Chapters 1–9

Tris lives in a society divided into strictly separated factions. Given the chance to change her life, she must keep a dangerous secret from those in power.

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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. aptitude
    inherent ability
    Today is the day of the aptitude test that will show me which of the five factions I belong in.
  2. jostle
    come into rough contact with while moving
    Every time it hits a patch of uneven pavement, it jostles me from side to side, even though I’m gripping the seat to keep myself still.
  3. antagonistic
    arousing animosity or hostility
    This sort of thing has been happening to others in my faction for months now—the Erudite have been releasing antagonistic reports about Abnegation, and it has begun to affect the way we relate at school.
  4. demeanor
    the way a person behaves toward other people
    The gray clothes, the plain hairstyle, and the unassuming demeanor of my faction are supposed to make it easier for me to forget myself, and easier for everyone else to forget me too.
  5. exodus
    a journey by a group to escape from a hostile environment
    And as the last few cars pass, a mass exodus of young men and women in dark clothing hurl themselves from the moving cars, some dropping and rolling, others stumbling a few steps before regaining their balance.
  6. supersede
    take the place or move into the position of
    Faction customs dictate even idle behavior and supersede individual preference.
  7. signify
    convey or express a meaning
    If I didn’t feel like my heart had migrated to my throat, I would ask her what it signifies.
  8. duress
    compulsory force or threat
    My biology textbook said that dogs can smell fear because of a chemical secreted by human glands in a state of duress, the same chemical a dog’s prey secretes.
  9. irrational
    not consistent with or using reason
    My fear is irrational; this is just a test, it isn’t real.
  10. simulation
    the act of imitating the behavior of some situation
    “Typically, each stage of the simulation eliminates one or more of the factions, but in your case, only two have been ruled out.”
  11. scenario
    a postulated sequence of possible events
    If you had shown an automatic distaste for the knife and selected the cheese, the simulation would have led you to a different scenario that confirmed your aptitude for Amity.
  12. alignment
    an organization of people involved in a pact or treaty
    Your intelligent response to the dog indicates strong alignment with the Erudite.
  13. divergent
    tending to move apart in different directions
    My conclusion,” she explains, “is that you display equal aptitude for Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite. People who get this kind of result are . . .” She looks over her shoulder like she expects someone to appear behind her. “. . . are called . . . Divergent.”
  14. forsake
    leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch
    But choosing a different faction means I forsake my family.
  15. initiation
    a formal entry into an organization or position or office
    Because they failed to complete initiation into whatever faction they chose, they live in poverty, doing the work no one else wants to do.
  16. acrid
    strong and sharp, as a taste or smell
    I smell something acrid and unpleasant on his breath.
  17. disdain
    lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
    The reason for the simplicity isn’t disdain for uniqueness, as the other factions have sometimes interpreted it.
  18. duplicity
    the act of deceiving or acting in bad faith
    I seem to have persuaded Susan and Robert, who no longer look concerned for my mental stability, but Caleb narrows his eyes at me, the way he does when he suspects someone of duplicity.
  19. tentative
    hesitant or lacking confidence; unsettled in mind or opinion
    He and I have been exchanging looks for the past year as Susan and Caleb flirt in the tentative way known only to the Abnegation.
  20. impeccable
    without fault or error
    Our leaders are selected by their peers for their impeccable character, moral fortitude, and leadership skills.
  21. devastate
    cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly
    Two years ago, Marcus’s son, Tobias, left us for the Dauntless, and Marcus was devastated.
  22. falter
    be or become weak, unsteady, or uncertain
    Tori’s warning whispers in my memory every time my resolve to keep my mouth shut falters.
  23. engulf
    flow over or cover completely
    We set an example for our fellow faction members, and soon the three of us are engulfed in the mass of gray fabric ascending cement stairs in the half light.
  24. subsume
    contain or include
    I could be subsumed into Abnegation’s hive mind, projecting always outward.
  25. concentric
    having a common center
    The room is arranged in concentric circles.
  26. precipice
    a very steep cliff
    “Our dependents are now sixteen. They stand on the precipice of adulthood, and it is now up to them to decide what kind of people they will be.”
  27. ideology
    an orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group
    Decades ago our ancestors realized that it is not political ideology, religious belief, race, or nationalism that is to blame for a warring world.
  28. eradicate
    destroy completely, as if down to the roots
    They divided into factions that sought to eradicate those qualities they believed responsible for the world’s disarray.
  29. motto
    a favorite saying of a sect or political group
    I think of the motto I read in my Faction History textbook: Faction before blood.
  30. deception
    the act of misleading
    “I’m used to just saying whatever is on my mind. Mom used to say that politeness is deception in pretty packaging.”
  31. intimidating
    discouraging through fear
    “. . . definitely intimidating,” I finally say.
  32. minion
    a servile or fawning dependent
    “Yeah, Peter’s slightly more feminine-looking minion,” she says, nodding toward the cluster of people on the other side of the room.
  33. furtive
    secret and sly or sordid
    Peter, Drew, and Molly cast furtive looks in our direction and then pull their heads together, whispering.
  34. ruthless
    without mercy or pity
    I feel like I am looking at two different kinds of Dauntless—the honorable kind, and the ruthless kind.
  35. relent
    give in, as to influence or pressure
    She says it like she expects him to relent, but her wide eyes and ashen face suggest otherwise.
Created on January 10, 2015 (updated September 5, 2018)

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