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all the words to know for the AP exam

Acid Deposition

Sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, emitted by burning fossil fuels, enter the atmosphere-- where they mix with oxygen and woter to form sulfuric acid and nitric acid-- and return to Earth's surface.

Acid Precipitation

Conversion of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides to acids that return to Earth as rain snow or fog

Acitve Solar Energy Systems

Solar energy system that collects energy through the use of mechanical devices like photovoltaic cells or flat-plate collectors


Commercial agriculture characterized by integration of different steps in the food-proccessing industry, usually through the ownership by large corporations.

Agricultural Density

The ratio of the number of farmers to the total amount of land suitable for agriculture

Agricultural Revoluion

The time when human beings first domesticated plants and animals and no longer relied entirely on hunting and gathering.


The deliberate effort to modify a portion of the Earth's surface through the cultivation of crops and the raising of livestock for sustenence or economic gain.

Air Pollution

Concentration of trace substances such as carbon monoxide, sulfur oxide, hydrocarbons, and solid particulates, at a greater level than occurs in average air.

Animate Power

Power supplied by people or animals.


Belief that objects, such as plants and stones, or natural events, such as thunderstorms and earthquakes, have discrete spirit and concious life.


Legally adding land area to a city in the United States


Laws (no longer in effect) in South Africa that physicall separated different races into different geographic areas.

Arithmic Density

The total number of people divided by the total land area.

Autonomous Religion

A religion that does not have a central authority but shares ideas and cooperates informally.

Balance of Power

Condition of roughly equal strength between opposing countries or alliances of countries.


process by which a state breaks down through conflicts among its ethnicities.


A small geographic area that could not be successfully organized into one or more stable states because it was inhabited by many ethnicities with complex, long-standing antagonisms toward each other.

Base Line

An east-west line designated under the Land Ordinance of 1785 to facilitate the surveying and numbering of townships in the United States.

Basic Industries

Industries that sell their products or services primarily to consumers outside the settlement

Biochemical Oxygen Demand

Amount of oxygen required by aquatic bacteria to decompose given load of organic waste; a measure of water pollution.


The number of species within a specific habitat.

Biomass Fuel

Fuel that derives from plant material and animal waste.


A process by which real estate agents convinced white property owners to sell their houses at low prices because of fear that black families would soon be moving into the neighborhood.


Invisible line that marks the extent of a state territory.

Brain Drain

Large-scale emigration by talented people.

Branch (of a religion)

A large and fundamental division within a religion.

Break-of-Bulk Point

A location where transfer is possible from one mode of transportation to another.

Breeder reactor

A nuclear power plant that creates its own fuel from plutonium.

British Received Pronunciation

The dialect of English associated with upper-class Britons living in the London area and now considered standard in the United Kingdom.

Bulk-gaining Industry

An industry in which the final product weighs more or comprises a greater volume than the inputs.

Bulk-reducing Industry

An industry in which the final product weighs less or comprises a lower volume than the inputs.

Business Services

Services that primarily meet the needs of other businesses.


The science of making maps.


The class or distinct hereditary order into which a hindu is assigned according to religious law.

Census Tract

An area delineated by the U.S, Bureau of the Census for which statistics are published; in urbanized ares, they correspond roughly to neighborhoods.


A compete enumeration of a population.

Central Business District

The area of the city where retail and office activities are clustered.

Central Place Theory

A theory that explains the distribution of services, based on the fact that settlements serve as centers of market areas for services; larger settlements are fewer and farther apart than smaller settlements and provide services for a larger number of people who are willing to travel further.\

Central Place

A market center for the exchange of services by people attracted from the surrounding area.

Centripetal Force

An attitude that tends to unify people and enhance a state.

Cereal Grain

A grass yielding grain for food.


Husks of grain separated from the seed by threshing.

Chain Migration

Migration of paople to a specific location because of relatives or people of the same nationality previously migrated there.


A gas used as a solvent, a propelant in aerosols, a refrigerant, and in plastics foams and fire extinguishers.


Short-term, repetative, or cyclical movemens that recur on a regular basis.


A sovreign state comprising a city and its immediate hinterland.

