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Pierce's10th Grade Honors and 10th Grade IB Prep

IB Vocabulary Unit 1
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Vocabulary for Unit 1, with definitions. 

Silence, Reticence:

You’re so impertinent
You’re so impudent
You talk back all of the time
It dulls my senses
It numbs my state of mind
Where does that get me now
A weak, futile voice in the crowd

Silence, reticence
Be taciturn
to be laconic to the point
Where you don’t speak
You and me communicate
Strictly by telepathy
Don’t speak

You act belligerent
Savage and truculent
Why must you fight with me
Don’t you know
You’re just a charlatan
You’re not what you pretend to be
Where does that get you now
Vilified, abused, denounced by the crowd


Silence, reticence
Be taciturn
to be laconic to the point
Where you don’t speak
You and me communicate
Strictly by telepathy
Don’t speak

Be serene
Peaceful to the extreme
Embrace tranquility
Embrace tranquility

I’m just a novice
A neophyte
I’m a beginner, this is all so new
Let me be
Your sanctuary
Let me shelter you

Silence, reticence
Speak easy
Be taciturn
to be laconic to the point
Where you don’t speak
You and me communicate
Strictly by telepathy
Don’t speak
Don’t speak…


Impertinent [adjective]


rude or overly bold

As your superior officer, I will not tolerate any impertinent behavior from you warty, pimple-pocked maggots. You’re a disgrace to the Girl Scout uniform.

SYNONYMS: insolent, impudent

ANTONYMS: polite, respectful



These new facts about an impending asteroid strike are impertinent to my investigation of who’s been using my toothbrush.

SYNONYMS: unrelated, unimportant

ANTONYMS: pertinent, relevant

Notes Don’t get thrown by the fact that the word pert appears in the middle of impertinent. Pert means “overly confident,” or “cocky.” It can also mean “lively.” Although it sounds as though impertinent could be a negation of pert, it’s really a negation of the word pertain, which means “to relate to.”


Impudent [adjective]


offensively bold

When the impudent student mouthed off for the eighth time, Mrs. Gimmelstob briefly fantasized about quitting her job and running off with Ghoukas, an Armenian goatherd she met at the track.

SYNONYMS: insolent, impertinent

ANTONYMS: respectful, courteous

Notes: Usually, impudence is what we call it when the person being disrespectful is younger or in a lower position of authority. A teacher can’t, for example, behave impudently toward a student (though they can be jerks). Think of the word imp in the first syllable: a small, troublemaking demon known for mischief but which is no real threat.


Stupefied [verb or adjective]


past tense of stupefy, to stun or make stupid

Alan stupefied Jeanne-Marie by admitting that he was dating her only to get closer to Nippy, her lovely Yorkshire Terrier.

SYNONYMS: astonished, dumbfounded

ANTONYM: unsurprised

Notes: To stupefy is literally to shock someone to such a degree that they become stupid—unable to either talk or react intelligently. This word has an indirect relationship with stupendous, which means “really big.” If something is stupendous, it’s so big or overwhelming that it stupefies the viewer.

Something stupefying can inspire a sense of wonder or beauty in addition to simple shock. It tastes great as an adverb, too, especially when you want to insult someone as in: “That was a stupefyingly ignorant remark.


Futile [adjective]


producing no result

When Marvin’s efforts to find a prom date proved futile, he made one out of duct tape, latex, and his mother’s wig.

SYNONYMS: fruitless, vain

ANTONYMS: fruitful, rewarding

Notes: Futile is rarely used to mean “frivolous,” as when one gets distracted by things of no consequence. Still, the primary meanings of “pointless,” “useless,” and “fruitless” are the most likely to appear on your test. Hence the utter futility of our forcing you to read about the alternative meaning, which is also, by the way, totally impertinent.


Reticence [noun]


hesitancy to speak or act

Ingmar’s reticence about his love for Elsie was a mistake; if only he’d spoken up, he might not have spent the last 15 years single, lonely, and listening to Light FM.

