Kill a Mockingbird
ambled: (vb.): to walk at a slow, leisurely pace.
apothecary (n.): an early form of a pharmacist, apothecaries could also prescribe drugs.
assuaged (vb.): to assuage is to lessen or to calm. Therefore, if Jem's fears about being able to play football
were assuaged, it means that he no longer feared that he wouldn't be able to play the sport.
beadle (n.): a minor city official, lower in rank than either a sheriff or a policeman, whose main duties
revolve around preserving order at various civil functions such as trials and town hall meetings.
brethren (n.): in this case, members of a particular church or sect
corsets (n): a corset is a ladies undergarment designed to produce a particular effect on the figure. That
effect usually results in a slim (or slimmer) waist and larger busts and hips.
dictum (n.): in this case, a formal statement of principle
domiciled (vb.): A domicile is a house or a place where a person lives. If you are domiciled somewhere, that
is where you live. The Finch family lived in the northern part of the county.
eaves (n.): the lower edges of a roof which usually project beyond the side of a building
foray (n.): When you make a foray, you go somewhere or do something that is unusual or not normal for you.
It was certainly not Jem's usual behavior to go near the Radley house; thus, doing so was a foray for him.
Hoover carts (n): broken-down cars driven by mules; named after
President Herbert Hoover who served during the early part of the Great Depression.
human chattels (n.): slaves
impotent (adj.): powerless. Simon's fury and anger regarding the Civil War would certainly have been impotent
because there would have been nothing he could have done about it.
impudent (adj.): To be impudent is to be shamelessly bold, as if you don't care what anyone thinks about
you. Since the Haverfords did something illegal in front of witnesses, Lee rightfully describes them as impudent.
malevolent (adj.): evil
Methodists (n): members of a branch of a Protestant Christian denomination.
picket (n): a pointed or sharpened pole or stake. Many pickets held together can make a picket fence.
piety (n): devotion to religious duties and practices
predilection (n.): a predilection is a preference, or a preferred way of doing something. Thus, the Radley's
preferred way of spending a Sunday afternoon was to keep the doors closed and not receive visitors
ramrod (adj.): rigid, severe, straight
repertoire was vapid: (n. + adj.): a repertoire is all the special skills a person has; vapid, in this case, means
boring or uninteresting. So, when Scout says that their repertoire was vapid, she means that the games they had invented to
pass the time had become old and had lost their interest.
scold (n.): A scold is a person who scolds; that is, someone who often finds fault with people or things (and
usually lets you know about it under no uncertain terms)
spittoon (n.): a jarlike container to spit into; usually used to spit tobacco juice into.
strictures (n.): conditions or rules
taciturn (adj.): almost always silent. Apparently, Aunt Alexandra's husband was a very quiet man.
unsullied (adj.): something that is unsullied has been basically untouched or unused. The fact that Atticus's
edition of the Code of Alabama if unsullied would, in this case, indicate that he seldom consults this book.
veranda (n): a portico or porch with a roof
auburn (adj.): reddish-brown
catawba worms (n.): catawba worms are actually caterpillars that are highly prized by fishermen in the Southern
condescended (vb.): To condescend is to agree to do something that you believe to be beneath your dignity. Jem
condescends to take Scout to school, even though, as a fifth-grader, he feels superior to his first-grade sister.
covey (n.): a group
crimson (adj.): blood-red
cunning (adj.): In this case, cunning means attractive or cute --almost too cute
entailment (n.): a legal situation regarding the use of inherited property.
hookworms (n.): a type of parasite. Hookworms usually enter the body through bare feet and move through
the body to the small intestines where they attach themselves with a series of hooks around their mouths.
immune (adj.): In this case, to be immune to something means that it has no effect on you. The story Miss
Caroline reads to the class has no effect on them; they don't get it.
indigenous (adj.): belonging to a particular region or country
John Dewey (n): a man regarded as the most important educational reformer of his day; he believed that schools
should reflect society.
scrip stamps (n.): paper money of small denominations (less than $1.00) issued for temporary emergency use.
