List 3

In this memoir, Rex Ogle recounts his family's struggles with poverty, hunger, and violence.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. escalate
    increase in extent or intensity
    The stuff they scream at each other. She says these cruel things. Then he says real horrible stuff back. And it just gets worse. Escalates till the hitting.
  2. decipher
    make out the meaning of
    Then he starts again, “I bet there are cameras hidden all over this cafeteria. They’re recording us, and we’re all part of some big social experiment, conducted by the government. Psychiatrists are probably watching us right now, trying to decipher the riddle of today’s youth.”
  3. telekinesis
    the power to move something by thinking about it
    “That’s telekinesis,” Ethan says. “Good choice. I’m glad you didn’t say you’d want to fly. Everyone says that. That’s such an easy one.”
  4. agnostic
    a person who claims the existence of God is unknowable
    Ethan starts laughing. “I don’t go to church. I’m agnostic.”
  5. heathen
    a person who does not acknowledge your god
    Mom raises her eyebrows and smirks, like she just won a prize. “You’ll go to hell for saying that, you little heathen.”
  6. thrash
    move or stir about violently
    Ford is still crying and thrashing, wanting to go with them. Instead Mom leans down and gives us this awkward hug from above.
  7. distract
    draw someone's attention away from something
    I try to distract him. First with some books, then with toys. I try to play with him, but he won’t have it.
  8. glint
    be shiny, as if wet
    The sun glints off his wet cheeks. Droplets are trapped on his long lashes.
  9. lisp
    a speech defect that involves mispronouncing "s" and "z"
    I shrug, saying, “Sorry. He has a lisp.”
  10. marinara
    pasta sauce containing tomatoes, garlic, and herbs
    The cheesy bread is awesome ’cause it comes with two dipping sauces. I can never decide which I like more: ranch or marinara.
  11. swig
    a large and hurried swallow
    Charlie looks around for adults, then pulls a flask from his jean jacket. He takes a sip, then passes it to the two boys from the nice neighborhood. They drink a little and pass it to Brad. He takes a swig and his face goes all sour.
  12. suffocate
    deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing
    “That sounds dangerous. Can’t you die from suffocating?” Benny says. I think the same thing, but I’m glad Benny says it.
  13. flail
    thrash about
    He starts to squeeze, and Benny’s face starts to turn red. His freckles seem to glow, making his face look like a giant strawberry. He starts slapping his brother’s arm. Benny is shaking his head, and starting to flail. Like he refuses to pass out.
  14. blare
    make a loud noise
    While I use the store’s water hose to clean Ford’s face, sirens blare past us.
  15. paramedic
    a person trained to give emergency medical treatment
    Their dad is screaming at them while the paramedic tries to calm him down.
  16. pry
    move or force in an effort to get something open
    “What? No!” I say, trying to pry myself loose.
  17. wince
    draw back, as with fear or pain
    Ethan waves from our usual table. When I sit down, I wince, scrunching up my whole face.
  18. philosophical
    relating to the investigation of existence and knowledge
    Ethan’s eyes get all big. He takes a deep breath. “Man. I wasn’t ready for this. This is a heavy philosophical discussion.”
  19. verge
    the limit beyond which something happens or changes
    Ethan is staring at me and I realize my eyes are all welled up with tears, ’cause I’m on the verge of crying.
  20. morsel
    a small amount of solid food; a mouthful
    She eats every single bite on her plate. She always does. She uses the bread to soak up the last of the meat juices and catch the little pieces of sauerkraut. Like she appreciates every morsel.
  21. bountiful
    producing in abundance
    “Dear God, we thank you for this meal that you have provided us. We thank you for each day’s blessings and for allowing us to be together on this wonderful day. We ask that you continue being bountiful and giving—” Abuela continues to pray for a long time.
  22. hazy
    indistinct in outline
    She shoves me, pushing me so hard, I fall backward, my head slamming into the wall. The room goes hazy for a minute, but this is nothing.
  23. bellow
    shout loudly and without restraint
    “Everyone loves you. With your perfect job! And your perfect house! And your perfect money!” Mom bellows. “You’re just so perfect!”
  24. contagious
    easily diffused or spread as from one person to another
    I can’t stop shouting. It’s like when Mom goes crazy, so do I. Her insanity is contagious.
  25. linoleum
    a floor covering
    I look at the mess of food crushed all over the kitchenette, crunched into dust on the linoleum.
Created on March 25, 2020 (updated March 25, 2020)

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