"Internment" by Samira Ahmed, Chapters 7–16

Layla Amin thinks of herself as a typical American teenager. But when Muslim-Americans like Layla and her family are forcibly relocated to internment camps, the seventeen-year-old decides to fight for her freedom.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–3, Chapters 4–6, Chapters 7–16, Chapters 17–22, Chapters 23–28, Chapters 29–36

Here is a link to our lists for Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed.
definitions & notes only words
  1. scrimmage
    practice play between two teams
    There will be drills and running lines and scrimmage matches and laughter and gossip.
  2. throng
    a large gathering of people
    Again, I’m struck by the Americanness of the throngs of people.
  3. seethe
    be in an agitated emotional state
    Looking around, I see people staring ahead, wide eyes brimming with fear, with tears, seething with anger.
  4. complacency
    the feeling you have when you are satisfied with yourself
    But that girl—the photographer caught her in the moment when the light in her eyes was extinguished. Stamped out not merely by fear but by being forgotten, by the complacency of the world around her.
  5. din
    a loud harsh or strident noise
    The din rises as people find their tables and their voices, though I can’t imagine anyone is actually saying what is on their mind.
  6. impetus
    a force that makes something happen
    I wonder how they came to this, what the impetus would be to turn against your own.
  7. prejudice
    a partiality preventing objective consideration of an issue
    We may all be Muslims, but we still have our prejudices and racism.
  8. bigotry
    intolerance and prejudice
    Today, we’re all Muslims who’ve been forced here, but maybe it wouldn’t be hard to tap into our bigotry to turn us against one another, to turn our gaze away from where our anger should really be directed.
  9. honorific
    a title or expression that conveys respect
    “Auntie, Uncle.” Ayesha addresses my parents with the automatic honorific accorded all desis of parental age.
  10. accord
    allow to have
    “Auntie, Uncle.” Ayesha addresses my parents with the automatic honorific accorded all desis of parental age.
  11. assimilation
    the process of absorbing one cultural group into another
    Some of us may have lost our “mother tongue,” as my nanni used to call it, but the custom of tameez—respect—for elders stays strong, despite decades of assimilation.
  12. surly
    unfriendly and inclined toward anger or irritation
    “It’s like junior high lunch all over again.” Ayesha grimaces as we walk back to our table.
    “Down to the hairnets and surly looks from the cafeteria workers.” I scowl as I take my first bite.
  13. reverence
    a feeling of profound respect for someone or something
    “My mom had this girlhood crush on Luke Skywalker,” I say. And it’s true. “She talks about waiting in line to see Star Wars when she was a kid, and I swear to God there’s this reverence in her voice, like it was a religious experience. She joined Twitter to follow Mark Hamill.”
  14. swath
    a path or strip
    The searchlights from the watchtowers sweep the grounds with swaths of light while guards patrol on foot, guns and Tasers at the ready.
  15. fleeting
    lasting for a markedly brief time
    Their blank faces hide any feelings or fleeting doubts.
  16. flippant
    showing an inappropriate lack of seriousness
    “You’re right,” I say. “I didn’t mean to sound flippant. Sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s the dust. It’s the isolation. It’s the fence. It’s David. I want to talk to David. To hear his voice, or maybe—”
  17. circuitous
    deviating from a straight course
    We’ve been hanging out, doing our best to escape the claustrophobia of living behind a guarded electric fence—gabbing, taking circuitous walks around the camp, meeting other kids who have nothing to do.
  18. futility
    uselessness as a consequence of having no practical result
    Ayesha grins. “Maybe. He seems to go out of his way to talk to me. And I am definitely encouraging him to do so. He’s cute. He’s smart. He’s funny. But what can flirting be in this place besides an exercise in futility? I mean, it’s not like were going to go out on a date and then to prom.”
  19. requisition
    an official form on which a request is made
    “But they’re totally listening in on the calls. And you have to submit a requisition.”
  20. gall
    the trait of being rude and impertinent
    “A problem? A problem?” I start to laugh but choke on it. “Where should I start? It’s not one problem; it’s a million. It’s my life. It’s the fact that I’m in this...camp because I had the gall to merely exist.”
  21. succumb
    give in or consent reluctantly
    I only choked out one word before succumbing to my anger and slamming down the phone.
  22. semblance
    an outward appearance that is deliberately misleading
    I’m at the farthest end of the rock garden, trying to give Ayesha and Soheil some semblance of privacy.
  23. sedition
    an illegal action inciting resistance to lawful authority
    Not clapping for the president at his damn State of the Union address is practically sedition.
  24. feign
    give a false appearance of
    But it’s whispers mostly, bits of rumor from the staff here who aren’t military, the ones who feel twinges of guilt that make them feign not a friendliness but a base level of civility.
  25. scant
    less than the correct or legal or full amount
    And that scant thread of civility, that nod or half smile, that extra pat of butter on a scoop of mashed potatoes, sometimes comes with tiny tidbits from the world beyond the fence before it makes its way around Mobius.
  26. refined
    cultivated and genteel
    “Obviously, Ayesha has refined cultural taste, and I totally approve of this friendship,” my dad says, and chuckles a bit.
  27. wistful
    showing pensive sadness
    My mom gives me a wistful smile. “I’m telling you: Young Luke Skywalker, he was my first crush. And first love is one you never forget.”
  28. elation
    a feeling of joy and pride
    My only emotion right now is a giddy elation because David is here.
  29. intimate
    marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity
    David, with the floral notes of his clean clothes and the minty smell of his soap and the intimate, familiar ways our bodies fold into each other.
  30. shibboleth
    a favorite saying of a sect or political group
    “I know how it seems. How it is. But I think he wants to help us. He used the word as a sign, or a—”
    “A shibboleth. He used it as a shibboleth,” she says.
  31. denounce
    speak out against
    “I’m familiar with their story,” Soheil responds. “And it doesn’t have a happy ending. They were a group of students, and two of the leaders were Hans and Sophie Scholl. They handed out leaflets denouncing Hitler, totally risking their lives. They even advocated sabotaging the war efforts.”
  32. terse
    brief and to the point
    “There is no plan,” Soheil says. He’s terse, and I can see Ayesha tense up. But she doesn’t back down.
  33. bout
    a period of illness
    While he’s walking, Ayesha opens a small plastic bag and hands each of us a sandwich. She smiles. “I was a Girl Scout. I’m always prepared for my inevitable bouts of hunger.”
  34. fascism
    a political theory advocating an authoritarian government
    When I asked her if she had done what they claimed, she looked at me with a mysterious smile and said, “Rebellion is as American as apple pie. And so is fascism.”
  35. beatific
    experiencing or displaying extreme joy or bliss
    A beatific smile crosses her face, but before she can take another step, two guards are on her.

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.