KA WORDCAST Taskmaster Book 2: Lesson 7

KA WORDCAST Taskmaster Book 2: Lesson 7

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“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I was seeing them for the first time.”—Earnest Hemingway


Taskmaster Lesson 7 PASSAGE

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Taskmaster Lesson 7 MINI TEST 1

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Taskmaster Lesson 7 MINI TEST 2

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Taskmaster Lesson 7 MINI TEST 3

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Taskmaster Book 2: Lesson 7

Today’s words come from four passages taken from A Wrinkle in Time  (see FOR YOUR INFORMATION below).  To listen to a recording of these passages, tune in to the kavoicecast.com website.





Really, Meg, I don’t understand how a child with parents as BRILLIANT as yours are supposed to be can be such a poor student.

BRILLIANT is an adjective that, when talking about people, means exceptionally clever or talented (as in the quote above).  Synonyms include gifted, skilful, smart, intelligent, learned, and erudite.

Though no longer young, David Beckham is still a great football player who has enjoyed a long and BRILLIANT career.

John was in awe of his new physics professor, who was absolutely BRILLIANT and already being mentioned as a future Nobel Prize winner for his string-theory research.

BRILLIANT can also describe something that is very bright in color or intensely light.  Synonyms include vivid, radiant, dazzling, and luminous.

While enjoying his picnic on a bench in St. James Park, Alexander was surprised to see a peacock strut proudly past displaying its BRILLIANT plumage.

There is nothing I like better than skiing down an empty slope early in the morning while bathed in BRILLIANT sunshine.

Julia was thrilled when her husband Frederick gave her an elegant necklace of four BRILLIANT diamonds for their tenth anniversary.

BRILLIANTLY is the adverb form of BRILLIANT.

Out here in the desert, away from the bright lights of the city, the stars shine BRILLIANTLY in the night sky.

The student performed BRILLIANTLY in the ballet exam and was assured of a place at the Royal Academy of Dance.

BRILLIANCE is the noun form and means great brightness, radiance, or intensity (when talking about things) or exceptional intelligence or cleverness (when talking about people’s natural ability, learning, or performance).

The opals are either salmon pink or cherry red in color and are highly valued for their great BRILLIANCE.

These dramatic celestial flares can briefly outshine entire galaxies, but their BRILLIANCE quickly fades.

The sheer BRILLIANCE of the orchestra’s performance of Bach’s Symphony No. 5 earned them a ten-minute standing ovation and ecstatic bravos from the lucky audience.



During lunch she’d rough-housed a little to try to make herself feel better, and one of the girls said SCORNFULLY, ‘After all, Meg, we aren’t grammar-school kids any more.  Why do you always act like such a baby.’

The adverb SCORNFULLY means speaking or acting with contempt or derision.

Susan didn’t even respond when James plucked up the courage to invite her to the end-of-year formal.  She just curled her lip SCORNFULLY and walked away.

The customer at table twelve had been so rude to her as she took and delivered his order that Jodie laughed SCORNFULLY behind his back when he spilt hot coffee on his lap.

The adjective SCORNFUL describes people who show contempt or derision.

The opposition was SCORNFUL of the Prime Minister’s proposal to reduce the number of peerages in the House of Lords.

Andrea’s father was SCORNFUL toward her new boyfriend just because the young man had a large snake tattoo on his left forearm.

The verb SCORN has two main meanings and usages.  For one, it means to feel or express contempt.  Synonyms include mock, jeer at, and scoff at.

Professor Hastings was always quick to SCORN his students for performing so badly in their exams, which had the effect of making them even less motivated.

The popular science-fiction writer’s latest novel has been SCORNED by the critics, but as usual, the reading public are rushing out to buy it.

SCORN also means to reject something in a proud, contemptuous, or slighting way.  Synonyms for this usage are snub, reject, and spurn.

How could Malcolm so heartlessly SCORN my affections after everything we had been through together?

The union leaders continue to SCORN all of the management’s wage and benefits offers.

General Graham was a fierce fighter who SCORNED anyone who would not willingly follow him into battle.



Sandy and Dennys, her ten-year-old twin brothers, who got home from school an hour earlier than she did, were disgusted.  ‘Let us do the fighting when it’s necessary,’ they ADMONISHED her.

The verb ADMONISH has several meanings.  One is to advise or warn someone of something to be avoided.

