Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan

Provides infrequently used words to strengthen your vocabulary.

In a flight from Minneapolis to Memphis, Tim Wildmon, the President of American Family Radio (AFR), was perplexed because the blue dot on Maps, displayed on his iPad, was following the flight he was on, and he was not even connected to the Internet. On his radio program, Wildmon asked how this was happening.

A retired Merchant Naval officer telephoned to give the answer. The Global Positioning System (GPS), according to the caller, does not use the Internet. It is a system of twenty-four or more active data satellites that are in earth’s orbit. A cell phone or iPad has a receiver inside which receives the signals. The computer in the cell phone will compute the angular differences and find your position. This information will provide your direction, your velocity, and altitude. This is the same system that works from the GPS in cars.

It’s easy to assume that everything is dependent on the Internet; this anecdote illustrates that not everything is.

1. angular (ANG-you-lur)

A. bony, lean, or gaunt

B. consisted of, situated at, or forming an angle

C. acting or moving awkwardly

D. stiff in manner, unbending

2. Global Positioning System

A. a space-based navigation operation that transmits signals continuously toward the earth

B. an operation that allows the position of a receiving device on or near the earth’s surface to be accurately estimated from the difference of the arrival times of the signals

C. a U.S. military satellite system now available for public use

D. a system that determines position on the earth’s surface by comparing transmitted signals from various satellites

3. Which one is a synonym of perplexed?

A. galvanized

B. promulgated

C. nonplussed

D. retreated

E. hoodwinked

Let’s see how you’re doing.

All four are correct for No. 1, angular.

All four are correct for No. 2, Global Positioning System.

Nonplussed is the answer to No. 3.

4. The sentence just before “angular” is a/an

A. simile.

B. antithesis.

C. incomplete sentence.

D. anecdote

E. euphemism.

It’s easy to assume that everything is dependent on the Internet; this anecdote illustrates that not everything is. The preceding statement qualifies for an antithesis (an-TITH-uh-sis), which puts two opposing statements together to make a point. My favorite antithesis came from the beloved John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”