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. Compelled (p. 349) might mean what?
  2. Ascertain (p. 350) might mean what?
  3. Sultry (p. 353) might mean what?
  4. Unendurable (p. 355) might mean what?
  5. Festering (p. 356) might mean what?
  6. Eerie (p. 356) might mean what?
  7. Eddies (p. 358) might mean what?
  8. Intonation (p. 358) might mean what?


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. Compelled (p. 349) means required, like when Ron Burgundy says, "I don't normally do this, but I felt compelled to tell you something." You can only imagine what sort of shenanigans he's going to say next! (DreamWorks, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, 2004).
  2. Ascertain (p. 350) means find out for sure. It even sounds like "as certain," which is what it means — to confirm something as certain. Bella wants to confirm as certain that Jacob is okay. He is, after all, hunting a lethal, nefarious, and avenging vampire.
  3. Sultry (p. 353) means hot and humid. You can get this from the context. There is a thick layer of clouds, so it's not sunny. And Bella says that it's warm, so since this is Forks, it's warm and wet — sultry.
  4. Unendurable (p. 355) means not endurable — unbearable. Synonym: intolerable.
  5. Festering (p. 356) means getting much worse, like a wound that gets infected.
  6. Eerie (p. 356) means spooky. SAT, ACT, GED, and SSAT reading-comprehension passages always include a few questions about the tone of a passage. Tone is expressed through an author's choice of words and punctuation. You can see the ominous (threatening) tone of this page from words like festering and eerie, as well as revenge, angrier, shivered, and trick. Something's up, that's for sure!
  7. Eddies (p. 358) means swirls of water or wind.
  8. Intonation (p. 358) means pitch. Synonyms: cadence, inflection, timber.


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


  1. require
  2. ascertain
  3. endure
  4. fester
  5. avenge


  1. eerie
  2. disconsolate
  3. buoyant
  4. sagacious
  5. humid


  1. desolate
  2. intolerable
  3. ebullient
  4. intermittent
  5. meager


  1. injunction
  2. dictum
  3. inflection
  4. writ
  5. metamorphosis


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

5. Fester is to worse as

  1. ascertain is to indifferent
  2. morph is to amalgamated
  3. convalesce is to better
  4. homogenize is to varied
  5. reel is to brittle

6. Sultry is to arid as

  1. eddies is to swirls
  2. cadence is to timber
  3. prolonged is to protracted
  4. secluded is to communal
  5. stymie is to thwart

Sentence Completions

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

7. Even though Kirsten is already a successful professional singer, she feels compelled to assiduously ________ her albums and shows.

  1. intonate
  2. articulate
  3. harmonize
  4. promote
  5. ascertain

8. Annika found the ________ climate of Costa Rica preferable to the arid climate of Phoenix.

  1. unendurable
  2. festering
  3. sultry
  4. impaired
  5. sallow


1. A. Compel means require. Ascertain means confirm, endure means bear, fester means get worse, and avenge means get revenge for.

2. E. Sultry means hot and humid. Eerie means spooky, disconsolate means miserable, buoyant means very excited, and sagacious means wise.

3. B. Unendurable means intolerable. Desolate means miserable, ebullient means very excited, intermittent means sporadic, and meager means little.

4. C. Intonation and inflection mean pitch. Use the process of elimination. Injunction, dictum, and writ mean formal declaration, and metamorphosis means change.

5. C. "Fester means to get worse."

  1. Ascertain (confirm) means to get indifferent (uncaring) . . . no.
  2. Morph (change) means to get amalgamated (gathered together) . . . no, not necessarily.
  3. Convalesce (heal) means to get better . . . yes!
  4. Homogenize means to get varied . . . no, homogenize means to get unified.
  5. Reel (stagger) means to get brittle (fragile) . . . no.

6. D. "Sultry (hot and humid) is the opposite of arid (dry)."

  1. Eddies is the opposite of swirls . . . no, they are synonyms.
  2. Cadence is the opposite of timber . . . no, they are synonyms.
  3. Prolonged is the opposite of protracted . . . no, they are synonyms.
  4. Secluded (alone) is the opposite of communal (together) . . . yes!
  5. Stymie is the opposite of thwart . . . no, they both mean block.

7. D. "Even though Kirsten is already a successful professional singer, she feels compelled to assiduously ???? her albums and shows." Use the process of elimination. Promote means advertise or publicize, and is the best answer. Be careful of choices A, B, and C, which relate to singing, but do not fit the blank or the evidence and flow of the sentence. Assiduously means diligently, but you could get this question correct even if you didn't know that definition!

8. C. "Annika found the not arid climate of Costa Rica preferable to the arid climate of Phoenix." Sultry means hot and humid, which is the opposite of arid (dry).

Pop Quiz!

Which of the following is a true sentence?


I've screwed up horribly this semester. I always say I'm going to change my habits, but I always end up getting lazy and doing something else. I want to succeed, but how can I get rid of my own laziness?

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