"Number the Stars," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-4 25 words

A little girl shows bravery and ingenuity in "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry, a fictional account of the rescue of the Danish Jews from the fate of the Holocaust.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Chapters 1-4, Chapters 5-8, Chapters 9-13, Chapters 14-17, Introduction and Afterword
  1. lanky
    tall and thin and having long slender limbs
    "Lanky" is an antonym of "stocky" ("having a short and solid form or stature"). In addition to this physical contrast, Annemarie has silvery blond hair while Ellen has dark pigtails; Annemarie is Christian while Ellen is Jewish; Annemarie excels in running while Ellen excels in drama. But as ten-year-old Danish girls who live in the same apartment building, Ellen and Annemarie are best friends whose differences strengthen their relationship.
    She was a stocky ten-year-old, unlike lanky Annemarie.
  2. stern
    severe and unremitting in making demands
    Because the adjective "stern" is describing the voice in which the soldier shouts the German word for "Halt" the chosen definition is the best fit. But "stern" also means "of a strict bearing or demeanor; forbidding in aspect" (which is how the soldiers look) and "not to be moved by entreaty" (which is how most of the German soldiers are supposed to act, but the street soldiers are less experienced, so one is softened by Kirsti's babyish behavior and prettiness).
    “Halte!” the soldier ordered in a stern voice.
  3. glare
    look at with a fixed gaze
    That meant two helmets, two sets of cold eyes glaring at her, and four tall shiny boots planted firmly on the sidewalk, blocking her path to home.
  4. sneer
    smile contemptuously
    “Are you a good student?” the soldier asked. He seemed to be sneering.
  5. defiantly
    in a rebellious manner
    She reached down for Kirsti’s hand, but Kirsti, always stubborn, refused it and put her hands on her hips defiantly.
  6. obstinate
    tenaciously unwilling or marked by tenacious unwillingness to yield
    "Obstinate" also means "resistant to guidance or discipline"--both definitions fit Kirsti at the moment, because she is unwilling to yield to the authority of the soldiers and she is resistant to Annemarie's attempt to take her hand to keep her still and quiet.
    Stand still, Kirsti, Annemarie ordered silently, praying that somehow the obstinate five-year-old would receive the message.
  7. incident
    a single distinct event
    "Incident" also means "a public disturbance"--while Annemarie is connecting to the chosen definition in order to reassure the worried mothers that their encounter with the soldiers is a single distinct event that would not happen again, the soldiers saw their running as a public disturbance that made them look like "hoodlums" ("aggressive and violent young criminal").
    She told her mother and Mrs. Rosen of the incident, trying to make it sound humorous and unimportant.
  8. sabotage
    a deliberate act of destruction or disruption in which equipment is damaged
    But Annemarie heard Mama and Papa talk, sometimes at night, about the news they received that way: news of sabotage against the Nazis, bombs hidden and exploded in the factories that produced war materials, and industrial railroad lines damaged so that the goods couldn’t be transported.
  9. impassive
    having or revealing little emotion or sensibility; not easily aroused or excited
    She glanced through the window, down to the street corner where the soldiers stood, their faces impassive beneath the metal helmets.
  10. suitable
    worthy of being chosen especially as a spouse
    He was not like fairy tale kings, who seemed to stand on balconies giving orders to subjects, or who sat on golden thrones demanding to be entertained and looking for suitable husbands for their daughters.
  11. jubilee
    a special anniversary (or the celebration of it)
    Because King Christian continues his morning ride during the German occupation of Denmark, the name of his horse takes on both an ironic and symbolic meaning: while there are few reasons and resources to celebrate at the moment, King Christian and his horse Jubilee (especially after the old king survives a fall off the horse) remind the people to remain hopeful and strong for the day when jubilees will be a part of their lives again.
    Each morning, he had come from the palace on his horse, Jubilee, and ridden alone through the streets of Copenhagen, greeting his people.
  12. intricate
    having many complexly arranged elements; elaborate
    Her fingers moved rapidly, turning the thin white thread into an intricate narrow border.
  13. ration
    restrict the consumption of a relatively scarce commodity, as during war
    Like the other families in their building, the Johansens had opened the old chimney and installed a little stove to use for heat when they could find coal to burn. Mama used it too, sometimes, for cooking, because electricity was rationed now.
  14. hesitate
    pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness
    Then she hesitated and glanced at her mother, fearful that she had said the wrong thing, the thing that would bring the pained look to her mother’s face.
  15. haughty
    having or showing arrogant superiority to and disdain of those one views as unworthy
    “I did not!” Kirsti said haughtily from the bedroom doorway. “I never, ever did that!”
  16. unruly
    noisy and lacking in restraint or discipline
    He was a tall teenager with thick glasses, stooped shoulders, and unruly hair.
  17. sarcastic
    expressing or expressive of ridicule that wounds
    “And I suppose they took a big basket of pink-frosted cupcakes with them,” Annemarie said sarcastically to her sister.
  18. reassure
    give or restore confidence in; cause to feel sure or certain
    “We can find another button someplace,” Annemarie reassured her. “Or we can take one from the bottom of the jacket and move it up. It won’t show very much.”
  19. torment
    treat cruelly
    It is their way of tormenting. For some reason, they want to torment Jewish people.
  20. sophisticated
    having or appealing to those having worldly knowledge and refinement and savoir-faire
    “All right, Scarlett, I’m coming,” Ellen replied in a sophisticated voice.
  21. glower
    look angry or sullen, wrinkle one's forehead, as if to signal disapproval
    The door opened and Kirsti stomped in, her face tear-stained and glowering.
  22. disdainfully
    without respect; in a disdainful manner
    “All right, then,” she said. “But you mustn’t tell anyone that they’re fish. I don’t want anyone to know.” She took her new shoes, holding them disdainfully, and put them on a chair.
  23. scoff
    laugh at with contempt and derision
    “Silly,” Annemarie scoffed. “You never saw the fireworks.”
  24. belligerently
    with hostility; in a belligerent hostile manner
    “I did too,” she said belligerently.
  25. submerged
    beneath the surface of the water
    It had made Annemarie feel sad and proud, too, to picture the tall, aging king, perhaps with tears in his blue eyes, as he looked at the remains of his small navy, which now lay submerged and broken in the harbor.