During the Great Depression, many local and state government gave out scrip stamps, or sometimes tokens, to needy people.
seceded (vb.): To secede is to break away. During the Civil War, Alabama was one of the states that broke
away, or seceded from the Union.
smilax (n.): a bright green twinning vine, often used for holiday decorations.
sojourn (n.): a brief visit
subsequent mortification (adj. + n.): Something that is subsequent will follow closely after something
else. Mortification is a feeling of shame or the loss of self respect. If Scout had been able to explain things to Miss Caroline,
she could have prevented her teacher from losing self respect of feeling shameful later on.
vexations (n.): To vex is to annoy, so a vexation is something that causes annoyance or problems.
wallowing illicitly (vb. + adv.): In this case, to wallow is to indulge in something (usually an activity) with
great enjoyment. Illicit, used like this, means unauthorized or improper. After listening to Miss Caroline, Scout feels that,
by reading, she has been happily indulging in something which she should not have been doing.
amiable (adj.): friendly
compromise (n.): an agreement where each person agrees to give up something
contemptuous (adj.): To be contemptuous is to have the feeling that someone or something is beneath you; that
it or they are worthless. The Ewell boy obviously feels this way about his teacher, Miss Caroline.
contentious (adj.): always ready to argue or fight
cootie (n.): a slang term for a head louse. A louse (plural: lice) is a bloodsucking parasite.
cracklin bread (n.): a type of cornbread mixed with cracklins (bits of fried pork skin).
diminutive (adj.): smaller than ordinary
disapprobation (n.): disapproval
discernible (adj.): understandable
dispensation (n.): a release from an obligation or promise. In this case, by offering friendship to Walter and
promising that Scout won't fight with him, Jem dispenses her threat to fight with him more.
dose (of) magnesia (n. + n.): A dose is an exact amount of medicine. Magnesia is a medicine used as a laxative
eddy (n.): a current of water that moves against the main current; a whirlpool
erratic (adj.): irregular. Calpurnia usually uses good grammar, but when she is angry, her grammar is irregular.
flinty (adj.): Flint is a very hard rock. Something that is flinty is extremely hard and firm.
fractious (adj.): mean or cross
gravely (adv.): seriously
haint (n.): a ghost or spook; someone or something very scary
irked (v.): to be irked is to be annoyed. Scout is annoyed when Jem tells Walter that she won't fight with
him (Walter) anymore.
kerosene (n.): a thin oil. Kerosene is sometimes used as a solvent or cleaning agent, although its more
common use is for fuel or lighting.
lye soap (n.): Lye is a very strong alkaline substance used for cleaning. Lye soap is very strong, harsh
soap that contains lye.
monosyllabic (adj.): Mono means "one." A syllable is word or a part of a word which can be pronounced with a
single, uninterrupted sound. The name "Atticus," for example, is made up of three syllables: at + ti + cus. Thus, monosyllabic
literally means "one sound." Scout's monosyllabic replies to Atticus's questions about her first day at school might have
been made up of one-sound words like "yes" and "no."
mutual concessions (adj. + n.): A concession is an agreement; something that is mutual is done by two or more
people. Thus, a mutual concession occurs when two or more people agree on something.
onslaught (n.): a violent attack
persevere (v.): to carry on in spite of difficulties
tranquility (n.): peacefulness; serenity
auspicious (adj.): favorable
melancholy (adj.): sad and gloomy
quelling (of) nausea: (v. + n.): To quell something is to quiet or pacify it. Nausea is the feeling you get when
your stomach is upset and you feel as if you're about to vomit. Scout is trying to quell her nausea, or make her stomach settle
scuppernongs (n.): a sweet table grape, grown chiefly in the Southern United States.
asinine (adj.): stupid; silly
benevolence (n.): benevolence is kindness or thoughtfulness. In
this case, a generous or thoughtful gift
benign (adj.): kind and gentle
bridgework (n.): Unlike dentures, which replace the upper or lower sets of teeth, bridgework is made up of
sections of replacement teeth that can be inserted and removed from one's mouth.
