Vocabulary Lists


Vocabulary Heard at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

The Democratic National Convention was held in Philadelphia from July 25-28, 2016. The vocabulary ranged from lofty descriptions of hope for the future and prayers for togetherness in confronting the Republican opponent with polite name calling, less-than-polite name calling, and plain name calling. A highlight was The Vice President of the United States using the word "malarkey" with a vitality not seen since people actually said "malarkey." Here are twenty words heard at the Democratic National Convention.
20 Words

Vocabulary Heard at the 2016 Republican National Convention

Here is a list of 20 words spoken at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Speakers ranged from the Presidential nominee himself, Donald J. Trump, to four of his children as well as candidates Trump defeated in the primaries. Whether they were talking about dark times for America or the bright future they hope lies ahead, these speakers used some interesting and powerful vocabulary to get their messages across. Here are 20 vocabulary words by various convention speakers.
20 Words

U.S. Government Lingo

Learning this list will prime you to better understand news articles about the daily business of the American government. Note that the sentence examples for these words were plucked from a variety of reputable news sources (The Washington Times, The LA Times, Time, etc.)
25 Words

Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) Tribute List

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Elie Wiesel died on July 2 at the age of 87. Wiesel was a survivor of the Holocaust, spending time in several concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He wrote movingly about his experiences in the camps in his trilogy "Night," "Dawn" and "Day." Wiesel was a tireless crusader for human dignity and freedom around the world. His work, including his many speeches, is a constant reminder that humankind should stand up for the weak and the persecuted. Here are 10 vocabulary words from quotes by Elie Wiesel.
10 Words

David Cameron's Words After the Brexit Vote

On June 23, 2016, the people of Britain voted to decide whether Britain should remain in or leave the European Union- the so-called "Brexit" or "British Exit" vote. The British people voted to leave the European Union, and although the decision does not go into effect immediately, it is an historic decision whose effects will be felt by the entire world for years to come. After the vote, British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was in favor of remaining in the E.U., delivered a speech in which he addressed the future of Britain and announced his resignation, to take effect in a few months. Below are seventeen vocabulary words from Cameron's speech. The transcript of the entire speech is available here.
17 Words

Lois Duncan (1934-2016) Tribute List

Author Lois Duncan died on June 15, 2016. She was 82 years old. Duncan wrote many novels aimed at teens that were suspenseful, spooky and often dealt with the supernatural. Her novel "I Know What You Did Last Summer... " was adapted into a movie, but Duncan wasn't very happy with the result. Like Dean Koontz or Stephen King, the novels of Lois Duncan used to be a rite of passage for girls of a certain age. The novels hold up for modern readers as well and are perfect for reading in the dark with friends or by candle or campfire light. Here are ten words from the novels of Lois Duncan.
10 Words

Muhammad Ali (1942-2016) Tribute List

Muhammad Ali died on June 3, 2016 at the age of 74 from respiratory issues. It may be hard to imagine but at one time, not too long ago, a boxer transcended sports and dominated the culture. Muhammad Ali's unmatched skill within the ring, and his charisma, humor and bravery outside of it defined an era. Ali was famous for dubbing himself "The Greatest," but in several ways that wasn't a boast, but merely the truth. Born Cassius Clay, Ali changed his name when he embraced Islam, a very controversial decision for a public figure at the time. Ali also refused to fight in Vietnam, was found guilty of draft evasion and was stripped of his title. Ali understood the obligation of being a public figure as the obligation of being true to himself. Here are 15 vocabulary words from quotes by Muhammad Ali, that are a mixture of the boastful, the witty and the reflective sides of the man and the champion.
15 Words

Morley Safer (1931-2016) Tribute List

"60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer died on May 19, 2016 of pneumonia at the age of 84. Safer originally gained fame for his reports from Vietnam, but he became a television personality when he joined "60 Minutes" in 1970. Safer profiled things that interested him, often taking viewers into the art world or profiling the powerful. Here are ten vocabulary words from quotes from Morley Safer, including a taste of the honest, opinionated reporting which endeared him to so many.
10 Words

Prince (1958-2016) Tribute List

Prince died on April 21, 2016 of undisclosed causes at the age of 57. Prince was a unique and immensely talented artist, often playing all the instruments on his albums. Lyrically, he was caught between searching for salvation and his very human desires, but lyrics only tell half the story. Prince's sound, from his emergence in the late 70s until his most recent record, was unlike anything else audiences had heard before. Then Prince would completely change his sound, and that would be unlike anything anyone had heard before. Here are 20 vocabulary words from Prince's lyrics.
20 Words

