TOEFL IBT – Geography

Vocabulary is promordial in order to improve your TOEFL score. Remember, Preparation is the key to succeed !

This vocabulary will be useful for adding to your English vocabulary, for satisfying your curiosity, or especially for any English exams you may take. Here we will look at the most commonly used words having to do with geography, along with their French translations.


a continent south of Europe and between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans

The world record is 141 miles, set in Africa.



the height of anything above sea level on earth

It is more intense near the Equator and at high altitudes.



the continent surrounding the South Pole, almost entirely covered by an ice sheet

Antarctica is divided by the Transantarctic Mountains into two icy regions.


Antarctic Circle

an imaginary line drawn parallel to the Equator just north of the South Pole

It was the first human settlement south of the Antarctic Circle.

le cercle antarctique


of, relating to, or located at or near the North Pole

The lights occur regularly over the Arctic and Antarctic.


Arctic Circle

an imaginary line drawn parallel to the Equator, just south of the North Pole

North of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not rise at all.

le cercle Arctique


a continent bounded by Europe and the Arctic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans

They need roads, and they need power plants in Asia.



a bound collection of maps

Look in the atlas and you’ll find your answer.



a continent located southeast of Asia, between the Indian and Pacific Oceans

Far more are loading up their families and moving to Australia.



the line that separates one country, state, province, etc. from another

Most are stationed on the southern front near the Iranian border.

la frontière


the city or town that is the official seat of government in a country

The capital of the United States is Washington, D.C.

la capitale


a person engaged in the production of maps

The suburbs are a cartographer’s nightmare.

le/la cartographe


a large or important town

Clinton flew to this southern Italian city from Warsaw, Poland.

la ville

compass rose

a circle divided into 32 points used to determine direction

The radial lines on a compass rose are also called “rhumbs.”

la rose des vents


one of the main landmasses of the globe

It has also been the only continent too harsh for colonization.

le continent


a state or nation

He has betrayed his team, his country, and his people.

le pays


a cardinal point of the compass, 90 degrees to the right of north

The newest casino is about 8 miles east of Anacortes.


Eastern Hemisphere

the eastern part of the terrestrial globe, including Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe

Belladonna is one of the most toxic plants found in the Eastern Hemisphere.

l’hémisphère oriental


the great circle of the earth that is equidistant from the North Pole and South Pole

It is more intense near the Equator and at high altitudes.



a continent in the western part of the landmass lying between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

He is the first Brazilian goalie to play in Europe.



the science dealing with the areal differentiation of the earth’s surface

National standards also have been set for geography and the arts.

la géographie


one of the halves into which the earth is divided

Haiti’s telephone system is the worst in the hemisphere.



a natural elevation of the earth’s surface, smaller than a mountain

I look up onto that hill every time I go past.

la colline

International Date Line

a theoretical line, the regions to the east of which are counted as being one day earlier in their calendar dates than the regions to the west

In Asia, across the International Date Line, the eclipse actually occurs Tuesday.

le ligne de changement de date


a piece of land completely surrounded by water

The island has a shrine that is popular with Taiwanese tourists.



a narrow strip of land, bordered on both sides by water, connecting two larger bodies of land

The Isthmus of Panama formed, connecting North and South America.



a specific feature on the surface of the earth

The landform on Mars suggests water once brushed across the planet.

la forme du terrain


the angular distance north or south from the Equator on the earth’s surface

Icebergs in the lower latitudes are a reason for angst.

la latitude


angular distance east or west on the earth’s surface

A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude, and elevation.

la longitude


a representation of the features of an area of the earth or a portion of the heavens

I believe I now have a map of the cave area.

la carte


a great circle of the earth passing through the poles and at any given point on the earth’s surface

Every country could then establish its position relative to that meridian.

le méridien


a unit of distance on land in English-speaking countries equal to 1.609 kilometers

Kigali is 80 miles north of the new French base here.

le mile


a natural elevation of the earth’s surface rising more or less abruptly to a summit

As a youth, I rode the mountains of Pear Blossom.

la montagne


a cardinal point of the compass lying in the plane of the meridian

Val Verde is about 41 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.



a point on the compass midway between north and east

High winds blowing from the northeast whipped Southern California on Thursday.


Northern Hemisphere

the half of the earth between the North Pole and the Equator

It is found through the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere.

l’hémisphère nord


a point on the compass midway between north and west

The area is about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.


North America

the northern continent of the Western Hemisphere

Cremations in North America have tripled in the past three decades.

l’Amérique du Nord

North Pole

the northernmost point of the earth

I have never had a desire to go to the North Pole.

pôle Nord


the vast body of salt water that covers almost three-fourths of the earth’s surface

Breathe deeply and savor air kissed by salt from the ocean.



extending in the same direction and never converging or diverging

The end of the blade should be parallel to the line.



an area of land not significantly higher than adjacent areas

Football is a lot like being on the plains of Africa.

la plaine


a land area having a relatively level surface considerably raised above adjoining land on at least one side

We climbed up granite cliffs and over plateaus marshy with meltwater.

le plateau

Prime Meridian

the imaginary line running through Greenwich, England, at which longitude is 0 degrees

The Prime Meridian is marked by a tall obelisk, commissioned by Charles Neville.

le méridien origine


a part of the earth’s surface of considerable and usually indefinite extent

The entire economy of the region became dependent on the project.

la région


a natural stream of water of fairly large size flowing in a definite course or channel

Grain prices tend to go up when river levels go down.

la rivière


a graduated line representing proportionate size

When calculated as a ratio against the map scale, a sense of the hilliness of the terrain can be derived.



a division of the oceans, more or less definitely marked off by land boundaries

The choreography took them across both rough seas and still waters.

la mer

sea level

the horizontal plane or level corresponding to the surface of the sea at mean level between high and low tide

A melted Antarctic ice sheet would raise sea level by 200 feet.

le niveau de la mer


a cardinal point of the compass lying directly opposite north

All you have to do is start south on Main Street.



the point or direction midway between south and east

Columbia has a concentration of hospitals in the Southeast and Southwest.



the point or direction midway between south and west

The wind was from the southwest and the tide was rising.


South America

a continent in the southern part of the Western Hemisphere

Travelers to South America and the Middle East reported similar problems.

l’Amérique du Sud

Southern Hemisphere

the half of the earth between the South Pole and the Equator

In the Southern Hemisphere, it is now fall.

l’hémisphère Sud

South Pole

the southernmost point on Earth

The country staged its first expedition to the South Pole in 2011.

le pôle Sud

time zone

one of the 24 regions or divisions of the globe approximately coinciding with meridians at successive hours

I guess I can write it off to the time zone changes.

le fuseau horaire


the detailed mapping or charting of the features of a relatively small area

He began studying topography maps, tidal charts, and weather patterns.

la topographie

Tropic of Cancer

one of two corresponding parallels of latitude on the globe; located north of the Equator

Dahao is located just south of the Tropic of Cancer.

le tropique du Cancer

Tropic of Capricorn

one of two corresponding parallels of latitude on the globe; located south of the Equator

The island is located 360 km north of the Tropic of Capricorn.

le tropique du Capricorne


a relatively low region drained by a great river system

Quickly the violence spread throughout Rwanda’s hills and valleys.

la vallée


a cardinal point of the compass 90 degrees to the left when facing north

This year has seen a wildfire season throughout the West.


Western Hemisphere

the western part of the globe, including North and South America

Guatemala has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the Western Hemisphere.

l’hémisphère occidental

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