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Vocabulary Strategies


1. Write the dictionary definition, the part of speech, and the pronunciation.
2. Write the definition in your own words.
3. List other forms of the word with their parts of speech.
4. Write a synonym and an antonym.
5. Choose TWO (2) of the following options:

• Use the word in a sentence making sure to include context clues. Highlight the context
clues and underline the vocabulary word. See the back of this handout for more
information about the different kinds of context clues.
• Connect the word to one of the five senses (the word looks like, sounds like, tastes like,
feels like, smells like) and explain why you connect it with that sense.
• Write a “urownonym”: make up a slang word that shows you what the word means.
• Make a metaphor or a simile for the word and explain it.
• Write an association or an example and explain it.
• Draw a sketch of the word (could be a cartoon, a symbolic representation, etc.).
• Write a response to the emotional tone of the word.
• Write the word origin or break down the parts and write the word origin for each part.


calumny – noun – “kal – uhm – nee” false or malicious accusation intended to injure the reputation of
someone or something
Definition in own words: A calumny is an untrue statement that is made to publicly attack someone’s
Other forms of word: calumnious – adjective; calumniously – adverb; calumniate – verb (to speak
maliciously about); calumniator – noun (one who speaks calumniously), calumniation – noun
Synonym: rumor, slander, defamation, libel, “slam”
Antonym: praise, extolling, encouragement, commendation, flattery
Word in a sentence: Iago repeatedly utters calumnies against Desdemona by accusing her of cheating on
Othello in order to ruin her reputation, gradually convincing him that despite her good name as a pure and
gentle woman, she is really a whore and a strumpet.
Connect the word to one of the five senses: Calumny feels like spikes on a cactus because false
accusations hurt. Calumny smells like rotten food because it ruins your reputation and the intent is “rotten.”
“Urownonym”: calumny = “calumnistic” (contributed by Ryan C.) or “calumnasty” (contributed by Nick
Metaphor or simile: A calumny is knife twisted in one’s back because telling lies to hurt someone is
mean-spirited and asocial; speaking a calumny is like throwing a tomato on someone who is onstage
because the intent is to humiliate a person publicly.
Write an association or an example: I associate calumny with politics because politicians are always
attacking each other to try to ruin reputations during election time. Another example of calumny would be
when a student spreads rumors about a teacher’s incompetence to damage his or her reputation just to get
out of doing the homework.
Response to the emotional tone of the word: This word has a bitter, burning tone to it. People who are
calumnious are often bitter and mean-spirited, and the effect of what they say causes anger and stinging
Word origin: from Latin calvi - "to trick, deceive,"

co-developed by Beth Menzies and the following students: Jael A., April R., Ryan C., Nick W., Jaqui F., Rosie A., Kyle A., Angel B.,
Johnathon C., Jimmy C., Kylie C., Jake D., Grant G., Tyler C., Thomas H., Wayne J., Alex J., Jasmine M., Brittany O., Dasa R., Taylor
W., Colton W.