Brenda’s mother ADMONISHED her on the dangers of going out with an older, more mature boy like Terry.

ADMONISH also means to urge someone to do something or to remind someone of an obligation.

The speaker ADMONISHED his listeners to take scientists’ warnings about the consequences of global warming seriously and to let their leaders in Washington, D.C., know how they feel.

“Remember, Paul, it’s your turn to come up with the questions for the quiz night this month,” Lawrence ADMONISHED me.

“Don’t forget to apply your sunscreen,” ADMONISHED Lisa’s mother when she saw her sunbathing by the pool.

And ADMONISH can also mean to reprove or scold gently.  Synonyms for this usage include rebuke, reprimand, or reproach.

I didn’t study hard enough for the test, so it was only fair that Mrs. Peacock should ADMONISH me.   But did she have to do it in front of the entire class?

The preacher ADMONISHED his congregation for their failure to apply the Bible’s teachings to their own lives.

ADMONISHMENT is the noun form of ADMONISH.  It means a firm rebuke.

Despite the ADMONISHMENT her boss had given her, Jodie continued to secretly post messages on Facebook on office time!

The adjective form is ADMONISHING.  Synonyms include reproachful or reproving.

It took just one ADMONISHING glance from her father to let Anne know that there was no way she would be allowed to go out to the party in her new mini-mini skirt.

The man was talking so loudly on his cell phone that the other passengers on the train all gave him ADMONISHING looks, which he totally ignored.


Surely it must hurt her as it did Meg.  But if it did, she gave no outward sign.  Nothing ruffled the SERENITY of her expression.

The noun SERENITY means the state of being calm and peaceful.  Synonyms include tranquility, placidity, and repose.

Prayer, meditation, chanting, and other religious practices may help you achieve SERENITY and a deepening of self-awareness.

Before the audition, Marlene’s SERENITY contrasted with all the other actors’ obvious anxiety.

The gardens are designed to instil SERENITY and to give guests the opportunity to reflect on the tranquil beauty of nature.

The adjective SERENE has two uses.  It can mean calm and peaceful, as in the following example:

The surrounding woods were mirrored in the SERENE surface of the lake.

I may have looked SERENE, but deep down I was a bundle of nerves.

Darlene sat under the maple tree reading a book of poetry with a SERENE, contented look on her face.

SERENE can also be used (with a capital “S”) as a title and form of address for certain members of royalty, as in:

Former South African swimmer, Charlene Wittstock, now her SERENE Highness Charlene, married Prince Albert II of Monaco in 2011, ten years after they first met at a swimming event in Monaco.

The adverb form is SERENELY.  Other words that may be used in its place include calmly, peacefully, and placidly.

Alice gazed SERENELY at the paintings.  The little art gallery offered a wonderful and welcome escape from the busy city streets.

The young actress was never rattled and always posed SERENELY for the jostling paparazzi.



‘You asked to have the attic bedroom,’ she told herself savagely.  ‘Mother let you have it because you’re the oldest.  It’s a PRIVILEGE, not a punishment.’

As a noun, PRIVILEGE can be used in a number of ways.  It can mean a special right or advantage or immunity.  Synonyms include benefit, prerogative, and entitlement.

Big corporations enjoy certain PRIVILEGES, including tax breaks,  that smaller businesses often do not have.

Voting is more than just a PRIVILEGE; as a citizen of a democracy, it’s your duty.

A PRIVILEGE  is also something that is regarded as a rare opportunity or that brings great pleasure.

It is my PRIVILEGE to give you my daughter’s hand in marriage. Welcome to the Bates family!

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and a great PRIVILEGE to be able to visit the normally closed order of Shaolin monks.

I have enjoyed reading all of your books so much.  You are my favorite author, and it is a great PRIVILEGE to actually meet you in person.

Under the law, PRIVILEGE is the right a person has to refuse to give out information obtained in a confidential relationship such as that between a lawyer and client or a doctor and patient.

Anything divulged to a priest during a confession or similar exchange is done so under PRIVILEGE and cannot be revealed.

The adjective form of PRIVILEGE is PRIVILEGED.  Synonyms include fortunate, exempt, or exclusive.

You could tell by the way they dressed and talked that the couple belonged to that PRIVILEGED class of people who enjoy the so-called good life.

