declaration of an intention to inflict harm on another
Malala Yousafzai, the Taliban said, “should be killed.” There it was in black and white. A death
threat against me.
a request to be present or take part in something
Here was a call for my death—an
invitation from one terrorist to another, saying, “Go ahead, shoot her”—and I was as calm as could be.
"Invitation" and "threat" are usually opposite in meaning, but in the example sentences, the nouns refer to the same thing. In redefining the death threat against her as an invitation from one terrorist to another, Malala deliberately changes its tone, so that she could downplay the danger and calmly continue her fight against the Taliban.
give or restore confidence in
Aba” I said, trying to
reassure him. “Everybody knows they will die someday.
belligerence aroused by a real or supposed wrong
But he had never imagined the Taliban would turn their
wrath on a child.
very unhappy; full of misery
I looked at my father’s
wretched face, and I knew that he would honor my wishes no matter what I decided.
exist or be situated within
Some powerful force had come to
dwell inside me, something bigger and stronger than me, and it had made me fearless.
a discussion intended to produce an agreement
You must fight them with peace and
proceeding in small stages
Whenever Miss Ulfat had a break in her schedule, my mother would visit, her notebook and pencil in hand, until gradually the strange squiggles and symbols on the page revealed themselves to her.
keep from having, keeping, or obtaining
My father said it was because she had been
deprived of learning for so long.
the contestant you hope to defeat
“While you were busy becoming the most famous student in Pakistan, your
rival stole your crown at home!” he said.
the trait of behaving in an offensive manner
There is a school, the Khushal School... which is a centre of vulgarity and
The Latin noun "vulgus" means "the common people, crowd" and a modern definition of "vulgarity" is "the quality of lacking taste and refinement." Thus, an accusation of vulgarity should not upset Malala, who is a humble Muslim. But here, it is used as a synonym for "obscenity" and as an attack on the schoolgirls' morality, since they were seen posing for pictures and splashing each other in a waterfall.
spread throughout a given area
The letters, apparently, had been
distributed all over the neighborhood and pasted on the walls of the mosque near our school.
refuse to accept or believe
There was no
denying it: The Taliban might have been defeated, but their beliefs were still spreading.
a brief indulgence of your impulses
The bomb blasts were down to only two or three a year, and you could pass by the Green Square without seeing the aftermath of a Taliban killing
the activities involved in managing a state or a government
I felt the word
politics had a bit of a stain on it, but I would be different.
The stain of politics can be seen in this definition: "social relations involving intrigue to gain power." But its purer sense can be traced to the Greek adjective "politikos" which means "of citizens, pertaining to the state and its administration; pertaining to public life." For Malala, politics is less about managing a government and more about living a public life that is devoted to helping people around the world.
a lavish public entertainment or celebration
I saw so many children suffering still—why should I be enjoying
galas and ceremonies?
an institution supported by an endowment
So I decided to start an education
"Foundation" also means "education or instruction in the fundamentals of a field" or "the basis on which something is grounded." These definitions can describe the Malala Fund's goal to give poor children an opportunity to get an educational foundation so that they can build a better future. But the example sentence refers to the organization that manages the money to make this possible.
someone who offers resistance
Like my father, he was an outspoken
opponent of the Taliban.
make something more diverse
He started to
vary his routine each day.
A variation in routine can be a positive and refreshing thing in one's life. But here, Malala's father is changing where he goes each day in order to avoid losing his life. Although he had known that he was a target of the Taliban, he did not take pains to ensure his own safety until his close friend got shot.
a unit gathering and interpreting information about an enemy
My father told me they were from the
"Intelligence" can be a positive or negative word, depending on its goal. For Malala's father, who is an educator, the goal is increasing the intelligence of children so that they will have "the ability to comprehend" the world and make a difference with their lives. But here, the goal of the strangers gathering intelligence is to figure out whom the Taliban should target.
watch, observe, or inquire secretly
Sometimes they came to the school and
characterized by a state of violent mental agitation
A teacher came to school
hysterical one morning, saying she had had a nightmare about me.
a person's brother or sister
It was a point of pride. It was also a
sibling thing: If I didn’t come in first, I’d never hear the end of it from Khushal.
having or marked by assurance
Exam morning passed, and I felt
confident I had done well.
having the attention diverted especially because of anxiety
But soon I was
distracted as the girls gathered around to watch our driver do a magic trick with a disappearing pebble.