Warm Up–Second Quarter

Twin brothers Josh and Jordan Bell clash both on and off the basketball court. How high can you score on this list of words from Alexander's award-winning novel in verse?

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, untie!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. acclaim
    praise vociferously
    But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame.
    Folks call me that ’cause my game’s acclaimed,
    so downright dirty, it’ll put you to shame.
  2. gloat
    dwell on with satisfaction
    Remember the greats, my dad likes to gloat:
    I balled with Magic and the Goat.
  3. crepe
    small very thin pancake
    Mom says,
    Your dad's old school, like an ol' Chevette.
    You’re fresh and new, like a red Corvette.
    Your game so sweet, it’s a crepe suzette.
  4. inspire
    spur on or encourage especially by cheers and shouts
    See, when I play ball,
    I’m on fire.
    When I shoot,
    I inspire.
  5. distinction
    high status importance owing to marked superiority
    Filthy McNasty
    is a MYTHical MANchild
    Of rather dubious distinction
  6. banish
    send away from a place of residence, as for punishment
    On the way to the game
    I’m banished to the back seat with JB, who only stops playing with my locks when I slap him across his bald head with my jockstrap.
  7. flaunt
    display proudly
    I want to go to Duke, he flaunts Carolina Blue.
  8. phenomenal
    exceedingly or unbelievably great
    JB’s the second most phenomenal baller on our team.
  9. snicker
    laugh quietly
    I snicker but it’s not funny to him, especially when I take off from center court, my hair like wings,
    each lock lifting me higher and HIGHER
    like a 747 ZOOM ZOOM!
  10. impersonation
    mimicking the mannerisms of someone else
    Coach calls us in,
    does his Phil Jackson impersonation.
  11. ignite
    arouse or excite feelings and passions
    Love ignites the spirit, brings teams together, he says.
  12. taunt
    harass with persistent criticism or carping
    JB likes to taunt and trash talk during games like Dad used to do when he played.
  13. prefer
    like better; value more highly
    When I walk onto the court I prefer silence so I can
    Watch React Surprise.
  14. enshrine
    enclose in a place of worship
    If my hair were a tree I’d climb it.
    I’d kneel down beneath and enshrine it.
    I’d treat it like gold and then mine it.
  15. legendary
    so celebrated as to having taken on the nature of a myth
    Even though I used to be one of those nerdy sixth-graders, even though I love my hair the way Dad loves Krispy Kreme, even though I don’t want us to lose the game, odds are this is one of JB’s legendary bets I’ll win
  16. cackle
    emit a loud, unpleasant kind of laughing
    In the locker room
    after the game,
    JB cackles like a crow.
  17. calamity
    an event resulting in great loss and misfortune
    He opens the scissors, grabs my hair to slash a strand.
    I don’t hear my golden lock hit the floor, but I do hear the sound of calamity when Vondie hollers,
    OH, SNAP!
  18. dreadful
    exceptionally bad or displeasing
    As in: The HUGE bald patch
    on the side
    of my head
    is a dreadful
  19. random
    lacking any definite plan or order or purpose
    He brings back three packages
    of duck sauce and a cup of wonton soup
    and hands them all to me.
    Dad pauses, and Mom looks at JB.
    That was random, she says.
  20. seldom
    not often
    I am not
    a mathematician— a + b seldom equals c.
  21. resist
    express opposition through action or words
    Let’s do this, he says.
    I resist, ready to take the purple hat box and jet,
    but I guess the mystery is just too much.
  22. loom
    hang over, as of something threatening, dark, or menacing
    The hip-hop soundtrack blasts. The bass booms.
    The crowd looms.
  23. mocking
    playfully vexing, especially by ridicule
    There’s music and mocking, teasing nonstop, but when the play begins all the talk ceases.
  24. appeal
    attractiveness that interests or pleases or stimulates
    Having great physical beauty and appeal.
  25. strategy
    an elaborate and systematic plan of action
    Coach reads to us from The Art of War:
    A winning strategy is not about planning, he says.
    It’s about quick responses to changing conditions.
  26. frantically
    in an uncontrolled manner
    Dad takes us to the Rec to practice shooting free throws with one hand while he stands two feet in front of us,
    waving frantically in our faces.
  27. amateur
    someone who pursues a study or sport as a pastime
    I challenge them:
    It won’t be so funny when we shut you amateurs down, will it?
  28. expectation
    belief about the future
    Others’ expectations of you are determined by their limitations of life.
  29. camaraderie
    the quality of affording easy familiarity and sociability
    In this moment I forget about the test and the note
    until JB hits me in the head with his No. 2.
    Somewhere between camaraderie and imbecile I tap her beige bare shoulder with the note.
  30. decent
    socially or conventionally correct; refined or virtuous
    Since I can’t seem to make a decent man out of you perhaps the Air Force or Marines can.
  31. torso
    the body excluding the head and neck and limbs
    He’s standing in front of the class, a dummy laid out on the floor,
    plastic, faceless, torso cut in half.
  32. swagger
    a proud stiff pompous gait
    As in: Isn’t it ironic that showoff JB, with all his swagger, is too shy to talk
    to Miss Sweet Tea,
    so he gives me the phone?
  33. sibling
    a person's brother or sister
    Was that your brother?
    Yep, that was Josh. I’m JB.
    I know who you are, silly—I called you.
    Uh, right. You have any siblings, Alexis?
  34. opulent
    rich and superior in quality
    Didn’t your dad play in the NBA?
    No, he played in Italy.
    But still, he made a lot of money, right?
    It’s not like we’re opulent.
  35. uphold
    keep or maintain in unaltered condition
    I have a reputation to uphold.
  36. verdict
    findings of a jury on issues submitted to it for decision
    So, what's the verdict, Jordan?
  37. strut
    walk in a proud, confident way
    Only today I wait
    at our table in the back
    for twenty-five minutes, texting Vondie
    (home sick), eating a fruit cup (alone), before I see
    JB strut
    into the cafeteria with Miss Sweet Tea holding his precious hand.
  38. meditate
    think intently and at length, as for spiritual purposes
    But instead of drills and sprints, we sit on our butts, make weird sounds —
    Ohmmmmmmmm Ohmmmmmmmm and meditate.
  39. stubble
    short hairs growing on a man's face when he has not shaved
    The main reason I can't sleep
    is not because
    of the game tomorrow tonight, is not because
    the stubble on my head feels
    like bugs are break dancing on it,
    is not even because I’m worried about Dad.
  40. verify
    confirm the truth of
    At 5:48 the cop smiles after verifying Dad’s identity on Google, and says, You “Da Man”!
Created on March 23, 2016 (updated May 1, 2019)

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, sheffieldwind.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.