chameleon (adj.) In nature, chameleons are tree-dwelling lizards that have the unusual ability to change
the color of their skin in order to blend into their surroundings. By calling Miss Maudie a chameleon lady, Scout points out
the fact that her neighbor's appearance was as changeable as one of the lizards.
cordiality (n.): sincere affection and kindness
edification (n.): education; instruction
gaped (vb.): To gape at someone is to stare at that person with your mouth open.
inquisitive (adj.): questioning; prying
mimosa (n): Also called a silk tree, a mimosa can be either a tree or a shrub.
morbid (adj.): gruesome; horrible
placidly (adv.): calmly; quietly
Protestant (adj.): Protestant is the name applied to any number of Christian churches, such as Baptist, Methodist,
pulpit Gospel (adj. + n.): A pulpit is the raised platform or lectern from which a preacher speaks in church.
The Gospel refers to the teachings of Jesus Christ, specifically the first four books of the New Testament. Scout says that
her faith in what she's heard about the teachings of Christ from the pulpit (preacher) in her own church has been shaken a
quibbling (vb.): a type of arguing where you avoid the main point by bringing up petty details
tacit (adj.) An agreement, or, in this case, a "treaty" that is tacit is one that has been silently agreed
upon. Thus, the children know that they can play on Miss Maudie's front lawn even though she never directly told them that
it was all right to do so.
collards (n.): a type of cabbage with very coarse leaves. It would be difficult to walk quietly through
a patch of collards.
dismemberment (n.): To dismember someone is to tear or cut that person's limbs (arms and legs) off. Although
it is unlikely that anyone would have actually pulled off Dill's arms and legs, Lee uses the word to point out how outraged
Miss Rachel must have been to discover that the children had been playing strip poker.
eerily (adv.): weirdly; mysteriously
ensuing (adj.): Something that ensues is something that comes immediately after something else.
Franklin stove (n.): a cast iron heating stove, invented by Benjamin Franklin.stove.
kudzu (n.): a quick-growing vine with large leaves, often found in the Southern United States.
lattice-work (adj.): A lattice is an openwork structure of crossed strips or bars, as in a screen. Light that
passes through any kind of a lattice -work would produce lattice-work shadows.
malignant (adj.): dangerous; evil
prowess (n.): superior ability or skill
ramshackle (adj.): loose or rickety; about to fall apart
respiration (n.): breathing
rigid (adj.): stiff
waning (adj.): becoming less bright, intense, or strong. The moonlight is waning because it's getting closer
to morning, and the moon is changing its position in the sky.
cleaved (vb.): stuck
gnats (n.): [Pronounced: NAT] small, two-winged insects that can bite
meditative (adj.): To meditate is to reflect upon something, or think about it. When Jem give the patch on
the tree a meditative pat, he does so in a thoughtful manner.
palate (n.): the roof of one's mouth
perpetual embalming (adj. + n.): Something that is perpetual lasts forever. Embalming is the process of preserving
a dead body. Think of Egyptian mummies, or unwrap a virtual mummy. As Atticus later says, Jem would do well to get rid of
the adjective (perpetual) . The Egyptians invented a type of paper (not toilet paper), as well as embalming (which, by its
very nature, is perpetual) .
rendered (her) speechless: (vb. + n.): made her unable to speak
vigil (n.): a watch. Jem is waiting and watching for Mr. Nathan to appear.
whittles (vb.): To whittle is to use a knife to cut away thin shavings of wood. Sometimes, a whittler may
actually end up carving a recognizable object.
aberrations (n.): an aberration is a deviation, or a moving away from, something that is normal. The fact
that winter comes so quickly in Maycomb is abnormal, thus, an aberration.
azaleas (n.): a colorful and decorative kind of flower.
cannas (n.): a beautiful tropical flower.
caricatures (n.): a representation of a person where certain features of that person are exaggerated or distorted.
cordial (adj.): warm and friendly
flue (n.): a channel in a chimney that allows smoke and flames to pass to the outside
meteorological (adj.): anything to do with meteorology or weather.
