IMPROVING
VOCABULARY SKILLS
Fourth Edition
Sherrie L. Nist
© 2010 Townsend Press
Unit Two: Chapter 10
• degenerate
• sanctuary
• implausible
• scrutiny
• incoherent
• sinister
• intercede
• suffice
• intricate
• vulnerable
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
1 degenerate
– verb
• Mr. Freedman’s family was called to the nursing home when the
old man’s condition began to degenerate. It was feared he didn’t
have long to live.
• Mel’s relationship with his parents degenerated when he
dropped out of school against their wishes and became a
bartender.
Degenerate means
A. to improve.
B. to remain the same.
C. to get worse.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
1 degenerate
– verb
• Mr. Freedman’s family was called to the nursing home when the
old man’s condition began to degenerate. It was feared he didn’t
have long to live.
• Mel’s relationship with his parents degenerated when he
dropped out of school against their wishes and became a
bartender.
Degenerate means
A. to improve.
B. to remain the same.
C. to get worse.
If Mr. Freedman’s family was called to the nursing home, the man’s
condition must have been getting worse. If Mel dropped out of
school against his parents’ wishes, his relationship with his parents
would get worse.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
2 implausible
– adjective
• As implausible as it may sound, southern Florida sometimes
does get snow.
• Insurance companies hear such implausible excuses for auto
accidents as “I hit the telephone pole when I was blinded by the
lights of a flying saucer.”
Implausible means
A. unbelievable.
B. acceptable.
C. valuable.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
2 implausible
– adjective
• As implausible as it may sound, southern Florida sometimes
does get snow.
• Insurance companies hear such implausible excuses for auto
accidents as “I hit the telephone pole when I was blinded by the
lights of a flying saucer.”
Implausible means
A. unbelievable.
B. acceptable.
C. valuable.
It sounds unbelievable that it can snow in southern Florida. Being
blinded by the lights of a flying saucer sounds like an unbelievable
excuse for an accident.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
3 incoherent
– adjective
• If Mitch doesn’t get some sleep soon, he’ll become completely
incoherent. He’s so tired that he’s already having trouble
expressing his thoughts clearly.
• My sister talks a lot in her sleep, but she’s so incoherent then
that we can never figure out what she’s saying.
Incoherent means
A. calm.
B. unclear.
C. inconvenient.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
3 incoherent
– adjective
• If Mitch doesn’t get some sleep soon, he’ll become completely
incoherent. He’s so tired that he’s already having trouble
expressing his thoughts clearly.
• My sister talks a lot in her sleep, but she’s so incoherent then
that we can never figure out what she’s saying.
Incoherent means
A. calm.
B. unclear.
C. inconvenient.
If Mitch is already having trouble expressing his thoughts clearly,
he is likely to become completely unclear. In the second item, if
they can never figure out what the sister is saying, she must be
unclear when she talks in her sleep.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
4 intercede
– verb
• When the principal said Harry couldn’t play in Friday’s football
game, the coach interceded, hoping to change the principal’s
mind.
• Inez’s parents refused to come to her wedding until her brother
interceded and persuaded them to come after all.
Intercede means
A. to give in to someone.
B. to plead for someone.
C. to examine closely.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
4 intercede
– verb
• When the principal said Harry couldn’t play in Friday’s football
game, the coach interceded, hoping to change the principal’s
mind.
• Inez’s parents refused to come to her wedding until her brother
interceded and persuaded them to come after all.
Intercede means
A. to give in to someone.
B. to plead for someone.
C. to examine closely.
The coach would plead on Harry’s behalf in hopes of changing the
principal’s mind. If Inez’s brother persuaded her parents to come
to the wedding, he must have pleaded with them on her behalf.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
5 intricate
– adjective
• War and Peace is a long, intricate novel that weaves together the
detailed life stories of many individuals.
• It’s amazing to see the intricate gold and silver jewelry that
ancient Indians made with only simple tools. It obviously
required great patience and skill to create such complex
ornaments.
Intricate means
A. simple.
B. uninteresting.
C. complicated.
Intricate patterns of color
on the wings of two butterflies
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
5 intricate
– adjective
• War and Peace is a long, intricate novel that weaves together the
detailed life stories of many individuals.
