KA WORDCAST Passages: Lesson Five

KA WORDCAST Passages: Lesson Five

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Passages Lesson 5 Reading Passage 

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Today’s reading is from a classic short story entitled “The Man of the House” by Frank O’Connor (1903–1966), one of Ireland’s greatest writers and a true master of the short story.  Much of O’Connor’s work was autobiographical, based on his difficult childhood; yet most of his stories are very funny.  In this story, the narrator (most likely O’Connor himself) looks back at a time when he was just ten years old.  His mother has been ill—she has a terrible cough—and the boy has been taking care of her.  She sends him to the pharmacy with a bottle to have filled with cough medicine.  She also gives him a penny to buy a candle for the Blessed Virgin (the family is devoutly Catholic) and asks him to stop by the local cathedral to pray for her.  But after he gets the medicine, he runs into a “pleasant, talkative little girl.” Before long, the girl talks him into buying her candy with his penny.  Then she gets him to give her a taste of the cough syrup, which has a high alcohol content, by the way.  He takes a taste himself and finds it deliciously “sticky and sweet.” And then …


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Now I only had one REFUGE and one hope—a miracle. 

The noun REFUGE means protection or shelter.  Synonyms include protection, security, harbor, asylum, and sanctuary.

We took REFUGE under the trees as it started to rain, hoping it wouldn’t last all afternoon and ruin the annual company picnic.

When Nancy heard the air raid siren, she scooped up her sleeping baby daughter and hurried to take REFUGE in the Anderson shelter in her back yard.

The Cross Hands Inn at Old Sodbury proudly displays a plaque on the wall commemorating the day Her Majesty the Queen was forced to take REFUGE at the inn due to a sudden blizzard.

REFUGE can also mean a place that provides protection or shelter.  Synonyms include haven, resort, retreat, hideaway, and hideout.

In the Scottish Highlands, small mountain huts, known as bothies, provide climbers with a REFUGE from the elements.

REFUGE can also mean a source of help, relief, or comfort in times of trouble.  Synonyms include solace, relief, and comfort.

For the group of street children of Calcutta, an improvised game of football with a discarded punctured ball provided a welcome REFUGE from the unpleasant realities of their lives.

Father Rowan took REFUGE in silence, considering how best to help some of his more troubled parishioners.

The noun REFUGEE means someone who flees in search of REFUGE, often in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.

Daniel was just 16 when he became a REFUGEE, forced to leave behind his home in West Africa with nothing but the clothes he was wearing. 

According to the UN, nearly two million REFUGEES have fled the civil war in Syria.



Somehow, I couldn’t REFUSE her…  I took a drink myself and gave her another.

The verb REFUSE means to say no or to indicate unwillingness to do, accept, give, or allow something.  Synonyms include turn down, reject, and decline.

Because of a prior engagement, we had to REFUSE the invitation to Professor Trick’s dinner party.  What a relief, though.  He is such an old bore.

I wouldn’t REFUSE help to anyone in genuine need, but I can’t help but feel that my friend Macy is taking advantage of my good nature.

We had VIP passes, and I was really looking forward to going backstage at the concert, but for some reason we were REFUSED admittance.

When I take my dog for a walk, he lets me know which way he wants to go by sitting down and REFUSING to move if I make a wrong turn!

REFUSE can also be used (somewhat figuratively) to talk about something that fails to perform a required action or function, as in:

How embarrassing!  My umbrella got stuck in the train door this morning, and the door REFUSED to open, keeping the train on the platform until the engineer could come and fix it.

In the show jumping, I really needed a clear round, but my horse wouldn’t cooperate and refused three fences before finally bucking and throwing me off.

REFUSAL is the noun form of the verb REFUSE.  It is the act or state of refusing or the state of being refused.  Synonyms include rejection, denial, turndown, and dissent.

Claire’s REFUSAL of his marriage proposal shocked Howard, who had boasted to everyone that she would accept.

An unreasonable REFUSAL to perform an assignment, as set forth by the company would be grounds for terminating the employee.

We begged Ryan to change his mind and be one of the speakers at the rally, but his REFUSAL was final.

Finally, the noun REFUSE, which is spelled the same as REFUSE but pronounced differently, refers to trash or things that are thrown away or discarded.

The city generates thousands of tons of REFUSE each day, the disposal of which is a major headache.

When preparing meals you can collect vegetable REFUSE, which can then be added to your outdoor compost bin.

