Ideal for students in the upper grades of elementary school, 100 Words Every Fourth Grader Should Know includes one hundred words of varying degrees of difficulty, representing the kind of vocabulary students often encounter in their classes and in their reading. From accommodate to zest, with stops along the way at frank, persuade, and vengeance, the words are invariably intriguing and useful. Each entry includes the word's pronunciation, clear definitions of its various senses, and one or more short example sentences, along with a longer quotation showing how the word is used in a broader context.
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The Editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries are a team of professional lexicographers with advanced degrees in various scholarly fields. The editors familiarize themselves with the vocabulary in specific subject areas, collect materials on new developments and usage, and work with expert consultants to ensure that the content of their publications is as accurate and as up-to-date as possible.
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100 Words Every 4th Grader Should Know
accommodate ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
1. To have room for someone or something; hold: The auditorium can accommodate 500 people. 2. To do a favor or service for someone: I wanted to pick up the cake the next day, but the baker could not accommodate me.
When the Swan Boat docked and the passengers got off, long lines of people were waiting to get aboard for the next ride. Business was booming. Another boat was being made ready, to accommodate the crowds. Everyone wanted to ride the Swan Boats behind a real live swan playing a trumpet. It was the biggest happening in Boston in a long time.
E. B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan
afterthought ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
An idea that occurs to a person after something else has been said or done: They invited us to the birthday party, and as an afterthought, they said that we shouldn't bring a gift.
Sophie cast about for a weapon. The driver had gone off with his musket, but luckily some luggage had been fastened at the rear of the carriage. She seized a bunch of croquet mallets, a bag of billiard balls, and, as an afterthought, the Duchess' embroidery.
— Joan Aiken, Black Hearts in Battersea
allegiance ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
Loyalty to a country, a person, or a cause: The knights pledged allegiance to the prince.
All is done in the King's name. But he would not be best pleased to find a real, live King of Narnia coming in upon him. And if your majesty came before him alone and unarmed — well he would not deny his allegiance, but he would pretend to disbelieve you.
— C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
aloft ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
High above the ground: The first people to fly went aloft in balloons.
From either side the other two soldiers moved closer. The tall one stepped on the gun Jonathan had left. With a cry, he snatched it up and held it triumphantly aloft.
— Avi, The Fighting Ground
ancestor ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
A person who was in your family long ago: Some of my ancestors came to the United States from China.
A long time before this my ancestors had used the cave, why I do not know, and along the walls on each side they had cut figures in the stone. There were figures of pelicans floating in the water and flying, of dolphins, whales, sea elephants, gulls, ravens, dogs, and foxes. Near the opening of the cave they had also cut two deep basins in the stone, which I decided to use for storing water since they held much more than the baskets.
— Scott O'Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins
anticipation ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
1. The act of thinking of something in advance: In anticipation of frost, we brought the plants inside. 2. The act of looking forward to something: Everyone smiled with anticipation when the famous actor came out on the stage.
Rosa waved good-bye and headed for the bus stop. She fiddled in her pocket for the dime so that she would not have to ask for change. When she stepped up to drop her fare in, she was smiling in anticipation of the nice dinner she would make.
— Nikki Giovanni, Rosa
Actions that get attention because they are funny or unusual: The kittens' playful antics made us all laugh.
Everywhere there were shops spilling wares out onto the street; bells and chants of hawkers; actors tumbling in front of small crowds, their costumed dogs barking at the antics; ladies holding their skirts above the churned mud.
— Gary D. Schmidt, Anson's Way
apparel ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
Clothing: We bring summer apparel when we visit my grandparents in Florida.
The slender Princess still wore at her throat the crescent moon of silver, and on her finger the ring crafted by the Fair Folk. But now a band of gold circled her brow, and the richness of her apparel made Taran suddenly aware of his travel-stained cloak and muddy boots.
— Lloyd Alexander, The High King
ascend ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
To go up or move up: The climbers ascended the mountain. The balloon ascended into the sky.
She led me up some wide stairs. As my eyes got used to the gloom I made out the shapes of the boarded windows, of dark doorways and broad landings. We ascended three stairways, passed three landings. Then the stairs narrowed and we came to a final narrow doorway.
— David Almond, Skellig
We sat beside each other by the fire, silent, watching the jewels change and glow first into white diamonds, then into sapphires, then into rubies. Sometimes Mrs. Baker got up and threw another piece of wood on the fire, and the sparks shattered up into the night darkness and we watched them ascend until they disappeared like the stuff of dreams.