SYNONYMS: taciturnity, restraint

ANTONYM: outspokenness

Notes: Reticence is most often used to mean “unwillingness to speak.” This can be for whatever reason: people were sworn to secrecy; they’re scared of sounding stupid by opening their fat mouths; or they’re just tired and want to quit jawing all the time. Whenever people resist speech, they’re reticent.

It can also mean “an unwillingness to act,” as in: “I’m reticent about sending in the last of the army; all I’ve got left are the Fifth Infantry Elite Sewing Corps. And I believe they’re already busy stitching ‘We Won!’ on my boxers.


Taciturn [adjective]


using few words, soft-spoken

Because he was so taciturn, Joey did not call out for help while a swarm of rabid gerbils devoured his little sister.

SYNONYMS: reticent, uncommunicative

ANTONYM: garrulous

Note: Something tacit is unspoken: “We had a tacit agreement: though we never said it aloud, we all knew that if one of us got busted, we’d sell the others up the river to avoid jail time.” Taciturn, therefore, means “disinclined to speak.”

When people are described as taciturn, it can mean that they characteristically express themselves with few words. “Even in death, dad was pretty taciturn: his last words were simply: “Buh-Bye.”


Strive  [verb]


to exert a great deal of effort

Strive for greatness and work hard to achieve your goals. If that doesn’t work, cheat and lie.

SYNONYMS: labor, toil

ANTONYMS: give up, be lazy


struggle, fight against

After a lifetime spent at sea, striving against hurricanes, pirates, and bouts of scurvy, I’ve come to realize I hate sailing.

SYNONYMS: contend, vie

ANTONYM: be at peace

Notes: Be on the lookout for the noun form, strife, meaning “struggle,” “conflict,” or “turmoil”: “Decades of strife had so exhausted the Buttkikians that they shelved their plans for world domination and took a nice long nap instead.”


Laconic [adjective]


brief and to-the-point

Laconic by nature, Alfred needed only one sentence to alienate his friends, family, and an entire religious sect.

SYNONYMS: terse, succinct

ANTONYMS: verbose, rambling

Notes: This word comes from Laconia, a region of ancient Greece where the city-state of Sparta was located. Warlike and brutish, the Spartans weren’t renowned for their communication skills; they preferred to negotiate with the talking end of a spear.


Telepathy [noun]


the ability to read another’s thoughts or to communicate by thinking

Using my powers of telepathy, I’m getting strong vibes that either you want me to be your macho hunk of all American manhood or you’re craving a cheeseburger.

SYNONYM: mind-reading

Notes: Telepaths are those who really can read another’s thoughts— those who just say they can are called something else: charlatans.

The suffix -pathy means “emotion.” Tele- means “far” (that’s why they call it tele-vision). Then it’s easy to put together: telepathy is “far- feeling.”


Belligerent [adjective]


hostile and warlike

In an attempt to change its image as a belligerent, warlike nation, Germany is offering free bratwurst and sponge baths to the Czechs.

SYNONYMS: bellicose, violent

ANTONYMS: peaceful, nonviolent

Notes: For this one, as well as bellicose (see “Amazing”), the prefix is the key. Belli- means “war,” which you’ll sometimes see used in political science or history books as antebellum (before the war) or casus belli (cause of war).


Truculent [adjective]


brutal and savage

After another devastating defeat, Jets fans had grown so truculent that Security Guard Johnston, forced to control the violence, dusted off his cattle prod, crooning “Now’s our chance, my pet.”

SYNONYMS: fierce, barbaric

ANTONYMS: calm, sedate

Notes: Don’t get suckered: this word has nothing to do with trucks. It comes from the Latin trux, a word used to describe the savages who, to the Romans, included pretty much anybody who wasn’t a Roman.


Charlatan [noun]


a con artist or fake

When Abner tried to sell bottles of his sweat, claiming its scent would attract the opposite sex, most folks suspected he was a charlatan. Grandpa ordered 60 bottles anyway, just in case it was true.

SYNONYMS: fraud, quack

Notes: We got this word in a pretty roundabout way although it sounds French, it was originally Italian, ciarla, meaning “to babble or chatter.” Some speculate that the word was intended to suggest the quacking of ducks—from which it was an easy step to ciarlatano, a quack.


