SAT: Build Your Vocabulary with Chapters 8 and 9 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. Potency (p. 193) might mean what?
  2. Edict (p. 193) might mean what?
  3. Virtues (p. 194) might mean what?
  4. Mutated (p. 194) might mean what?
  5. Topographical (p. 196) might mean what?
  6. Cataclysmic (p. 201) might mean what?
  7. Entail (p. 202) might mean what?
  8. Foiled (p. 204) 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. Potency (p. 193) means strength.
  2. Edict (p. 193) means formal declaration. Two of the most important edicts of all time: 1) the Edict of Milan in which the Roman Empire stated that it would be neutral with regard to religious worship, and 2) the Volturi Edict of 2006 in which Aro decreed that since Bella knows of the existence of vampires, she must be . . . well, I won't spoil it for you in case you haven't read that far yet! Synonyms: decree, fiat, mandate, proclamation.
  3. Virtues (p. 194) means good qualities. The opposite of virtue is vice, a bad quality.
  4. Mutated (p. 194) means genetically changed, that's why the superhumans in the X-Men comics are called mutants — they have had genetic changes that give them special powers. In the television show Heroes, Mohinder Suresh thinks genetic mutation is also responsible for Claire's, Hiro's, Nathan's, and Peter's special abilities.
  5. Topographical (p. 196) means showing physical features, such as elevation. This is a very cool word to break apart. Topo- means place, and graph refers to writing, so topography is writing about a place, like on a map!
  6. Cataclysmic (p. 201) means disastrous. Synonyms: calamitous, catastrophic.
  7. Entail (p. 202) means involve.
  8. Foiled (p. 204) means defeated. Villains in movies often use this word when defeated, such as when sinister villain Sideshow Bob complains about Bart, "The spirited little scamp who twice foiled my evil schemes and sent me to this dank . . . " (Fox, The Simpsons, "Cape Feare," 1993) Synonyms: stymied, thwarted.

Synonyms

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

1. POTENT

  1. dire
  2. strong
  3. foiled
  4. defeated
  5. unpremeditated

2. EDICT

  1. mandate
  2. catastrophe
  3. virtue
  4. perquisite
  5. exuberance

3. MUTATED

  1. entailed
  2. involved
  3. cajoled
  4. changed
  5. goaded

4. CATACLYSMIC

  1. catastrophic
  2. potent
  3. pathetic
  4. clinical
  5. ironic

Analogies

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

5. Virtuous is to good as

  1. mollified is to exposed
  2. infused is to separated
  3. grotesque is to pleasant
  4. haggard is to robust
  5. nebulous is to unclear

6. Topographical is to map as

  1. impasse is to passageway
  2. precipice is to contingency
  3. tawny is to color
  4. trio is to convalescence
  5. aversion is to basilisk

Sentence Completions

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

7. After crops were severely damaged from the high winds and heavy rains, farmers feared that additional ________ weather could have ________ effects.

  1. stern . . mutating
  2. topographical . . calamitous
  3. potent . . foiling
  4. impetuous . . dire
  5. harsh . . catastrophic

8. Velma knew that in order to ________ the thief, she would have to infiltrate his hideout just before twilight, defeating him before he even set out for the night.

  1. placate
  2. admonish
  3. foil
  4. mutate
  5. marvel at
  6. Answers

1. B. Potent means strong. Watch out for choice A, dire (dangerous). A dire wolf is strong, but dire does not directly mean strong. Foiled means defeated. Unpremeditated means spontaneous and is an interesting word to break apart: Un- means not, pre- means before, and meditate means contemplate, so unpremeditated means not contemplated beforehand — spontaneous!

2. A. Edict and mandate mean formal declaration. Catastrophe means disaster, virtue means good quality, perquisite means benefit, and exuberance means excitement.

3. D. Mutated means changed. Entailed means involved, and cajoled and goaded mean urged.

4. A. Cataclysmic and catastrophic mean disastrous. Potent means strong, pathetic means pitiable, clinical means scientific, and ironic means surprising and humorous.

5. E. "Virtuous means good."

  1. Mollified (soothed) means exposed . . . no.
  2. Infused (mixed) means separated . . . no.
  3. Grotesque (gross) means pleasant . . . no.
  4. Haggard (tired) means robust . . . no.
  5. Nebulous (unclear) means unclear . . . yes!

6. C. "Topographical is a type of map."

  1. Impasse is a type of passageway . . . no, impasse is a dead end.
  2. Precipice (cliff) is a type of contingency (possibility) . . . no.
  3. Tawny is a type of color . . . yes, tawny is yellowish-brown.
  4. Trio (group of three) is a type of convalescence (healing) . . . no, that makes no sense.
  5. Aversion (avoidance) is a type of basilisk (legendary creature) . . . no.

7. E. "After crops were severely damaged from the high winds and heavy rains, farmers feared that additional severe weather could have damaging effects." Questions with two blanks are actually easier than questions with one blank — you have two opportunities to use the process of elimination. So think of a word to fill each blank and then use the process of elimination, one blank at a time. Harsh means severe, and catastrophic means disastrous.

8. C. "Velma knew that in order to defeat the thief, she would have to infiltrate his hideout just before twilight, defeating him before he even set out for the night." Foil means defeat.