Forbidden City by William Bell, p. 1-65

This list is meant to accompany a novel study unit on William Bell's Forbidden City. Words are selected for middle school students.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. camcorder
    a portable television camera and videocassette recorder
    The video camcorder industry has imploded as the rise of the smartphone pitched it into junk drawers across the country.Washington Post
  2. organism
    a living thing that can act or function independently
    Cyanobacteria—some of the oldest organisms on the planet—can occur wherever there is moisture.Scientific American (Dec 11, 2014)
  3. pacifist
    opposed to war
    They were pacifists who refused to kill for their country but who were willing to sacrifice themselves to help others.Washington Times (Nov 24, 2014)
  4. atheist
    someone who denies the existence of god
    You’re a little religious while your husband is an atheist.Time (Dec 15, 2014)
  5. cynical
    believing the worst of human nature and motives
    In fact, a truly cynical mind might wonder if the whole rebellion wasn’t staged by Boehner partisans just to show how horrific the alternative was.New York Times (Jan 7, 2015)
  6. informer
    one who reveals confidential information in return for money
    Israeli intelligence services rely heavily on informers in both Gaza and the West Bank.The Guardian (Aug 22, 2014)
  7. paranoid
    suffering from delusions of persecution or grandeur
    Call me paranoid, but I believe China poses the greatest threat to our future than any other country.
  8. fallout
    any adverse and unwanted secondary effect
    The political fallout doomed his bid for a fifth council term.Washington Post (Dec 28, 2014)
  9. reconnaissance
    the act of scouting
    In 1990, AeroVironment designed an unmanned stealth blimp for reconnaissance missions as it also developed lightweight and maneuverable drones for aerial surveillance.Los Angeles Times (Dec 28, 2014)
  10. bigwig
    the most important person in a group or undertaking
    She's a European Parliament lawmaker and the daughter of a bigwig in the powerful Social Democratic Party.US News (Nov 13, 2014)
  11. lenient
    Paul recently introduced a measure that would have made gun-control laws in the city among the most lenient in the country.Washington Post
  12. dais
    a platform raised above the surrounding level
    As he stepped off the dais, a reporter asked if he was sticking around to watch the remaining games.New York Times (Jul 2, 2014)
  13. quaver
    give off unsteady sounds
    Her voice quavered and she broke into tears as she rose and told Judge Laura Taylor Swain she was also a victim of Mr. Madoff’s.New York Times (Dec 9, 2014)
  14. esteem
    regard highly; think much of
    But some low rounds are held in more esteem than others, and Jordan Spieth's Sunday 63 to win the Australian Open is one of them. Golf Digest (Oct 16, 2013)
  15. redouble
    double again
    The Obama administration, meanwhile, is redoubling its efforts to get the word out about these repayment plans.Chicago Tribune (Jan 2, 2015)
  16. literal
    limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text
    I think many white people are surprised by the fact that actual,  literal segregation still exists in America.Salon (Oct 20, 2014)
  17. revered
    profoundly honored
    No disrespect to Streep, but so revered is the actress at this point, I think she might have been nominated with or without a role.Los Angeles Times (Dec 10, 2014)
  18. deteriorate
    become worse or disintegrate
    “Road conditions are going to be deteriorating very rapidly. If you don’t have to be out and about, it’s a good time to stay indoors.”Washington Times (Jan 5, 2015)
  19. conjecture
    a hypothesis that has been formed by speculating
    Rumours and conjecture surrounded Skorzeny's regular visits to Ireland over the coming years.BBC (Dec 29, 2014)
  20. claustrophobic
    abnormally afraid of closed-in places
    The 'new' Penn Station is indeed a claustrophobic underground shopping mall.New York Times (Jan 3, 2015)
  21. tool around
    ride in a car with no particular goal and just for the pleasure of it
    Ages ranged from families with young children to elderly people tooling around on motorized scooters.Salon (May 31, 2014)
  22. contingent
    a gathering of persons representative of some larger group
    Despite the scoreline, a small contingent of Palestinian fans in the 15,497-strong crowd waved flags and beat drums throughout the match.BBC (Jan 12, 2015)
  23. throng
    a large gathering of people
    The celebration draws throngs of thousands of spectators every New Year's Eve.Seattle Times (Dec 31, 2014)
  24. lame
    pathetically lacking in force or effectiveness
    He is fully aware, as most players, that it's an unforgiving business, but he doesn't insult our intelligence as fans by making lame excuses.New York Times (Jan 11, 2015)
  25. autonomous
    existing as an independent entity
    Russia annexed Crimea, a former autonomous region of Ukraine, on March 17, 2014.Forbes (Jan 5, 2015)

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