Vocabulary Words from Freak the Mighty

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will learn more about the terminology used by Kevin, who Max believes is the smartest person in the world, in the Rodman Philbrick novel 'Freak the Mighty.'

The Lingo

In Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, Kevin (Freak) is a little guy with a big vocabulary. Even his principal has to use a dictionary to figure out what he's talking about! In this lesson, we will provide you with a 'cheat sheet' of some of the more vibrant expressions used in this novel.

Glossary of Terms

Below is a list of some of the most colorful words that are used in Freak the Mighty:

biogenic: created by living things such as plants, animals, or bacteria. Kevin tells Max that his health issues are a normal part of his 'biogenic intervention plan' to get a full bionic body transplant.

bionics: engineered by scientists to mimic nature. Since Kevin's insides are growing faster than his outsides, he claims that a bionic body is being developed for him.

copacetic: everything is good. When Gwen allows Max to carry Kevin inside the house, but tells them they are not allowed to go out on any adventures, she uses this term.

cretin: an unintelligent or unpleasant person. Kevin calls gang leader, Tony D., a cretin, which ends up landing Max and Kevin stuck in the millpond on the Fourth of July.

dysfunctional: unable to function. In an effort to turn Max against his grandparents, Killer Kane tells Max that his grandparents called him 'a dysfunctional retard.'

dyslexic: a specific learning disability that affects reading. Max claims he is dyslexic which is why he struggles with reading until Kevin teaches him in a new way.

evasive: able to get away from. Grim and Gram advise Max to stay away from Tony D. by using 'evasive action.'

gruel: thin, watery oatmeal (or other type of meal-based cereal). Kevin, who is obsessed with King Arthur, asks for gruel when he wants food.

illiterate: a person who has not learned how to read or write. Killer Kane has a plan to preach the gospel on the road and collect money from illiterate people who want to believe in a reformed sinner.

opiate: a tranquilizing drug that is used to relieve pain. Kevin calls television 'the opiate of the masses.'

ornithopter: a motorized bird. The first time Kevin and Max meet, Kevin has gotten his ornithopter stuck in a tree.

Some of the first aircrafts were ornithopters.

propulsion: a force that causes something to move. When the elastic band on Kevin's ornithopter breaks, Kevin explains to Max that a 'new propulsion unit' will need to be installed.

quest: a journey to find something meaningful. Kevin calls all of their adventures 'quests.'

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