List 2

After they move from the Dominican Republic to New York City, the four García sisters are caught between the expectations of their traditional parents and their own desire to assimilate to American culture.
Copy this list to... Buy the Book

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, unite!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. sire
    have offspring
    No one really knew if he was secretly displeased in his heart of hearts that he had never had a son, for the father always bragged, "Good bulls sire cows," and the mother patted his arm, and the four girls tumbled and skipped and giggled and raced by in yellow and baby blue and pastel pink and white, and strangers counted them, "One, two, three, four girls! No sons?"
  2. admonish
    scold or reprimand; take to task
    The eldest, a child psychologist, admonished the mother in an autobiographical paper, "I Was There Too," by saying that the color system had weakened the four girls' identity differentiation abilities and made them forever unclear about personality boundaries.
  3. intimate
    imply as a possibility
    The eldest also intimated that the mother was a mild anal retentive personality.
  4. jargon
    technical terminology characteristic of a particular subject
    "Listen to that negativity." She nodded at her husband as if to confirm something they had talked about.
    "Listen to that jargon,” the second one countered, rolling her eyes.
  5. providential
    relating to the guardianship exercised by a deity
    "But the good Lord always provides." Although she was not particularly religious, the mother liked to make her plots providential.
  6. garbled
    lacking orderly continuity
    "Testing?" a garbled voice asked without much conviction.
  7. swath
    a path or strip
    The father sat by the window quietly and followed the movements of a gardener, who was mowing first one, then another, darkening swath across the lawn.
  8. clinical
    relating to or based on direct observation of patients
    "Your daughter is not clinically crazy."
    "What does that mean, clinically crazy?" The mother scowled. "I don't understand all that psychology talk."
  9. ensuing
    following immediately and as a result of what went before
    In the ensuing silence the mother heard the drone of a distant lawnmower.
  10. cajole
    influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
    The woman was pointing out the flowers and the leaves of the bushes in order to cajole the girl forward towards the building.
  11. indelicate
    slightly indecent, offensive, or improper
    "He was so dead tired, he didn't hear the burglars when they broke in. They stole us blind. They even stole my shoes and my under—" The grandmother remembers it is indelicate to say so.
  12. testy
    easily irritated or annoyed
    "Well, Papi had no business going through my personal mail." Fifi's voice grows testy.
  13. burlesque
    relating to a broadly humorous theatrical entertainment
    Yolanda mimics their father opening an envelope. Her eyes widen in burlesque horror. She clutches her throat. She even puts on a Count Dracula accent to make the moment more dramatic.
  14. posit
    put forward, as an idea
    Both of them are tycoons, Yo posits.
  15. quibble
    argue over petty things
    "Squirrel doesn't rhyme," she explained. "The point's to rhyme with my name."
    "Joe-lan-dah?" He quibbled, "What rhymes with Joe-lan-dah?"
  16. balk
    refuse to proceed or comply
    He had named her Violet after shrinking violet when she had started seeing Dr. Payne. John balked the first time Yo told him the doctor's name and fees.
  17. hackneyed
    repeated too often; overfamiliar through overuse
    "I love you guys," Yo improvised. So what if her first original words in months were the most hackneyed.
  18. lapsed
    no longer active or practicing
    By then, I was a lapsed Catholic; my sisters and I had been pretty well Americanized since our arrival in this country a decade before, so really, I didn't have a good excuse.
  19. bout
    a period of illness
    He was one of those guys who has just come through a bout of adolescent acne into a scarred, masculine, bad-boy face.
  20. dearth
    an insufficient quantity or number
    He turned to his other neighbor, who didn't have a pen either. The word went round. Anyone have an extra pen? No one. There was a dearth of pens that day in class.
  21. proverbial
    widely known and spoken of
    I was the proverbially overprepared student; I had to have a standby writing utensil.
  22. treatise
    a formal text that treats a particular topic systematically
    It was a fourteen-line treatise on the nature of love, but the whole time I was writing down my abstractions, I was thinking about how Rudy listened, looking at my mouth, so that it was hard for me to pay attention to what I was saying.
  23. abstraction
    a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
    It was a fourteen-line treatise on the nature of love, but the whole time I was writing down my abstractions, I was thinking about how Rudy listened, looking at my mouth, so that it was hard for me to pay attention to what I was saying.
  24. lofty
    of high moral or intellectual value
    That anyone should put all of this into a poem, a place I'd reserved for deep feelings and lofty sentiments!
  25. proviso
    a stipulated condition
    He'd had this crusty old grandfather he'd never met, from Germany, who'd left his unborn grandchild a trust fund with the proviso that he be named after the old man.
  26. sublimate
    direct energy or urges into useful activities
    Our next workshop, no one understood what my sublimated love sonnet was all about, but Rudy's brought down the house.
  27. decadent
    relating to indulgence in something pleasurable
    It was a decadent atmosphere for me whose previous experience of dating had been mixers and parlor calls from boys at prep school.
  28. imbibe
    take in liquids
    "Why not?" he'd challenge, or ironically or seductively or exasperatedly, depending on how much he'd imbibed, smoked, dropped.
  29. rend
    tear or be torn violently
    "How about fun? Fun, you know?" What did that have to do with this momentous rending of the veil, I wondered.
  30. inane
    devoid of intelligence
    The copies of my poems Rudy handed back had on them brief, inane remarks I read and reread for double meaning.
  31. culminate
    end, especially to reach a final or climactic stage
    This was the culminating romantic event of the school year on campus, and it seemed to me in my fantasy mode to be the perfect vehicle for our reconciliation.
  32. motley
    consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds
    They were a motley group: the conservative frat guy types in tuxedos and their dates in fancy prom dresses, the new hippies in Indian paisleys, jeans and sneakers, and maybe for flare, an incongruous bow tie.
  33. paisley
    a fabric with a colorful swirled pattern of curved shapes
    They were a motley group: the conservative frat guy types in tuxedos and their dates in fancy prom dresses, the new hippies in Indian paisleys, jeans and sneakers, and maybe for flare, an incongruous bow tie.
  34. lurid
    glaringly vivid and graphic; marked by sensationalism
    I saw the figures dancing luridly, the lights flashing, the band going.
  35. bohemian
    a nonconformist who lives an unconventional life
    I was a poet, a bohemian, et cetera.
Created on February 18, 2019 (updated February 20, 2019)

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, Vocabulary.com can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.