to reproduce and give birth to babies.
  • Breeding seasons differ from species to species. The little penguin breeds throughout the year and has the shortest breeding cycle, which lasts about 50 days. Some of the temperate penguins, like the Humboldt and the African, tend to nest throughout the year.
brilliant keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bril-liant/ [b.r.ih1.l.y.ah0.n.t]

Definition: intensely bright or colorful; intelligent

Example sentences:

  • She was a brilliant kayaker and it was a family tradition she relished.

brittle keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/brit-tle/ [b.r.ih1.t.ah0.l]

Definition: Hard but liable to break easily

Example sentences:

  • The Earth's crust, as with many planetary crusts, is brittle and breaks relatively easily.

brood keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/brood/ [b.r.uw1.d]

As a noun, a brood is a group of young born at the same time — like a brood of chicks. Look a the following example sentences:

  • Increased predation affects the survival of nests and broods immediately after hatching
  • This nest found in a slight depression in the ground contains a brood of tiny young birds.
  • While the young are in the nest, the entire brood is extremely vulnerable to predation.


As a verb, “to brood” is to incubate. To incubate means to sit on eggs to make them warm before they hatch. Example:

  • In some species of birds, both the mother and father brood the eggs.
  • Birds brood eggs during the incubation period to keep them protected and warm until they are ready to hatch.
brushstroke keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/brush-stroke/ [no ipa available]

There are two different meanings for brushstroke. First, the most obvious one is the actual stroke of a brush, normally a paint brush or hairbrush. The other definition is an individual action that contributes to an overall effect or work. For example:

  • I love how the artist used different sizes of brushstroke in the painting.
  • He acted like he did all the work, when in reality his contribution was a brushstroke of the whole project.
bunch keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bunch/ []

Definition: Collect or fasten into a compact group:

Example sentences:

  • There are more than 1,500 passengers going through the international departure where flights are normally bunched together.

buoyancy keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/buoy-an-cy/ [b.oy1.ah0.n.s.iy0]

Definition: The power of a liquid to keep something afloat

Example sentences:

  • Water's buoyancy makes a swimmer feel weightless and reduces stress on joints in the spine, hips and knees.

burial site keyboard_arrow_downkeyboard_arrow_up
/bur-ial site/ [no ipa available]

A burial site is a tract of land used for burials. In other words, it is anywhere that has dead bodies. A cemetery is a common burial site. In certain cultures, there may be a burial site for each family outside of the family home.

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