Bivouac (vi/vt)

It’s Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day today, so here is a context clues worksheet on bivouac as a verb. It’s used intransitively to mean “to make a bivouac, camp” and “to take shelter often temporarily”; transitively it means “to provide temporary quarters for (they were bivouacked in the gym during the storm).”

The word is also used as a noun to mean “a usually temporary encampment under little or no shelter,” “encampment usually for a night,” and “a temporary or casual shelter or lodging.”

Why use bivouac as a verb (or a noun for that matter?) rather than the simpler, arguably stouter camp? I don’t know that I would, but it is a matter of diction and style. Bivouac as either a verb or a noun is not a high-frequency word in English. This worksheet, perhaps, could be used as an assessment to test students’ ability to engage in the high-powered comprehension strategy of inferring meaning from context. If you use a lot of context clues-related material in your classroom, throwing in a word like bivouac from time to time does strike me as a quick means of assessment. What do you think?

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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