Word Up Yellow Unit 14

This song includes seventh grade vocabulary words that students are likely to encounter on state tests. It teaches the following words: allege, bellow, beseech, clamber, consult, despondent, detach, endure, gruesome, legacy, maul, mortify, obnoxious, pelt and vengeance. In this song, Keena does a good deed to change the life of a kid in her neighborhood.


Keena knew every kid on her block,
From the snot-nosed pre-K, mumbling tots,
To the punks who sat on stoops and threw rocks,
To the dudes pushing coupes, who think they’re hot.
She didn’t have to consult or look at a map,
She knew that one apartment that people walked past.
It was separate from the others; it was detached,
People used to say it was haunted, in fact.
Keena knew the boy who lived inside,
Name was Jay, dude lived a lonely life.
He had a gruesome scar across his eye and forehead,
It caused horror in those who saw it.
Jay was always sad and despondent,
’Cause the neighborhood kids made him a target.
They’d pelt him with cans, throw ’em at him,
Each week called him "Scarface the Freak."
Now Rizzo was another dude Keena knew,
Type of guy who was running a crew.
Leading the pack, he had a crush on Keena from way back,
But Keena had denied him like Shaq.
One day Rizzo said, "I seen ya, Keena,
Talking to that freak Scarface; I think you need a
Real man like me." Keena said, "Like who?
That kid Jay is way smarter than you,
And all of your crew, so you should stop this.
Honest, you’re so annoying and obnoxious."
Rizzo didn’t want to hear that,
And so he hatched a plan to catch the man, like this…

Gather round. Listen to me, man. I’m getting tired of this kid Scarface, man. I don’t care what we do, but we’re gonna do it today. Matter fact, yo go find that kid for me, man. We’re gonna frame this on him. Let’s go.

A few days later, everybody was mad,
An eight-year-old kid had been beaten up bad.
This little kid had been mauled,
And now a crowd gathered in the street to talk.
Rizzo bellowed and yelled, "Listen to me,
I know who did it: Scarface the Freak!
We need vengeance, revenge, payback!"
And the whole crowd yelled, "Yeah! Payback!"
They marched to the house that was falling down,
And started yelling Jay’s name out loud.
Some kids were throwing rocks,
Keena saw all of this, knew it had to stop.
She climbed and clambered up the fire escape,
There was something she was dying to say.
She knew that Jay didn’t do it, wouldn’t hurt a flea,
She called to the mob, said, "Can’t you see?
Rizzo has a legacy, a history, of spitting lies,
He said he owns an island; that isn’t right.
You allege it was Jay, you say it was him,
I know: Let’s go ask the kid." "Yeah!"
Then Keena called to Jay,
Said, "You should come to the hospital, it’ll be okay."
They found the kid in the room at the hospital,
In the room with his mom and his papa, too.
But Rizzo blocked the door, and said, "No,
He’s hurt, we need to leave this kid alone."
Rizzo beseeched the crowd to just go home,
Got down on his knees, begged them to go.
But Jay was brave, pushed Rizzo aside,
Opened the kid’s door and he stepped inside.
He said, "I know it’s hard to get beaten up,
But you’ll be stronger than ever in a couple of months.
I can see in your eyes that you’re tough,
But tell us, kid, who beat you up?"
The kid lifted his arm real slow,
And pointed right at Rizzo.
Now the whole neighborhood had seen
How Rizzo had beaten up this little kid.
Keena said, "We’ve endured your hate, Rizzo,
Put up with it every day, Rizzo.
Man, you’re scarred on the inside, it’s true,
’Cause no one in the world’s more pathetic than you."
Rizzo was so ashamed and mortified,
For the first time the whole block saw him cry.

It's a tough world we live in, where someone can get teased because he or she looks different. Thankfully, there are people who are willing to stand up for others. Sometimes all it takes is one bold act to change someone's life for the better.

You'll learn these words: allege, bellow, beseech, clamber, consult, despondent, detach, endure, gruesome, legacy, maul, mortify, obnoxious, pelt, vengeance.

consult (verb)
to seek advice; to talk things over in order to reach a decision
President Jimmy Carter consulted his advisers on the best course of action.
Synonyms: ask, confer
detach (verb)
to separate from
When Ronnie goes climbing, he uses his carabiners to attach and detach himself to the ropes.
Antonyms: attach
Other forms: If something can be detached , it is detachable (adj).
gruesome (adj)
causing horror; ghastly, revolting
Hector couldn't get the gruesome sight of the dead soldiers out of his head.
Antonyms: beautiful, pleasant, pretty
despondent (adj)
feeling seriously depressed, gloomy, or hopeless
After the death of her puppy, Marie was despondent for weeks.
Antonyms: cheerful, happy, elated
pelt (verb)
to throw a series of things; to strike again and again
We pelted the side of the school with snowballs.
Synonyms: bombard, pound
obnoxious (adj)
annoying or offensive
Most people would say that it's obnoxious to text during your own wedding, but this couple didn't seem to have a problem with it.
Antonyms: delightful, pleasant
Other forms: Before meeting JoAnn, I never knew obnoxiousness (noun) could be taken to such heights.
maul (verb)
to handle roughly; to injure by a rough beating
Raul was mauled by the angry rugby players.
Synonyms: abuse, hurt
Antonyms: guard, protect
Other forms: Maul can also be a noun meaning "a heavy hammer used for driving stakes."
bellow (verb)
to shout in a deep voice, or to make a sound similar to a bull
Our coach bellowed at us to run our laps or else!
Synonyms: howl, call
Antonyms: whisper
vengeance (noun)
punishment in return for an injury or a wrong; unusual force or violence
Humiliated by his boss for asking too many questions, Lee got his vengeance when he was named "Employee of the Month."
Synonyms: revenge, retribution
Antonyms: forgiveness
Other forms: Don't cross Rohan; he's extremely vengeful (adj). The phrase "with a vengeance" means "with great force," as in: Dang! My sore throat came back with a vengeance .
clamber (verb)
to climb with difficulty
Tanja loves to clamber up and down the jungle gyms.
Synonyms: scale, scramble up
legacy (noun)
an inheritance or gift; something handed down from an ancestor or from the past
James Brown was more than an amazing musician; his legacy lives on in all of the music he has influenced.
Synonyms: gift, tradition, heritage
allege (verb)
to state as a fact, but usually without offering proof
Ricardo alleged it was Don Vito who had ordered the kidnapping, but was Ricardo trustworthy?
Synonyms: assert, claim
Antonyms: deny
Other forms: The alleged (adj) thief was brought in by the police.
beseech (verb)
to ask for urgently; to beg
The conquistadors beseeched their god to bring them good fortune.
Synonyms: plead, implore
endure (verb)
1. to put up with; to bear
2. to continue to exist
1. Ronda was only able to endure the long car trip because she had some videos she could watch.
2. Even though he's seen some great comedies recently, for some reason my father's love of Bugs Bunny cartoons endures .
Synonyms: 1. undergo, live through
Antonyms: 2. end, stop
mortify (verb)
to hurt someone's feelings deeply; to cause embarrassment or humiliation
Looking back at baby pictures, my sister and I were mortified by how our parents used to dress us.
Synonyms: ridicule, shame
Antonyms: compliment, praise
What did Jay have on his forehead?
A gruesome scar
What did Keena call Rizzo?
Annoying and obnoxious
What happened to the eight-year-old kid?
He had been mauled.
Rizzo said that they needed _____.
Keena said that Rizzo had a legacy of _____.
Spitting lies

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