"The Invention of Hugo Cabret," Vocabulary from Part 2

"The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick is filled with a love of the movies and the spirit of invention as a young boy meets the father of modern motion pictures in a French train station and his life is changed forever.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Part 1, Part 2

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. realize
    be fully aware or cognizant of
    That’s when the children realized that the mechanical man wasn’t finished.
  2. glare
    look at with a fixed gaze
    She looked at Hugo in wonder, but then her expression changed and she glared at him.
  3. dangle
    hang freely
    Isabelle took her key from the mechanical man’s back, put the necklace from which it dangled back around her neck, and grabbed the drawing from the little desk.
  4. divert
    send on a course different from the planned or intended one
    Just keep quiet, let him eat his dinner in peace, and then I’ll divert him to the bathroom and you can sneak out.
  5. desperately
    with great urgency
    Hugo’s hand was in terrible pain, and Isabelle’s foot felt like it was broken, but they tried desperately to keep the old man from destroying his drawings.
  6. distracted
    having the attention diverted especially because of anxiety
    While the old man was distracted by his wife, Hugo and Isabelle quickly gathered up all the drawings.
  7. makeshift
    done or made using whatever is available
    She ripped up some strips of fabric and made makeshift bandages for Hugo’s hand and Isabelle’s foot.
  8. curious
    beyond or deviating from the usual or expected
    Hugo did find one curious item, though, wrapped in a piece of fabric at the very back of a drawer.
  9. assume
    take to be the case or to be true
    He had always assumed the toy had been sold a long time ago.
  10. automaton
    a mechanism that can move independently of external control
    Hugo thought about the little mechanical parts inside the mouse, as well as the other toys that he had stolen and used to fix the automaton.
  11. consider
    think about carefully; weigh
    He had never really stopped to consider why the pieces from the old man’s toys fit so well into the mechanical man.
  12. anxiously
    with anxiety or apprehension
    But without the use of both hands, he could barely wind them, and so he oiled and observed as much as possible and anxiously compared the clocks with his railroad watch.
  13. capable
    having ability
    This connection with magic helped him immediately understand what the new medium of film was capable of.
  14. reflect
    show an image of
    He was among the first to demonstrate that film didn't have to reflect real life.
  15. acclaim
    enthusiastic approval
    A Trip to the Moon, Melies’ most famous film, followed a group of explorers as they went to the moon, fought the moon men, and returned home with a captive, to great acclaim.
  16. cog
    tooth on the rim of gear wheel
    But he looked at Isabelle, and it was as if he could feel all the cogs and wheels begin to engage in his mind, and the words suddenly came together.
  17. devote
    give entirely to a specific person, activity, or cause
    Maybe he was only happy for the time he devoted to building each new toy.
  18. chimera
    a grotesque product of the imagination
    She read about Mount Olympus and creatures like the chimera and the phoenix, and then read the story of Prometheus.
  19. brandish
    move or swing back and forth
    The old woman, realizing she was brandishing a very sharp weapon, hastily put it down and wiped her hands on her apron.
  20. skeptical
    marked by or given to doubt
    “When I was invited here to meet a man I thought had died, I must admit I was skeptical."
  21. archives
    collection of records especially about an institution
    But stirred by my memories of Georges Melies, I sent Etienne down to the Film Academy archives, and in the very back, under a pile of old boxes, he found one of your godfather’s movies.
  22. guttural
    relating to or articulated in the throat
    Everyone continued to hear terrible sounds: things being dragged across the room, banging and hammering, and low guttural noises, interspersed by periods of quiet.
  23. poised
    marked by balance or equilibrium and readiness for action
    Georges Melies was sitting at a desk that he had dragged to the center of the room, a pen poised in his hand as though he were a giant version of the automaton.
  24. radiate
    extend or spread outward from a center or focus
    The old man had broken off the armoire doors to get to his old drawings, and now they completely covered the floor, radiating from the foot of the desk, creeping up over the bed and across the walls, where they had been tacked all the way up to the ceiling.
  25. donate
    give to a charity or good cause
    The only thing I couldn’t bring myself to destroy was the automaton, which I donated to the local museum.
  26. opportunity
    a possibility from a favorable combination of circumstances
    The Station Inspector opened the cage, and Hugo saw his opportunity.
  27. billow
    rise up as if in waves
    Smoke billowed out of the slowing engine as a shower of sparks flew from every wheel.
  28. daze
    confusion characterized by lack of clarity
    There were a few moments of dazed silence, then steam was released from somewhere, and it made a sound like the train was sighing.
  29. extraordinary
    highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable
    For everyone on the train, nothing extraordinary had happened.
  30. gaze
    look at with fixed eyes
    Hugo gazed up into his eyes, which looked more gentle and welcoming than he had ever seen before.
  31. scowl
    frown with displeasure
    The Station Inspector studied Hugo, his eyebrows scowling.
  32. vouch
    give personal assurance; guarantee
    “I’ll vouch for that,” said Monsieur Frick.
  33. celestial
    of heaven or the spirit
    In the living room, Georges Melies had on a tuxedo with his black celestial cape (which had been lovingly mended and cleaned by his wife and was now as bright and colorful as the day it was made), and she wore a dress that sparkled like water.
  34. pioneer
    someone who helps to open up a new line of technology or art
    We have gathered here tonight to honor one of our pioneers, Georges Melies, who brought magic to the movies.
  35. diligence
    conscientiousness in paying proper attention to a task
    Thanks to the diligence of one of the students here, Etienne Pruchon, and with help on the weekends from Hugo and Isabelle, the two brave children who are being raised by Monsieur and Madame Melies, we went back and checked one last time.
  36. catacomb
    an underground tunnel with recesses where bodies were buried
    They took trips to private collections and such strange places as barns and catacombs, where their work was richly rewarded.
  37. gala
    a lavish public entertainment or celebration
    After the gala ended, they all went to a small party in his honor at a nearby restaurant.
  38. transform
    change or alter in form, appearance, or nature
    In the blink of an eye, babies appear in carriages, coffins disappear into the ground, wars are won and lost, and children transform, like butterflies, into adults.
  39. beloved
    dearly loved
    It can tell you the incredible story of Georges Melies, his wife, their goddaughter, and a beloved clock maker whose son grew up to be a magician.
  40. complicated
    difficult to analyze or understand
    The complicated machinery inside my automaton can produce one hundred and fifty-eight different pictures, and it can write, letter by letter, an entire book, twenty-six thousand one hundred and fifty-nine words.

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