As a modifier, REFUSE in this sense is used like this:

Please dispose of soiled diapers, plastic packaging, glass bottles, and Styrofoam meat trays in the designated REFUSE bins.



Before we look at the adjective BELIEVABLE, let’s examine its root verb, BELIEVE, which in its most common usage means to accept something as true or real.  Synonyms include think, consider, or judge someone or something to be honest or true.

Christians BELIEVE that Jesus rose from the dead three days after he was crucified by Roman soldiers.

If I were you, I wouldn’t BELIEVE everything you hear on the news or read in the papers.

The trouble with crying wolf too often is that people won’t BELIEVE you even when you are telling the truth.

Studies show that for some conditions, a placebo can be just as effective as genuine medicine.  The important factor is that the patient BELIEVES he or she is taking the real thing.

The truth is so absurd sounding that it is hard to BELIEVE, yet the irrefutable evidence is right here in front of me.

BELIEVE can also mean to expect, suppose, or maintain.

I BELIEVE our guests will be arriving shortly, so we had better get the dinner started.

I BELIEVE the young player is the son of the pitcher Roger Clemens, but I can’t say for sure.

There are many commonly used phrases that use the word BELIEVE such as BELIEVE IT OR NOT, which is used to concede that a proposition or statement is surprising but true.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the new head teacher is only twenty-five years old!

BELIEVE ME (or BELIEVE YOU ME) is used to emphasize the truth of a statement or assertion.

BELIEVE ME, it is well worth growing your own fruit and vegetables.  They taste so much better than the ones you buy in the shops, and are much better for you as well!

To HARDLY BELIEVE something is to be amazed or shocked.

Martin could HARDLY BELIEVE his luck.  He was sitting in the coffee shop checking the job ads in the paper when he noticed the “Help wanted” sign in the window.

I can HARDLY BELIEVE what just happened, and if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would never have BELIEVED it.

To be unable to BELIEVE ONE’S EYES (or EARS) means to be shocked or dumbfounded.

The fans sat there stunned, hardly BELIEVING THEIR EYES as the opposition scored a winning touchdown in the final ten seconds of the game.

I couldn’t BELIEVE MY EARS.  My boss Mr. Adams actually said thank you and job well done.

DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT is used to express disbelief in the truth of a statement.

He might say he will be on time, but DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT.  How many times has he let you down in the past?

BELIEVE IN can be used in a number of different ways, first to show faith in the truth or existence of something.

We all BELIEVE in the importance of a good education for our children, and should never forget how lucky we are to live in a society that provides it.

“I BELIEVE in your ability to solve the problem,” my boss said as he left me alone in the office.

Those who BELIEVE IN God can take comfort in their beliefs in times of need.

I BELIEVE IN the President’s moral integrity and know that he will make the right decision.

BELIEVE IN can also be used to indicate that you are of the opinion that something is right, proper, or desirable.

I don’t BELIEVE IN public displays of affection.  There is a time and place for everything.

I BELIEVE IN the importance of good manners.  As they say, good manners cost nothing.

Or BELIEVE IN can be used to show you have confidence in a person.

Of course I BELIEVE IN you.  Haven’t I been your most loyal supporter all these years?

BELIEVE OF means to assume that someone will act in a certain way.

I can BELIEVE anything OF Max.  He’s such a conniving, self-centered person that he doesn’t care who he hurts as long as he gets his way.

What a stupid thing for Jill to do.  I can’t BELIEVE it OF her.  She’s usually so careful and prudent.

Now let’s return to the adjective BELIEVABLE, which means capable of being believed.  Synonyms include credible, possible, likely, authentic, and plausible.

Her explanation certainly sounded BELIEVABLE, but she looked so shifty while giving it that I wondered if she was in fact telling the whole truth.

Alison Jackson is a “spoof” celebrity photographer who creates BELIEVABLE images using celebrity lookalikes, with hilarious results.

The reporter’s story sounded too pat and perfect to be BELIEVABLE, so I had my team of fact-finders check it out, and it turned out to be a complete fabrication.

Rather than humans being the only intelligent life form in the universe, more BELIEVABLE would be the idea that somewhere out there, there is an equally if not more intelligent species.

The antonym of BELIEVABLE is UNBELIEVABLE, which is an adjective meaning not to be believed.

The more UNBELIEVABLE and far-fetched the plot of an action movie is, the better I like it.

In her memoir, the author recounts the almost UNBELIEVABLE hardships she faced growing up in the backwoods of Kentucky.

