Most useful Synonyms for Commonly-used Adjectives in IELTS Speaking & Writing

most useful Synonyms for Commonly-used Adjectives in IELTS Speaking & Writing

To achieve a high band score in the IELTS test, you must show that you can use a fairly wide range of word forms. In this post, I’m going to cover the synonyms of various common adjectives used by IELTS learners.


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An adjective is the most commonly used type of word in IELTS which functions as modifiers of nouns, typically by describing, delimiting, or specifying quantity, as beautiful in a beautiful woman.

A synonym is a word or expression with the same or a similar meaning as another word.  For example, the words beautiful and resplendent are synonyms used to describe something having great beauty.


Bear in mind that some synonyms in the list below might not be “perfect” synonyms – there may be slight differences in meaning and connotation. For example, the words angry and mad. Both of them mean “feeling or expressing annoyance” but the word mad also means being mentally deranged and foolish.

Synonyms are often used in different collocations, too. For example, we can describe either a person or an idea as brilliant, but only a person can be astute.

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The good band scores can be achieved only when the broader range of vocabulary is used. One way to learn is to note down the less commonly used vocabulary, along with synonyms and examples. By this, you can avoid the preparation of words again and again in the sentence. This is a skill that the test taker should have to list down these words and find their synonyms and examples as well.

The table below will furnish you with synonyms for the most common adjectives which can serve as an adequate substitute in the IELTS test.

Bad  Negative, detrimental, inferior, inadequate, incorrect, poor, unsatisfactory, harmful, unacceptable, unpleasant, discouraging, terrible
  • Dumping waste exerts a negative effect on the environment
  • Passive smoking can have a detrimental effect on anyone’s health.
Big Sizable,  enormous, huge, immense, gigantic, vast, large, sizable, grand, great, tall, substantial, mammoth, astronomical, ample, broad, expansive, spacious, stout, tremendous, titanic, mountainous
  • The mechanic spent an immense amount of time getting the engine into perfect condition.
  • Global warming influences a large number of people living in this area.


Unbelievable, improbable, fantastic, fabulous, incredible,            wonderful,  astonishing, astounding, extraordinary
  • This extraordinary event is held occasionally by the government.
  • John has already had an incredible moment with his friends in England.


Dreadful, terrible, abominable, bad, poor, unpleasant
  • The dreadful service could decrease the number of visitors booking rooms in the summer.
  • Bad attitude may lead people into trouble on every occasion.


Mad, furious, wrathful, indignant, exasperated, aroused,              inflamed
  • He could have been made to decide to do this risky project.
  • This furious decision could lead us into trouble.


Pleased, contented, satisfied, delighted, elated, joyful, cheerful, ecstatic, jubilant, gay, tickled, gratified, glad, blissful, overjoyed
  • He is pleased to come to New Zealand to study MBA.
  • She is gratified to accept this invitation.
Unhappy Miserable, uncomfortable, heart-broken, unfortunate, downhearted, sorrowful, depressed, gloomy, dismal, discouraged, sad
  • What has led to this miserable state of affairs?
  • He did not know the reason why an unfortunate coincidence happens.


Fascinating, gripping, arresting, enthralling,         engaging, attractive, inviting, intriguing, provocative, thought-provoking, challenging, inspiring, titillating, tantalizing, exciting, entertaining, piquant, engrossing, absorbing
  • This challenging sport brings certain benefits to trainees.
  • He had a fascinating idea to support this next project.
Boring Mundane, dull, monotonous, tiresome, humdrum
  • This book is a little bit tiresome to read.
  • Grinding is all well and good, but after a while, the monotonous repetition wears away at your soul.
Lazy Indolent, slothful, idle, inactive, sluggish
  • He lifted his dark face, indolent dark eyes.
  • An inactive FED and low bond yields are effectively buoying the stock market and driving major US indexes to record highs.


Noteworthy, worthy, distinguished, remarkable, grand, considerable, powerful, much, mighty
  • ” To hear people call me a world record holder, it sounds remarkable. “
  • Mr Deeds became a powerful advocate for Representative Murphy’s mental health bill.
Good Acceptable, adroit, commendable, competent, excellent, exceptional, fabulous, fantastic, favourable, first-class, great, marvellous, proficient, satisfactory, skilful, splendid, stupendous, super, superb, superior, tip-top, valuable, wonderful
  • This immediately fulfilled my need to collect things but was also cheaper, more socially acceptable, and more fun than cardboard.
  • ” The US right now is in a very favourable position.”
Important Chief, critical, crucial, essential, imperative, key, necessary, urgent, weighty, vital
  • She was taken to a local hospital where she was listed in critical but stable condition.
  • That would be nice, but in many ways, it is kind of an imperative.


 Attractive, breathtaking, wonderful, picturesque (landscape/view)

Attractive, glowing, gorgeous, good-looking (person)

  • This means that the garden is no breathtaking work of land art.
  • Behold the warrior women power, a sword hidden in a gorgeous dress, and so, so, so many classic Wonder Woman trappings.


Courageous, fearless, dauntless, intrepid, plucky, daring, heroic, valorous, audacious, bold, gallant, valiant, doughty, mettlesome
  • Transgender children and adults are the strongest and most courageous people I have ever met.
  • Glaring into a bottomless mining cycle, the acquisition may seem daring.


