4000 Essential English Words 2 » Unit 3: The Battle of Thermopylae

Word List
  • arrow [ˈærəʊ] n.
    An arrow is a thin, straight stick shot from a bow.
    The arrow flew through the air and hit the target.
  • battle [ˈbætl] n.
    A battle is a fight between two armies during a war.
    The battle lasted for many days.
  • bow [bəʊ] n.
    A bow is a weapon made of curved wood and string that shoots arrows.
    He went hunting with a bow and arrow.
  • brave [breɪv] adj.
    When people are brave, they are not afraid to face pain or danger.
    The brave firefighter saved the girl from the burning building.
  • chief [tʃiːf] n.
    A chief is the leader of a group of people.
    The chief led the people through the mountains.
  • disadvantage [ˌdɪsədˈvæntɪdʒ] n.
    A disadvantage is a situation where someone is likely to lose.
    Mike had a disadvantage in the race since he hurt his knee.
  • enemy [ˈɛnəmɪ] n.
    An enemy is a country that is fighting another country during a war.
    The enemy prepared to attack the kingdom.
  • entrance [ˈentrəns] n.
    An entrance is a place where someone can enter an area.
    The gate was locked, so Bill had to find a different entrance.
  • hardly [ˈhɑːrdlɪ] adj.
    If something hardly happens, it almost does not happen at all.
    I hardly saw the concert since I had to leave early.
  • intend [ɪnˈtend] v.
    To intend to do something means to plan to do it.
    I intend to finish college in three years.
  • laughter [ˈlæftər] n.
    Laughter is the sound produced by laughing about something funny.
    Susan’s joke made her classmates burst into laughter.
  • log [lɒg] n.
    A log is a thick piece of wood that is cut from a tree.
    The fire was too small, so we added another log to it.
  • military [ˈmɪlɪtərɪ] n.
    The military is the armed forces of a country.
     I joined the military after I finished high school.
  • obey [oʊˈbeɪ] v.
    To obey means to follow what a law or a person says you must do.
    My little sister did not obey my mother. Now she is in trouble.
  • secure [sɪˈkjʊə:r] v.
    To secure something means to get it after a lot of effort.
     I was able to secure a good grade on my test after weeks of studying.
  • steady [ˈstedɪ] adj.
    When someone or something is steady, they are under control.
    The problem was hard but she remained steady and solved it.
  • trust [trʌst] v.
    To trust is to believe that someone is honest and will do what is right.
    I trust my friends; they don’t tell my secrets to other people.
  • twist [twɪst] v.
    To twist something is to wrap it around itself or another thing.
    She twisted the spaghetti around her fork.
  • unless [ənˈles] conj.
    Unless means if not or except when.
    Unless you clean your room, you cannot play with your friends.
  • weapon [ˈwepən] n.
    A weapon is an object that can be used to hurt people.
    Swords have been used as weapons for thousands of years.
Exercise 1

Part A: Choose the word that is a better fit for each sentence.

  1. bow / log
    • Please put another _______________ on the fire; it’s getting cold in here.
    • The woman shot the arrows with a _______________.
  2. enemy / military
    • If our country’s army is weak, our_______________might attack us.
    • Long ago, Greece had the most powerful_______________ in the world.
  3. obey / trust
    • Because I respect my parents, I_______________ their rules.
    • We cannot_______________ Bob because he often doesn’t do what he says he’ll do.
  4. intended / secured
    • I _______________ a job with a big company yesterday.
    • I _______________ to go to the store, but I didn’t have time.
  5. battle / disadvantage
    • The rain was a _______________ for the other soccer team.
    • During the _______________ at sea, many ships sank.

Part B: Choose the right word for the given definition.

  1. a person of the highest rank
    • a. brave
    • b. obey
    • c. chief
    • d. trust
  2. barely or almost unable to do
    • a. hardly
    • b. unless
    • c. secure
    • d. disadvantage
  3. to wrap around itself or another thing
    • a. steady
    • b. arrow
    • c. bow
    • d. twist
  4. to plan to do
    • a. laughter
    • b. intend
    • c. battle
    • d. military
  5. space used to go into an area
    • a. enemy
    • b. entrance
    • c. log
    • d. weapon
Exercise 2

Write the word that is similar in meaning to the underlined part.

