Grisly (adjective) – inspiring disgust or distaste
From: “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma” by Junot Diaz
“By the time I was eleven, I was suffering from both depression and uncontrollable rage. By thirteen, I stopped being able to look at myself in the mirror—and the few times I accidentally glimpsed my reflection I’d recoil like I’d got hit in the face by a jellyfish stinger. (What did I see? I saw the crime, my grisly debasement, and if anyone looked at me too long I would run or I would fight.)”
Here, the narrator uses the word grisly to show how depression is causing him to see a gruesome decrease in character. He fears that depression is taking away the characteristics that define him. Also, depression is making him become an introvert because he doesn’t want to communicate with anybody or get attention from anybody.
Aquiver (adjective): marked by trembling or quivering
From “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin
“She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life.”
Here, Kate Chopin uses the word Aquiver to describe how the trees were reacting to the spring weather. This means that the trees were shaking or vibrating in the wind.
Magnificent (adjective)- marked by stately grandeur and lavishness.
I saw this word while reading the 1812 version of the Brothers Grimm story, Cinderella. Cinderella uses it in reference to the ball her stepsisters attended the night before.
The next morning the two sisters came to the kitchen. They were angry when they saw that she had sorted the lentils, for they wanted to scold her. Because they could not, they began telling her about the ball. They said, “Cinderella, it was so grand at the ball. The prince, who is the best looking man in the whole world, escorted us, and he is going to choose one of us to be his wife.”
“Yes,” said Cinderella, “I saw the glistening lights. It must have been magnificent.”
Here, Cinderella is saying the party was extravagant and high-class. Basically, she’s saying the party looked like a good time.
Sheen (noun) – a bright or shining condition
From ” I Always Write About My Mother When I Start to Write” by Bia Lowe
“I loved to watch her stand over the sink. The sheen of her slip in the bathroom light slid
over the curves of her body like my finger in a bowl of frosting.”
Bia Lowe uses this word to describe the brightness of her mother’s dress, which may be velvet, in the bathroom light and shows the reader that it is glowing. Sheen basically means bright or luster texture on the surface.
Passé: (adjective): past one’s prime.
From “There Was Once” by Margaret Atwood:
“There was once a poor girl, as beautiful as she was good, who lived with her wicked stepmother in a house in the forest.”
“Forest? Forest is passé, I mean, I’ve had it with all this wilderness stuff. It’s not a right image of our society, today. Let’s have some urban for a change.”
As one can see, the listener in the story is criticizing the speaker for choosing to use a forest as a setting for the tale. Forests are settings that old tales took place, and therefore outdated, and a change of setting is needed. A much more modern one, that the listener can relate to.
“That hairstyle is so passé.”