• It’s amazing to see the intricate gold and silver jewelry that
ancient Indians made with only simple tools. It obviously
required great patience and skill to create such complex
ornaments.
Intricate means
A. simple.
B. uninteresting.
C. complicated.
Intricate patterns of color
on the wings of two butterflies
If the novel weaves together the detailed
life stories of many individuals, it must be
a complicated novel. In the second item,
the word complex suggests that intricate
means “complicated.”
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
6 sanctuary
– noun
• Old, unused trains in Grand Central Station serve as a nighttime
sanctuary for some of New York City’s homeless.
• When the houseful of children becomes too noisy, Ned finds the
laundry room to be a sanctuary, a place where he can read in
quiet.
Sanctuary means
A. a reminder.
B. a shelter.
C. a challenge.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
6 sanctuary
– noun
• Old, unused trains in Grand Central Station serve as a nighttime
sanctuary for some of New York City’s homeless.
• When the houseful of children becomes too noisy, Ned finds the
laundry room to be a sanctuary, a place where he can read in
quiet.
Sanctuary means
A. a reminder.
B. a shelter.
C. a challenge.
The Refuge Animal Sanctuary is an
organization in Colorado that shelters
abused and homeless animals.
The homeless would need a
nighttime shelter. If the laundry
room is a place where Ned can
read in quiet, it is a shelter from
the noisy children.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
7 scrutiny
– noun
• Store security guards give careful scrutiny to people carrying
large bags, since the bags may be used for shoplifting.
• Before being published, a book comes under the scrutiny of a
proofreader, who examines it for grammar and spelling errors.
Scrutiny means
A. attention.
B. protection.
C. permission.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
7 scrutiny
– noun
• Store security guards give careful scrutiny to people carrying
large bags, since the bags may be used for shoplifting.
• Before being published, a book comes under the scrutiny of a
proofreader, who examines it for grammar and spelling errors.
Scrutiny means
A. attention.
B. protection.
C. permission.
If the bags might be used for shoplifting, the security guards would
give them careful attention. If the proofreader examines the book for
errors, the book comes under the attention of the proofreader.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
8 sinister
– adjective
• In the movie, a mad scientist thought up the sinister scheme of
releasing a deadly virus. His evil plot failed when he died from
the virus himself.
• The creepy novel The Boys from Brazil tells of a sinister plot to
clone dozens of copies of Adolf Hitler who would then take over
the world.
Sinister means
A mask with
a sinister
expression
A. illogical.
B. evil.
C. inconsiderate.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
8 sinister
– adjective
• In the movie, a mad scientist thought up the sinister scheme of
releasing a deadly virus. His evil plot failed when he died from
the virus himself.
• The creepy novel The Boys from Brazil tells of a sinister plot to
clone dozens of copies of Adolf Hitler who would then take over
the world.
Sinister means
A mask with
a sinister
expression
A. illogical.
B. evil.
C. inconsiderate.
In the first item, the word evil tells
you the meaning of sinister. In the
second item, a plot to clone dozens of
Hitlers to take over the world would
be an evil plot.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
9 suffice
– verb
• The amount of research you’ve done may suffice for a highschool term paper, but not for a college essay.
• I forgot to buy something for lunch tomorrow, but the leftover
meatloaf will suffice.
Suffice means
A. to be wasted.
B. to be adequate.
C. to be examined.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
9 suffice
– verb
• The amount of research you’ve done may suffice for a highschool term paper, but not for a college essay.
• I forgot to buy something for lunch tomorrow, but the leftover
meatloaf will suffice.
Suffice means
A. to be wasted.
B. to be adequate.
C. to be examined.
The amount of research might be adequate for a high school paper.
In the second item, the leftover meatloaf would be adequate for lunch.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
10 vulnerable
– adjective
• Homes in heavily wooded areas are especially vulnerable to
termites.
• Because they tend to have brittle bones, the elderly are
vulnerable to fractures.
Vulnerable means
A. open.
B. safe.
C. attracted.
TEN WORDS IN CONTEXT
Choose the meaning closest to that of the boldfaced word.
10 vulnerable
– adjective
• Homes in heavily wooded areas are especially vulnerable to
termites.
• Because they tend to have brittle bones, the elderly are
vulnerable to fractures.
Vulnerable means
A. open.
B. safe.
C. attracted.
A heavily wooded area would make a home open to termites.
