Vocab Master List World 9H


Note: Numbers indicate the number of words in each list. Black and blue text indicate Special Education student differentiation. Black words are used by all students, blue words are skipped by students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs).



The Fertile Crescent and Egypt Unit Vocabulary List

11 + 5

animism – believing that inanimate objects and nature have consciousness or are inhabited by gods, or are gods; having animal-like gods

anthropomorphic – non-human things described or thought of as having a human form or human attributes

assimilate – 1. to cause (a person or group) to become part of a different society, country, etc.;
2. to adopt the ways of another culture : to fully become part of a different society, country, etc.

climate – weather over time in a given place; rainfall and temperature particularly

covenant – a formal agreement between people or entities

despotism – rule without limits by a single person

fertile – able to bear fruit, give life

hierarchy – an ordered series of ranks, one above another

justify –  show or prove to be right or reasonable

monotheism – belief in one god

polytheism – belief in more than one god

premeditation – planned ahead of time, with forethought

rural – having to do with the countryside

stratification – divided into separate layers

theocracy – rule by the priestly class

urban – having to do with the city


Ancient Greece Unit Vocabulary List

10 + 5

aristocracy – the nobles; when power is held by the nobility

autonomy – the state of existing or acting separately from others; the power or right of a country, group, etc., to govern itself

citizen – a person with full legal rights in a given State

democracy – power is held by the citizens, and they vote directly

domestic – having to do with the home

hoplite – a Greek citizen-soldier

ideal – existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality.

impartialtreating all rivals or disputants equally; fair and just.

oligarchy – where power is held by just a few people

phalanx – a square of men with spears who fight as a unit; a porcupine of men with spears

philosophy – looking into the nature of things based on logical thinking rather than experimentation; the study of how we know what we know and how we know that the truth is the truth

politics – the art or science of government or ruling a state

state – the group of all parts within a given boundary that are part of the power structure; a government and the territory it controls

subject – a person within a state who has responsibilities, but no rights

tyranny – where a person has complete and uncontested power over others


Ancient Rome Unit Vocabulary List

11 + 5

apostle – Someone who spreads the word, usually of a religion; one of the original 12 followers of Jesus

benevolent – kind and generous; organized to do good things for other people

bureaucracy – The entire body of government workers who are organized into a hierarchy and who basically do the paperwork and behind-the-scenes support for the State

dictatorship – When one person rules, usually with some sort of legal or make-believe legal justification

disciple – A devout follower of a spiritual or intellectual leader. Usually a committed religious follower

economy – The way that money, production, and distribution work in a given place

empire – When a nation or country controls not just its own lands, but also the lands of another people

explicit – stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt

martyr – Someone who dies for a cause

messiah – The anointed one promised in the Torah or Old Testament. A promised religious savior

militaristic – A government or country that is fixated on the army and war

persecutesubject (someone) to hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of their race or political or religious beliefs

policy – The official plans and positions of a government. The stated goals and methods of a government

republic – A government where the citizens elect representatives to run the country

succession – When one individual or entity follows another into a place or position.  When a prince follows a king into power upon the death of the king

vague – thinking or communicating in an unfocused or imprecise way


Ancient India Unit Vocabulary List

10 + 5

ascetic – practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline

benign – not harmful in effect; kind and/or gentle

bodhisattva – a being that compassionately refrains from entering nirvana in order to save others and is worshiped as a deity in Mahayana Buddhism

buddha – a person who has attained a state of perfect enlightenment sought in Buddhism

caste – one of the hereditary social classes in Hinduism that restrict the occupation of their members and their association with the members of other classes; a system of rigid social stratification characterized by hereditary status, marriage within the group, and social barriers enforced by custom, law, or religion

constrain – 1. to force by imposed restriction or limitation; to hold back by or as if by force

dharma – Hinduism : an individual’s caste duty fulfilled by observance of custom or law; Hinduism & Buddhism a : the basic principles of cosmic or individual existence : divine law b : staying true to one’s duty and nature

ethical –  relating to a set of moral principles or values

karma – the force generated by a person’s actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to keep reincarnation going and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person’s next existence

mantra – a mystical formula of speaking or chanting that calls on some religious power (as in Hinduism); a mystical chant

meditation – the act or process of focusing one’s thoughts on : reflect on or ponder over

nirvana – the final ending that destroys suffering, karma, and negative attachment.  It is sought especially in Buddhism through getting rid of desire and individual consciousness; escape from the cycle of rebirth

reincarnation – rebirth in new bodies or forms of life; especially : a rebirth of a soul in a new human body

subordinate – [adjective] placed in or occupying a lower class, rank, or position; [verb] to treat as of less value or importance

yoga – a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation; a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being