Shining, shiny, gleaming, brilliant, sparkling, shimmering, radiant, vivid, colourful, lustrous


Intelligent, knowing, smart, intellectual (person)

  • They were left with vivid memories of him.
  • While healthy competition is an intellectual stimulus, a cutthroat environment is disruptive.


Quiet, peaceful, still, tranquil, mild, serene, smooth, composed, collected, unruffled, level-headed, unexcited, detached, aloof
  • Smaller demonstrations, community policing tactics and the use of officers on bikes all played a role in the largely peaceful outcome.
  • The product lines of Joy and Komatsu are mostly complimentary, which should smooth antitrust concerns.


Powerful, intense, firm, solid, potent
  • She couldn’t predict the intense political climate and debate surrounding Syrian refugees in the US and abroad.
  • She recognizes the risks inherent in the most potent relationship of her life, yet is unwilling to relinquish it.
Weak Frail, feeble, shaky, flimsy, fragile
  • It’s the only known member of the group to have feeble arms with two fingers.
  • My years in public offices have taught me that progress can be fragile.


Perilous, hazardous, risky, uncertain, unsafe
  • The most perilous situation came in the fourth when the Giants loaded the bases with one out.
  • The sequence of events surrounding the collapse remains uncertain.


 Savoury, delectable, appetizing, luscious, scrumptious, palatable, delightful, enjoyable, toothsome, exquisite
  • The chicken has just the right amount of savoury tang, the pickle brine playing nicely against the sweetness of the maple.
  • That doesn’t make it, or her, less political, even if, for her admirers, her presentation is more palatable.


 Well-known, renowned, celebrated, famed, eminent, illustrious, distinguished, noted, notorious
  • So far, however, there has been no sign of Knight, the famed Indiana basketball coach.
  • Rabbi is among the most eminent and respected Rabbis in the country.


 Quick, rapid, speedy, fleet, hasty, snappy, mercurial, swiftly, rapidly, quickly, snappily, speedily, posthaste, hastily, expeditiously, like a flash
  • For every snappy scene or exchange, there are three or four that feel baggy and haft-written.
  • He sent a hasty, mistake-filled letter to Kent, hoping to lessen the potential damage.


Plump, stout, corpulent, fleshy, beefy, paunchy, elephantine
  • Some form plump landscapes, a la Grant Wood.
  • The three fleshy nudes are at once solid and kinetic.
Funny Humorous, amusing, droll, comic, comical, laughable, silly
  • The idea for a humorous ad came from Adam Barth, Felix’s predecessor.
  • It needed to be unlike any traditional greeting, but it couldn’t be at all comical.
Serious Alarming, grave, pressing, pressuring, severe, urgent
  • His grave is located at the edge of of the settlement and remains a pilgrimage site for extremists.
  • The most urgent tasks involve the key institutions of education, business, and government.
Small Insignificant, insubstantial, minimal, minor, tiny
  • The model shows that increasing the share of immigrants with, say, college degrees had only a minimal effect on GDP and employment.
  • A minor in dramatic arts, this is Norman’s stage.


Fresh, unique, original, unusual, novel, modern, current, recent, up-to-date
  • Mr Trump is a unique and present danger.
  • The movie, airing Saturday night, is a continuation of a vibe that’s special and unusual for TV.
Old Feeble, ancient, aged, used, worn, dilapidated, former, old-fashioned, outmoded,  venerable, primitive, traditional, archaic, outdated, antiquated, obsolete
  • It’s true that society will probably always have devices to read DNA, so that gets around the problem of obsolete readers.
  • The reason, suggested Tom Mann, a political scholar at the Brookings Institution, is downright primitive.


Fake, fraudulent, counterfeit, spurious, untrue, unfounded, erroneous, deceptive, groundless, fallacious
  • This is another problem with this game: It gives you erroneous notions of evolution.
  • The accusations may be spurious, but they are serious and need to be addressed.
Wrong Amiss, arguable, askew, awry, bad, debatable, dubious, erroneous, fallacy, fallacious, false, inaccurate, incorrect, miscalculated, misconstrued, misguided, mistaken, on the wrong track, off-target, perverse, spurious, unsatisfactory, untrue
  • All of the proposed solutions are debatable, and the next shooting has already happened before those debates are over.
  • The bright colours help them avoid being mistaken for game and shot.
Right Correct, accurate, factual, true, good, just, honest, upright, lawful, moral, proper, suitable, apt, legal, fair
  • It is always one step ahead of you, yet virtually everyone gets faster and more accurate with practice.
  • The appeals court responded with a judicial shrug to the trial court’s factual findings.
Easy Simple, effortless, straightforward, uncomplicated, child’s play
  • The new tools aim to reverse that pattern, by using technology to make a saving as effortless as spending.
  • He left a lot of uncomplicated pleasure in his wake, and some complicated pleasure, too.
Difficult Taxing, tough, challenging, daunting, tricky
  • He recently won an appeal against the tough regime of his incarceration.
  • It’s possible to serve draught beer on a plane – but the physics is tricky.

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Written By

Nafia Zuhana is an experienced content writer and IELTS Trainer. Currently, she is guiding students who are appearing for IELTS General and Academic exams through With an 8.5 score herself, she trains and provides test takers with strategies, tips, and nuances on how to crack the IELTS Exam. She holds a degree in Master of Arts – Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has worked with The Hindu for over a year as an English language trainer.

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