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

Defining Twilight

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

  1. Literally (p. 26) might mean what?
  2. Tousled (p. 26) might mean what?
  3. Hastily (p. 27) might mean what?
  4. Maternally (p. 27) might mean what?
  5. Haven (p. 28) might mean what?
  6. Opaque (p. 29) might mean what?
  7. Terminator (p. 30) might mean what?
  8. Elated (p. 30) might mean what?


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

  1. Literally (p. 26) means factually or exactly. Literally, like verbatim, has to do with words being exact. Sometimes literally is used when something is actually true and sometimes it is used (as on page 26 in Twilight) to give strong emphasis.
  2. Tousled (p. 26) means messy, usually for hair.
  3. Hastily (p. 27) means hurriedly. If you've ever played Dungeons & Dragons, or dated anyone who played Dungeons & Dragons, you might know that Haste is a third-level spell that makes you move really fast.
  4. Maternally (p. 27) means related to or like a mother. It can also mean on your mother's side — as in your maternal grandma.
  5. Haven (p. 28) means place of safety or comfort. It sounds a lot like heaven, which is a great way to remember it, though it is actually unrelated. Haven comes from the German word for harbor, since a harbor represents a place of safety for boats.
  6. Opaque (p. 29) means solid or unclear or not transparent — basically something that you can't see through. Figuratively, it can also mean a difficult or unclear concept that is hard to grasp. Notice that this word is basically defined in the sentence that it appears in — " . . . the clouds were dense and opaque." Dense is very similar to opaque. The SAT, ACT, GED, and SSAT always do that, too; you can figure out the general meaning of a word from the words around it.
  7. Terminator (p. 30) means one who terminates or kills, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator (or Shermanator in American Pie!).
  8. Elated (p. 30) means very psyched. Synonyms: ecstatic, euphoric, jubilant, rapturous.


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


  1. shared
  2. avuncular
  3. aged
  4. motherly
  5. statuesque


  1. translucent
  2. transparent
  3. elated
  4. open
  5. solid


  1. exile
  2. community
  3. refuge
  4. supplement
  5. skirmish


  1. hyperaware
  2. euphoric
  3. hostile
  4. morose
  5. sad


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

5. Wind is to tousle as

  1. brick is to construct
  2. storm is to tempest
  3. judge is to condemn
  4. vampire is to play baseball
  5. frog is to avert

6. Spy is to surreptitious as

  1. friend is to antagonistic
  2. enemy is to hostile
  3. stuntperson is to perilous
  4. dancer is to capricious
  5. king is to exiled

Sentence Completions

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

7. Amit considered his mother's house to be a ________ from his hectic life, and referred to it as the ________ sanctuary.

  1. elation . . literal
  2. tousled . . opaque
  3. haven . . maternal
  4. hostile . . inconspicuous
  5. nostalgia . . commercial

8. Sonja was ________ when she received the news that she had won a full college scholarship.

  1. elated
  2. terminated
  3. literal
  4. hasty
  5. reproved


1. D. Maternal means motherly or related to a mother. The word in choice B, avuncular, means of or relating to an uncle. It even sounds like "of uncle"!

2. E. Opaque means solid — no light passes through. Elated means very happy.

3. C. Haven means place of safety or refuge.

4. B. Ecstatic means very psyched. Let's use the process of elimination on the choices:

  1. Hyperaware means very aware, remember that hyper- means very, like hyperactive.
  2. Euphoric means thrilled.
  3. Hostile means unfriendly.
  4. Morose means sad and sullen, and is the opposite.
  5. Sad

5. C. "Wind might tousle (someone's hair)."

  1. Brick might construct . . . not bad, but a brick is used to construct, it does not do it.
  2. Storm might tempest . . . no, tempest is a big storm.
  3. Judge might condemn . . . yes, a judge might reprimand.
  4. A vampire might play baseball . . . they do like baseball and they might play, but this answer is not as definite as choice C.
  5. A frog might avert . . . now that's just crazy.

6. B. "A spy is surreptitious (sneaky)."

  1. A friend is antagonistic . . . no, a friend is not antagonistic (unfriendly).
  2. An enemy is hostile . . . yes, an enemy is probably hostile (unfriendly).
  3. A stuntperson is perilous . . . no, a stuntperson might do perilous things, but he or she is not perilous (dangerous).
  4. A dancer is capricious . . . no, a dancer is not necessarily erratic.
  5. A king is exiled . . . no, though many kings in history got booted, a king is not necessarily sent away.

7. C. "Amit considered his mother's house to be a sanctuary from his hectic life, and referred to it as the mother's house sanctuary." Use the process of elimination, one blank at a time. Haven means sanctuary, and maternal refers to mother.

8. A. "Sonja was psyched when she received the news that she had won a full college scholarship." Elated is a terrific word for psyched. Hasty means rushed, and reproved means scolded.

Pop Quiz!

Which of the following correctly solves the equation x 2 – 3 x = 18?

Back to Top