Ancient China Unit Vocabulary List

10 + 5

contemporary – belonging to or occurring in the present; living or occurring at the same time

cyclical – moving through intervals of time during which a sequence of a recurring succession of events is completed

demographics – the study of changes that occur in large groups of people over a period of time

dowry – a payment that a groom receives from the bride’s family upon marriage

dynasty – A series of rulers from a single family.

eclectic – selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles; composed of elements drawn from various sources

isolationism – a policy of national withdrawal by abandoning alliances and other international political and economic relations

land reform – the process of distributing farms to peasants and small farmers after a period in which wealthy farmers have taken over an unhealthy amount of farmland

Mandate of Heaven – The belief that royal authority comes through divine approval.  This authority is communicated by the gods to the ruler.

meritocracy – a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement; leadership selected on the basis of intellectual criteria

per capita – measured by each individual person

reign – hold royal office; rule as king or queen.

social harmony – when all of the classes and people in a place work together for the good of all; often implies a lack of individuality or social mobility in exchange for broad success of a country

yang – the masculine active principle in nature that in Chinese cosmology is exhibited in light, heat, or dryness and that combines with its opposite to produce all that comes to be

yin – the feminine passive principle in nature that in Chinese cosmology is exhibited in darkness, cold, or wetness and that combines with its opposite to produce all that comes to be


Africa to 1600ish C.E. Unit Vocabulary List

10 + 5

aesthetic – of or relating to art or beauty

Bantu – a language group that spread from Central Africa through much of Southern Africa

cosmopolitan – made up of people or cultural elements from many foreign sources; having international sophistication

griots a class of traveling poets, musicians, and storytellers who maintain a tradition of oral history in parts of West Africa

isolated – cut off from communication with the rest of the world

laudatory – expressing or containing praise

Maghrib – the Mediterranean coast of North Africa

matrilinealof or based on kinship with the mother or the female line

migration – when a person or people permanently move from one country or region to another

monsoon – the seasonal wind of the Indian Ocean and southern Asia, blowing from the southwest in summer and from the northeast in winter

patrilineal – of or based on kinship with the father or the male line

prosperity – the state of being successful, usually by making a lot of money

savanna – A grassy plain in tropical and subtropical regions, with few trees

Swahili – a coastal language of Eastern Africa that mixes Arabic and Persian language elements in with other African root languages

tribute – payment made periodically by one state or ruler to another, especially as a sign of dependence; an act, statement, or gift intended to show gratitude or respect.





The Early Muslim World Unit Vocabulary List

10 + 5

Arab – a member of the Semitic people of the Arabian peninsula; a member of an Arabic-speaking people

Caliph – a successor of Muhammad as a spiritual leader of Islam

fervent – felt very strongly : having or showing very strong feelings

hajj – Islamic followers’ pilgrimage to Mecca

Islam – the religion founded by and based up the teachings of Muhammad

jihad – holy war or consistent inner struggle for faith

Ka’bah – Arab shrine in Mecca to which many people journey each year; it is holy in Islam

mosque – a Muslim holy building where services are held

Muslim – someone who follows the teachings of Muhammad

Qur’an – Holy book of Islam that contains God’s revelations to Muhammad

secular – non-religious; not having to do with the religion or the rules laid down by a religion

shari’ah – The revealed law of Islam; an Islamic fundamentalist legal system

Shia – the Muslims of the branch of Islam comprising sects believing in Ali and the Imams as the only rightful successors of Muhammad and in the concealment and messianic return of the last recognized Imam; the smaller of the two major branches of Islam

Sultan – a king or sovereign especially of a Muslim state

Sunni – the Muslims of the branch of Islam that adheres to the orthodox tradition and acknowledges the first four caliphs as rightful successors of Muhammad; the majority sect of Islam


The Middle Ages in Europe Unit Vocabulary List

10 + 5

anti-Semitism – prejudice against or hostility towards Jews, often rooted in hatred of their ethnic background, culture, or religion.

chivalry – a code of conduct that required knights to be brave, fight fairly, and protect women, children, and priests and monks

commercial – related to or used in the buying and selling of goods and services; concerned with earning money; relating to or based on the amount of profit that something earns

communal – characterized by collective ownership and use of property; when all people of the group work together for the good of the whole group

endemic disease –  An infectious disease that is present in the community at all times but normally at low frequency.