I felt very PRIVILEGED to be one of the few people who had a chance to see the giant panda in its natural habitat.

The reporter for the Washington Post seems to have a PRIVILEGED relationship with the President, who always calls on her first and answers her questions in detail.

PRIVILEGED can also refer to information that is legally protected from being made public.

Conversations between a psychiatrist and patient are PRIVILEGED information and cannot be divulged.

The adjective UNDERPRIVILEGED, by the way, is often used to talk about the poorer members of society.

Since retiring, the former boxing champion has dedicated his life to working with UNDERPRIVILEGED children in the poverty-stricken areas of the country.

As a verb, PRIVILEGE means to grant or permit something.  Synonyms include to favor or promote.

Old Japanese inheritance laws PRIVILEGED the first-born son.  These days, however, a daughter is also entitled to inherit her father’s estate.

That IQ test is no longer used since it PRIVILEGED children who had grown up in stable, well-to-do homes and had access to early education.



Charles Wallace slipped his hand CONFIDINGLY in Meg’s, and the sweet, little-boy gesture warmed her so that she felt a tense knot in her begin to loosen.

The adverb CONFIDINGLY means in a way that shows confidence or trust.

After she had dyed my hair and covered the gray, May smiled CONFIDINGLY at me and said, “As the old TV commercial goes, ‘Only your hairdresser knows for sure.’”

CONFIDINGLY comes from the verb CONFIDE, which means to tell someone a secret or about a private matter.

You have always CONFIDED in me up to now, Katie.  Why are you so secretive all of a sudden?

I had no idea that Pamela was suffering from multiple sclerosis.  Did she CONFIDE in you?

I feel so much better now that I have told someone.   Thank you for letting me CONFIDE in you.

The adjective CONFIDENTIAL means private or secret.

Private investigators charge their clients exorbitant fees for the CONFIDENTIAL information they gather for them.

The psychological study was based on CONFIDENTIAL interviews and information gathered from focus groups.

The envelope had “CONFIDENTIAL” stamped across it and was addressed to my husband.  What do you think it could be?

CONFIDENTIALLY is the adverb form.  It describes a person’s tone or manner of speech and indicates that what is being said is private or secret.

“Just between you and me,” Susan whispered CONFIDENTIALLY, “Reverend Walcott is planning to retire from the ministry because he has lost his faith.”

The noun CONFIDENCE means the trust or faith you have in others that they will keep your secrets or do what is expected of them.

I have complete CONFIDENCE in my best friend Janine.   I can tell her anything, and she always keeps it to herself.

“I have unerring CONFIDENCE in all my tellers’ honesty, and I’m sure Paula had nothing to do with this morning’s attempted robbery,” the bank manager told the police officer.

CONFIDENCE also means personal self-assurance, courage, or conviction.  CONFIDENCE is a belief in yourself and your abilities.

Matthew’s teachers showed him that he should have more CONFIDENCE in himself, because he was just as capable as everyone else in his class.

Hundreds of hours of practice in the simulator had given the Shuttle crew the CONFIDENCE they needed to carry out their mission.

And don’t forget the phrase IN CONFIDENCE, which means in secret, as in:

The woman wanted to make sure that her statement would be off the record and taken IN CONFIDENCE.



You tell me sort of INADVERTNTLY. That’s a good word, isn’t it?  I got mother to look it up in the dictionary for me this morning.

The adjective INADVERTENTLY means accidentally or unintentionally, but can also imply carelessly.  Synonyms include unknowingly and unwittingly.

The introduction of the grey squirrel into the UK has INADVERTENTLY caused the rapid decline of the native red squirrel population.

While visiting the museum, George INADVERTENTLY leaned on the fire alarm, which led to the whole building being evacuated.

The adjective form is INADVERTENT and means not deliberate or not intentional.

It was an INADVERTENT, unconscious slip of the tongue.  I swear, I would never say anything like that on purpose.

The newspaper apologized for the INADVERTENT omission of the late author’s most famous novel, Let Bygones Be Bygones, in the list of his works in his obituary.

Over the years, because of the nature of his work, Owen became the firm’s INADVERTENT expert on Native-American and reservation legal matters.

The noun INADVERTENCE (or INADVERTENCY) means an unintentional omission resulting from failure to notice or do something.  Synonyms include oversight or omission.

You have to pay your taxes on time.  Forgetfulness or INADVERTANCE will not grant you any exceptions.

