"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Vocabulary from Part 1

Learn the words Jonathan Safran Foer's narrator loves in this post-9/11 coming of age novel, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."

Make sure to check out all our related lists: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. entomology
    the branch of zoology that studies insects
    I could invent a teakettle that reads in Dad’s voice, so I could fall asleep, or maybe a set of kettles that sings the chorus of “Yellow Submarine,” which is a song by the Beatles, who I love, because entomology is one of my raisons d'etre, which is a French expression that I know.
  2. pacifist
    someone opposed to violence as a means of settling disputes
    I told him, “I’m a pacifist,” and since most people my age don’t know what that means, I turned around and told the others, “I don’t think it’s right to destroy people’s privates."
  3. atheist
    someone who denies the existence of god
    Even though I’m not anymore, I used to be an atheist, which means I didn’t believe in things that couldn’t be observed.
  4. hypothermia
    subnormal body temperature
    I remember thinking that even if I were suffering hypothermia, I would never, ever put on those mittens.
  5. mausoleum
    a large burial chamber, usually above ground
    “Now that I’m thinking about it,” I told Gerald, “they could make an incredibly long limousine that had its back seat at your mom’s VJ and its front seat at your mausoleum, and it would be as long as your life.”
  6. reconnaissance
    the act of scouting
    A great game that Dad and I would sometimes play on Sundays was Reconnaissance Expedition.
  7. improbable
    having a chance of occurring too low to inspire belief
    I even made kite-fliers reel in their kites so I could examine them, although I knew it was improbable.
  8. makeshift
    done or made using whatever is available
    He read to the hundreds of gathered press from a makeshift media center off the back of the family home
  9. definitive
    of recognized authority or excellence
    “He was always very definitive.”
  10. revelation
    an enlightening or astonishing disclosure
    I had the revelation that I could connect the dots to make “cyborg,” and “platypus,” and “boobs,” and even “Oskar,” if you were extremely Chinese.
  11. protege
    a person who receives support from an influential patron
    Can I please be your protege?
  12. rhetorical
    emphasizing style at the expense of thought
    “My question was rhetorical.”
  13. profound
    showing intellectual penetration or emotional depth
    “And” was the next word I lost, probably because it was so close to her name, what a simple word to say, what a profound word to lose, I had to say “ampersand,” which sounded ridiculous, but there it is, “I’d like a coffee ampersand something sweet,” nobody would choose to be like that.
  14. frank
    characterized by directness in manner or speech
    Or ever, if I’m being frank.
  15. pendulum
    an apparatus in which an object is mounted to swing freely
    We used to Greco-Roman wrestle on the floor in there, and tell hilarious jokes, and once we hung a pendulum from the ceiling and put a circle of dominoes on the floor to prove that the earth rotated.
  16. optimist
    a person disposed to take a favorable view of things
    I asked her, “Are you an optimist or a pessimist?”
  17. pessimist
    a person who expects the worst
    I asked her, “Are you an optimist or a pessimist?”
  18. psychological
    mental or emotional as opposed to physical in nature
    "It’s just one of those psychological things, I guess.”
  19. raison d'etre
    reason for being
    That night when I decided that finding the lock was my ultimate raison d'etre—the raison that was the master over all other raisons—I really needed to hear him.
  20. accusatory
    containing or expressing blame
    “You were using your accusatory tone.”

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