The Petrified Ants Vocabulary List

aboveground

(vocab lists with aboveground)
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"And lived in houses--aboveground, with plenty of room, and lots of air and sunshine," said Josef raptly.

absentmindedly

(vocab lists with absentmindedly)
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He had absentmindedly violated one of Josef's basic maxims--"Never complain in public about anything."

america

(vocab lists with america)
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He was, as Graham Greene declared, "one of the best living American writers."

american

(vocab lists with american)
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He was, as Graham Greene declared, "one of the best living American writers."

apprehensively

(vocab lists with apprehensively)
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Josef peered apprehensively around the corner, squinted into the darkness beneath the eaves.

babylon

(vocab lists with babylon)
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Now, Josef was loudly comparing the hole to the Pyramids, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Colossus of Rhodes.

backslider

(vocab lists with backslider)
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Men who couldn't tell Raptiformica sanguinea from centipedes had branded him an ideological backslider with dangerous tendencies toward Western decadence.

berating

(vocab lists with berating)
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Borgorov teetered back and forth on his thick boot soles, berating a soldier who was fumbling with the lock on a long toolshed.

bloodshot

(vocab lists with bloodshot)
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Neither had slept, but their bloodshot eyes were quick and bright-looking, impatient, excited.

centipede

(vocab lists with centipede)
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Men who couldn't tell Raptiformica sanguinea from centipedes had branded him an ideological backslider with dangerous tendencies toward Western decadence.

chimp

(vocab lists with chimp)
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"Millions of years before the first man--before the first gorilla, chimp, or orangutan, or even the first monkey, Josef--the ants had everything, everything."

cocky

(vocab lists with cocky)
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Josef and Peter now stared incredulously at evidence that ants had once lived as individuals--individuals with a culture to rival that of the cocky new masters of Earth, men.

colossus

(vocab lists with colossus)
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Now, Josef was loudly comparing the hole to the Pyramids, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Colossus of Rhodes.

czechoslovakia

(vocab lists with czechoslovakia)
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Beneath his feet were the Erzgebirge--the Ore Mountains, dividing Russian-occupied Germany from Czechoslovakia.

defensively

(vocab lists with defensively)
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said Borgorov defensively.

ecstatically

(vocab lists with ecstatically)
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Peter stared ecstatically into the distance, shrinking in his imagination down to the size of a finger joint and living a full, rich life in a stately pleasure dome all his own.

emeritus

(vocab lists with emeritus)
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Currently, Mr. Offit is the curator emeritus of the George Polk Awards in Journalism.

feverishly

(vocab lists with feverishly)
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Feverishly, Peter and Josef dug into box number one, the one containing the oldest fossils, piling rock fragments on the ground.

gouged

(vocab lists with gouged)
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Gray rivers of men streamed to and from pits and caverns gouged in the green mountain slopes--a dirty, red-eyed horde burrowing for uranium ... "When would you like to see the fossil ants we found?"

halfheartedly

(vocab lists with halfheartedly)
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"Nobody's ever seen a fossil ant from an earlier period," said Peter, trying halfheartedly to get back into things.

hoarsely

(vocab lists with hoarsely)
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"Josef," he said hoarsely, "you look and tell me what you see."

incredulously

(vocab lists with incredulously)
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Josef and Peter now stared incredulously at evidence that ants had once lived as individuals--individuals with a culture to rival that of the cocky new masters of Earth, men.

jeweler

(vocab lists with jeweler)
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It'd take the greatest jeweler in the world to turn out a job like that.

mesozoic

(vocab lists with mesozoic)
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"Middle Mesozoic period, probably," said Josef.

moodily

(vocab lists with moodily)
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He stared moodily at a pair of live ants who pulled tirelessly and in opposite directions at the legs of an expiring dung beetle.

myrmecologist

(vocab lists with myrmecologist)
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Peter and his brother, Russia's leading myrmecologists, had been summoned from the University of Dnipropetrovsk to see the hole--or, rather, to see the fossils that had come out of it.

myrmecology

(vocab lists with myrmecology)
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Myrmecology, they had explained to the hundred-odd guards who had stopped them on their way into the area, was that branch of science devoted to the study of ants.

nondescript

(vocab lists with nondescript)
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The door swung open, and two nondescript German laborers began dragging boxes of broken limestone from the shed.

officious

(vocab lists with officious)
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The officious mine supervisor, Borgorov, had said it had been sunk a half mile deep on the site of a radioactive mineral water spring.

orangutan

(vocab lists with orangutan)
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"Millions of years before the first man--before the first gorilla, chimp, or orangutan, or even the first monkey, Josef--the ants had everything, everything."

perplexedly

(vocab lists with perplexedly)
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"Well, come to think of it," said Borgorov, "it does look something like a--for goodness sake--like a--" He left the sentence unfinished, and looked up at Josef perplexedly.

pigpen

(vocab lists with pigpen)
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"Something could be worse than this pigpen?"

pincer

(vocab lists with pincer)
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He pointed to where the pincers ordinarily were.

quizzically

(vocab lists with quizzically)
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said Borgorov quizzically.

rambled

(vocab lists with rambled)
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Borgorov rambled on tiresomely, Josef agreed warmly, and Peter allowed his gaze and thoughts to wander over the strange new countryside.

raptly

(vocab lists with raptly)
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"And lived in houses--aboveground, with plenty of room, and lots of air and sunshine," said Josef raptly.

screwing

(vocab lists with screwing)
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"I see," said Borgorov, screwing up his face in florid, panting concentration.

seethed

(vocab lists with seethed)
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In the dazzling instant, Peter saw that the slopes still seethed with the digging horde.

sleepily

(vocab lists with sleepily)
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Sleepily, Josef pushed the blanket away from his face.

solicitously

(vocab lists with solicitously)
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Borgorov asked Josef solicitously.

sponged

(vocab lists with sponged)
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Josef sponged his forehead with a huge red handkerchief.

stalin

(vocab lists with stalin)
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It was said, not without awe, that he was the favorite third cousin of Stalin himself, and that he was merely serving an apprenticeship for much bigger things.

stubby

(vocab lists with stubby)
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He ran his stubby fingers over the polished surface where hair had once been.

teetered

(vocab lists with teetered)
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Borgorov teetered back and forth on his thick boot soles, berating a soldier who was fumbling with the lock on a long toolshed.

thumbnail

(vocab lists with thumbnail)
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He popped off the lid with his thumbnail.

tirelessly

(vocab lists with tirelessly)
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He stared moodily at a pair of live ants who pulled tirelessly and in opposite directions at the legs of an expiring dung beetle.

tiresomely

(vocab lists with tiresomely)
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Borgorov rambled on tiresomely, Josef agreed warmly, and Peter allowed his gaze and thoughts to wander over the strange new countryside.

toolshed

(vocab lists with toolshed)
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Borgorov teetered back and forth on his thick boot soles, berating a soldier who was fumbling with the lock on a long toolshed.

tunelessly

(vocab lists with tunelessly)
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He shrugged and walked away from it, whistling tunelessly.

unclenched

(vocab lists with unclenched)
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Peter clenched and unclenched his fists, angry, frustrated.