Part 2

Eighteen-year-old Hằng makes a difficult journey to America to find the brother from whom she was separated during the Vietnam War.
Copy this list to... Buy the Book

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, unite!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. canter
    go at a smooth three-beat gait, of horses
    A horse can walk, jog, trot, canter, gallop.
  2. undercurrent
    a feeling or tendency that is not explicitly expressed
    A warm undercurrent zigzags through her, twirling her intestines, causing a ticklish fumble she hasn’t known.
  3. alms
    money or goods contributed to the poor
    Hằng and Mother practiced shuffling with heads down, as if asking for alms.
  4. undulate
    move in a wavy pattern or with a rising and falling motion
    She never imagined they could release so much heat, or their shoulders would undulate like shifting boulders, yet they could be startled by a mouse.
  5. chastise
    censure severely
    Hằng notices Ly-Roi’s teeth are yellow too but decides to keep her opinion inside, having been chastised.
  6. lexicon
    a language user's knowledge of words
    Imagine, he used to sit in air-conditioning and read about cowboy life and copy down cowboy lexicon.
  7. mosey
    walk leisurely
    While reading, whenever he felt like it, he would mosey over to the refrigerator or pantry, gather up an unlimited amount and variety of snacks, then go back to the couch and chew until he was bursting.
  8. hankering
    a yearning for something or to do something
    He’s got a drop-on-your-knees hankering for nachos, even a worse one for brownie sundaes.
  9. girth
    the distance around something, especially a person's body
    Mr. Morgan goes on and on about Thea’s compact body with a broad chest, deep girth, short back, well-sprung ribs, and powerful loins.
  10. brood
    think moodily or anxiously about something
    He likes it better when she’s brooding, when he can predict which cranky expression will hold tight on her face.
  11. nicker
    make a soft sound characteristic of a horse
    Linh nickers that she accepts the deal.
  12. slough
    cast off hair, skin, horn, or feathers
    His horse is cured; even the skin sloughing around her nose has completely healed.
  13. testy
    easily irritated or annoyed
    “Talk how?”
    “Just talk.” The boy sounds testy.
  14. inkling
    a slight suggestion or vague understanding
    “You’ve got no inkling how much your sister has to tell you."
  15. halter
    rope or canvas headgear for a horse, with a rope for leading
    There’s no chute, just a pickup man holding on to the halter as best he can before letting go and getting out of the way.
  16. supplant
    take the place or move into the position of
    Desperation always stirs up memories, which lately have been supplanted by ranch work.
  17. implore
    beg or request earnestly and urgently
    These eyes once implored her to tell him stories, to get him to school, to cut open a fruit, any fruit at all.
  18. desiccated
    thoroughly dried out
    She gnaws on desiccated ginger and remembers that when sick, people sing.
  19. trough
    a container from which cattle or horses feed
    Then The Meanie had them scrub all eleven troughs with vinegar and baking soda. The horses flared their nostrils and refused to drink until the stink evaporated.
  20. solidarity
    a union of interests or purposes among members of a group
    By his own admission he did reach out and squeeze her hand in the back of the truck. At the time, it was a gesture of solidarity, as they were both plum worn out.
  21. gnarly
    rough and misshapen and full of knots
    A mesquite is not a tree any right-minded human should be getting near, much less wrestle out of the ground, not with them gnarly pokey branches and roots that can crawl two hundred feet underground.
  22. pathos
    a quality that arouses emotions, especially pity or sorrow
    “Bà told you?”
    “How else would I know?” Chú Quốc tries to smile, to be neutral, but Hằng knows he has embellished here and there to build more pathos for the judge.
  23. lucrative
    producing a sizeable profit
    Bà did not tell the man that she alone raised her sons by using her hands to grow herbs and her brains to turn the plants into ornaments like bonsai, starting a craze as lucrative as grafting orchids.
  24. quell
    suppress or crush completely
    Still, he can’t quell his pining for open land or a bucking bronc. Everyone, he figures, has longings that won’t fade even when clobbered by cold, brutal facts.
  25. sate
    fill to contentment
    After two stacks of pancakes, which he vows never again to be deprived of, thick slices of ham, whose existence Mr. Morgan ignores, and half an apple pie, which he truly deserves, LeeRoy finally feels sated as a pig in mud.
  26. citified
    having the customs or manners of someone urban
    It doesn’t pay to stick out like a citified boy trying out a rough life.
  27. chide
    scold or reprimand severely or angrily
    Bà would pretend to chide him, in truth nodding at his cleverness.
  28. elation
    a feeling of joy and pride
    She runs, amazed at her own elation.
  29. frivolous
    not serious in content, attitude, or behavior
    For once, her dad does not launch into a lecture about frivolous dreams.
  30. stratum
    one of several parallel layers of material
    After testing the strata exposed in the walls, it’s understood that the oldest rocks on the canyon floor go back two hundred and forty million years and every layer tells its own history.
  31. conglomerate
    a composite rock made up of particles of varying size
    The youngest rocks of course are at the canyon rim and we're sitting on quartz, sandstone, and limestone. On down you have what’s called massive micaceous, quartz sandstone, and conglomerate, also interbedded shale and mudstone, next is variegated shale and mudstone in addition to quartz and calcite that they call sugar sand.
  32. variegated
    having an assortment of colors
    On down you have what’s called massive micaceous, quartz sandstone, and conglomerate, also interbedded shale and mudstone, next is variegated shale and mudstone in addition to quartz and calcite that they call sugar sand.
  33. tributary
    a branch that flows into the main stream
    Hikers today still find burned boiling pebbles and hearth stones and flint flakes and all kinds of artifacts, especially near the wet portions of the main canyon and tributaries.
  34. conniption
    a display of bad temper
    He hopes she’s not working up a fever that likely will send her uncle into a conniption.
  35. lament
    express grief verbally
    The captain of our fishing boat lamented, “I ask for everyone’s forgiveness.”
  36. undaunted
    unshaken in purpose
    My stomach rejected every bite of fish, every drop of sweet water, also emptied of every remnant of the ocean. Undaunted, more muddy hands offered more grilled fish, more coconut.
  37. entreat
    ask for or request earnestly
    Pulling his arm once more, her eyes widen and entreat him to keep talking.
  38. precedence
    status established in order of importance or urgency
    But truth is, he does like seeing her happy. Somehow, that is taking precedence over what would make him happy, namely a gorged belly and long, warm days roaming rodeos.
  39. stifle
    smother or suppress
    LeeRoy hears quick, stuttering breaths, stifling a full-on cry.
  40. bonanza
    a sudden happening that brings good fortune
    If she would look up, he could point to the sun peeking through and black birds giddy at the bonanza of exposed worms.
Created on August 11, 2020 (updated August 14, 2020)

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, Vocabulary.com can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.