Clustered Rural Settlement

A rural settlement in which the houses and farm buildings of each family are situated close to each other and fields surround the settlements.


Attempt by one country to establish settlements and to impose its political, economic, and cultural principles in another territory.


A territory that is legally tied to a sovereign state rather than completely independent.


A machine that reaps, threshes, and cleans grain while moving over a field.

Commercial Agriculture

Agriculture undertaken primarily to generate products for sale off the farm.

Compact State

A state in which the distance from the center to any boundary does not vary significantly.


The spread of something over a given area.

Concentric Zone Model

A model of the internal structure of cities in which social groups are spatially arranged in a series of rings.


Relationships among people and objects across the barrier of space.


The sustainable use and management of a natural resource, through consuming at a less rapid rate than it can be replaced.

Consumer Services

Businesses that provide services primarily to individual consumers, including retail services and personal services.

Contagious Diffusion

The rapid, widespread diffusion of a feature or trend throughout a population.


A set of religious beliefs concerning the origin of the universe.

Cottage Industry

Manufacturing based in homes rather than in a factory, commonly found before the Industrial Revolution.

Council of Government

A cooperative agency consisting of representatives of local governments in a metropolitan area in the United States.


Net migration from urban to rural areas in more developed countries.


A language that results from the mixing of a colonizer's language with the indigenous language of the people being dominated

Crop Rotation

The practice of rotating use of different fields from crop to crop each year, to avoid exhausting the soil.


Grain or fruit gathered from a field as a harvest during a particular season.

Crude Birth Rate

The total number of live births in a year for every 1,000 people alive in the society.

Crude Death Rate

The total number of deaths in a year for every 1,000 people alive in the society.

Cultural Ecology

Geographic approach that emphasizes human-environment relationships.

Cultural Landscape

Fashioning of a natural landscape by a cultural group.


The body of customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits that together constitute a group of people's distinct tradition.


The frequent repetition of an act, to the extent that it becomes characteristic of the group of people performing the act.

Demographic Transition

The process of change in a society's population from a condition of high crude birth and death rates and low rate of natural increase to a condition of low crude birth and death rates, low rate of natural increase, and a higher total population.


the scientific study of population characteristics


The frequency with which something exists within a given unit of area.

Density Gradient

the change in density in an urban area from the center to the periphery

Dependency Ratio

The number of people under the age of 15 and over age 64, compares to the number of people active in the labor force.


Degradation of land, especially in semiarid areas, primarily because of human actions like excessive crop planting, animal grazing, and tree cutting.


A division of a branch that unites a number of local congregations in a single legal and administrative body.


A process of improvement in the material conditions of people through diffusion of knowledge and technology.


A regional variety of a language distinguished by vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation.


the process of spread of a feature or trend from one place to another over time.


The basic unit of geographic organization in the Roman Catholic Church

Dispersed Rural Settlement

A rural settlement pattern characterized by isolated farms rather than clustered villages.

Distance Decay

The diminishing in importance and eventual disappearance of a phenomenon with increasing distance from its origin.


The arrangement of something across Earth's surface.

Double Cropping

Harvesting twice a year from the same field.

Doubling Time

The number of years needed to double a population, assuming a constant rate of natural increase.


Dialect spoken by some African-Americans.

Economic Base

A community's collection of basic industries.


The portion of Earth's surface occupied by permanent human settlement.

Edge City

a large node of office and retail activities on the edge of an urban area

Elongated State

A state with a long, narrow shape.


Migration from a location.

Enclosure Movement

The process of consolidating small landholdings into a smaller number of larger farms in England during the eighteenth century.

Environmental Determinism

A nineteenth- and early twentieth-century approach to the study of geography that argued that the general laws sought by human geographers could be found in the physical sciences. Geography was therefore the study of how the physical environment caused human activities.


Branch of medical science concerned with the incidence, distribution, and control of diseases that affect large numbers of people.

Epidemiological Transition

distinctive causes of death in each stage of the demographic transition

Ethnic Cleansing

Process in which more powerful ethnic group forcibly removes a less powerful one in order to create an ethnically homogeneous region.

Ethnic Religion

A religion with a relatively concentrated spatial distribution whose principles are likely to be based on the physical characteristics of the particular location in which its adherents are concentrated.