UNBELIEVABLE!   Why would anyone get a tattoo on his forehead like that?

The adverb BELIEVABLY means in a believable manner.  Synonyms include credibly, plausibly, and probably.

Frankie spoke and acted BELIEVABLY sincere, but Justine had been warned by all of her friends that he was not to be trusted.

The opposite is UNBELIEVABLY.

Andre’s colored-pencil drawings of the flowers in his garden are UNBELIEVABLY realistic and almost impossible to tell from photographs.

The noun BELIEVABILITY means the quality of being BELIEVABLE or trustworthy.  Synonyms include credibility and credibleness.

One of the big problems for advertisers today is what is known as the BELIEVABILITY factor.  When people see an ad that seems too good to be true, chances are they will ignore it.

Old Mr. Bennett’s stories about his life stretch BELIEVABILITY, but he’s fun to listen to nonetheless.

The noun BELIEVER means a person who believes, often someone who has religious faith.

Johan is a true BELIEVER in the reality of climate change and global warming and is always doing his best to reduce his own carbon footprint.

I thought it best to be honest, so I made no secret of the fact that I wasn’t a BELIEVER when I had my interview for the handyman job at the convent.

A non-believer, also known as an atheist, is someone who doesn’t believe in God or any other form of supreme or supernatural being.

As a born-again Christian and true BELIEVER, I don’t think I could ever be close friends with a NON-BELEIVER.

BELIEF is a noun meaning something that is believed.  Synonyms include opinion, conviction, firm notion, view, and theory.

The existence of God is a matter of BELIEF.  You either accept it or you don’t.

The prevailing BELIEF is that the suspected murderer Lord Lucan, who disappeared without a trace in 1974 after a warrant was issued for his arrest, is in fact dead.

It is my BELIEF that a worldwide moratorium on tuna fishing should be put in place until stocks can be rebuilt.

BELIEF can also mean the condition of placing trust or confidence or religious faith in someone or something.

Despite this one setback, my BELIEF in you is as strong as ever, and I will continue to back you for governor on one condition: that you BELIEVE in yourself.

BELIEF can also mean ideology or religious faith.  Synonyms include convictions, persuasions, principle, way of thinking, doctrine, and creed.

The new so-called national security law makes it legal for officials to monitor the activities of anyone they suspect of having radical political BELIEFS.

Early on in his athletic career, Jonathon Edwards, the former British triple jumper, refused to compete on Sundays because of his religious BELIEFS.

The opposite of BELIEF is DISBELIEF, which is a noun meaning refusal or reluctance to believe.

Ashley handed the lottery ticket she had found crumpled at the bottom of her bag to the retailer, and listened in stunned DISBELIEF as she was told she had won the jackpot. 

UNBELIEF (or NONBELIEF) means lack of faith or belief, especially in religious matters.

For Jose, one of the most interesting courses in his sociology degree program was the one on UNBELIEF and atheism. 

A MISBELIEF is an erroneous or false or mistaken idea.

It is the MISBELIEF of many people that cats hate to get wet, when, in fact, many cats enjoy swimming.

The phrase BEYOND BELIEF means unbelievable.

Why would Cole do something so cruel and uncharacteristic as that?  It’s BEYOND BELIEF.

That there are more guns than people in the United States is, to me, BEYOND BELIEF.



“Finish it and say the cork fell out,” she replied, and again, as she said it, it sounded PLAUSIBLE enough.

PLAUSIBLE is an adjective meaning seemingly or apparently valid, likely, or acceptable.  Synonyms include possible, reasonable, credible, believable, and probable.

My son’s excuse for being late sounded PLAUSIBLE enough, but when he repeated “Really, Mom, I’m telling the truth” several times, I knew he was lying.

Once you have a PLAUSIBLE hypothesis, the real work begins, and you have to find evidence to back it up.

In fairness to the airlines, there are some PLAUSIBLE reasons for adopting a policy of weighing each passenger and charging accordingly, but it still seems rather unfair to me.

PLAUSIBLE can also mean apparently trustworthy or worthy of confidence.  Synonyms include convincing, persuasive, and smooth talking.

A PLAUSIBLE commentator is essential for those science shows on TV that feature out-of-this-world, bizarre discoveries; otherwise, you’d never believe them to be true.

Charlie’s success as a conman was down not only to his dashing good looks but also to his being such a PLAUSIBLE liar.

The antonym of PLAUSIBLE is IMPLAUSIBLE, which means not probable.  Synonyms include unlikely, improbable, questionable, unbelievable, and doubtful.

