Quizzes: Vocabulary in Context

The following questions test your comprehension of common vocabulary words. Each passage contains one or two underlined words. Using the context of the passage, select the answer that contains the most logical definition of the underlined word.
1. Cheerleaders for futuristic cars, which can navigate roads with zero input from humans, have for years drummed up interest by focusing on these cars’ safety as well as their ability to reduce traffic jams. Now, a new study suggests that there may be another reason to embrace the new technology: substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/robocabs-might-make-big-cut-in-pollution/)

As it is used in the passage, “embrace” most nearly means

 
2. “Weakest” is rarely a superlative worth celebrating, but experiments began this summer in a room with the weakest magnetic field in our solar system—and scientists are excited. Built by physicists at the Technical University of Munich, the room achieves a millionfold reduction in the intensity of ambient magnetic fields, a 10-fold improvement on any previous man-made structure, registering even less such activity than the vast, empty space between planets. The facility’s shielding consists of layers of a highly magnetizable metal that ensnare fields so they do not pass through to the structure's interior. Within, ultraprecise experiments can take place with only minute interference from the results-mucking effects of Earth, electronics, living bodies, and more. The room's special type of silence therefore offers a unique opportunity to probe important questions in physics, biology and medicine. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-room-with-the-weakest-magnetic-field-on-earth/)

As it is used in the passage, “registering” most nearly means

 
3. “Weakest” is rarely a superlative worth celebrating, but experiments began this summer in a room with the weakest magnetic field in our solar system—and scientists are excited. Built by physicists at the Technical University of Munich, the room achieves a millionfold reduction in the intensity of ambient magnetic fields, a 10-fold improvement on any previous man-made structure, registering even less such activity than the vast, empty space between planets. The facility’s shielding consists of layers of a highly magnetizable metal that ensnare fields so they do not pass through to the structure's interior. Within, ultraprecise experiments can take place with only minute interference from the results-mucking effects of Earth, electronics, living bodies, and more. The room's special type of silence therefore offers a unique opportunity to probe important questions in physics, biology and medicine. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-room-with-the-weakest-magnetic-field-on-earth/)

As it is used in the passage, “probe” most nearly means

 
4. In one month, three Google Street View cars clocked 750 hours of drive time in Denver. But the cars weren’t just taking pictures of houses and stores. They were fitted with air pollutions sensors, built by environmental monitoring startup Aclima, and they were taking a reading of ambient air pollution every second. The mobile sensors monitor a host of environmental pollutants: nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds. The goal is to track the density of these pollutants and how they change during the day, so that city residents have a sense of what they’re inhaling and can adapt their habits. (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/google-street-view-cars-mapping-city-air-pollution-180956205/)

As it is used in the passage, “host” most nearly means

 
5. In one month, three Google Street View cars clocked 750 hours of drive time in Denver. But the cars weren’t just taking pictures of houses and stores. They were fitted with air pollutions sensors, built by environmental monitoring startup Aclima, and they were taking a reading of ambient air pollution every second. The mobile sensors monitor a host of environmental pollutants: nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds. The goal is to track the density of these pollutants and how they change during the day, so that city residents have a sense of what they’re inhaling and can adapt their habits. (http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/google-street-view-cars-mapping-city-air-pollution-180956205/)

As it is used in the passage, “track” most nearly means

 
6. The indigenous Quechua communities, descendants of the ancient Inca, have been building and rebuilding twisted-rope bridges, or Q’eswachakas, in the same way for more than 500 years. They’re a legacy and living link to an ancient past – not only capable of bearing some 5,000 pounds but also empowered by profound spiritual strength. (Adapted from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/how-inca-empire-engineered-road-would-endure-centuries-180955709/)

As it is used in the passage, “bearing” most nearly means

 
7. The eye-catching checkerboard belly of the corn snake… resembles an ear of maize, which is likely what inspired the snake’s name. But “patterns are not very common on snake bellies," says Kate Jackson of Whitman College in Washington State. Instead, the reptiles typically display solid colors that are paler or brighter than their topsides. This contrast is called countershading, a type of camouflage that "occurs across the majority of animal groups," says Whit Gibbons, author and herpetologist at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. One example is the smooth green snake. Sunlight makes the dark green on its back appear lighter, so that it blends with the pale green on the lower part of its body. The result is a uniform color that is harder to see, especially against green grass. (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150919-animal-reptile-snakes-camouflage-science-biology-color/)

As it is used in the passage, “uniform” most nearly means

 
8. We live today in a world in which each week, seemingly, a new form of new media—from Fitbit to Facebook, electronic medical records to smartphone apps—promises to revolutionize the ways we experience health and illness. But we often forget that our current practices have been shaped by media that were once new. By studying the medical history of television when it was still considered a cutting-edge medical technology, we can better understand how we conceive and implement new technologies in medicine. (adapted from https://www.neh.gov/humanities/2017/spring/feature/when-television-was-medical-device)

As it is used in the passage, “shaped” most nearly means

 
9. The underlying concept of using quirks in human perception to learn about how the mind works is an old one. Visual, auditory and multisensory illusions, in which people’s perceptions contradict the physical properties of the stimuli, have long been used by psychologists to study the mechanisms of sensory processing. Magicians use such sensory illusions in their tricks, but they also heavily use cognitive illusions, manipulating people’s attention, trains of logic, and even memory. (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/magic-neuroscience-cognition-illusions/)

As it is used in the passage, “properties” most nearly means

 
10. The underlying concept of using quirks in human perception to learn about how the mind works is an old one. Visual, auditory and multisensory illusions, in which people’s perceptions contradict the physical properties of the stimuli, have long been used by psychologists to study the mechanisms of sensory processing. Magicians use such sensory illusions in their tricks, but they also heavily use cognitive illusions, manipulating people’s attention, trains of logic, and even memory. (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/magic-neuroscience-cognition-illusions/)

As it is used in the passage, “trains” most nearly means