morphodite (n.): Scout has misheard Miss Maudie, who would actually have said the word hermaphrodite. Technically,
a hermaphrodite is an animal or plant that has both female and male reproductive organs. Of course, the children's snowman
is not really a hermaphrodite, but it does have both male and female characteristics.
near libel (adj. + n.): When you commit libel, you harm someone's reputation. Atticus tells the children that they
have committed a near libel; that is, their snowman is 'near libel' because it so closely represents one of their neighbors
and could harm that neighbor's reputation.
perpetrated (vb.): carried out; committed
plaited (vb.): braided
procured (vb): got
prophets (n.): A prophet is someone able to predict the future.
quelled (vb.): To quell is to overwhelm something until it is powerless. The tin roof of Miss Maudie's
house quelled the flames because tin cannot burn so the fire was eventually stopped.
roomers (n.): persons who rent and live in rooms in a house.
switches (n.): slender twigs or branches
taffeta (n.): a lustrous, stiff fabric, often used for women's dresses, especially formal wear
touchous (adj.) touchy; sensitive
treble (adj.): high
unfathomable (adj.): Something that is unfathomable is something that cannot be understood.
ambrosia (n): a dessert made up of a mixture of fruits, nuts, and coconut.
analogous (adj.): similar; comparable
attire (n.): clothing
bawled (vb.) cried out noisily
bluff (n.): the broad, flat front of a cliff
catwalk (n.): a narrow, elevated walkway
changelings (n.): a child secretly put in the place of another
compensation (n.): To compensate means to pay for something or to make up for something. Aunt Alexandra's good
cooking skills, in some ways, make up for the fact that, for Scout, spending the holidays with her and Francis is not a lot
constituted (vb.): made up
crooned (vb.): To croon is to sing in a low, gentle tone.
deportment (n.): behavior
dim (adj.): unclear; not strong
donned (vb): put on
doused (vb.): to douse someone is to pour liquid, in this case water, all over that person.
evasion (n.): To evade is to avoid doing or answering something directly. Uncle Jack's evasion occurs
when he doesn't directly answer Scout's question.
fanatical (adj.): A fanatic is a person whose extreme enthusiasm, interest, zeal, etc. goes beyond what is
reasonable. Aunt Alexandra is fanatical about Scout's clothes because, according to Scout, her aunt's interest in this subject
goes beyond what is reasonable.
gallantly (adv.): politely; in the manner of a gentleman
gastric (adj.): of, in, or near the stomach. A stomach ache would be a gastric complaint.
gravitated (vb.): Gravity is, of course, the force that pulls you to earth and keeps you from floating into
outer space. When you gravitate toward something or someone, you find yourself being pulled in the direction of that object
guilelessness (n.): Guile is craftiness and cunning in dealing with other. To be guileless is to have none of
that craftiness. Here, Lee is being ironic since its obvious that Simon Finch didn't trust his daughters at all, and planned
his house accordingly.
harbored (vb.): to hold in the mind
hookah (n): An oriental tobacco pipe with a flexible tube that draws smoke through a bowl of water.
impaired (adj.): damaged; weakened
indecision (n.): When you're indecisive, you can't decide what to do. Scout's indecision revolves around whether
she should obey Uncle Jack or run away from him.
indicative (adj.): Something that is indicative of something shows or displays something. The manner in which
Simon Finch arranged his house showed something about him.
ingenuous (adj.): simple; innocent
innate (adj.): Something that is innate is a natural part of something else. To Scout, cuss words have a
natural sort of attraction to them; an innate attractiveness. They have value all on their own for her.
inordinately (adv.): Inordinate means too great or too many. Cousin Ike Finch is too vain about his beard; inordinately
invective (n.): Invectives are abusive terms, curses, insults, and/or cuss words
isolate (vb.): set apart from others
jar (vb.): shake up; disturb
jetty (n): a type of wall built out into water to protect a coastline or restrain currents
mishaps (n.): unlucky or unfortunate accidents
mortify (vb.) humiliate; embarrass
nocturnal (adj.): nightly
obsess (vb.): greatly preoccupy
obstreperous (adj.): noisy and unruly
pantry (n.): a small room or closet off the kitchen where foodstuffs and cooking ingredients are stored
porter (n.): a person who carries luggage, etc., in this case, at a railroad station.