The movie was unintentionally hilarious, with a story line so IMPLAUSIBLE as to be absurd.

PLAUSIBLY is an adverb meaning easy to believe on the basis of available evidence.

He talked PLAUSIBLY before the tribunal and was ecstatic when the ruling was given in his favour.

If only one journalist had been involved in illegal activity, his editor might PLAUSIBLY have known nothing.  But when several reporters are shown to be involved, it is clear the editor must have been complicit.

With the 100-meter women’s final being declared a dead heat between two runners, either could PLAUSIBLY claim the victory as her own.

PLAUSIBILITY (or PLAUSIBLENESS) is a noun meaning the state of appearing to be trustworthy or believable.  Synonyms include credibility, likelihood, believability, and possibility.

Whether I enjoy a novel or not often depends on the PLAUSIBILITY of the plot, particularly the relationships between the characters.

We are now looking into the PLAUSIBILITY of the users’ complaints, which, if they turn out to be valid, could mean that we would have to pay out a huge settlement.

Susie knew the teacher would question the PLAUSIBLENESS of her excuse for not having her paper done on time, but she hoped he would give her the benefit of the doubt.



A terrible DESPONDENCY swept over me.

DESPONDENCY is a noun that signifies a state of sadness caused by loss of hope or courage.  Similar words include hopelessness, despair, misery, gloom, and disheartenment.

Curt was filled with a sense of DESPONDENCY as he listened to the examiner detail the many mistakes that he had made during the driving test.

Faye was thrown deeper into DESPONDENCY and heartbreak when her beloved dog Basil died suddenly.

When people are laid off or have been unemployed for some time, they often suffer from DESPONDENCY, which inhibits their ability to go out and find a new job.

The adjective DESPONDENT describes a person who is sad or in low spirits from having lost hope.  Similar words include depressed, discouraged, hopeless, and despairing.

Despite his complaints about the cold weather, Rob no longer seems as DESPONDENT about his forced transfer to the north of Scotland as he did at first.

The striking miners have been growing increasingly DESPONDENT as the work stoppage lingers on into its fourth week, with no end in sight.

The car accident left Monica not only seriously injured but also deeply DESPONDENT.

DESPONDENTLY is the adverb form.  Synonyms include hopelessly, sadly, despairingly, and miserably.

After playing horribly during the first half of the football game, the team sat DESPONDENTLY in the locker room while their coach shouted abuses at them.

The mother of the missing four-year-old boy spoke DESPONDENTLY to the police about the events that led up to his abduction. 

DESPOND is a verb that means to feel depressed by loss of hope, confidence, or courage.  Synonyms include despair and lose heart.

The supporters of the mayoral candidate DESPONDED when the early results of the election started coming in.

By the way, in John Bunyan’s allegorical novel The Pilgrim’s Progress, the SLOUGH OF DESPOND is a deep bog that consumes the character Christian, who sinks into it under the weight of his sins and feelings of guilt.  In this case, DESPOND is a noun.



“Ah, don’t be an old crybaby!” she said CONTEMPTUOUSLY.

CONTEMPTUOUSLY is an adverb that comes from the adjective CONTEMPTUOUS, which describes a person who acts or treats others with scorn or disrespect.  Synonyms include haughty, supercilious, and stuck-up.

In times of economic difficulties, it can appear that the government is out of touch with, even CONTEMPTUOUS of, the realities of everyday life for normal, working families who are struggling to make ends meet.

Penelope wore a CONTEMPTUOUS expression as she looked around the examination hall.   She had finished the exam ages ago and wondered what was taking everyone else so long.

Another adjective form is CONTEMPTIBLE, which is used to describe something that is deserving or worthy of scorn, dislike, or hatred.  Synonyms include despicable, mean, or worthless.

The Secretary of State called the bombing of civilian targets “morally CONTEMPTIBLE,” and called on the global community to take immediate, decisive action.

Spreading ugly gossip is CONTEMPTIBLE, and I won’t tolerate it in my office.

The adverb form is CONTEMPTIBLY.

I think you behaved CONTEMPTIBLY towards your father-in-law, and if you don’t apologize, I’m sure he’ll never speak to you again.

Now, back to the adverb CONTEMPTUOUSLY, which means without respect or in a disdainful manner.  Synonyms include haughtily and scornfully.

Freddie CONTEMPTUOUSLY threw his playing cards down on the table and stormed out of the room, shouting “I know you cheated” over his shoulder as he slammed the door behind him.

