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.

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.

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.

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.
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
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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.
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.
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.

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