provocation (n.): To provoke is to excite some sort of feeling; often anger or irritation. Uncle Jack tells
Scout that, as far as cuss words are concerned, he doesn't see the use for them unless they are used when one is very angry
or provoked to use them.
ringworm (n.): a contagious skin disease caused by a fungus.
siblings (n.): brothers and/or sisters
still (n.): an apparatus for making alcoholic liquors. The sort of still to which Scout refers would be an
subdued (vb.): Someone who has been subdued has been soothed or softened and made less intense.
tarried (vb.): delayed; waited
tentatively (adv.): To be tentative is to be hesitant or unsure. Francis
asks Scout his question tentatively because he is unsure as to her reaction and
more than a little afraid to face her.
tongs (n.): a device used to grab or lift objects. Tongs generally
have two long arms that are hinged together.
trousseau (n.): all the new clothes a bride brings to her marriage
uncompromising lineaments (adj. + n.): Lineaments are distinctive features or characteristics. Uncompromising,
in this instance, means unchanging; firm; set. Alexandra's and Francis's uncompromising lineaments are their characteristics
that are set and will never change.
wary (adj.): To be wary means to be cautious on your guard against something. In this instance, the children
were never afraid of or cautious about their uncle's appearance.
widow's walk (n.): a platform with a rail around it, built onto the roof of a house.
Yankees (n.): Northerners; natives of Northern states. During the Civil War, the Yankees were the enemies
of the South.
alist (adj.): tilted to one side
articulate (adj.): able to speak and express oneself
attributes (n.): characteristics; qualities of a person or thing
bout (n.): fight
corncribs (n.): A corncrib is a small structure used to store corn.
crook (of his arm) (n.): The crook of your arm is the inside part of your arm where it bends at the elbow.
erratically (adv.): strangely; differently than normal
feeble (adj.): weak; frail
gingerly (adv.): carefully; cautiously
inconspicuous (adj.) To be conspicuous is to attract attention. To be inconspicuous is to do the opposite; to
not attract attention. Scout wishes that Atticus would be more inconspicuous; that is, he would attract less attention to
Jew's Harp (n): a small musical instrument that is played by plucking a piece of metal while holding the
instrument to one's mouth.
mad dog (adj. + n.): a dog infected with a disease, such as rabies, which makes it act in a crazy, dangerous
mausoleum (n.): Literally, a mausoleum is a large, imposing tomb (a tomb is a place where dead bodies --
those that aren't buried -- are housed). However, Miss Maudie uses the term in its humorous form. She refers to her old house
as a mausoleum because, to her, it was too large and too somber.
morphine (n.): highly addictive drug often used to deaden pain.
peril (n.): danger
Providence (n.): the care of God
rudiments (n.): principles; elements; subjects to be learned
tartly (adv.): sharply
torso (n.): the trunk of a body; that is, the part of the body that does not include the head, legs, or arms
vaguely (adv.): to be vague is to be unclear or not precise
apoplectic (adj.): Apoplexy is a condition of sudden paralysis; a stroke. To be apoplectic, in this case, is
to behave as if on the verge of having a stroke.
arbor (n): an outdoor area shaded by trees or, in this case, scuppernong vines on a lattice.
bedecked (adj.): adorned; covered (with decorations)
calomel (n.): a laxative; often used as a cure for intestinal worms
camellia (n.): a shrub with glossy evergreen leaves and waxy, rose-like flowers.
camisole (n.) a woman's sleeveless undergarment, usually worn under a sheer blouse
commence (vb.): begin
decreed (vb): A decree is an official order. As her older brother, Jem decreed what he and Scout would
degradation (n.): a state of low honor or moral character
dog-trot hall (adj.): a covered passageway between two parts of a building
escapade (n.): reckless prank
essence (n.): fundamental nature; most important quality
infuriated (vb.): angered greatly
interdict (n.): prohibition; restraint
livid (adj.): pale; lead-colored. Livid can also mean red, as in the color someone's face gets when that
person becomes angry.
