2nd Grade Vocabulary Words and Definitions

, Staff Writer
Updated May 4, 2020
Vocabulary word herd with definition
    Vocabulary word herd with definition
    skibreck / E+ / Getty Images, nigelcarse / E+ / Getty Images

Vocabulary words are designed to prepare students to understand words they will come across in their readers. They range in difficulty but by the end of 2nd grade, students should have a solid handle on several different levels of vocabulary words. Explore 2nd grade vocabulary words covering a range of difficulty levels.

2nd Grade Spelling Words With 4 Letters or Fewer

To get students started, you can explore these 2nd grade vocabulary words with 4 letters or fewer.

  • bare (adj.) - not covered or clothed
  • cage (n.) - confining structure with bars
  • calm (adj.) - feeling at peace, not nervous
  • chew (v.) - using the mouth to bite and break down food
  • damp (adj.) - something that is slightly wet
  • deep (adj.) - extending far down from the surface
  • edit (v.) - to make corrections or modify a paper
  • flap (v.) - moving wings or arms as if preparing to fly
  • gasp (v.) - sudden inhale of astonishment or pain
  • herd (n.) - a large group of animals
  • leap (v.) - to spring or jump in the air
  • net (n.) - webbed or mesh structure for catching insects
  • past (n.) - the period of time that has gone by
  • peak (v.) - reaching the highest point or greatest potential
  • safe (adj.) - to be protected from dangers
  • soil (n.) - the layer of earth where plants grow
  • sway (v.) - to move rhythmically like to music
  • team (v.) - a group of individuals coming together for a shared purpose
  • wise (adj.) - showing good judgment
  • yard (n.) - area around a house covered in grass

2nd Grade Vocabulary Words With 5 Letters

Shorter spelling words are great when kids are first getting started. However, as the year goes on it helps to start funneling in words that are a bit more challenging. Jump into these five-letter 2nd grade spelling words.

  • amaze (v.) - great surprise or astonishment
  • beach (n.) - sandy shore near water
  • brave (adj.) - showing courage when faced with danger or pain
  • cause (n.) - a principle or movement someone is ready to defend
  • cycle (n.) - series of events happening in a specific order
  • design (n.) - arrangement of lines into a specific pattern
  • doubt (n.) - having a feeling of uncertainty about something
  • effect (n.) - the result of an action
  • feast (n.) - a big meal
  • fresh (adj.) - new, different, recently obtained
  • insect (n.) - a small invertebrate animal with six legs and two pairs of wings
  • label (n.) - tag attached to material providing information about it
  • moist (adj.) - something that is slightly wet
  • ocean (n.) - the large sea that covers the earth broken into regions
  • proof (n.) - evidence provided to show the truth of a statement
  • rumor (n.) - a circulating story that is doubtful or not based on facts
  • skill (n.) - having expertise in an area or doing something well
  • stack (v.) - to pile or arrange objects on top of each other
  • tower (n.) - a tall building or structure
  • worry (v.) - giving way to your unease or anxiety

2nd Grade Vocab Words With 6 or More Letters

As you’re ending out the year or as you come across them in your readers, you’ll add multiple syllable words with 6 or more letters. Check out some of these more difficult 2nd grade vocabulary words.

  • amusing (adj.) - causes laughter or entertainment
  • arranged (v.) - putting things in a neat or required order
  • community (n.) - a group of people living together in an area
  • cooperation (n.) - the process where you work together toward a common goal
  • describe (v.) - using words or phrases to describe characteristics, events or qualities
  • difference (n.) - the way things or people are not the same
  • energy (n.) - strength needed to do physical or mental activities
  • friendly (adj.) - pleasant or kind
  • frighten (v.) - making someone afraid
  • gravity (n.) - the force that keeps you from flying into space
  • greedy (adj.) - having an intense need or desire for something
  • instrument (n.) - a tool used to do work
  • leader (n.) - person to command a group
  • mention (v.) - to briefly refer to something like in passing
  • nervous (adj.) - to be anxious
  • notice (n.) - something you observe
  • present (n.) - time you are currently in
  • reflect (v.) - to give back an image or likeness
  • scholar (n.) - a specialist in an area
  • settle (v.) - to reach an agreement on a dispute
  • stream (n.) - narrow, shallow river
  • telescope (n.) - an instrument that lets you see space
  • treasure (n.) - a quantity of valuable object like jewels
  • tremble (v.) - involuntary shaking
  • universe (n.) - the cosmos
  • village (n.) - a group of buildings or houses
  • volunteer (n.) - an individual that offers their services or self freely
  • whisper (v.) - speaking softly
  • wonder (n.) - the feeling of admiration at something unexpected or beautiful
  • zigzag (n.) - a course or line with sharp right and left turns

Having Fun With 2nd Grade Vocabulary Words

Beyond just giving your students spelling words, it can be fun to offer them several different activities they can use with these words. For instance, you might use engaging 2nd grade writing prompts. You can also practice spelling through different activities. If you really want to have some fun, you might try 7 fun memory games for kids.