"Speak," Vocabulary from the "Second Marking Period" 36 words

A young woman is rendered silent by trauma in Laurie Halse Anderson's "Speak."

Learn these word lists for Anderson's young adult novel: First Marking Period, Second Marking Period, Third Marking Period, and Fourth Marking Period.
  1. abysmal
    resembling an abyss in depth; so deep as to be unmeasurable
    Often, the connotation of abysmal is negative, as in "The travelers endured abysmal conditions on the stranded ship."
    Your numbers are abysmal.”
  2. amber
    of a medium to dark brownish yellow color
    Here, Amber is a girl's name, alluding to a color or stone.
    We pass Raven Cheerleader and Amber Cheerleader on the way to my bus.
  3. anonymous
    having no known name or identity or known source
    We plead with her, send anonymous notes.
  4. anthropologist
    a social scientist who specializes in anthropology
    Melinda Sordino— Anthropologist.
  5. apparently
    from appearances alone
    Apparently, beets are Not Good Enough.
  6. bleak
    offering little or no hope
    It started out bleak—a gutted building along a gray road on a rainy day.
  7. buccaneer
    someone who robs at sea or plunders the land from the sea without having a commission from any sovereign nation
    We can’t be the Buccaneers because pirates supported violence and discrimination against women.
  8. chisel
    an edge tool with a flat steel blade with a cutting edge
    I dig the chisel into the block and push, trying to follow the line of a tree trunk.
  9. convinced
    having a strong belief or conviction
    Mr. Neck is convinced that this is some kind of reverse discrimination.
  10. cue
    an actor's line that immediately precedes and serves as a reminder for some action or speech
    The rest of the Marthas sigh on cue.
  11. demented
    affected with madness or insanity
    She has a warped sense of humor as well as a demented beautician.
  12. demure
    affectedly modest or shy especially in a playful or provocative way
    Ms. Connors did not win a lacrosse scholarship by being demure or hesitant.
  13. dormant
    inactive but capable of becoming active
    Mount Dad, long dormant, now considered armed and dangerous.
  14. dribble
    the propulsion of a ball by repeated taps or kicks
    In this sentence, the word "dribble" refers to the motion of basketball and also to the way the players slowly trickle into the gym.
    The boys’ varsity team dribbles in.
  15. ecology
    the environment as it relates to living organisms
    The Ecology Club has won round two.
  16. eloquent
    expressing yourself readily, clearly, effectively
    I have never heard a more eloquent silence.
  17. endangered
    (of flora or fauna) in imminent danger of extinction
    We are no longer the Tigers because the name shows “shocking disrespect” for an endangered creature.
  18. grammar
    the branch of linguistics that deals with syntax and morphology (and sometimes also deals with semantics)
    Recently she’s started sneaking grammar (shudder) into the classroom.
  19. harried
    troubled persistently especially with petty annoyances
    My normally harried, rushed mother always turns into a strung-out retail junkie just before Turkey Day.
  20. humiliation
    depriving one of self-esteem
    Basketball Pole, aka Brendan Keller, the one who contributed to my mashed-potato-and-gravy humiliation on the first day of school, stands under the basket.
  21. illegible
    (of handwriting, print, etc.) not legible
    Something illegible cannot be read or translated.
    The other 1,547 votes were write-ins or illegible.
  22. immigration
    migration into a place (especially migration to a country of which you are not a native in order to settle there)
    Which he does, but in an unpredictable, faintly educational way.
    immigration.
  23. incompetence
    lack of physical or intellectual ability or qualifications
    He is threatening to sue the school district and Mr. Neck for everything from incompetence to civil rights violations.
  24. intolerant
    unwilling to tolerate difference of opinion
    As a citizen, and as a student, I am protesting the tone of this lesson as racist, intolerant, and xenophobic.”
  25. menacing
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    The prisoners’ faces are menacing—you can’t take your eyes off them.
  26. ornament
    something used to beautify
    All I have to do is hang the ornaments.
  27. patriarch
    the male head of family or tribe
    I think Overbearing Eurocentric Patriarchs would be perfect, but I don’t suggest it.
  28. refurbish
    make brighter and prettier
    I hang out in my refurbished closet.
  29. retention
    the act of retaining something
    Heather has stopped eating and complains about fluid retention.
  30. rummage
    search haphazardly
    I rummage in the bin again and find a half-melted palm tree from a Lego set.
  31. slaughter
    a sound defeat
    TIGERS slaughtered!
  32. tentacle
    something that acts like a tentacle in its ability to grasp and hold
    Brendan reaches up a skinny octopus tentacle and casually drops the ball through the hoop.
  33. unpredictable
    unknown in advance
    Which he does, but in an unpredictable, faintly educational way.
    immigration.
  34. violation
    an act that disregards an agreement or a right
    He is threatening to sue the school district and Mr. Neck for everything from incompetence to civil rights violations.
  35. wince
    draw back, as with fear or pain
    I smell smoke twice, wince when glass shatters on the floor, and listen in on the other phone to his conversation with the turkey hotline lady.
  36. xenophobic
    suffering from xenophobia; having abnormal fear or hatred of the strange or foreign
    As a citizen, and as a student, I am protesting the tone of this lesson as racist, intolerant, and xenophobic.”