oppressive (adj.): overbearing; hard to put up with
palliation (n.): to palliate is to lessen the pain, or, in this case, fear and anxiety, of something without
actually making the fear and anxiety go away. Calpurnia is not a great source of palliation; that is, she doesn't make the
children feel any less anxious or fearful.
passÚ (adj.): old-fashioned
philippic (n.): a bitter verbal attack
plate (n.): dentures; dental plate
propensities (n.): inclinations or tendencies
reconnaissance (n.): examination
rectitude (n.): uprightness of character
relic (n): something of historic interest that has survived from the past. In this case, Scout is referring
to a gun that would have been used in the Civil War.
skulked (vb.): to move or slink about in a sinister manner. The children are skulking in the kitchen because
they are fearful of Atticus's reaction when he returns home.
syringe (n.): a device with a rubber bulb on one end and a narrow tube on the other: used to inject or
extract fluids from body cavities.
tirade (n.): a long angry speech
tranquil (adj.): calm
umbrage (n.): offense
undulate (vb.): to move in waves or in a wavy manner
viscous (adj.): sticky
alien (adj.): not natural; strange
appalling (adj.): shocking; horrifying
asafoetida (n.): a strong-smelling (like garlic) substance made from a parsley-like plant; often used in folk
medicine to repel illness
austere (adj.): stern and severe
boded (vb.): continued
church (vb.): To church someone is to bring a person to church for a special service that revolves around
that person's needs or deeds.
clad (vb.): dressed
contemptuously (adv.): To behave or speak contemptuously toward someone is to treat that person as if he or she
is unworthy or beneath one's dignity.
contentious (adj.) always ready to argue
denunciation (n.): To denounce is to strongly disapprove of or condemn something. The denunciation of sin in
the reverend's sermon indicates his strong disapproval of sin.
diligently (adv.): industriously; in a hard-working manner
dispelled (vb.): driven away
ecclesiastical impedimenta (adj. + n.) items used during a church service
frivolous (adj.): silly; not serious
garish (adj.) showy, very bright or gaudy
habiliments (n.): outfits; clothing
inconsistent (adj.): not in agreement; incompatible
indignantly (adv.): angrily
lilac talcum (adj. + n.): Lilacs are a very fragrant flower. Talcum, often called talcum powder, is a fine
talc, or powder, used for the body or face. Lilac talcum is lilac-scented talcum powder.
rotogravure print (n.): Rotogravure is a process of printing pictures; often photographs of pictures.
Since rotogravure prints often appeared in newspapers, it is possible that the print in the church had been taken from a newspaper.
snuff (n.): a preparation of powdered tobacco, usually sniffed through the nose
tapeworm (n.): a parasite that can live in a person's intestines.
voile (adj.): a thin, cotton-like fabric
caste system (adj. + n.): class distinctions based on birth, wealth, etc.
curtness (n.): To be curt is to be brief and short to the point of being rude.
devoid (adj.): completely without
flighty (adj.): foolish; irresponsible
incestuous (adj.): Incest is sexual intercourse between persons too closely related to marry legally. Atticus's
comment as to the possibility that the Finches might have an Incestuous streak refers to the fact that so many Finches have
married their cousins.
irritable (adj.): easily annoyed
mandrake roots (n.): The roots of the mandrake plant were often thought to have magical powers because it was
thought that their shape resembled the human body. The mandrake root appears in many poems, including this "Song" by John
myopic (adj): Myopia is an abnormal eye condition, often called nearsightedness. Someone who is myopic
cannot see objects clearly.
obliquely (adv.): indirectly
prerogative (n.) exclusive right or privilege
shinny (n.) a slang term for liquor; usually whiskey or bourbon. Bourbon is a main ingredient in the recipe
for a Lane cake.
sluggish (adj.): lacking energy; lazy
soberly (adv.): seriously
spun (v.): To spin a tale is to tell a story in a creative, fanciful way.
tactful (adj.): To be tactful is to be able to say the right thing to a person without being offensive. Scout
realizes that her question about her aunt and uncle was not tactful and may have been offensive or, at least, embarrassing.