In the movie, which is set on an army base, the drill sergeant sneers CONTEMPTUOUSLY at the new recruits and subjects each one to a fierce appraisal.

The noun CONTEMPT means the feeling or attitude of regarding someone or something as inferior or worthless.  Synonyms include scorn, disdain, and derision.

Throughout the ages, leprosy has been looked upon with horror and CONTEMPT, with victims being shunned and isolated in appalling camps.

The recent expenses scandal, which involved many Members of Parliament, has led to a general feeling of CONTEMPT and distrust towards all politicians.

Legally speaking, CONTEMPT can also mean open disrespect or willful disobedience of the authority of a court of law or legislative body.

The defense lawyer’s repeated badgering of the witnesses angered the judge and nearly landed her in jail for CONTEMPT of court.



 I took a drink myself and gave her another.  Then I began to PANIC.  “Tis nearly gone,” I said. 

PANIC is a verb meaning to be beset by sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing rash behavior.  Synonyms include be alarmed, feel sudden fear or dead, and be stricken with terror.

Delroy PANICKED and ran outside.  “Fire,” he screamed.  “My house is on fire!”

When the bomb went off, the guests PANICKED and charged towards the exits of the hotel restaurant.

The dogs PANICKED at the sudden noise of the fireworks and barked incessantly.

Marjorie was PANICKING and shouting uncontrollably, so I had to shake her to bring her to her senses.

PANIC can also be used as a noun.  Synonyms include terror, alarm, and hysteria.

PANIC swept through the swimmers as they saw the shark’s fin speeding towards them.

The strong earthquake caused PANIC among the visitors who were up in the Sky Tree, with some screaming hysterically and others dropping to their knees in silent prayer.

The stock market PANIC of 1929, also known as the WALL STREET CRASH, signalled the beginning of the ten-year Great Depression.

PANICKY is an adjective form describing a person thrown into a state of intense fear or desperation.

Josie became PANICKY as the snow deepened.   Without chains on her tires, it looked as if she was going to get stuck in the middle of nowhere.

To be PANIC STRICKEN is to be overcome with intense fear or desperation.

Desmond was PANIC STRICKEN when he received a call in the middle of the night telling him that his daughter had been involved in a traffic accident.

A PANIC ROOM is a secure room inside a house that, if someone breaks in, the owner can retreat to and call for help.

A PANIC BUTTON is a button or switch that can be pushed to summon help in case of emergency.

PANIC BUYING is the buying up of large amounts of a commodity that is believed to be in short supply. PANIC SELLING is the opposite—the quick selling off of a commodity of which there is a surplus.



After that, I crawled miserably homeward, back up the great hill, but now the murmuring hillside has become a vast, alien, CRUEL world.

CRUEL is an adjective meaning disposed to inflict pain or suffering.  Synonyms include brutal, ruthless, callous, sadistic, inhumane, and vicious.

The controversial, and some would say CRUEL, sport of fox hunting, was banned in Scotland in 2002 and in England and Wales in 2004.

Fate dealt Devlin a CRUEL blow when his parents died within six months of each other, leaving him a penniless orphan and homeless to boot.

Tom was often CRUEL to his dog, and his neighbor Riley despised him for it.

It was a CRUEL disappointment to Francine when she failed the audition to the performing arts academy.

Mr. Prince was infamous for dishing out unfair and even CRUEL punishments to any employee who he deemed was in the wrong.

I just found a web site that names the top-ten CRUELEST rulers of all time, with Mao Zedung somewhat surprisingly heading the list over Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

CRUELLY is an adverb meaning carried out or performed with cruelty. Synonyms include brutally, severely, savagely, and mercilessly.

Danny was often treated CRUELLY by his fellow pupils because of his speech impediment.

The young hero’s life has been CRUELLY shattered because of events beyond his control and he must struggle to get back on his feet.

The noun form is CRUELTY.  Synonyms include brutality, savagery, ruthlessness, and viciousness

Though Britain has laws against CRUELTY to animals, it can be very difficult to prosecute offenders, as there is often only circumstantial evidence.

There is much debate about medical testing on animals; some believe it to be an unnecessary CRUELTY, while others claim it is essential for medical progress.



I had SACRIFICED everything for the little girl and she didn’t even care for me.

SACRIFICED is the past tense form of the verb SACRIFICE, which means to surrender one thing for the sake of something else.  Synonyms include give up, do without, and relinquish.

