Essay / Education

Vocabulary Quiz on The Horse and His Boy

horse and boy A few years ago, I taught the Chronicles of Narnia as part of a college course. I always feel odd teaching a class on books that people read for fun, books with a very high entertainment value. Isn’t that what people outside the academy assume we’re doing on campus: giving college credit for watching cartoons and reading comic books? So partly to salve my conscience, and partly to alert students to just how challenging this children’s literature by C. S. Lewis really is, I pulled out the hardest words in the book and made a vocabulary quiz. Some of the words are British, some are out of usage since mid-century, but some are just indicators that C. S. Lewis had a great vocabulary and expected young readers to enjoy it.

4 points each. Eyes on your own paper!

hummock: (p. 140)
A. a knoll
B. a lumpy bed
C. a mountain
D. a cut of meat

scullion: (p. 133)
A. marine parasite
B. menial kitchen help
C. elf bathroom
D. comes before mulder

indigence: (p. 3)
A. irresponsibility
B. poverty
C. autochthonism
D. aboriginality

carbuncle: (p. 6)
A. a robot cousin
B. a precious red stone
C.a painful localized bacterial infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, having several openings through which pus is discharged
D. both B and C

inexorable: (p. 43)
A. unsatisfying
B. too Tashy
C. indigestible
D. relentless

plash: (p. 10)
A. sound of water
B. overstuffed
C. comes before q lash
D. peasant’s hut

copse: (p. 20)
A. medieval law enforcers
B. dwarfy
C. thicket of small trees
D. handsaw

to sheer: (p. 28)
A. to swerve from course
B. to sever
C. to rend apart
D. to make transparent

pith: (p. 44)
A. any monkey
B. the essence of a thing
C. a detour
D. seeds

desist: (p. 119)
A. to cease
B. to resist but with a “d”
C. to remove
D. to broadcast

salutary: (p. 121)
A. graduated with honors
B. healthful
C. waving
D. prone to jumping

loquacious: (p. 121)
A. secretive
B. oozing
C. parsimonious
D. talkative

effected: (p. 121)
A. artificial
B. moved, influenced
C. brought about, caused
D. set down

circumspect:(p. 125)
A. prudent
B. edgy
C. unctuous
D. castrated

sapient: (p. 122)
A. talkative
B. infectious
C. human
D. having great discernment

apophthegm: (p. 126)
A. sinus infection
B. punctuation mark
C. maxim
D. bless you

estimable: (p. 126)
A. courageous
B. innumerable
C. admirable
D. secret

prognostic: (p. 130)
A. horn
B. lecture
C. portent
D. in favor of heretics

quail: (p. 134)
A. to pacify
B. to shrink back in fear
C. to stock together
D. to gobble

prim: (p. 138)
A. correct
B. to smooth over
C. to gloat
D. excessively decorous

cataract: (p. 142)
A. eye surgery
B. feline hurler
C. gravelly
D. waterfall

lintel: (p. 185)
A. leguminous plant with edible seeds
B. female student in rabbinical school
C. horizontal beam above a door
D. tie which has gone out of fashion

frowsty: (p. 186)
A. grumpy
B. dumpy
C. stale smelling
D. rambunctious

to funk: (p. 199)
A. to boogie or groove
B. to stink bad
C. to be depressed
D. to shrink in fright

A. refinement and courtesy resulting from good breeding
B. snobbishness and aloofness like that of a Frenchman
C. the knowledge of which fork to use in eating one’s salad
D. that class of people who are not Jewish

Bonus words:
1. pajock
2. hastilude (p. 68)

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