English Topic 31 - Definition of words

Giving the Definition of words (the meaning of words) is a question type that commonly appears in 11 plus exams in verbal-reasoning and English.

There are a number of question types for which you will need to use your knowledge of word meanings: e.g. synonyms, antonyms, find the odd word, English CLOZE exercises and comprehension questions.

If you do not know a word in a question or a text, you will need to try and work it out by looking at the surrounding words/sentences. This method of finding out what words mean in their context is usually successful.


Question: What does the word ‘aperture’ mean in the passage below?

‘It was a little lattice-window, about five feet and a half above the ground, at the back of the house, which belonged to a scullery, or small brewing-place, at the end of the passage. The aperture was so small that the inmates had probably not thought it worth while to defend it more securely; but it was large enough to admit a boy of Oliver’s size, nevertheless.’ (Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens)

Answer: Aperture means a hole or an opening.

Explanation: If you read the whole passage above and around the word ‘aperture’ you will understand that the meaning of that word refers back to the little lattice-window, which although being small was big enough to allow Oliver to enter through. We understand that an aperture is an opening.

Video tutorial:

This video explains how to find out what a word is in the context of a passage/sentence:


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