The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: List 3

Arnold Spirit, Jr., a young cartoonist who lives on the Spokane Indian reservation, decides to transfer to a school in which he will be the only American Indian student.

This list covers "My Sister Sends Me a Letter"–"Talking About Turtles."

Here are links to our lists for the novel: List 1, List 2, List 3
35 words 5,011 learners

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Full list of words from this list:

  1. optimistic
    hopeful that the best will happen in the future
    “You have to dream big to get big.”
    “That’s pretty dang optimistic for you, Dad.”
  2. indeterminate
    of uncertain or ambiguous nature
    barbeque sauce?
  3. vice versa
    with the order reversed
    So quick guards had to guard power forwards, and vice versa. Seniors had to guard freshmen, and vice versa. All-stars had to guard losers like me, and vice versa.
  4. sprawling
    spreading out in different directions
    And then Roger ran me over. Just sent me sprawling.
  5. intimidate
    make timid or fearful
    Coach threw me the ball. And Roger came for me. He screamed and laughed like a crazy man. He was having a great time. And he was trying to intimidate me.
  6. rabid
    marked by excessive enthusiasm for a cause or idea
    When our bus pulled into the high school parking lot, we were greeted by some rabid elementary school kids.
  7. pelt
    cast, hurl, or throw repeatedly with some missile
    They pelted our bus with snowballs.
  8. contempt
    lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
    And, then, as one, they all turned their backs on me.
    It was a fricking awesome display of contempt.
  9. glare
    look at with a fixed or angry gaze
    Bleeding and angry, I glared at the crowd.
  10. taunt
    harass with persistent criticism or carping
    They taunted me as I walked into the locker room.
  11. endeavor
    a purposeful or industrious undertaking
    “The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor.”
  12. eccentricity
    strange and unconventional behavior
    Now, in the old days, Indians used to be forgiving of any kind of eccentricity. In fact, weird people were often celebrated.
  13. shaman
    one acting as a medium between the visible and spirit worlds
    Epileptics were often shamans because people just assumed that God gave seizure-visions to the lucky ones.
  14. tolerance
    willingness to respect the beliefs or practices of others
    Of course, ever since white people showed up and brought along their Christianity and their fears of eccentricity, Indians have gradually lost all of their tolerance.
  15. intact
    undamaged in any way
    “Drinking would shut down my seeing and my hearing and my feeling,” she used to say. “Why would I want to be in the world if I couldn’t touch the world with all of my senses intact?”
  16. purportedly
    allegedly but not definitely true
    fringed buckskin pants purportedly worn by Geronimo ($150,000, from a private collector)
  17. anthropologist
    a social scientist specializing in the study of humanity
    I hired an anthropologist, an expert, and he quickly pointed out that the outfit was obviously of Interior Salish origin.
  18. devastating
    physically or spiritually destructive
    I packed up the outfit and headed for your reservation, here, to hand-deliver the outfit back to Grandmother Spirit. And I get here only to discover that she’s passed on to the next world. It’s just devastating.
  19. mull
    reflect deeply on a subject
    We all just sat there in silence as Ted mulled that over.
  20. endure
    face and withstand with courage
    We’d lost my grandmother and Eugene. How much loss were we supposed to endure?
  21. grieve
    feel intense sorrow, especially due to a loss
    I wanted to find out everything I could about grief. I wanted to know why my family had been given so much to grieve about.
  22. distraught
    deeply agitated especially from emotion
    I mean, the thing is, Medea was so distraught by the world, and felt so betrayed, that she murdered her own kids.
  23. spontaneous
    said or done without having been planned in advance
    Then all of my classmates walked out of the room.
    A spontaneous demonstration.
  24. legacy
    anything handed down by someone or something in the past
    Can an Indian have a legacy in a white town? And should a teenager be worried about his fricking legacy anyway?
  25. blubber
    cry or whine with snuffling
    It was maybe the biggest thing in my life ever, but I wasn’t about to share my feelings with the whole world. I wasn’t going to start blubbering for the local sports guy like he was my priest or something.
  26. vial
    a small bottle that contains liquid medicine
    But without real weapons—without a pistol, a man-eating lion, and a vial of bubonic plague—I had zero chance of competing directly with Rowdy.
  27. demoralize
    lower someone's spirits; make downhearted
    I’d taken the ball from Rowdy and now I wanted to score in his face. I wanted to absolutely demoralize him.
  28. adrenaline
    a secretion in response to stress, stimulating nerve action
    And I figured, with the crazy adrenaline coursing through my body, I might be able to jump over the rim again.
  29. rhetorical question
    an inquiry that is not supposed to be answered
    It was a rhetorical question, meaning there wasn’t supposed to be an answer, right? But poor Miss Warren, she answered my rhetorical question.
  30. silt
    mud or clay or small rocks deposited by a river or lake
    One year, these scientists came with a mini-submarine and tried to find the bottom, but the lake was so silty and muddy that they couldn’t see.
  31. dormant
    not erupting but not extinct
    The lake is round. Perfectly round. So the scientists said it was probably an ancient and dormant volcano crater.
  32. maggot
    fly larva commonly found in decaying organic matter
    His skin and flesh melted away. The maggots and coyotes ate their fill. Then the horse was just bones.
  33. plummet
    drop sharply
    Near the top, the branches got thinner and thinner. I wondered if they’d support our weight. I kept expecting one of them to snap and send me plummeting to my death.
  34. vantage point
    a place from which something can be viewed
    We were more than one hundred feet in the air. From our vantage point, we could see for miles.
  35. graze
    feed as in a meadow or pasture
    “You’re an old-time nomad,” Rowdy said. “You’re going to keep moving all over the world in search of food and water and grazing land. That’s pretty cool.”
Created on August 15, 2013 (updated June 15, 2022)

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