Vocabulary From the Ninth Democratic Debate, April 14, 2016

The Ninth Democratic Debate took place on April 14th, 2016 in Brooklyn, NY. The two candidates were determined to get their points across in this debate, whether they were criticizing each other or talking about policy, and they often ignored the moderators' signals that their time was up. The debate featured loud crowd noise, an extended discussion about the situation in Israel, a segment on climate change and heated exchanges on gun control and the banking industry. Here are twenty vocabulary words from the ninth Democratic Debate.
20 Words

Merle Haggard (1937-2016) Tribute List

Country music legend Merle Haggard died on April 6, 2016 at the age of 79. Many country songs are about drinking too much liquor and getting in trouble with the law, but for most artists, those are just songs. Merle Haggard, for better and worse, lived those songs. He was in prison as a very young man. While in prison he saw Johnny Cash perform and realized that music could give him a way to start over. Haggard went on to a hugely respected and successful career, even one year hitting the charts with 8 different number one singles. Here are twelve vocabulary words from the lyrics Merle Haggard wrote or recorded and made his own.
12 Words

Jim Harrison (1937-2016) Tribute List

Author Jim Harrison died on March 26, 2016 at the age of 78. A novelist and poet, Harrison was as comfortable covering rugged external terrain as he was the interior emotional landscape of his characters. Harrison's writing overflows with the pleasures of the senses: how things smell, feel and taste. He lived his life that way as well, as he was an avid sportsman and champion eater and drinker. He wrote extensively about both sports and food, addressing the latter in the volume The Raw and The Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand. Here are thirteen vocabulary words from the work of Jim Harrison.
13 Words

Garry Shandling (1949-2016) Tribute List

Comedian Garry Shandling died on March 24, 2016 at the age of 66. Shandling rose to fame as a stand-up and was soon the guest host for the Johnny Carson "Tonight Show." He created two sitcoms, "It's Garry Shandling's Show," which was famous for being a sitcom which was aware it was a sitcom, and "The Larry Sanders Show," which was a satire drawn from his experiences in late night television. Shandling was, above all, hysterically funny and he will be missed. Here are eleven vocabulary words drawn from Shandling's stand-up material, interviews and even a tribute from Iron Man 2 co-star Robert Downey, Jr.
11 Words

Phife Dawg (1970-2016) Tribute List

Rapper Phife Dawg died on March 23, 2016 from complications from Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 45. Phife, whose real name was Malik Taylor, was an essential part of the influential group A Tribe Called Quest, along with Q-Tip. As these vocabulary words and the quotes that contain them show, Phife Dawg's verses embraced all kinds of cultural references and inventive wordplay and weren't the usual MC boasting. Here are twelve vocabulary words from the lyrics of Phife Dawg.
12 Words

Vocabulary from the Twelfth Republican Debate, March 10, 2016

The twelfth Republican Debate took place on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. This debate was much calmer and more focused on issues than the last few Republican debates have been. Without name calling and interrupting. candidates engaged in a substantive discussion of issues like trade, the threat of ISIS, climate change and saving the Social Security system. Here are 25 words they used, starting with those our list builder found "most relevant."
25 Words

Vocabulary from the Eighth Democratic Debate, March 9, 2016

The Eighth Democratic Debate was held on March 9, 2016 in Miami and it focused on issues of concern to Latino voters. Immigration and education were topics of focus, but the moderators were forceful on all issues, including when they brought up scandals and candidates' previous statements, complete with videotape evidence. These tools were used to guard against what moderator Maria Elena Salinas called "Hispandering" ("Hispanic" + "pandering") - "telling Hispanics what they want to hear just so they will vote for you." Here are twenty vocabulary words from the Eighth Democratic Debate.
20 Words

Raymond Tomlinson (1941-2016) Tribute List

Raymond Tomlinson died on March 7, 2016 at the age of 74. Raymond Tomlinson was a computer programmer and one of the early pioneers of e-mail. Specifically, he was the man responsible for choosing the "@" sign to go in email addresses. Of course the sign soon became so widely used that it is now known as the "at-sign" and for some it is fast replacing that sequence of letters, "a-t", and may soon appear everywhere the letters appear together, regardless of pronounciation. It is an open question as to whether or not @ will replace "a-t" altogether, but to remember Mr. Tomlinson, here is a list of words with the "a-t" sequence in them, and how these words would look with "@" signs replacing the letters. It is no doubt an encouraging sign to those who dislike abbreviations and shortcuts in texting and email that many of these words still look quite strange with the @ in place.
13 Words

