Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one maelstrom or multiple maelstroms.)
A maelstrom is a huge, violent whirlpool that can suck things down into the water. (Scary!)
For our purposes, here's the abstract meaning: a maelstrom is something (often a situation) that's a huge, violent, chaotic mess, like a whirlpool.
Be sure to write "MAELstrom" and not "MALEstrom" (unless you're making a play on words about messy dudes.)
And, take care to write "maelSTROM" and not "maelSTORM." If that confuses you, note that the word is Dutch for "grinding stream," and focus on its relationship to "stream" and not "storm."
How to use it:
Talk about a maelstrom of emotion (always a bad one, like "a maelstrom of anger,") a maelstrom in the courts, descending into the maelstrom of Field Day at school, creating a maelstrom of unrest, a political maelstrom, a social media maelstrom, and so on.
I don't usually like novels that suck the reader into the maelstrom of war, but All Quiet on the Western Front is an exception because it's written so beautifully.
High school, for me, was very calm compared to the maelstrom of alliances, betrayals, and all-around angst of middle school.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "maelstrom” means when you can explain it without saying “vortex” or “pandemonium."
Think of something you dislike because it's too dramatic, and fill in the blanks: "_____ always devolve(s) into a maelstrom of _____."
Example: "Those plays always devolve into a maelstrom of characters screaming at each other."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now; let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game content is protected by a copyright, so I can't reprint the trivia questions here--but check out the challenging, endlessly entertaining game; it's called Moot!
A Point Well Made:
Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Be an opener of doors.”
1. The opposite of MAELSTROM is
A. HIGH TIDE
B. SMOOTH WATERS
C. STARRY NIGHT
2. In one of my favorite scenes in Les Miserables, Valjean passes the night in a maelstrom of _____.
A. thrilling travel
B. deep rest
C. emotional soul-searching
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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