— Gary D. Schmidt, The Wednesday Wars
beckon ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
To signal with a movement of the head or hand: The coach beckoned me to come over to the bench.
The woman smiled and then beckoned Lissy to follow her to another room. Lissy followed the woman, and then we followed Lissy, like a parade.
— Grace Lin, Dumpling Days
1. The upper edge of a steep place: From the brink of the cliff, you can look straight down. 2. The land bordering a body of water: The ball stopped rolling just at the brink of the puddle. 3. The point when an event is about to occur: He's on the brink of crying.
On they all went, leading their ponies, till they were brought to a good path and so at last to the very brink of the river. It was flowing fast and noisily, as mountain-streams do of a summer evening, when sun has been all day on the snow far up above.
— J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
catastrophe ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
An event, such as a flood, earthquake, or plane crash, that causes great suffering and damage: Rescue crews responded quickly to the catastrophe.
Anne climbed the ladder amid breathless silence, gained the ridgepole, balanced herself uprightly on that precarious footing, and started to walk along it, dizzily conscious that she was uncomfortably high up in the world and that walking ridgepoles was not a thing in which your imagination helped you out much. Nevertheless, she managed to take several steps before the catastrophe came.
— L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
1. To persuade someone by gentle urging or flattery: Rachel coaxed me into lending her my bicycle by promising to return it in an hour.2. To get something by coaxing: I coaxed a smile from the baby.
I remember the night perfectly, maybe even a little bit clearer than it actually was, and don't doubt me when I tell you that as I stood gazing into the black woods behind the garage I felt a tugging, like someone right next to me was about to laugh, but there was no one. Small hands slid over mine, over the jar, coaxing me back to the woods.
— Pam Conrad, Stonewords: A Ghost Story
compassion ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
A feeling of sharing someone else's suffering, together with a desire to help; deep sympathy: Compassion led us to volunteer at the food pantry.
Jane Sharp became a midwife because she had given birth to six children (although none of them lived), went Sundays to Mass, and had strong hands and clean fingernails. She did her job with energy and some skill, but without care, compassion, or joy.
— Karen Cushman, The Midwife's Apprentice
complexion ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
The natural color of a person's skin, especially that of the face: Which makeup is best for my complexion?
Darnell looked a lot like his sister, except that he was just a little lighter in complexion. He was the same coffee-brown tone as his mother, while Tamika was dark, like their father.
— Walter Dean Myers, Darnell Rock Reporting
content ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
Happy with things the way they are; satisfied: I wasn't content with the drawing I made, so I made another one.
To make someone content; satisfy: The young boy contented himself by playing with his mother's phone.
It was not just an island. It was the island, waiting for them. It was their island. With an island like that within sight, who could be content to live on the mainland and sleep in a bed at night?
— Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons
courteous ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
Considerate toward other people; polite: If you step on someone's toe, the courteous thing to do is apologize.
His face was quite calm and entirely courteous — but it was the distant, formal courtesy he always drew on like armor when he had to deal with people he disliked.
— Elizabeth Marie Pope, The Sherwood Ring
To shiver or move your body suddenly out of fear, pain, embarrassment, or disgust: Kayla cringed when the dog growled at her.
Maniac uncrumpled the page, flattened it out as best he could. How could he return the book to Amanda in this condition? He couldn't. But he had to. It was hers. Judging from that morning, she was pretty finicky about her books. What would make her madder — to not get the book back at all, or to get it back with a page ripped out? Maniac cringed at both prospects.
— Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee
derelict ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
1. Deserted by an owner; abandoned: The derelict garage was finally torn down. 2. Neglectful: A good police officer is never derelict in his or her duty.
She started crying. She said we should never have left Random Road. We should never have come to this stinking derelict place.
— David Almond, Skellig
dignity (dig'nite) noun
The fact of being or appearing worthy of respect or honor: Your brother may have failed the test, but at least he kept his dignity by not cheating.
"What are you doing trespassing in my cabin?" I asked the question with as much dignity as I could muster while spitting out leaves, brushing off my clothes, and getting to my feet.
— Katherine Paterson, Preacher's Boy
distaste (dis tast')
A feeling of not liking something: I looked with distaste at the plate of undercooked eggs.
When he returned to the classroom, he saw a large box with several smaller ones in front of the room. Mrs. Hamlin was crouched over the large one. With an expression of distaste on her face, she examined its contents.
— Candy Dawson Boyd, Chevrolet Saturdays
dormant ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
Not active for a time: The volcano is dormant at the moment, but it could still erupt in the future.
