"Speak," Vocabulary from the "First Marking Period"

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.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. abduct
    take away to an undisclosed location against their will
    When I went to that party, I was abducted by aliens.
  2. abstinence
    act or practice of refraining from indulging an appetite
    High—Home of the Trojans” didn’t send a strong abstinence message, so they have transformed us into the Blue Devils.
    High schoolers in general are encouraged to abstain from alcohol, pre-marital sex, and other vices like smoking.
  3. baffle
    be a mystery or bewildering to
  4. bellow
    a very loud utterance
    The news-team anchor- dude bellows, “Five dead in house fire!
  5. canopy
    a covering that shelters an area from the weather
    The only things that were really mine were my stuffed-rabbit collection from when I was a little kid and my canopy bed.
  6. deprived
    marked by a state of extreme poverty
    Deprived of Victim, Mom and Dad holler at each other.
  7. embroider
    decorate with needlework
    I predict skirts with geese and white blouses with embroidered ducks on the collar.
  8. errant
    straying from the right course or from accepted standards
    Principal Principal spots another errant student in the hall.
  9. faction
    a dissenting clique
    Our clan, the Plain Janes, has splintered and the pieces are being absorbed by rival factions.
    Think of "faction" like a fraction -- a clique, division, or group.
  10. flee
    run away quickly
    This broken ball could be used to express such powerful visions—you could paint a picture of it with people fleeing from the hole, with a wet-muzzled dog chewing Alaska—the opportunities are endless.
  11. frenzy
    state of violent mental agitation
    In a post-Halloween frenzy, the school board has come out against calling us the Devils.
  12. genius
    unusual mental ability
    Me: “You are a decorating genius.”
  13. humble
    marked by meekness or modesty; not arrogant or prideful
    Brown bags— humble testament to suburbia, or terminal geek gear?
  14. inconspicuous
    not prominent or readily noticeable
    And it gives me time to scan the cafeteria for a friendly face or an inconspicuous corner.
    Everyone can see something "conspicuous," but if we do not want to be seen, we work to be "inconspicuous."
  15. insulate
    surround with material to protect from heat, cold, or noise
    Insulated lunch bags—hip way to save the planet, or sign of an overinvolved mother?
  16. interim
    the time between one event, process, or period and another
    The interim reports came today.
  17. interrogation
    formal systematic questioning
    After last night’s interrogation, I try to pay attention in biology.
  18. intimidated
    made scared or fearful as by threats
    I shouldn’t be intimidated.
  19. mayhem
    violent and needless disturbance
    We will wander underneath them and commit mild acts of mayhem.
  20. obscene
    offensive to the mind
    The engine clanks, which makes the guys in the back holler something obscene.
    Profanity is made of obscene words.
  21. potpourri
    a collection containing a variety of sorts of things
    I want to smuggle in a blanket and some potpourri, too.
    Often, a "potpourri" contains random items to produce a fragrant smell.
  22. pseudo
    not genuine but having the appearance of
    Just a pseudo-friend, disposable friend.
    A "pseudonym" is a name an author uses as a pen name instead of his own name.
  23. rally
    a large gathering of people intended to arouse enthusiasm
    Not only is the Homecoming pep rally going to spring me from algebra, it will be a great time to clean up my closet.
    A "rally" consists of a gathering of people called to encourage a team or team effort.
  24. rumor
    gossip passed around by word of mouth
    You hear so many rumors.
  25. russet
    of brown with a reddish tinge
    They favor plaid for autumn with matching sweaters in colors named after fruit, like apricot and russet apple.
  26. sanctuary
    a consecrated place where sacred objects are kept
  27. savant
    a learned person
    We fall into clans: Jocks, Country Clubbers, Idiot Savants, Cheerleaders, Human Waste, Eurotrash, Future Fascists of America, Big Hair Chix, the Marthas, Suffering Artists, Thespians, Goths, Shredders.
    An "idiot savant" is a person considered to have a mental handicap, yet has particular ability in a subject matter (like math) or a brilliance in an area (like memory). "Savant" refers to a scholar.
  28. scheming
    concealing crafty designs for advancing your own interest
    Heather hops on the treadmill and resumes scheming.
  29. splurge
    be showy or ostentatious
    We traded clothes and splurged on cheap black wigs.
  30. squabble
    a quarrel about petty points
    My parents squabble about who will answer it.
  31. thespian
    a theatrical performer
    We fall into clans: Jocks, Country Clubbers, Idiot Savants, Cheerleaders, Human Waste, Eurotrash, Future Fascists of America, Big Hair Chix, the Marthas, Suffering Artists, Thespians, Goths, Shredders.
    Many schools have a thespian society made up of the drama club.
  32. varsity
    a team representing a college or university
    I motor so fast out of the lunchroom the track coach would draft me for varsity if he were around.
    The "varsity" team in a high schools are usually composed with upper class men, juniors and seniors, most often the more experienced players.

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