Through sheer INADVERTENCE, the candidate for the position failed to respond to the questionnaire and was subsequently disqualified.



His arms went around her again in a comforting, REASSURING gesture.

The adjective REASSURING means soothing, comforting, or confidence building.  Synonyms include encouraging and heartening.

It is REASSURING to know that I have a loving family that I can rely on in good times and bad.

The doctor came out of surgery and gave me some REASSURING news about my ailing wife that made me feel much more optimistic about her recovery.

Another adjective form is REASSURED.

The young adventurer felt REASSURED to know that his solo trip in a tiny sailboat across the Pacific was being closely monitored by the Coast Guard.

The verb REASSURE means to say or do something soothing to remove someone’s doubts or fears. Synonyms include comfort, calm, and encourage.

An important part of the cabin crew’s job is to REASSURE any nervous passengers, especially during heavy turbulence.

Toby was apprehensive about being out after dark in this part of the city, but I REASSURED him that he had nothing to worry about as long as he stayed with me. 

Tom was frozen with fear, and I had to REASSURE him that abseiling was perfectly safe, provided it was done with the proper equipment.

The noun form is REASSURANCE, which is a statement or action that instils confidence in someone or eases his or her anxiety.  Synonyms include support and encouragement.

The patient was concerned about the side effects of the blood-pressure medicine, but she felt much better after getting REASSURANCE from her doctor that the effects were very mild.

After receiving much REASSURANCE and support from my husband, I decided to go back to university and finish my art history degree.

The REASSURANCE expressed in the director’s thumbs-up told me I had spoken my lines well.

The adverb form is REASSURINGLY.

The new Prime Minister looked REASSURINGLY at the members of the opposition party gathered in his office and told them that he would always take their interests and advice into account.

The coach patted me on the back and told me that everyone makes errors sometime.  “Put it out of your mind,” he said REASSURINGLY.


“Yes,” he said.  “Yes.  The wall is TRANSPARENT now.  How extraordinary!”

The adjective TRANSPARENT has a number of uses.  First, it can describe something that allows light to pass through it or can be seen through.  Synonyms include clear or lucid.

The boss wants the TRANSPARENT windows in her office replaced with opaque ones.  What’s she up to in there?

The water was so clear and TRANSPARENT that we could see right down to the seabed, where thousands of brilliantly colored fish were swimming about.

TRANSPARENT can also mean easy to perceive or detect.  Synonyms include obvious, recognizable, and easily perceived.

Your apology was phony and TRANSPARENT and failed to cover up the jealousy and anger you feel toward me.

My agent claims to have my best interests at heart, but his real motive for encouraging me to take the role in the new film is perfectly TRANSPARENT: he needs the money.

Nancy said she wasn’t feeling well, but her real reason for leaving the party was TRANSPARENT to all of us.  Her ex-boyfriend was there with his new girlfriend.

Finally, TRANSPARENT can mean free of deceit or open to public scrutiny.  Synonyms include candid, forthright, and unambiguous.

It is vital that all political donations are made public to ensure that the electoral process is fair and TRANSPARENT.

The noun TRANSPARENCY describes the condition or quality of being clear, as in:

The TRANSPARENCY of a camera’s lenses depends on the quality of the materials used in their manufacturing process.

Or it can mean open to public scrutiny:

The newly elected president has vowed to govern with TRANSPARENCY and accountability.

As a sub-modifier, the adverb TRANSPARENTLY means obviously and is often used as follows:

It was a TRANSPARENTLY weak argument, and as a result, the Cambridge team failed to win the annual college debate contest.


The reading passages for this lesson are all excerpted from A Wrinkle in Time, a classic novel that is part realism, part fantasy, part science fiction, and part good-versus-evil adventure story.  The book was written in 1959-1960 by the American writer Madeleine L’Engle, a physicist and subsequently the author of dozens of books for children and young readers.  L’Engle’s manuscript was rejected by nearly 30 publishers (for being “too different”) before it was finally accepted and published in 1962.  A Wrinkle in Time quickly became a bestseller and went on to win the Newbery Medal and a host of other prestigious literary awards.  It was followed by four sequels, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time, and was made into a TV movie by Disney in 2003.  A Wrinkle in Time is waiting on KA’s library bookshelf for you to come and check it out!  Enjoy!

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