"Our America," Vocabulary from Part I

As 13-year-olds, LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman were interviewed by National Public Radio. Learn this list to better understand their award-winning and heartbreaking stories about "Life and Death on the South Side of Chicago." Here are links to our lists for the nonfiction text: Part I, Part II, Part III
30 Words

Nancy Reagan (1921-2016) Tribute List

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan died on March 6, 2016 at the age of 94. As First Lady from 1980-1988, Nancy Reagan was famous for her anti-drug campaign slogan "Just Say No." In recent years, after Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Nancy became an advocate for stem cell research as a way of making progress to combat Alzheimer's and other diseases. Here are ten vocabulary words from quotes from Nancy Reagan.
10 Words

Pat Conroy (1945-2016) Tribute List

Author Pat Conroy died on March 4, 2016 of pancreatic cancer. He specialized in tales of the American South, drawn from his own difficult childhood. He once said: "My mother's voice and my father's fists are two bookends of my childhood, and they form the basis of my art." It is no exaggeration to say that learning to become a storyteller and literature helped save Conroy from the horrors of his early life. Here are 13 vocabulary words from quotes from the mind and work of Pat Conroy.
13 Words

Vocabulary from the Eleventh Republican Debate March 3, 2016

The Eleventh Republican debate took place in Detroit, Michigan on March 3, 2016. As in the last debate, there was a great deal of yelling and name calling between the candidates, with one calling another "little guy" and one instructing another to "count to ten and breathe" when he was angry and interrupting the man who was answering a question. To add to the freewheeling excitement, moderators used visual aides, like graphics and video clips, to help the audience decide whether something a candidate said on one occasion contradicted what they said on another, or whether the candidate's proposed budget cuts would really do what a candidate is claiming they will.
20 Words

Mitt Romney's comments about Donald Trump

Former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a speech about current Republican front-runner Donald Trump at the University of Utah on March 3, 2016. Romney attacks Trump over his behavior and his policies and also has some unkind words for Hillary Clinton, in order to stress that in his view Clinton must never be president. Romney regards Trump as a a con man, one whose lack of conviction makes him not only a bad candidate but one who is beatable, which makes the fact that Trump is the leading candidate to face Clinton in the general election in November all the more troubling to Romney. Here are 25 words from Romney's speech. Read the entire address here.
25 Words

Harper Lee (1926-2016) Tribute List

Famed author Harper Lee died on February 19, 2016, at the age of 89. For most of her life Lee was famous for having written one extraordinary novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, never having written another book. In recent years, however, Lee emerged from her well-guarded privacy, with the release of an earlier prequel to Mockingbird, Go Set A Watchman. Released among accusations that Lee's agent was trying to steal her royalties Watchman complicated the portrayal of one of the heroes of Mockingbird, Atticus Finch. Here are 15 vocabulary words from To Kill A Mockingbird and from two of the rare interviews Lee granted over the course of her life. Here are links to our lists for Lee's works: To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman
15 Words

Justice Antonin Scalia (1936-2016) Tribute List

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died of natural causes on February 13, 2016 at the age of 79. Scalia had served on the court since 1986, and was its conservative voice, ready with a brilliant question in oral arguments or a fierce dissenting opinion. Scalia's legal mind and his wit have long been praised even by those people who disagreed with his philosophy and although the Supreme Court is shrouded in mystery, it is said that his best friend on the court was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the Court's leading liberal voices. Here are ten vocabulary words from the opinions of Justice Antonin Scalia.
10 Words

David Bowie (1947-2016) Tribute List

David Bowie died on January 10, 2016 from liver cancer at the age of 69. A rock star and cultural force in the 1970s and 80s, Bowie was known for his ability to completely change character from album to album, theatrics that sometimes overshadowed the high quality of his songwriting and musicianship. As these selections from the lyrics of his entire career show, Bowie could turn a phrase and evoke an image like no one else. Here are 15 vocabulary words from the lyrics of David Bowie.
15 Words

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