Identity with a group of people that share distinct physical and mental traits as a product of common heredity and cultural traditions.

Expansion Diffusion

The spread of a feature or trend among people from one area to another in a snowballing process.

Extinct language

A language that was once used by people in daily activities but is no longer used.

Federal State

An internal organization of a state that allocates most powers to units of local government.


Metals, including iron ore, that are utilized in the production of iron and steel.


a process of change in the use of a house, from single-family owner occupancy to abandonment


The splitting of an atomic nucleus to release energy.


The area subject to flooding during a given number of years according to historical trends.

Folk Culture

Culture traditionally practiced by a small, homogeneous, rural group living in relative isolation from other groups.

Forced Migration

Permanent movement compelled usually by cultural factors.

Fordist Production

Form of mass production in which each worker is assigned one specific task to perform repeatedly.

Formal Region

An area within which everyone shares in common one or more distinctive characteristics.

Fossil Fuel

Energy source formed from the residue of plants and animals buried millions of years ago.

Fragmented State

A state that includes several discontinuous pieces of territory.


A term used by the French for English words that have entered the French language, a combination of franfais and anglai." the French words for "French" and "English," respectively.


A zone separating two states in which neither state exercises political control.

Functional Region

An area organized around a node or focal point


Literal interpretation and strict adherence to basic principles of a religion (or a religious branch, denomination, or sect).


Creation of energy by joining the nuclei of two hydrogen atoms to form helium.

Gender Empowerment Measure

Compares the ability of women and men to participate in economic and political decision making.

Gender-Related Development Index

Compares the level of development with that of both sexes.


a process of converting an urban neighborhood from a predominantly low-income renter-occupied area to a predominantly middle-class owner-occupied area

Geothermal Energy

Energy from steam or hot water produced from hot or molten underground rocks.


Process of redrawing legislative boundaries for the purpose of benefiting the party in power.


During the Middle Aes, a neighborhood in a city set up by law to be inhabited only by Jews; now used to denote a section of a city in which members of any minority group live because of social, legal, or economic pressure.


A computer system that stores, organizes, analyzes, and displays geographic data.


Actions or processes that involve the entire world and result in making something worldwide in scope.

Global Positioning System

A system that determines the precise position of something on Earth through a series of satellites, tracking stations, and receivers.


Seed of cereal grass.

Gravity Model

A model that holds that the potential use of a service at a particular location is directly related to the number of people in a location and inversely related to the distance people must travel to reach the service.

Green Revolution

Rapid diffusion of new agricultural technology, especially new high-yield seeds and fertilizers.


A ring of land maintained as parks, agricultural, or other types of open space to limit the sprawl of an urban area.

Greenhouse Effect

Anticipated increase in Earth's temperature, caused by carbon dioxide (emitted by burning fossil fuels) trapping some of the radiation emitted by the surface.

Greenwhich Mean Time

the time in that time zone encompassing the prime meridian or 0 longitude

Gross Domestic Product

The value of the total output of goods and services produced in a country in a given time period (normally one year).

Guest Workers

Workers who migrate to the more developed countries of Northern and Western Europe, usually from Southern of Eastern Europe or from North Africa, in search of higher-paying jobs.


A repetative act by a particular individual.


The region from which innovative ideas originate.

Hierarchical Diffusion

The spread of an idea from persons or nodes of authority or power to other persons or places

Hierarchical Religion

A religion in which a central authority exercises a high degree of control.


The growing of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.


The outer covering of steel.

Human Development Index

Indicator of level of development for each country, constructed by United Nations, combining income, literacy, education, and life expectancy

Hydroelectric Power

Power generated from moving water.


The system of writing used in China and other East Asian countries in which each symbol represents an idea or concept rather than a specific sound, as is the case with letters in English.


Migration to a new location.


Control of a territory already occupied and organized by an indigenous society.

Inanimate Power

Power supplied by machines.

Industrial Revolution

A series of improvements in industrial technology that transformed the process of manufacturing goods.

Infant Mortality Rate

The total number of deaths in a year among infants under one year old for every 1,000 live births in a society.

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