Fiske 250 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know

Fiske 250 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know

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Here are the 250 most important words students need to know to be successful in college and beyond, from the former education editor of the New York Times and a leading authority on college admissions. Each entry contains information on the word origin, a complete definition, and example sentences, making it both the perfect gift for high school graduation and an effective tool for expanding a student's vocabulary, increasing word comprehension, and honing their writing skills. This is the perfect book for giving young adults entering college or starting a career a clear advantage before they begin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781402260827
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/01/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
File size: 513 KB

About the Author

Edward B. Fiske served for 17 years as education editor of the New York Times, where he realized that college-bound students and their families needed better information on which to base their educational choices. He is also the author of the Fiske Guide to Getting into the Right College. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter 1: Aggressive Words

"Comin'-at-ya!" That's, more or less, the literal meaning of "aggressive." Whether actual or just implied, the words below all involve some form of attack.

1. Scathe (rhymes with bathe)
This means "to harm or injure" and comes into English from Old Norse; those Vikings knew a thing or two about scathing. Today, you'll see it mostly in the two forms illustrated below.

  • While Henrik would never hit a member of his family, his scathing comments are brutal enough.
  • The powerful force of Hurricane Katrina left no resident of New Orleans unscathed.

2. Lacerate (LASS-er-ate)
This word refers to ripping or tearing, whether literal or figurative.

  • The pit-bull attack left Jeff with deep lacerations on his shin.
  • The English translation of Jonathan Swift's self-written Latin epitaph refers to death as the only place where his heart would not be lacerated by a fierce indignation.

3. Disparage (dis-PAIR-idge)
Though not as cruel as scathe or lacerate, this verb refers to a withering belittlement of someone or something. (The root word is related to the word peer, so if you're dis-peered, you're being made less of an equal than the speaker.)

  • Because Angela is insecure about her abilities, she finds it important to disparage the ideas of others, even before they've been given a hearing.
  • Martin's disparagement of Bethany's attempts to make him happy gradually led to their break-up.

4. Deride (de-RIDE)
Akin in meaning to disparage, this verb contains the additional tinge of meaning "scornful laughter."

  • In Shakespeare's comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream, Helena, ignorant of the magic potion put onto the eyes of Lysander and Demetrius, feels sure their declarations of love are attempts to deride her.
  • "I'd rather have you make a straightforward attack on me than to treat my ideas with such derision in our staff meetings," asserted Randolph nervously to his supervisor.

5. Temerity (tem-ER-it-ee)
From the Latin word meaning rash, this noun means "extreme boldness." Someone with temerity exhibits a foolish disregard for danger. There is actually an adjective form of the word, temerarious, but using this uncommon form would be a little bit audacious.

  • Oliver Twist had the temerity to ask for some more porridge when he knew the directors of the orphanage were determined to feed the boys as little as possible.
  • It took a lot of temerity for the soldier to cross No Man's Land in the middle of a skirmish.

6. Diatribe (DYE-ah-tribe)
The root of the Greek word diatribe or "learned discourse" is diatribein, which means "to consume or wear away." In English, the noun means "a bitter, abusive lecture."

  • Stalin's speech was a furious diatribe, harshly critical of his political opponents.
  • Xiao Xiao's cutting humor and brutal sarcasm made each of her movie reviews a hilarious diatribe against contemporary culture.

7. Animus (AN-i-muss)
In its general meaning this noun expresses the idea of a hostile disposition, ill will toward someone. (In Jungian psychology the word describes masculine aspects of a female's unconscious.) The noun form is animosity.

  • "Why do all of your remarks to me have such an animus? I haven't done anything to deserve this jeering," said the fed-up Malcolm.
  • The comic book character Animus deserves his name, for he is indeed a hatemonger and expresses animosity toward others.

Table of Contents


1. Aggressive Words
2. Fighting Words
3. Flabby Words
4. Funny Words
5. Farrago
Quiz #1
6. Lighthearted Words
7. Logophile Words
8. Mental Words
9. Nature Words
10. Gallimaufry
Quiz #2
11. "No" Words
12. Powerful Words
13. Repeating Words
14. Riddling Words
15. Hodgepodge
Quiz #3
16. Scholarly Words
17. Shape-Shifting Words
18. Short Words
19. Sinful Words.
20. Olio
Quiz #4
21. Smart Words
22. Tiny Words
23. Uncertain Words
24. Unchanging Words
25. Potpourri
Quiz #5

Appendix: Quiz Answers
About the Authors

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Fiske 250 Words Every High School Graduate Needs to Know 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thank you for explaining! This makes a bit more sense now...and I think getting it published would be awesome!
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