Note: While this post uses a sentence from a review of Breaking Bad's season finale, it is spoiler-free.
We have written before about guessing at a word's meaning by figuring out if it is charged with a negative or positive association. But what happens when a word's charge is confused?
After so many lugubrious turns, “Breaking Bad” came to an end on Sunday on an almost uplifting note.
"Lugubrious?" you might ask yourself. Sounds bad. But "Breaking Bad" is my favorite show! "Could lugubrious be...a good thing?"
Before you rush to the Dictionary to find out, take a minute to look at Stanley's lede one more time. It's a test-writer's dream, the kind of opportunity for finding meaning through context clues we're being told we'll see on the new SAT. And right off the bat, you'll notice Stanley's sentence contrasts lugubrious with uplifting. Aha! A clue. Since we know that uplifting means making you feel "up" or just "good," we can infer that lugubrious falls into the category of things that make you feel bad, or are depressing.
Now, let's go to the Dictionary, where we won't be too surprised to find out that lugubrious means "mournful and sad," and often applies to music that might be appropriate for a funeral. So, the word has a negative association, but it isn't a critique of the show. Considering what went on in its five full seasons, it would appear that Stanley chose her word wisely.
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