Vocabulary Notes for “Death of Three Graffiti Artists”

1. suffering from shock

- a shock is a sudden, surprising, and, usually, a bad experience. When the word is used as it is here it, however, about someone who is “suffering from shock,” it refers to a serious medical condition with symptoms such as colorless skin, low blood pressure, irregular breathing and rapid pulse. (“Suffer from” is a prepositional verb.)

2. tags

- graffiti artists’ signatures are presumably called “tags” (metaphorically) because of an imagined resemblance to small paper tags (price tags, name tags etc.)

3. interchange/expressway

- the verb “interchange” (with the accent on the second syllable) means simply to put A where B was and B where A was, and the noun (with the accent on the first syllable) refers to the act of interchanging. It is now used most commonly however, to refer to the complicated systems of short, curving “roads” that allow vehicles to “change” from one highway to another at high speed. The modern highways that are connected with interchanges are often referred to as “expressways.” (“Express” here indicates speed as in “express bus.”) (Also compare the use of “way” here to its use in “highway” “railway,” and “pathway.”)

4. canvases

- canvas is a heavy cloth, often made of cotton, which is used for making such things as sails and tents; as a count noun it refers to a piece of canvas used by an artist as a surface for a painting. In the text it refers metaphorically to the surfaces used by graffiti artists for writing their tags.

5. the last minute

- if something happens at the “last minute,” it happens just before something else happens.

6. running late

- a way of saying that some planned event or activity is happening later than it was supposed to (behind schedule).

• more vocabulary from story

- tangle
- ramp
- pillar

- popular
- abandon
- particular

- annual
- comment
- muffle

- freight
- scene
- fatal