SAT: Build Your Vocabulary with Chapters 20 and 21 of New Moon

Use this chapter from Defining New Moon — written by Brian Leaf for CliffsNotes — side-by-side with your own copy of Stephenie Meyer's New Moon to build your vocabulary and improve your score on the SAT, ACT, GED, or SSAT exams. The chapter gives you eight words taken from New Moon, with page references for you to read the words in the context of Stephenie Meyer's popular novel. Based on how the word is used in New Moon, guess at its definition; then check your answers, write the exact definitions, and reread the sentence in New Moon where each word appears. Then complete the rest of the test prep example questions.

Defining New Moon

Find each of the following words on the New Moon page number provided. Based on the way each word is used in the book, guess at its definition.

  1. Subterranean (p. 459) might mean what?
  2. Ebony (p. 460) might mean what?
  3. Ghoulish (p. 462) might mean what?
  4. Contemptuous (p. 465) might mean what?
  5. Antechamber (p. 465) might mean what?
  6. Cavernous (p. 465) might mean what?
  7. Turret (p. 465) might mean what?
  8. Surreal (p. 466) might mean what?

Answers

Let's see how you did. Check your answers, write the exact definitions, and reread the sentence in New Moon where each word appears. Then complete the drills on the next page.

  1. Subterranean (p. 459) means underground. Terra- means earth, and sub- means below, so subterranean just means below earth — underground. Here are a few other great terra words: extraterrestrial (extra- means beyond, so beyond the Earth), territory (area of land), and terrain (type of land).
  2. Ebony (p. 460) means black. Let's review the some color words you'll find in New Moon: alabaster (white), blanched (white), crimson (purplish-red), jade (green), ocher (yellowish-brown), russet (reddish-brown), sienna (reddish-brown), tawny (yellowish-brown), and ebony (black). Use these terms to spice up your creative or descriptive essays in school. They are more interesting and more specific than the mundane primary colors. Plus, now you'll know what to expect if you order clothes from a catalog.
  3. Ghoulish (p. 462) means disturbing and unpleasant, like a ghoul, and like the South Park Halloween episode when Phillip dresses as a ghost and says, "That fart was absolutely ghoulish, Terrance." (Comedy Central, "South Park," Spooky Fish, 1997) Synonyms: ghastly, grisly, grotesque, macabre, morbid.
  4. Contemptuous (p. 465) means angry and disobedient. The ending -ous just means characterized by, so contemptuous means characterized by contempt (anger and disobedience). Synonyms for contempt: abhorrence, derision, disdain, scorn.
  5. Antechamber (p. 465) means entry room that precedes a larger room. That's easy to break apart. Ante- means before, like the money you toss into the pot before a hand of poker. So antechamber means before chamber — the small room that precedes a larger one.
  6. Cavernous (p. 465) means very spacious, like a big cavern. Great SAT, ACT, GED, and SSAT synonyms: capacious, voluminous.
  7. Turret (p. 465) in this case means a cylindrical tower on a corner or wall of a castle.
  8. Surreal (p. 466) means unreal.

Synonyms

Select the word whose meaning is closest to the word in capital letters.

1. SUBTERRANEAN

  1. underground
  2. extraterrestrial
  3. ghoulish
  4. morbid
  5. macabre

2. EBONY

  1. capacious
  2. surreal
  3. black
  4. alabaster
  5. tawny

3. CONTEMPTUOUS

  1. distended
  2. protuberant
  3. engorged
  4. scornful
  5. voluminous

4. CAVERNOUS

  1. disdainful
  2. derisive
  3. intermittent
  4. haggard
  5. capacious

Analogies

Select the answer choice that best completes the meaning of the sentence.

5. Turret is to castle as

  1. ebony is to color
  2. kismet is to fate
  3. remnants are to original
  4. carcass is to cadaver
  5. smirk is to expression

6. Antechamber is to edifice as

  1. taboo is to forbidden
  2. preface is to book
  3. edict is to formal
  4. jade is to gemstone
  5. hysteria is to panic

Sentence Completions

Choose the word that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

7. The keys of a piano alternate between ________ and ivory — black and white.

  1. sienna
  2. alabaster
  3. russet
  4. ebony
  5. tawny

8. In a court of law, judges will not tolerate ________ behavior and quickly call transgressors to order.

  1. serpentine
  2. inexorable
  3. prophetic
  4. rapacious
  5. contemptuous

Answers

1. A. Subterranean means underground. Extraterrestrial means from beyond Earth, and ghoulish, morbid, and macabre mean disturbing.

2. C. Ebony means black. Capacious means spacious, surreal means not real, alabaster means white, and tawny means yellowish-brown.

3. D. Contemptuous and scornful mean angry and disobedient. Distended, protuberant, and engorged mean swelled, and voluminous means spacious.

4. E. Use the process of elimination. Cavernous and capacious mean spacious. Disdainful and derisive mean scornful, intermittent means sporadic, and haggard means tired-looking.

5. C. "A turret (tower) is part of a castle."

  1. Ebony (black) is part of a color . . . no, ebony is a type of color.
  2. Kismet is part of a fate . . . no, kismet means fate.
  3. Remnants are part of an original . . . maybe, it's what's left over.
  4. A carcass (dead animal body) is part of a cadaver (dead human body) . . . no!
  5. A smirk is part of an expression . . . no, a smirk is a type of expression.

This type of relationship, "________ is part of a ________," shows up quite a bit on the SSAT. Using the process of elimination, choice C is best.

6. B. "An antechamber is part of an edifice."

  1. Taboo is part of a forbidden . . . no, taboo means forbidden.
  2. A preface is part of a book . . . yes, and like an antechamber, it's the first part.
  3. An edict is part of a formal . . . no, an edict is formal.
  4. Jade is part of a gemstone . . . no, jade is a green gemstone.
  5. Hysteria is part of a panic . . . no, hysteria can mean panic.

7. D. "The keys of a piano alternate between black and ivory-black and white." Ebony means black.

8. E. "In a court of law, judges will not tolerate transgressing behavior and quickly call transgressors to order." Contemptuous means angry and disobedient, like contempt of court, and is the best answer. Let's review the other choices. Serpentine means winding, inexorable means unstoppable, prophetic means predicting, and rapacious means very hungry or greedy.