Much to the dismay of her husband, Emma SACRIFICED family life when her career took off, working seven days a week, twelve hours a day.

When they reach mandatory retirement age, many older workers are willing to SACRIFICE some income in order to stay on at their jobs.

Hundreds of fire fighters SACRIFICED their lives while trying to rescue the people trapped on the upper floors of the World Trade Center.

Scott always thought a few moves ahead when he played chess, and so he SACRIFICED his queen and then checkmated his opponent on the very next move.

SACRIFICE is also the noun form.

Tired of making SACRIFICES for her Congressman husband, Pauline embarked on a political career of her own.

Knowing how attached you are to Portland, I hesitate to ask you to make such a huge SACRIFICE, but would you be willing to transfer to our Gabon branch?

SACRIFICE can also mean the act of making an offering to a god.  Synonyms include ritual slaughter, immolation, and self-sacrifice.

The ancient Aztecs believed they owed a “blood-debt” to their gods and consequently would offer humans as well as animals as a SACRIFICE to pay this debt and avert disaster.

SACRIFICE can also mean the animal or person being offered.  Synonyms include offering, gift, and victim.

In the Bible, the love that Abraham had for God is clearly seen in Abraham’s willingness to give up his only son as a SACRIFICE.

In this case, when used as a verb, SACRIFICE means to offer a SACRIFICE.

The villagers were desperate for rain to prevent their crops from failing, so the shaman SACRIFICED an ox and two goats to appease the God of Rain.

SACRIFICIAL is an adjective meaning relating to or constituting a SACRIFICE.  Synonyms include votive, atoning, and expiatory.

A SACRIFICIAL offering will be made by the priest so that the newlywed couple will be blessed with a long and happy marriage.

An altar for SACRIFICIAL offerings where believers placed their gifts as they came in to worship was prominent at the front of the church.

The term SACRIFICIAL LAMB originates from the sacrificial rites found in the Bible.  It refers to someone or something that suffers so that something more important can succeed.

We knew that the department would be a SACRIFICIAL LAMB when the time came to cut staff, but it was a big disappointment all the same.

In baseball, a SACRIFICE BUNT is a bunt that the batter makes allowing himself to be thrown out to advance a runner.  A SACRIFICE FLY is a long fly ball out that scores a runner from third base.



“What are you crying for?” the little girl asked in ASTONISHMENT.

ASTONISHMENT is a noun meaning great surprise. Synonyms include amazement, surprise, shock, stupefaction, and bafflement.

The pilot gazed in ASTONISHMENT at what appeared to be an alien spaceship flying alongside his jet.

To the ASTONISHMENT of the assembled crowd, the magician proceeded to disappear and then reappear on the other side of the river.

Imagine the ASTONISHMENT of prehistoric man when a comet appeared in the sky.

ASTONISH is a verb meaning to surprise or impress greatly. Synonyms include amaze, astound, stagger, surprise, startle, and stun.

Fleming was ASTONISHED when he discovered that the substance in the dish, which he later dubbed penicillin, had antibiotic properties.

I want you to come up with a totally new and fantastic ad campaign, including logo and slogan.  In other words, I want you to ASTONISH me!

When Max came back from his science summer camp, his father and I were ASTONISHED by how much he had learned in such a short time.

ASTONISHED is one adjective form that means filled with the emotional impact of overwhelming surprise or shock.  Synonyms include amazed, astounded, and stunned.

The ASTONISHED bystanders could hardly believe their eyes as the assassin appeared out of nowhere and aimed a pistol at the visiting monarch.

ASTONISHING is another adjective form meaning causing wonder and amazement.  Synonyms include amazing, shocking, and astounding.

The speed and agility of the acrobats at the circus today was truly ASTONISHING.

The small stall had an ASTONISHING array of herbs and spices on display from all corners of the globe.

With the array of colors and huge variety of fish, scuba diving on a tropical reef for the first time is an ASTONISHING experience.

Today, violins made by Antonio Stradivari are known as much for the ASTONISHING price they command as for their wonderful sound quality.

The centerfielder made an ASTONISHING CATCH, climbing the wall and robbing the batter of a home run.

ASTONISHINGLY is the adverb form meaning in an amazing manner.  Synonyms include surprisingly and astoundingly.

ASTONISHINGLY, there are many people who fervently believe that Elvis is still alive.

Downtown hotel prices at this time of year are ASTONISHINGLY high, which is why I am staying across the river in New Jersey.

Tune in next week for new words from Passages, Lesson 6!