Except for the green of pines that mottled the mountainside, the forests stood barren. There must have been a fire, Boy thought. Still, their trunks were not blackened; they just looked dormant, like trees in winter.
— Belinda Hurmence, A Girl Called Boy
adjective ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
Having many complicated parts or details: The crew constructed elaborate sets for the play.
verb ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
To say more about something; give details: The speaker first gave a general idea of her subject and then elaborated on each of the important points.
The whole household seemed so reasonable, she had to keep reminding herself it was all a stage setting in some kind of elaborate dream.
— Jane Yolen, The Devil's Arithmetic
endure (en door')
1. To continue to exist; last: Their friendship endured for years. 2. To put up with something; tolerate: I can no longer endure your rudeness.
He felt he could scarcely endure another meal of plain fish. He was hungry for a bit of something tasty.
— Elizabeth George Speare, The Sign of the Beaver
enforce (en fôrs')
To make sure that something is obeyed: The principal has to enforce the school's rules.
Officer Ken smiled. "We tend to look the other way when it's in a residential neighborhood. But right here, on the town green, we have to enforce the law."
— Jacqueline Davies, The Lemonade War
exertion ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
The act of working hard at something: The wheelbarrow allowed us to move the rocks with very little exertion.
Gregor began to pant, but the roaches didn't show any visible signs of exertion. He had no idea how far they were going. Their destination could be a hundred miles away. Who knew how far these things could run?
— Suzanne Collins, Gregor the Overlander
expanse (ik spans')
A wide and open area: The Sahara is a vast expanse of desert.
He had never hunted tigers in India, or climbed the peaks of the Himalayas, or dived for pearls in the South Seas. Above all, he had never seen the Poles. That was what he regretted most of all. He had never seen those great shining white expanses of ice and snow.
— Richard and Florence Atwater, Mr. Popper's Penguins
extraordinary ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
Very unusual; remarkable: Landing on the moon was an extraordinary accomplishment.
Everybody in Billings bought a copy of the paper and read all about the extraordinary event. It was talked about all over town. Some people believed it; others said it never could have happened. They said the store owner had just invented it to get some publicity for his store. But the clerks in the store agreed that it had really happened. They pointed to the drops of blood on the floor.
— E. B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan
foliage (fo'le ij)
The leaves of trees or other plants: Gardeners grow some plants for their flowers and others for their foliage.
Knowing I couldn't turn my dogs loose, I broke off enough of the wire to lead them. As I passed under the branches of the bur oak tree, I looked up into the dark foliage. I could see the bright eyes of the ghost coon. Everything that had happened on this terrible night was because of his very existence, but it wasn't his fault.
— Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows
First in rank, position, or importance; chief: Shakespeare is the foremost playwright in English literature.
Lynn planned to become either a rocket scientist or a famous writer. Though I knew nothing about animals, she said that when I grew up I would go to Africa to study them. I can't say that the idea of college was foremost on my mind; nevertheless, if Lynn was going, I would too.
— Cynthia Kadohata, Kira-Kira
Free and open in expressing thoughts and feelings; honest: Give me your frank opinion of my haircut.
Yuki liked Mr. Toda better than the seminary students because he was more open about his feelings. If he liked you, he let you know, and if he didn't, he was equally frank. Yuki liked people like that. She knew that the old man liked her too.
— Yoshiko Uchida, Journey to Topaz
function ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.])
1. The proper activity of a person or thing; a purpose or use: The function of a thermometer is to measure temperature. 2. A formal social gathering or official ceremony, like a wedding.
To have or perform a function; serve: This post functions as a support. My printer isn't functioning right.
Without warning, coming as a complete and unexpected shock, she felt a pressure she had never imagined, as though she were being completely flattened out by an enormous steamroller. ... She tried to gasp, but a paper doll can't gasp. She thought she was trying to think, but her flattened-out mind was as unable to function as her lungs.
— Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
futile (fyoot'l or fyoo'til)
Having no useful results; useless: I made a futile effort to recover the file that I had accidentally erased on my computer.
I suggest you not attempt to escape the energy cage. You will find the experience both futile and rather painful.
— Deva Fagan, Circus Galacticus
To look at something steadily and for a long time: They gazed in wonder at the high mountains.(Continues…)
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents,
A Note to Teachers and Parents,
Guide to Parts of Speech,
Guide to Pronunciation,
100 Words Every 4th Grader Should,
The 100 Words,