Brittle bones would make the elderly open to fractures.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. degenerate
B. implausible
C. incoherent
D. intercede
E. intricate
F. sanctuary
G. scrutiny
H. sinister
I. suffice
J. vulnerable
1. Ken’s cartoons __________ for the school newspaper,
but they wouldn’t be good enough for the city papers.
2. In the Batman movies, the Joker’s name is misleading, for
he’s a(n) ________ man who takes pleasure in doing evil.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. degenerate
B. implausible
C. incoherent
D. intercede
E. intricate
F. sanctuary
G. scrutiny
H. sinister
I. suffice
J. vulnerable
1. Ken’s cartoons __________
suffice for the school newspaper,
but they wouldn’t be good enough for the city papers.
The words good enough tell you the meaning of suffice.
2. In the Batman movies, the Joker’s name is misleading, for
he’s a __________
man who takes pleasure in doing evil.
sinister
If the Joker takes pleasure in doing evil, he is an evil man.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. degenerate
B. implausible
C. incoherent
D. intercede
E. intricate
F. sanctuary
G. scrutiny
H. sinister
I. suffice
J. vulnerable
3. People who live in big cities are more __________ to
muggings than are residents of small towns.
4. The leaves outside the window created a(n) ________ lacy
shadow on my bedroom wall.
5. Although it seems __________, the seemingly dead desert
really does blossom after a rainstorm.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. degenerate
B. implausible
C. incoherent
D. intercede
E. intricate
F. sanctuary
G. scrutiny
H. sinister
I. suffice
J. vulnerable
3. People who live in big cities are more __________
vulnerable to
muggings than are residents of small towns.
Living in a big city makes one more open to attack by a mugger.
4. The leaves outside the window created an _________
intricate lacy
shadow on my bedroom wall.
Leaves can create complex lacy shadows.
5. Although it seems __________,
implausible the seemingly dead desert
really does blossom after a rainstorm.
It is difficult to believe that the seemingly dead desert can blossom.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. degenerate
B. implausible
C. incoherent
D. intercede
E. intricate
F. sanctuary
G. scrutiny
H. sinister
I. suffice
J. vulnerable
6. People who allow an escaped convict to use their home
as a __________ may face criminal charges themselves.
7. My brother was so upset that he was __________. It
wasn’t until he calmed down that I understood what he
was saying: that he had been fired.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. degenerate
B. implausible
C. incoherent
D. intercede
E. intricate
F. sanctuary
G. scrutiny
H. sinister
I. suffice
J. vulnerable
6. People who allow an escaped convict to use their home
as a __________
sanctuary may face criminal charges themselves.
If you allow an escaped convict to use your home as a place of
safety, you may end up facing criminal charges.
7. My brother was so upset that he was __________.
incoherent It
wasn’t until he calmed down that I understood what he
was saying: that he had been fired.
If the person couldn’t understand the what the brother was saying
until he calmed down, the brother must have been unable to speak
in a logical way.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. degenerate
B. implausible
C. incoherent
D. intercede
E. intricate
F. sanctuary
G. scrutiny
H. sinister
I. suffice
J. vulnerable
8. Unclaimed bags at airports receive the __________ of
security officers watching for drugs or explosives.
9. When I don’t have company, my apartment tends to
__________ into a jumble of papers, clothes, and school
supplies.
10. When Dad informed my little sister that she had to be
home from her date no later than ten o’clock, Mom
________(e)d and gave her a midnight curfew.
SENTENCE CHECK 1
Complete each item with the correct word from the box.
A. degenerate
B. implausible
C. incoherent
D. intercede
E. intricate
F. sanctuary
G. scrutiny
H. sinister
I. suffice
J. vulnerable
8. Unclaimed bags at airports receive the __________
scrutiny of
security officers watching for drugs or explosives.
Unclaimed bags would receive the careful examination of security
officers.
9. When I don’t have company, my apartment tends to
__________
degenerate into a jumble of papers, clothes, and school
supplies.
The apartment would deteriorate into a jumble of papers and clothes.
10. When Dad informed my little sister that she had to be
home from her date no later than ten o’clock, Mom
__________
interceded and gave her a midnight curfew.
Mom made a request on the sister’s behalf that moved the curfew later.
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IV4 10r - San Fernando Senior High School