5th Grade Vocabulary Words and Definitions

, Staff Writer
Updated November 19, 2020
5th grade vocabulary word erosion
    5th grade vocabulary word erosion
    arch: jose1983 / iStock / Getty Images Plus, background: nigelcarse / E+ / Getty Images

It’s important to focus on spelling skills. Whether you're homeschooling or supplementing education, 5th grade vocabulary word lists are great for boosting their vocabulary skills. Use these spelling lists for science, math, and social studies learning.

Science Vocabulary Words for 5th Grade

Vocabulary words are important to language arts, but they also come in handy in science. Understanding the different terms like characteristics and heredity is important to gaining mastery of the concepts.

  • air pressure (n.) - the pressure exerted by the air onto a surface
  • boiling (adj.) - heated to or past the boiling point
  • characteristic (n.) - distinguishing features
  • chromosome (n.) - DNA strand coded with genes
  • continental drift (n.) - the gradual movement of large landmasses (continents) over time
  • earthquake (n.) - sudden, violent shaking of the ground
  • effort (n.) - physical or mental exertion
  • erosion (n.) - the process where elements like water and wind breakdown rock and earth
  • fossil (n.) - remains of a prehistoric organism in rock
  • glaciers (n.) - large thick ice masses that move slowly
  • heredity (n.) - the passing on of genetic traits
  • investigation (n.) - formal systematic research, inspection, or examination
  • melting (adj.) - liquefying or dissolving
  • prehistoric (adj.) - before written records
  • repulsion (n.) - force where objects move away from one another
  • resistance (n.) - opposition
  • subjectivity (n.) - state of being influenced by personal opinions or tastes
  • sublimation (n.) - chemical process in which a solid turns into a gas
  • topography (n.) - the physical appearance of features on the surface of the earth
  • water cycle (n.) - the cycle of water on earth that includes evaporation and transpiration

Math Vocabulary Words for 5th Graders

Math is starting to take on a life of its own in 5th grade. Gone are the easy concepts of multiplication and division. Now, students are learning the beginning concepts of algebra and geometry. Knowing the 5th grade vocabulary words in math can supplement their equation learning.

  • acute (adj.) - less than 90 degrees
  • associative (adj.) - characterized by an independent grouping of elements
  • capacity (n.) - the maximum amount something can contain
  • data (n.) - facts; statistics; figures
  • decagon (n.) - shape with 10 sides and angles
  • equivalent (adj.) - having equal value or meaning
  • estimation (n.) - the act of making a well thought out guess
  • geometry (n.) - branch of math concerned with points, lines, surfaces, shapes, and dimensions
  • interpreting (v.) - present participle of interpret; explaining meaning or clarifying
  • irregular (adj.) - arranged oddly; not even
  • median (adj.) - denoting the value at the midpoint
  • numerator (n.) - the number above the dividing line in division
  • perpendicular (adj.) - at right angles; lines, surfaces or planes at or meeting at 90 degrees
  • probability (n.) - likelihood something will occur
  • rhombus (n.) - geometric shape with four sides with 2 opposite obtuse and 2 opposite acute angles
  • simplifying (v.) - making an equation or problem as simple as possible
  • vertex (n.) - the top; highest point; peak
  • vertical (adj.) - something that rises up from a vertical plane; points from bottom to top
  • weight (n.) - measure of how heavy something is

Social Studies Vocabulary for 5th Grade

Looking to help your students explore the world? The first thing they need to do is understand social studies vocabulary. Dive into social studies with these fun vocabulary words for 5th grade.

  • Arab (n.) - a person of Semitic descent or inhabiting the Middle East
  • Chinese (n.) - a native of China or Chinese descent
  • climate (n.) - weather conditions in an area
  • coast (n.) - edge of land near sea or ocean
  • continent (n.) - major 7 landmasses surrounded by oceans
  • desert (v.) - to leave the cause, people, or organization
  • equator (n.) - imaginary geographical line equal distance between the poles
  • expanded (adj.) - has increased in size or gotten bigger
  • gulf (n.) - sea inlet surrounded mostly by land; estuary; inlet
  • isthmus (n.) - a narrow strip of land with the ocean on both sides
  • level - (adj.) - having a flat surface; being at the same height
  • migrant (n.) - an individual that moves from one place to another
  • naturalization (n.) - what an individual goes through to become a citizen of a new country
  • plain (n.) - large area of flat land with few trees
  • plateau (n.) - high, flat ground
  • prejudice (n.) - adverse judgment without factual basis
  • region (n.) - area or division of a country
  • responsibility (n.) - duty or obligation to deal with something
  • separate (adj.) - viewed as unconnected, distinct, or unit apart
  • trade (n.) - the action of buying and selling

Building 5th Grade Vocabulary

When it comes to 5th grade vocabulary, there are a lot of different areas that are important for a well-rounded education. Once you have the vocabulary down, you might expand your 5th graders learning through fun memory games and adjective games.