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Using Context Clues

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Using Context Clues

Context Clues

Sometimes, the best way to figure out an unfamiliar word is to look at its context. The following context clues can help:

  • Definitions or descriptions
  • Synonyms
  • Comparisons
  • Contrasts
  • Restatements
  • Items in a series
  • Tone and setting
  • Cause and effect

Your Turn Read this passage from Jack London’s The Call of the Wild. Use context clues to define each boldfaced word below.

They made Sixty Miles, which is a fifty-mile run, on the first day; and the second day saw them booming up the Yukon well on their way to Pelly. But such splendid running was achieved not without great trouble and vexation on the part of Francois. The insidious revolt led by Buck had destroyed the solidarity of the team. It no longer was as one dog leaping in the traces. The encouragement Buck gave the rebels led them into all kinds of petty misdemeanors. No more was Spitz a leader greatly to be feared. The old awe departed, and they grew equal to challenging his authority. Pike robbed him of half a fish one night and gulped it down under the protection of Buck. Another night Dub and Joe fought Spitz and made him forego the punishment they deserved. And even Billee, the good-natured, was less good-natured, and whined not half so placatingly as in former days. Buck never came near Spitz without snarling and bristling menacingly. In fact, his conduct approached that of a bully, and he was given to swaggering up and down before Spitz’s very nose.

  1. vexation
  2. insidious
  3. solidarity
  4. traces
  5. misdemeanors
  6. forego
  7. placatingly
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