"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Vocabulary from Part 3

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. intervening
    occurring or falling between events or points in time
    I explained, “Because the radiant heat traveled in straight lines from the explosion, scientists were able to determine the direction toward the hypocenter from a number of different points, by observing the shadows cast by intervening objects.
  2. exert
    have and put to use
    The shadows gave an indication of the height of the burst of the bomb, and the diameter of the ball of fire at the instant it was exerting the maximum charring effect.
  3. philosopher
    a specialist in the investigation of existence and knowledge
    I told him, “Richard Buckminster Fuller was a scientist, philosopher, and inventor who is most famous for designing the geodesic dome, whose most famous version is the Buckyball.
  4. velocity
    distance travelled per unit time
    I didn’t know why he was asking, because I’d brought Buckminster to school for a demonstration only a couple of weeks before, and dropped him from the roof to show how cats reach terminal velocity by making themselves into little parachutes, and that cats actually have a better chance of surviving a fall from the twentieth floor than the eighth floor, because it takes them about eight floors to realize what’s going on, and relax and correct themselves.
  5. enunciate
    speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way
    "Could you please repeat yourself and enunciate a little bit better.”
  6. universal
    of worldwide scope or applicability
    I pointed a finger in the air, which is the universal sign for hold on, and then I called down to Mr. Black from the stairwell, “I don’t think she speaks English!”
  7. invigorated
    with restored energy
    Mr. Black said, “If anything, I’m invigorated.”
  8. anthropologist
    a social scientist specializing in the study of humanity
    I’m sitting at the end of a long table surrounded by encyclopedias, sometimes I take one down and read about other people’s lives, judges, anthropologists, tennis champions, tycoons, politicians, just because you haven’t received any letters from me don’t think I haven’t written any.
  9. circumstantial
    including the details of a specific event or situation
    “Well, you won’t read about it in any of the history books, because there’s nothing—save for the circumstantial evidence in Central Park—to prove that it was there at all.
  10. salvage
    save from ruin, destruction, or harm
    "But once it was clear that the Sixth Borough was receding for good, that it couldn’t be saved or detained, it was decided, by New York City referendum, to salvage the park.”
  11. concession
    the act of yielding
    This was considered a concession, although no one knew why a concession was necessary, or why it was to children that this concession must be made.
  12. cynical
    believing the worst of human nature and motives
    "A pessimist is negative and cynical.”
  13. irrefutable
    impossible to deny or disprove
    “Well, that’s good, because there’s no irrefutable evidence."
  14. incongruous
    lacking in harmony or compatibility or appropriateness
    Like the incongruous pH of the reservoir.
  15. proclamation
    a formal public statement
    There is no evidence whatsoever of their existence, other than the proclamation on the tree.
  16. exemplary
    worthy of imitation
    “It’s exemplary."
  17. expedite
    speed up the progress of; facilitate
    Everything about the building was designed to expedite its construction—prefabricated materials were used as much as possible—and as a result, work progressed at a rate of about four and a half stories each week.
  18. embody
    represent or express something abstract in tangible form
    “All in all, the feeling and spirit of New York City is embodied in the Empire State Building."
  19. ingenuity
    the property of showing inventiveness and skill
    "From the people who fell in love here, to the ones who have returned with their children and grandchildren, everyone recognizes the building not only as an awe-inspiring landmark which offers one of the most spectacular views on earth, but an unequaled symbol of American ingenuity.”
  20. dirigible
    a steerable self-propelled aircraft
    “The dirigible mooring mast, now the base of the TV tower, was part of the original construction of the building."

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.