Advanced vocabulary: 23 words and phrases

Advanced vocabulary: higher-level words and phrases 
Intermediate to advanced level (B2-C2)

Here are 23 advanced words and expressions that have come up in my higher-level 1-1 and Skype lessons over the last couple of months. Do you know them?

[Don’t forget that English words can be quite flexible and often have a range of meanings, so take your time when checking definitions of advanced vocabulary in a dictionary.]

Phrasal verbs

chase something up
I haven’t received a response from customer service. I’ll have to chase it up with another email.

end up
We ended up having to apply for new passports

Verbal expressions

be carried away
I got a bit carried away and said things I shouldn’t have

be dotted around
There are beautiful villages dotted around the whole area.

regard oneself
She regards herself as quite hardworking but no-one else does!

take offence at something
He took offence at being described as a money-grubbing.

keep an eye on something/someone
Would you mind keeping an eye on my beer? I’ll be back in a minute.

spill the beans
Come on, spill the beans. Tell me everything.

beat about the bush
If you have a problem, I’d rather you didn’t beat about the bush but rather tell me directly.

raise awareness
I’m trying to raise people’s awareness of the situation in Syria.

Single verbs

If you introduce the measures gradually, you’ll probably lessen the impact.

He’s about to embark on a six-month journey across Africa.

I’m not sure how to interpret his reaction.

They keep dangling the carrot of promotion in front of me.


It’s of the utmost importance that she gets the document before five o’clock today.

I’ve been feeling really sluggish today. I’ve just got no energy to do anything.

He said he didn’t think it was a very feasible idea. I still disagree.

To be honest I found the film really schmaltzy. I won’t be watching it again.

be subject to
You’ll be subject to a great deal of scrutiny. Are you sure you want to accept the role?

be dumbed down
TV has now become so dumbed down, there is little worth watching, unless you are 10 years old.


gut feeling
My gut feeling is that it would be a mistake to do it.

Your room is a complete mess. Please tidy it up right now.

There’s been a bit of a glitch so it won’t be ready until tomorrow, unfortunately.

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