Copyright 2001 © Laraine Flemming. Copyright is granted exclusively to instructors and students using textbooks written by Laraine Flemming. General distribution and redistribution are strictly prohibited.
Directions: Use the context clue or clues in the sentence or passage to define the italicized word. Then choose the best definition by circling the appropriate letter.
Note: Occasionally, there might be two answers that seem to fit the context, but one will be better than the other. Pay careful attention to the context when you select one.
1. The playwright was used to receiving nothing but accolades from the critics, but this time around, the critics panned everything about the play, calling it uninspired and boring.
a. expressions of disapproval b. expressions of approval c. unwanted advice
2. Writers who don't read much generally don't know when they are using clichés; they tend to think that expressions such as "eyes like stars," "lips like roses" and "lemon-yellow" daffodils originated with them.
a. original phrases b. grammatical errors c. unoriginal language
3. Because she had never learned to think about the consequences of her actions, her behavior tended to be capricious. One moment, she was going to marry and have a big family; the next she wanted to dedicate herself to a career and give up on love. The constant changes in her moods and goals tended to tire out those around her.
a. impulsive b. organized c. comical
4. The young monk led a very ascetic existence. He rose at five in the morning, spent an hour in prayer and then sat down to a simple breakfast of grains and fruit. The rest of the day was spent in prayer and work until he ate a light supper and retired at eight.
a. simple b. horrifying c. luxurious
5. She was apprehended by the police only two hours after the robbery, but being captured didn't make her humble or frightened. She seemed to have no idea of what was in store for her.
a. identified b. caught c. let go
6. A rebel in his youth, middle age had made him a reactionary. The very mention of the word progress made him angry and aggressive.
a. someone who loves animals b. someone who hates people c. someone who dislikes change
7. With its four thousand square feet and attached three car garage, the house was mammoth. But being big didn't make it pretty. It was an absolute monstrosity, badly designed and uncomfortable to live in.
a. tilted b. mortgaged c. huge
8. In the beginning, the crowd had been orderly, but after the union leader announced that there would be no wage increase, pandemonium broke out and spread through the hall as people began shouting and throwing things at the speaker.
a. confusion and disorder b. fights c. the sound of horns
9. From childhood, he had been a staunch friend who was always there when I needed him. But suddenly in the past year, he had become unreliable and withdrawn.
a. casual b. devoted c. unstable
10. When she was twelve, she hated her gargantuan height, which made her tower over the boys in the class. But as the eighteen-year-old star of her college basketball team, she gloried in it.
a. enormous b. slender c. crooked
Last change made to this page: August 17, 2004