Using context clues is a very sensible way to determine the meaning of a word. When using context clues, a reader examines the words and phrases surrounding the unknown word in order to determine the unknown word's meaning.
Some context clues an author provides can be either a definition or a synonym/antonym. For example, an unknown word may be defined by the author to save the reader time and confusion. For example, "The drawbridge functions as a bulwark, a defensive structure." Here, the reader is provided the definition of a bulwark. Authors may also provide either a synonym or antonym to cue readers in on what a word may mean. For example, "The drawbridge functions as a bulwark, or barrier."
Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America contains numerous challenging words. Chapter three, as defined as being the chapter in question. Page 123 of the text contains the word "untoward": "People who depend upon the generosity of others for their lodgings always have something untoward to put up with, typically incompatible relatives and long waits for the bathroom." Here, the dependant clause following the final comma defines examples of things which would be considered "untoward" or inconvenient.
Another example of a challenging word in chapter three is "intrusive." The fragment the word is included in appears on page 123: "intrusive in-laws and noisy housemates." Here, no context clue is provided in the sentence itself. Instead, readers must return to the idea that the people one "crashes with" may not always keep to themselves. Instead, they can be incompatible hard to get along with) and disruptive.