tight (adj.): drunk
antagonize (vb.): oppose; make angry
bushel (n.): a unit of dry measure equal to 32 quarts
erosion (n.): a gradual wearing away.
infallible (adj.): never wrong
manacles (n.): handcuffs
neat (adj.): unmixed with anything, such as water or soda; straight
taut (adj.): tightly stretched
acquiescence (n.): agreement without protest
affliction (n.): in this case, a condition
aggregation (n.): group; gathering
begrudge (vb.): To begrudge someone something is to feel resentment or disapproval about the fact that they
have something. Atticus says that he doesn't think anyone in the town would resent the fact that he has a client.
ecclesiastical (adj.): church-like
fašade (n.): [pronounced: "fah - sawed"] the front of a building; the part facing the street
futility (n.): feeling of being ineffective; uselessness, hopelessness
impassive (adj.): showing no emotion
linotype (n.): a typesetting machine used in publishing.
ominous (adj.): threatening; sinister
shinnied up (adj.): drunk
stifle (vb.): hold back; suppress
succinct (adj.): clear and brief
uncouth (adj.): crude, unmannerly
venerable (adj.): impressive on account of age or historic associations
venue (n.): the place where a jury is selected and a case is tried
affirmed (vb.): firmly declared or stated
akimbo (adj.): hands on hips and elbows bent outward.
circuit solicitor (n.): a lawyer who travels to different locations to prosecute in trials
dispel (vb.): drive away
eccentricities (n.): oddities; unconventionalities
elucidate (vb.): explain
fey (adj.): strange; eccentric
formidable (adj.): impressive
inhabitants (n.): residents
khaki (adj.): a strong, twilled cloth of a dull yellowish-brown color
Mennonites (n.): members of an evangelical Protestant Christian sect. Mennonites favor plain dress and plain
profane (adj.): not connected with religion or religious matters
prosecutor (n.): lawyer who represents the state in a criminal trial; this person tries to prove the accused
ruddy (adj.): reddish
Scripture (n.): The Bible
subpoena (n.): a written legal order directing a person to appear in court to give testimony
subtle (adj.): not openly obvious; quiet
sundry (adj.): various
acrimonious (adj.): sarcastic; bitter; nasty
affirmative nod (adj. + n.): Affirmative means positive. To give an affirmative nod would be to nod or shake
one's head up and down to indicate "yes."
amber (adj.): dark orange yellow
ambidextrous (adj.): able to use both hands with equal ease
amiably (adv.): good-naturedly
audibly (adv.): Anything that is audible is capable of being heard. The judge warns the spectators against
making any more comments that can be heard.
bantam cock (n.): a small, aggressive rooster.
benignly (adv.): kindly; gently
boiling (n.): angry or unruly group
capacity (n.): ability
cast (n.): To have a cast in one's eye means that a particular eye tends to veer or turn off into another
complacently (adv.): in a self-satisfied way
congenital (adj.): a congenital condition is one that is in existence at birth. For example, if a child is
born with a weak heart, that weakness in congenital; as opposed to someone who may acquire the condition later in life.
contempt charges (adj. + n.) Contempt, in this case, is open disrespect of a court or judge. A person who
acts in such a manner may face a contempt charge from a judge.
corroborating evidence (adj. + n.): In legal terms; corroborating evidence is evidence which helps to strengthen a
position. For example; eyewitness testimony in regards to a crime would be corroborating evidence that such a crime had been
corrugated (adj.): formed by a series of alternating ridges and grooves
counsel (n.): lawyers
crepey (adj.): Crepe is a thin, crinkled cloth. Mr. Ewell's crepey neck obviously resembles this fabric;
that is, the skin is thin and crinkled.
dictum (n.): official pronouncement
dogged (adj.): stubborn determination
economic fluctuations (adj. + n.): Economics, in this case, has to do with the economy; the financial state of the
country and its people. To fluctuate means to change. As far as the Ewells are concerned, no matter how the economy of the
country might change, their situation was always the same. They were always poor.
edge (n.): sharpness
gardenia (n.): a large, fragrant flower.
genially (adv.): in a friendly manner
geraniums (n.): flowering plants.
gullet (n.): throat; neck
heaved (vb.): lifted
import (n.): importance
infinite (adj.): endless
irrelevant'n'immaterial (adj.): "irrelevant and immaterial"Irrelevant means not relative; not related (to something).
