College Reading & Writing Vocab List

  1. Pariah
    Noun: Someone who is despised or rejected; an outcast

    “The other kids treated her like a total pariah, crowing that her mother was a ‘whore’ and calling her ‘lice girl’ ” (Walls 161).
  2. Cantakerous
    Adjective: Difficult or irritating to deal with.

    “After Mom and Dad left, Erma became even more cantankerous” (Walls 146).
  3. Cacophony
    Noun: A harsh discordance of sound; dissonance

    “You drowned in music and pure cacophony” (Bradbury 45).
  4. Odious
    Adjective: Arousing or deserving hatred or repugnance

    • Beatty, Stoneman, and Black ran up the sidewalk, suddenly odious and fat in their plump
    • fireproof slickers” (Bradbury 35).
  5. Usurious
    Adjective: The lending of money with an interest charge of its use, especially at exorbitant (very high) interest rates

    “Dad said all he was doing was outsmarting the fat-cat bank owners who shylocked the common man by charging usurious interest rates” (Walls 111).
  6. Disdainful
    Adjective: Feeling contempt or scorn

    “Dad was disdainful of a fire starter like kerosene” (Walls 178).
  7. Caprice
    Noun: A sudden impulsive and seemingly unmotivated notion or action

    • “Had all those years, as well as Mon and Dad’s time on the street – not to mention their current life in an abandoned tenement – been a caprice inflicted on us by
    • mom?” (Walls 273).
  8. Recriminations
    Noun: a retalitory accusation

    “Now, no recriminations,” Lori told him (Walls 288).
  9. Stolid
    Adjective: Dull, stupid

    “With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter” (Bradbury 3).
  10. Cajole
    Verb: To persuade by flattery or promises; wheedle; coax

    “I assumed that come opening day, she’d be off in Lucy Jo’s Dart to Davy Elementary, even if we had to cajole her” (Walls 218).
  11. Amalgamate
    Verb: To mix or merge so as to make a combination

    “Plant closings and downsizings drastically reduced the UPWA’s membership, and in 1968, if merged with its rival union, the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen” (Register 63).
  12. Sojourn
    Noun: A temporary stay

    “Francis had worked as a farmhand on his first sojourn in the United States” (Register 74).
  13. Ribald
    Adjective: Vulgar or indecent in speech or language

    “The door banged often as people stopped by to report good news and bad, seeking Grandma’s counsel on progems of home or heart, share a ribald joke, or confide secrets in Danish” (Register 77).
  14. Abattoir
    Noun: Slaughterhouse

    “ ‘Kill,’ they said, not ‘abattoir,’ ‘guts,’ not ‘offal’” (Register 183).
  15. Bivouac
    Noun: A military encampment ade with tents or improvised shelters, usually without shelter or protection from enemy fire.

    “Words like ‘convoy’ or ‘bivouac’ helped me hold the fantasy in place until they came back through again, wearily heading home” (Register 195).
  16. Ensconce
    Verb: To cover or shelter; hide securely

    “Judge Cooney, whose name oozed out between Dad’s curling lips, kept himself ensconced in the Prudential Building in Chicago” (Register 248).
  17. Proliferate
    Adjective: To grow by rapid production of new parts, cells, buds or offspring

    “A proliferation of cats crawled out from under rotten boards, furniture or up the musty basement steps” (Register 80).
  18. Disingenuous
    Adjective: Lacking in candor, giving a false appeareance of simple frankness

    • “The Tribune disingenuously refused to publish the names of the American Gas sit-down strikers, to preserve peace in the community, but then, on another
    • page, ran the text of an injunction that included a list of defendants” (Register 127).
  19. Beguile
    Verb: To lead by deception

    Beguiled as we were, we couldn’t tell a real cowboy from the celluloid imitation” (Register 49).
  20. Contemptuous
    Adjective: Showing or expressing dislike

    • “As I prepare to describe the Register place, the word that comes to mind is déclassé, a contemptuous term I imagine hearing from those who have no
    • intimacies outside the educated middle class” (Register 79).
  21. Acquiescence
    Noun: The act or condition of giving agreement or consent by silence or without objection

    “The union reduced its list of demands somewhat to maintain negotiations, but Wilson’s kept banking on its four pennies to win, if not the union’s acquiescence, at least public support” (Register 159).
  22. Predilection
    Noun: A tendency to think favorably of something in particular

    “I would have been whispering nasty words instead about those union roughnecks who were keeping my dad from delivering his livestock to the plant – unless we followed Great-Grandpa Ostrander’s predilection for the Farmer-Labor Party Politics” (Register 95).
  23. Remuneration
    Noun: Act of paying, rewarding

    • “I tried to interest our company … in giving the workers some kind of stock options, or some kind of remuneration that lets them know they are part of this
    • company” (Register 167).
  24. Benighted
    Adjective: Intellectually or morally ignorant

    “Strange as it may sound to our benighted ears, this was the one we were to use” (Register 190).
  25. Gumption
    Noun: Common sense, initiative

    • “We now had a weird looking half-finished paint job – one that announced to the world that the people inside the house wanted to fix it up but lacked the
    • gumption to get the work done” (Walls 158).
  26. Finagle
    Verb: Obtain by trickery

    “Leo is a superb storyteller, and many of his stories describe his finagling with the Chicago office to acquire equipment” (Register 166).
  27. Fracas
    Noun: A noisy quarrel

    “You know they had quite a fracas up there at the old American Gas building” (Register 169).
  28. Nebbish
    Noun: A timid, meek or ineffectual person

    “Judging myself totally without personality – more nebbish than tabula rasa – I resolved to get one” (Register 137).
  29. Flout
    Verb: To indulge in scornful behavior

    “There were rules that had to be followed, and people didn’t take kindly when you flouted them” (Walls 145).
  30. Epithet
    Noun: A disparaging or abusive word or phrase

    “ ‘Fairy’ was not the epithet for a homosexual but the rowdy word for rule-abiding teenager” (Register 137).
Card Set
College Reading & Writing Vocab List
30 Vocab Words for Fall Semester