Category Archives: Glossary



Prevalent- accepted, done, or happening often over a large area at a particular time: common or widespread

I can across this word in the text for the final exam for this course. I immediately recognized that I wasn’t familiar with this term. In the text, it stated, ” Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is now the most prevalent psychiatric illness of young people in America…”. After researching this word the text was much clearer, and I understood it when it came up further on in the text.



Metamorphosis- a major change in the appearance or character of someone or something.

When I came across this word I already had a slight idea of what was being said. It was mentioned in the sentence stating, ” This one shows the opening or Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis”. As you can see, the sentence that this word is in doesn’t actually give the reader a sense of it’s meaning because it’s being referred to as the name of a novel. After researching this word I was given more clarity.



Quorum- The smallest number of people that must be present in a meeting in order for decisions to be made

I first heard this word earlier in the day during my morning English class. The Professor used this vocabulary term because of the low amount of students in the class at the time. So she still decided that it was enough to begin. I was confused when I first heard this word because I had no idea what she was saying. After a quick search in the Webster dictionary it was obvious what was being said. It took a few seconds and I learned a simple new term.


Source: Google

Zany- amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic

2. One who acts the buffoon to amuse others

When I first saw this word in the text ” A picture of language ” I had a little bit of an idea of what it may have meant. It stated, ” If you weren’t taught to diagram a sentence, this might sound a little zany”. Now that I have researched this word I have a better understanding of what it was conveying. However, the numerous definitions such as the second one provided, made it a little confusing as to which one properly fits the text. Obviously now I realize that the first one makes the most sense.



Domesticity- life inside a home; the activities of a family or of the people who share a home.

I found this particular word in the passage “Reading Lucy” by Jennifer Egan. After reading the sentence I found that I had no idea what this sentence was saying. It stated, “Savor this fluke of independence before the champ of 1950s domesticity closes around you”. After researching the meaning of this word, the sentence was immediately cleared up. Egan wanted Lucy to enjoy her last bit of independence that she has left because soon it will no longer be just her alone. Once the 1950s hit, her independence would have been nothing but a memory to her.



Querlous: complaining in a petulant or whining manner

I came across this word in the text “Reading Lucy” by Jennifer Lucy. It sort of caught me off guard in a way because I hadn’t seen any previous vocabulary. In the text it stated: “She also had a habit of footnoting words whose meanings Alfred might not know-like querulous-and providing definitions”. the sentence I found it in is interesting because this particular word was an example of something people would not generally know. I saw it as a question within a question. When I found the definition it didn’t really make much of a difference because it was not included for the purpose of getting a message across.



Nebulous- unclear, vague or ill defined

When I came across this word in the text in class( What if you could choose between the fastest route and the most beautiful). My lack of knowledge of what this word meant made it confusing to understand what the text meant. Using context clues did not help the situation as much either. The sentence this word was found in states, ” But how do you quantify concepts as nebulous as beauty or happiness”. Finding the definition made the text simpler to understand as usual. But in this case I can know the specific question they’re trying to involved.



Melancholy- a sad mood or feeling

I came across this vocabulary word in the article ” A literary visitor strolls from the airport”. It states, “.. Mr. Self, who is unusually tall and very thin and has a long melancholy face that he once described as looking like a bag of genitals…..” From the text it came from, I determined that it isn’t a positive word that people may use often to describe an individual. Once I found the meaning of the world, I was able to picture the typical expression that Mr. Self may always have on. With this in mind, the actions that he takes on further in the passage makes more sense because I have more of an understanding of who this man is.



Voyeur- a person who gets sexual pleasure from secretly watching other people having sex

I came across this word in the text ” Barney Collier’s book” during class. It states, ” You could have had some award winning photographs of her underpants as her skirt billowed over her head, you voyeurs”. By observing context clues, I new it was not a positive term or something that was looked down upon in society, especially considering the circumstances it was used in. After researching this word it was clear that i was something that is inappropriate in the moment it may have taken place. This isn’t a word that I would generally see in any other text. But it does clearly get the point across with emphasis.


Glossary entry #5: Wince


Wince- to shrink back involuntarily (as from pain)

Colson Whiteheads seems to like using a broad range of vocabulary to convey his point throughout the passage. When I came across this particular vocabulary word it had me a standstill in my reading for a moment. It states ” It saw you wince when the single frigid drop fell from the air-conditioner twelve stories up and zapped you”. Using the context clues from the sentence surrounding the word, I was able to get some idea of what this word meant. I simply imagined a drop of ice cold waters splashing right in my face. My reaction would be much like what Whitehead describes. I still searched the word just to be sure of its meaning.