Chapters 1–6

Dimple Shah is thrilled to be spending her summer studying web development at Stanford University — but she doesn't know that her traditional parents are planning for her to meet (and eventually marry!) fellow student Rishi Patel.

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. renege
    fail to fulfill a promise or obligation
    She’d thought that, at the last minute, Papa would have second thoughts and renege on the deposit.
  2. harangue
    address forcefully
    Not to mention she’d already stretched her luck about as far as it could go, she was sure, by asking—nay, haranguing—them to let her go to Stanford.
  3. mundane
    found in the ordinary course of events
    And every single time Mamma would be doing something mundane like rummaging in the kitchen cupboard, greeting her casually with, “Have you seen my saffron?”
  4. livid
    furiously angry
    Mamma never understood why it made Dimple so livid.
  5. kameez
    a long tunic worn by people from the Indian subcontinent
    Dimple said a little prayer that she’d win a thousand-dollar lottery, turned off her monitor, adjusted her ratty gray salwar kameez, and made her way downstairs.
  6. aversion
    a feeling of intense dislike
    But Mamma would never understand Dimple’s aversion to makeup and fashion.
  7. surreptitious
    marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
    From beside Mamma, Papa, ever the peacemaker, was making a surreptitious please let it go face.
  8. acerbic
    harsh or corrosive in tone
    There were a million things she could say in acerbic response, of course, but Dimple still hadn’t ruled out asking to enroll in Insomnia Con if the opportunity presented itself.
  9. indignant
    angered at something unjust or wrong
    “Misogynistic! You call your own mother misogynistic?” Mamma darted an indignant look at Papa, who appeared to be extremely invested in a loose thread on his kurta.
  10. misogyny
    hatred of women
    Turning back to Dimple, Mamma snapped, “This is what I’m worried about! You lose sight of the important things, Dimple. Looking nice, making an effort...these are the things girls value in our culture. Not this”—she made air quotes, which up until now Dimple hadn’t realized she knew how to use—“‘ misogyny’ business.”
  11. relegate
    assign to a lower position
    “Seriously? That’s what you think I should be relegating my brain space to? Looking nice? Like, if I don’t make the effort to look beautiful, my entire existence is nullified? Nothing else matters—not my intellect, not my personality or my accomplishments; my hopes and dreams mean nothing if I’m not wearing eyeliner?”
  12. lexicon
    a language user's knowledge of words
    It was like they were constantly speaking two different languages, each trying to convince the other in an alien lexicon.
  13. demure
    shy or modest, often in a playful or provocative way
    “We have guests,” she said demurely, patting her hair.
  14. lament
    express grief verbally
    Mamma often lamented that her first word had been “why.”
  15. blight
    a state or condition being devastated or run-down
    Dimple thought of Insomnia Con, of Jenny Lindt, of SFSU, of Stanford. Of all the things she’d jeopardize if she called Ritu auntie a backward, anti-feminist blight on democratic society.
  16. magnanimous
    noble and generous in spirit
    Perhaps with Seema in the room, Mamma might want to appear more magnanimous.
  17. verbatim
    in precisely the same words used by a writer or speaker
    Barely daring to breathe, Dimple repeated verbatim what she’d told Mamma.
  18. misgiving
    uneasiness about the fitness of an action
    Rishi grinned, misgivings receding.
  19. apathetic
    marked by a lack of interest
    Rishi had watched dozens of his friends—of all ethnicities—fall in love at the beginning of the school year and become mortal enemies by the end. Or worse, become apathetic nothings.
  20. endear
    make attractive or lovable
    She’d have some cute, funny quip about the day that picture was taken that would totally endear her to him.
  21. gist
    the central meaning or theme of a speech or literary work
    “Yeah, I think I have the gist of that story after hearing it four million times.”
  22. brocade
    thick expensive material with a raised pattern
    It was swaths of gold brocade, with a vibrant peacock blue dupatta.
  23. preen
    pride or congratulate oneself for an achievement
    Dimple could see her practically preening for the crowd.
  24. sequester
    keep away from others
    The afternoon sunlight was luxuriant on her skin; she’d been sequestered in her car for the past three hours.
  25. litany
    any long and tedious address or recital
    Mamma was sure to have another litany of questions and warnings about American college boys.
  26. meander
    move or cause to move in a winding or curving course
    Clutching her iced drink, she made her way outside and meandered over to a stone fountain of the SFSU gator (which was turned off; thank you, drought conditions).
  27. unprecedented
    novel; having no earlier occurrence
    Although, she had to hand it to them: sending her here was unprecedented.
  28. personify
    attribute human qualities to something
    And then she was just there, right in front of him, like some sort of huge cosmic coincidence personified.
  29. beatific
    resembling or befitting an angel or saint
    Sitting on that fountain, face upturned, drinking in the sunshine like a flower, looking completely beatific.
  30. peal
    a deep prolonged sound
    “Uh...she seemed...spirited.” His mother’s peals of laughter traveled down the phone line.
  31. accost
    approach and speak to someone aggressively or insistently
    She’d barely been in the city fifteen minutes and already she’d been accosted by a predator.
  32. unadulterated
    without qualification
    Dimple loved it, all of it, instantly and with an unadulterated passion.
  33. wayward
    resistant to guidance or discipline
    Here she wouldn't be Dimple Shah, wayward, Americanized daughter of immigrant parents; she’d be just Dimple Shah, future web developer.
  34. clique
    an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose
    There would be no cliques like high school.
  35. volition
    the act of making a choice
    Everyone was here of their own volition, to learn, to teach, to work together.
  36. brandish
    exhibit aggressively
    “I mean it!” She turned again, brandishing the map.
  37. ostensibly
    from appearances alone
    “Compatibility may be what it’s ostensibly about,” Dimple responded, pushing her glasses up on her nose.
  38. adamant
    impervious to pleas, persuasion, requests, or reason
    “Yeah, I learned Hindi first, before English. My parents were really adamant about that. They’re technically from Gujarat, but they’re third generation Mumbaiites, so they speak Hindi. Mumbai is, like, this huge melting pot of people from other Indian states, so apparently everyone speaks this special version of what my parents call ‘Bombay Hindi.’”
  39. impassioned
    characterized by intense emotion
    But he had to be practical—she likely had just wanted to have an impassioned discussion about the evils of arranged marriages and controlling parents and was disappointed it wasn’t coming to fruition.
  40. fruition
    the attainment or fulfillment of a plan or objective
    But he had to be practical—she likely had just wanted to have an impassioned discussion about the evils of arranged marriages and controlling parents and was disappointed it wasn’t coming to fruition.
Created on September 22, 2018 (updated October 1, 2018)

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.