  1. I could not find the place to go in to the movie theater.
    entr_ _ _ _
  2. At work. Mr. Smith is the person with the highest rank.
    ch_ _ _
  3. He lost the fight because his object used for hurting people was broken.
    wea_ _ _
  4. I barely know my neighbors. I don’t see them very often.
    ha_ _ _ _
  5. His giggle made other people smile.
    laug_ _ _ _
  6. The long, straight stick with a pointed end hit the center of the target.
    a_ _ _ _
  7. The little boy was not afraid to look under his bed for the monster,
    b_ _ _ _
  8. Snakes wrap themselves around the tree branches,
    tw_ _ _
  9. Johan was afraid of heights, but he remained under control and finished the climb.
    st_ _ _ _
  10. If we don’t stop for gas soon, the car will run out.
    Un_ _ _ _
Answer Key
Exercise 1
Part A
  1. log, bow
  2. enemy, military
  3. obey, trust
  4. secured, intended
  5. disadvantage, battle
Part B
  1. c
  2. a
  3. d
  4. b
  5. b
Exercise 2
  1. entrance
  2. chief
  3. weapon
  4. hardly
  5. laughter
  6. arrow
  7. brave
  8. twist
  9. steady
  10. unless
Answer Key
The Battle of Thermopylae

This is a true story. It happened long ago in Greece....

“We must fight,” the Spartan* chief told his small army of brave men. They were at a great disadvantage. There were only three hundred of them. The Persian military had hundreds of thousands of men.

They were going to lose unless they could secure a small entrance. The enemy couldn’t move through it easily. They intended to stop the enemy here. The chief and his men got ready for the battle.

Soon, long lines of the enemy’s army twisted around the hills. The chief met the enemy with laughter. He knew that his men’s weapons and skills were better. The Spartans trusted their leader and obeyed him.

First, the enemy soldiers shot arrows from their bows. The chief told his men to lift their shields*. The arrows stuck into the shields but did not hurt any of the men.

Then the enemy’s soldiers attacked the Spartans with long spears. The chief surprised them. His troops rolled logs down on the enemy.

They fought for three days. Though they hardly slept at all, the chief and his men remained steady.

But the enemy found a way to beat the Spartans. The chief and all of his men were killed. Even though they lost, the Battle of Thermopylae is one of the most famous battles in history.
 

* Spartan - a soldier from the city of Sparta in Greece

* shield - a piece of wood or metal that soldiers carried to protect themselves

Reading Comprehension

Answer the questions.

  1. What is this story about?
    • a. How an enemy made an attack against shields
    • b. Why logs were rolled down on soldiers
    • c. How a small disadvantaged army nearly beat a large military
    • d. Why good soldiers obey their leaders
  2. Why was the smaller army not afraid of the larger one
    • a. The larger army didn’t have any weapons.
    • b. The smaller army had better weapons and skills.
    • c. The larger army did not trust their leader.
    • d. The smaller army did not intend to fight.
  3. The brave men knew they would lose ________.
    • a. because they heard the soldiers’ laughter
    • b. unless they secured the narrow entrance
    • c. against the other army’s bows and arrows
    • d. hardly any men fighting the large army
  4. According to the passage, all the following are true about the Persian army EXCEPT ________.
    • a. their long lines of soldiers twisted around the hills
    • b. they used bows and arrows
    • c. they had a steady three-day attack against the Spartans
    • d. they used fire to defeat the Spartans
  5. Why did the soldiers do whatever their chief asked of them?
    _____________
Answer Key
Answer Key
Reading Comprehension
  1. c
  2. b
  3. b
  4. d
  5. The soldiers did whatever the chief asked them because they trusted and obeyed their leader.
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