Vocab from The Book Thief: Vociferous

wondrous memeWelcome to Wondrous Words Wednesday, the meme for book nerds who want to improve their vocabulary.  Visit Kathy at Bermuda Onion for links to more challenging words.

This summer, Marcus Zusak has dominated my reading.  First, I enjoyed I Am the Messenger, a book many teens I know claim as “the best book I’ve ever read.”  Stay tuned for a review.

Now I’m reading The Book Thief,a novel about a girl who loves books but unfortunately lives in Germany in 1941 when the Nazis burned many volumes.  Zusak creates a unique spin on this World War II story with his poetic style and an unusual narrator (Death).

The Book Thief actually made my daughter cry.  She rarely gets emotional about books.  A wardrobe dilemma, maybe, but not books.

The Book ThiefSo I read with trepidation, because I frequently cry over books.  (Especially The Fault in Our Stars and The Time Traveler’s Wife).  I tried The Book Thief once before, in the dead of winter while I was postpartum.  I couldn’t finish it.  Too sad.  But now, I’ve promised my daughter I’ll read it so we can watch the movie together.

I’ve got tissues ready.

Besides giving me great imagery, Zusak also uses some fantastic vocab.  Here’s a sample:

He smiled loudest when the ring announcer listed his many achievements, which were all vociferously applauded by the adoring crowd.

Vociferous \vō-‘si-fə-rəs\ adj; from Latin vociferates, from voc/vox – voice + ferre to bear; marked by vehement, insistent outcry

Word Nerd Workout

Use vociferous in a sentence.  My example:

The teacher struggled to elevate her voice over the vociferous complaints of her students about the bathroom pass policy.

Thanks for getting nerdy with me!


Spread the word on Twitter: Word nerd word from The Book Thief: vociferous = marked by insistent outcry via @juliatomiak 

Julia Tomiak
I believe in the power of words to improve our lives, and I help people find interesting words to read. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Google+. Member of SCBWI and Wordsmithstudio.org.


  1. I adore this word and want to use it daily! When my soccer team responded with vociferous complaints over sprints, I doubled the workout. And that’s why they love me 🙂 btw, I need to give The Book Thief another try, too…

  2. My book club read The Book Thief this past January. Every one of us (10 women in our 70s and 80s) confessed to crying at some point in this book. Zusak made us empathize with the young girl and we found it impossible not to feel her emotions.

  3. I’ve seen the movie version of The Book Thief. It is so good. I really do need to read the book.

    Some parents became vociferous in their opposition when the school board proposed longer school days.

  4. My impression was that vociferous meant enthusiastic, and I guess that’s a shade of it. But it seems as if the “vocal” part is important to the definition.

    I thought of you yesterday. I don’t often stop and look words up when I’m reading, but I did yesterday, while reading The Lost City of Z. The word was peripatetic. I looked it up because it sounded like it meant something awful, like listless and anemic, and it didn’t fit the context. It means moving around a lot and staying places only for short periods. Huh.

    1. Good for you to look it up – and aren’t you glad you did? Often when I look up words I realize that my “assumed definition” doesn’t fly. Cheers to learning!

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