Vilified [verb]


Past tense of vilify, to speak badly about a person or thing

Because Gandhi resisted the British Empire’s rule in India, the British vilified him, cursed his name, and wouldn’t give him any kidney pie at tea.

SYNONYMS: defamed, reviled

ANTONYMS: commended, lauded

Notes: Vilification is no casual expression of dislike.  If you really hate something, you vilify it. That’s why it sounds so much like vile, which is about as nasty a four-letter word as you can use in the English language without getting kicked out of class.

If you get stuck on this one, remember evil or devil, two things worth



Denounced [verb]


past tense of denounce, to speak badly about or publicly accuse

Although the member states of the United Nations loudly denounced the tyrant Boris Popopovich’s unspeakable acts of oppression, they quietly accepted the millions of barrels of cheap oil he pumped into their economies.

SYNONYMS: defamed, blamed

ANTONYMS: extolled, praised

Notes: Anytime you —flounce, you’re saying something out loud That’s where we get announce, renounce, and pronounce. To de-nounce, then, is to say something negative out loud.

The noun form, denunciation, shows clearly where the word came from: nuntius is Latin for “messenger” or “speaker.”


Serene [adjective]


quiet, peaceful

Simone became serene when she realized it was only

Saturday; she still had two days to prepare her speech to

Congress, which would surely bring the nation to its


SYNONYMS: tranquil, sedate

ANTONYMS: agitated, troubled

Notes: What a lovely, calming word Don’t you feel the serenity when you say it out loud?


Tranquility [noun]


peace and quiet

The tranquility of the Smith family reunion was shattered when cousin Ernest released his pet cobra into the kiddie pool to distract the others away from the sweet, sweet fruitcake.

SYNONYMS: calm, serenity

ANTONYMS: turmoil, chaos

Notes: There’s a reason why they call them tranquilizers Take enough of them and you’ll be mellow for hours, drifting sleepily in front of the television in a blissful haze of peaceful mindlessness. Not that we would ever encourage such a thing: everyone knows television rots the brain.

Remember that the word shares a root with trance, which suggests a peaceful (though sort of disconnected) mind state.

You’ll sometimes see the word spelled with one I, sometimes with two. Both are correct. Just depends on how lazy you feel.


Novice [noun or adjective]


a beginner

As a novice poet, Arthur wrote himself into a corner when he tried to find a rhyme for the line, “Thou art succulent as an orange.”

SYNONYMS: neophyte, amateur

ANTONYMS: ace, skilled

Notes: The Romans gave us so much, like the concept of bathing regularly. Back in ancient times, this was a pretty novel idea, since everybody was used to their apelike stench. Novus, the Latin word meaning “new,” gives us both novel and the word at hand, novice.

People can be novices when they’re just starting out, but things can also be novice if they’re designed for use by a beginner, as in a novice ski slope.

Though our novice poet in the above sentence is both new and bad, the word novice does not necessarily imply badness. Only newness.


Neophyte [noun]


a beginner

Neophyte skiers should never try the expert slopes; those mangled lumps scattered along the tree line were once human beings like you, with thoughts and feelings and absolutely no idea how to turn.

SYNONYMS: novice, tyro

ANTONYMS: expert, pro

Notes: Ain’t it good to know you’ve got so many ways to say a simple thing? Neophyte and novice are exact synonyms. Which one you choose says a lot about you and about how many friends you’re likely to have.


Sanctuary [noun]


a place of refuge or safety

Thank heavens a sanctuary has been created to protect the world’s least attractive mollusk, the poisonous, flesh- eating slime sucker.

SYNONYMS: haven, shelter

Notes: A sanctuary can be a physical place or a state of being It’s often used to describe a place, like a church or temple, that is protected because it is considered holy. Another common meaning is “a protected natural area,” such as a wildlife sanctuary.

Be aware the test for this can come at any time.  And for unit two I will not be giving you all the definitions; you'll need to look them up yourself.