Class Glossary

Guidelines for Glossary

Throughout the semester, we will focus on defining words, both terms that will help us describe, analyze, and discuss our reading and writing of literature, and vocabulary that will help us better understand the material we read.

To complete this assignment for the semester, you will contribute 10 entries to our class glossary. For each entry, you will choose a word that you encounter in our assigned readings, on the course site, or in our class work or discussions, and write a blog post in which you do the following:

  • include only the word in the subject line of the post
  • in the post, provide the word and its part of speech (noun, verb, adjective, etc.)
  • define it—make sure you’re using the most appropriate definition, which might not be the first one listed in the dictionary
  • cite the source of your definition—I recommend the Merriam-Webster dictionary, although you might need to consult a different kind of dictionary depending on the word (e.g. an urban dictionary, a foreign language dictionary, etc.)
  • identify where you found the word (specify the specific page of a particular reading, date of the class discussion, title of the handout, etc.) and quote the passage (or paraphrase if you cannot directly quote someone’s speech)
  • explain what you understand about the passage now that you understand the word. Be specific—if you write something vague, like “Now I understand the passage because I understand what this word means,” you will not get credit for that entry.
  • (optional) include links or images that help illustrate the word or the context
  • choose the category Glossary from the sidebar
  • add tags to your post that reflect the topic you wrote about. You might include a tag based on the source of the word, the part of speech, etc., that will help us organize and reflect on the glossary as it grows.

For a model, check out this excellent sample entry, from a student who took ENG 2003:


Part of Speech: Adjective

Definition: relating to an equinox or to a state or the time of equal day and night

Source: Merriam-Webster

This word is found in the Elizabeth Bishop poem Sestina, first line, second stanza.
“She thinks that her equinoctial tears /and the rain that beats on the roof of the house/were both foretold by the almanac,/but only known to a grandmother./The iron kettle sings on the stove.”
Knowing the definition of this word added to this line in the poem. She is using the word as an adjective to describe her tears. She is perhaps saying that she cries equally in the day and night. She is also saying that her tears and the rain with both foretold by the almanac, which is also related to celestial things like the sun and the moon, so there is a theme here.

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These posts will contribute to a shared glossary for our course, available from the blog menu. Since I expect you to look up any words you don’t know, and to read all blog posts, glossary entries can appear on quizzes or exams. You are expected to meet the glossary deadlines listed on the course calendar. You are expected to write at least 5 vocabulary entries by the date of the midterm exam, and the remaining 5 entries before the date of the final exam.

Omitting any part of the required information will negatively affect the grade you receive as part of your blogging grade. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, or to ask in class or on our site.

(adapted from Open Lab glossary guidelines written by Professor Jody Rosen)