Spider-Man's Word Web

Even if a new Spider-Man movie keeps coming more often than Leap Year, the lingo of Spider-Man is eternal and unique. Enjoy these words inspired by the "web-headed menace."

For the full article, check out The Web-headed Words of Spider-Man.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. radioactive
    exhibiting or caused by emissions in nuclear decay
    Peter Parker was a simple high school geek before a bite from a radioactive spider transformed him into Spider-Man.The Guardian (Mar 24, 2017)
    Spider-Man’s origin involved getting bit by a radioactive spider: in other words, a spider that had become irradiated with radiation. Radiation is a specific sort of intense energy consisting of electromagnetic particles. If only radiation worked like it does in Marvel Comics, where cosmic radiation created the Fantastic Four, gamma rays created the Hulk, and radiation in general created mutants like the X-Men. In real life, too much radiation is anything but super.
  2. responsibility
    the social force that binds you to a course of action
    Spider-Man’s motto is: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Peter learns this lesson the hard way during his famous origin, when he is so consumed with a chance to make money as a wrestler that he fails to stop a bad guy who had just committed a robbery. That bad guy—who Peter could have easily grabbed or tripped—ends up murdering Peter’s Uncle Ben. That’s when Peter decides he might need to do more with his powers than use them for his own gain.
  3. remorse
    a feeling of deep regret, usually for some misdeed
    Filled with remorse, he sat on the ground and cried.The New Yorker (Apr 24, 2017)
    Because Spider-Man feels at fault for the death of his Uncle Ben, he is consumed by remorse—an emotion made up of regret and sadness. When you feel remorseful, you blame yourself for something. Despite his wisecracks, remorsefulness is the defining trait of Spider-Man, who always feels like he has to make up for the past. Subsequent events in the comics—such as the death of his girlfriend Gwen Stacy—add to his guilt. It's not easy being Spidey.
  4. reptilian
    of or relating to cold-blooded vertebrates with scaly skin
    At least a dozen mortal guards stood on the balcony, plus two monsters— reptilian women with doublesnake trunks instead of legs.The Titan's Curse
    Many of Spider-Man's enemies have pseudo-scientific origins—such as Dr. Curtis Connors, the Lizard. Lizards are reptiles that are closely related to snakes, consisting of over 4000 species that are mostly long, green, and scaly. Many can regenerate limbs, which is what interested Connors. He was trying to regrow his own missing arm but ended up turning into a freaky lizard man instead, with many reptilian qualities. This is why comic-book science is not recommended by doctors.
  5. adolescent
    a juvenile between the onset of puberty and maturity
    Anna May Dutton started skateboarding to channel her adolescent energy.Wall Street Journal (May 13, 2017)
    Does the word teen sound too casual or cutesy to you? Then there's always adolescent, which means the same. You can also refer to the teen years as adolescence. Since teens are sometimes stereotyped as being moody and self-centered, this word is also used as an insult for older people. An adult who's rude, sulky, or otherwise immature can be called adolescent. Before his Uncle Ben died, Peter was an adolescent literally and figuratively. He had a lot of growing up to do.
  6. fluid
    continuous amorphous matter that tends to flow
    “It’s like slime,” she said, referring to another type of non-Newtonian fluid.New York Times (Jul 2, 2017)
    Peter Parker is a whiz at science, which is why he was interested in the particle accelerator that irradiated that pesky spider. This scientific interest also allowed Peter to invent his own web fluid. This web fluid shoots out in liquid form, then hardens in exactly the way he wants it to, whether to create a line for swinging or a giant net. Hey, if you're looking for realism, Spider-Man stories aren't the place.
  7. orphan
    a child who has lost both parents
    Then the wife died, the husband was sent to a nursing home and Louie became an orphan.Washington Times (May 1, 2017)
    Peter Parker, when first introduced in the comics and movies, lives with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. That's because his parents died: Peter was adopted by his aunt and uncle. When someone doesn't have any parents, they're an orphan. For some reason, being an orphan is strongly correlated with being a superhero. Batman's parents were murdered. Superman's parents died on Krypton. Captain America's parents died young. Even James Bond is an orphan. No wonder villainous fiends are so anti-orphanage.
  8. arachnid
    air-breathing arthropods characterized by simple eyes and four pairs of legs
    The arachnids are excellent chemists, too, often imbuing their silks with water-wicking and antifungal properties.The New Yorker (Mar 12, 2017)
    Spiders are arachnids: a class of invertebrate animals with eight legs.
  9. nerd
    an intelligent but single-minded expert in a technical field
    May 6 is the great, geek holiday Free Comic Book Day, an annual celebration of reading, art and nerd fellowship.Los Angeles Times (May 5, 2017)
    This word has a positive and negative meaning: a nerd can be an insult for someone considered uncool or a compliment for someone consumed by something, like a computer nerd or a comic book nerd.
  10. wallflower
    remains on sidelines at social event
    How might it feel to be a shy 14-year-old wallflower going to a new school in an Australian suburb in the late 1970s?New York Times (Sep 29, 2016)
    In the very first Spider-Man story, Peter is described as a wallflower: someone who hangs out on the sidelines rather than participate at a dance or other event.
  11. wisecrack
    witty remark
    His development from shy, floundering teen into wisecracking superhero follows a classic bildungsroman structure that lends itself well to the silver screen.Time (Jun 20, 2017)
    Spider-Man is known for his wisecracks: jokes, quips, and one-liners he says, much like a comedian, when fighting baddies.
  12. alter ego
    a very close friend who seems almost a part of yourself
    The new film sees Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker juggling his high school responsibilities with his secret life as a masked vigilante.BBC (Jun 30, 2017)
    Peter Parker's alter ego is Spider-Man. Or is it the other way around? An alter ego is someone's alternate identity.

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