Second Grade Social Studies Vocabulary
colony /ka lə ni/ (n)
definition: a place where a group of people come to settle which is under the control of their home country.
America was a colony of England before it became independent.
culture /kuhl chər/ (n)
definition: the language, customs, ideas, and art of a particular group of people.
Greek culture has become one of the most influential cultures in the history of the world.
custom /kuh stəm/ (n)
definition: a way of acting that is usual or accepted for a person or a social group.
Shaking hands when you meet someone is a common custom in the United States.
election /ih lek shən/ (n)
definition: the process of choosing a person to serve in government by voting.
In the United States, the election of the president takes place every four years.
explore /ihk splor/ (v)
definition: to travel across or through in order to discover or search for something.
Marco Polo was able to explore lands that are now countries like India, Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and
China, where he spent 17 years of his trip.
explorer /hk splo rər/ (n)
definition: a person who explores an area that is not known.
Explorers often looking for different things, such as exotic spices, gold or jewels, rumored lands, or new
and shorter routes to their destinations.
globe /glob/ (n)
definition: the world; planet Earth.
He traveled around the globe.
government /guh vərn mənt/ or /guh vər mənt/
definition: the political direction and control of people living in a community, state, or nation.
Government is challenging in a country where the people speak different languages.
holiday /ha lih deI/ (n)
definition: a day on which most people do not work in honor or celebration of some person or event.
Thanksgiving and New Year's Day are two holidays.
independence /In dih pen dəns/ (n)
definition: the state or condition of being independent.
We celebrate our country's independence on July fourth.
justice /juh stihs/ (n)
definition: the upholding of what is fair, just, and right.
The innocent man was freed in the interest of justice.
landmark /laend mark/ (n)
definition: a historic building.
The old inn where George Washington once slept is a landmark.
legend /le jənd/ (n)
definition 1: a story that has been handed down from an earlier time. Many people know these stories, but they cannot be proven true.
definition 2: a person about whom such stories are told.
1. The coyote is a central figure in Native American legend.
2. Johnny Appleseed was an American legend.
monument /man yə mənt/ (n)
definition: something built in memory of a person, event, or special deed.
The monument in front of the hospital honored the doctor who had saved so many lives.
nation /neI shən/ (n)
definition 1: a people living in the same region of the world and having a common history, language, and culture.
definition 2: a people living under its own independent government.
1. Mexico is a nation in North America.
2. Our nation elects a president every four years.
pilgrim /pIl grəm/ (n)
definition 1: someone who takes a trip to a holy place for a religious purpose.
definition 2: (capitalized) one of the English people who founded the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts in 1620.
1. The pilgrims are a group of Englishmen (and women) who sailed the Mayflower to America in 1620.
2. The Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, on September
rural /rUr əl/ (adj)
definition: having to do with country life.
People in rural areas often live by farming.
settlement /se təl mənt/ (n)
definition: a place where people have recently settled; colony.
In the 1800s many settlements sprang up across the Great Plains.
urban /uhr bən/ (adj)
definition: having to do with a city or town. Urban comes from "urbs", a Latin word that means "city."
This urban area is home to thousands of people and businesses.