epidemic – affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time

heresy – A belief that disagrees with the official and accepted beliefs of a church, school, or political party

illuminated text – a manuscript decorated with gold or silver or brilliant colors or with often elaborate designs or miniature pictures

incremental – moving slowly but steadily in some direction; regular, measurable movements that are usually small

knight – a noble man, usually on horseback

manor – a territorial unit in the Middle Ages consisting of an estate under a lord enjoying a variety of rights over land and tenants including the right to hold court

monk – a man who is a member of a religious order and lives in a monastery and is not a priest

papal – having to do with the pope or the papacy

pogrom – an organized massacre of Jews by Christians; an organized attack on a religious minority

serf – peasants who lived on manors, they were not slaves, but they could not leave the manor and they owed the lord labor and service


Renaissance and Reformation Unit Vocabulary List

10 + 5

ambiguous – open to more than one interpretation; having a double meaning

Catholic – a Christian who believes in the authority of the Pope, the importance of the saints, and in the original definition of Christianity as it was passed down from the early Roman Church

Christian – someone who believes in the divinity of Christ; the churches or organizations of said people

doctrine – A belief or group of beliefs presented for acceptance by a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic group.

evoke – to bring (a memory, feeling, image, etc.) into the mind

humanism – a system of values and beliefs that is based on the idea that people are basically good and that problems can be solved using reason instead of religion

indulgences – pardons issued by the Pope that people could buy supposedly to reduce their time in purgatory

Inquisition – trials by the Catholic Church of non-believers and of believers of other religions

novel – new or unusual in an interesting way

Protestant – a Christian who follows neither the Catholic Church nor the Eastern Orthodox Church; Christians who generally find a direct faith in God and personal interpretation of the Bible to be more important as guides than the traditional religious hierarchy of the Roman Church (e.g. the Pope and the Saints)

Reformation – the splitting up of the Western Christian Church into Catholics and Protestants

Renaissance – the rebirth of classical learning, artistic forms, and culture in Europe

theology – the study of religious faith, practice, and experience

thesis – a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved

vernacular – in the language of the common people


Columbian Exchange Unit Vocabulary List

11 + 5

astrolabe – instrument used to calculate latitude

colony – A settlement in a new country; a body of people who settle in a new locality, forming a community subject to or connected with their parent state

doldrums – a part of the ocean near the equator characterized by calms, squalls, and light shifting winds

exploitation the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work; the action of making use of and benefiting from resources

indigenous – having originated in and being produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment

latitude – distance north or south of the equator, measured in degrees; horizontal lines on standard maps

longitude – distance east or west of the prime meridian, measured in degrees; vertical lines on standard maps

mercantilism also called “commercialism,” is a system in which a country attempts to amass wealth through trade with other countries, exporting more than it imports and increasing stores of gold and precious metals. It is usually considered an outdated system.

mestizoa person of mixed blood, specifically a person of mixed European and American Indian ancestry

Middle Passage – the journey by ship wherein Africans were taken to the Americas to become slaves

resilient – able to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens

siege – a situation in which soldiers or police officers surround a city, building, etc., in order to try to take control of it

tariff – a tax on trade

trade wind – a wind blowing very reliably in one direction over an ocean or sea

treatisea longer written work dealing formally and systematically with a subject

triangular trade – A system through which European merchants shipped finished goods to Africa in exchange for slaves who then were transported to America and sold to plantation owners. Money or raw materials from the Americas were then shipped back to Europe


European Bloom and the Enlightenment
Unit Vocabulary List

11 + 5

absolutism – a system of government where the leader has total power; they are seen as the same thing as the state itself

constitutional monarchy – when a king rules with limits placed upon him by written laws and other groups of political power-holders

deficit – the amount by which government spending exceeds its tax receipts for a given year

divine right of kings – the belief that monarchs hold and exercise power because God wills it

enclosure movement – when Europeans began to fence in their lands, including those that had once been considered common for local farmers and villagers

enlightened despotism – the idea that the best government was one run by an all-powerful genius who looked out for what was best for everyone

ethnic cleansing – the mass expulsion and killing of one ethnic or religious group in an area by another ethnic or religious group in that area

free enterprise – the idea that every person should be able to go into any business they want to and run it any way they like to make a maximum profit

inflation – the general rise in prices over time

L’état c’est moi – the quote meaning “I am the state” attributed to Louis XIV

national debt – the total amount of government borrowing still outstanding.  It is owed to individuals and institutions.

natural law – the belief that the universe and human society were organized and run according to unchanging rules

parliament – a representative assembly in England made up of the House of Lords and House of Commons

popular sovereignty – the idea that individuals could determine what was best for all members of the society and that this “will of the people” would become law

rationalism – The belief that truth can be arrived at only through the careful application of logical thought to observation.

Orphan words not used this year:

agriculture – farming, growing plants intentionally (Fertile Crescent unit?)

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