Immaterial means unimportant. The judge is saying that whether or not Mr. Ewell can read and write is not related and is therefore,
unimportant to the case.
load o'kindlin' (n.): "load of kindling." Kindling is generally made up of dry twigs, branches, etc.; materials
useful for starting a fire
namesake (n.): the person one is named after. In this case, Mr. Ewell's namesake is the leader of the Confederate
Army, Robert E. Lee.
prosperity (n.): good fortune; wealth
quelling (vb.): quieting; calming
refuse (n.): garbage
ruttin' on (vb.): In this instance, the term is used to indicate that, according to Mr. Ewell, Tom Robinson
was having sexual intercourse with his daughter. It should be noted that this term is almost exclusively reserved for use
in describing the mating habits of animals, not people.
skewed (adj.): turned
slop jars (n.): large pails usually used to receive waste water from a wash basin or the contents of a chamber
smugness (n.): To be smug is to be highly self-satisfied; to think a lot of oneself. Mr. Ewell's smugness,
or appearance of self-satisfaction, shows on his face.
speculations (n.): thoughts or reflections.
sulky (adj.): moody and quiet
sullen (adj.): in this case, gloomy and threatening
supplemented (vb.): added to
tenet (n.) a principle or belief generally held to be true
title dispute (n.): a legal fight over the ownership of a particular piece of property
turbulent (adj.): stormy; unruly
varmints (n.): in this case, flies and other flying insects that would be found in and around a garbage
warranted (vb.): gave a reason for; indicated the need for
arid (adj.): dry; without expression
chiffarobe (n.): a large cabinet with drawers and a place for hanging clothes.
constructionalist (n.): a person who interprets aspects of the law in a specified way
dusk (n.): the time just before nightfall
ground-itch (n.): Ground-itch is caused by hookworms. The parasites usually enter the body through bare feet,
causing an itchy, allergic reaction.
grudging (adj.): hostile
lavations (n.): washings
mollified (adj.): soothed; calmed
neutrality (n.): the condition of being neutral; not taking part in either side of a controversy.
perpetual (adj.): everlasting; continuous
pilgrimage (n.): in this instance, a long walk
riled (adj.): angry
strenuous (adj.): work or labor that is strenuous requires a lot of energy and stamina.
tedious (adj.): boring; tiresome
tollable (adj.): Mayella's way of pronouncing the word "tolerable." Someone who is tolerable is a person
who is fairly good or passable; someone who can be tolerated or endured.
wrathfully (adv.): angrily
candid (adj.): open and honest
ex cathdra remarks (adj. + n.): remarks made with the authority that comes from one's official position
express (adj.): clear; explicit; not just implied
expunge (vb.): remove completely
grimly (adv.): sternly; without humor
impudent (adj.): disrespectful; bold; sassy
subtlety (n.): delicacy
thin-hided (adj.): thin-skinned; sensitive
unimpaired (adj.): unhurt; undamaged
volition (n.): will. Scout is saying that someone like Tom would never go into somebody's yard on his own
or unless he had been invited to do so, and would never do so of his own will or volition.
aridity (n.): dryness
attentive (adj.): paying attention; observant
caliber (n.): quality
capital charge (adj. + n.): a charge for a crime that is punishable by death
corroborative evidence (adj. + n.): To corroborate is to strengthen and support. Corroborative evidence, in a trial,
is evidence that makes a case stronger. Atticus is telling the jury that there is no evidence to strengthen the case against
corrupting (vb.): To corrupt someone is to bring that person down to a lower moral level. Since it at first
appears that Mr. Raymond has given Dill liquor to drink, it would seem that he is corrupting him.
cynical confidence (adj.): To be cynical, in this case, means to believe that people are only motivated
in what they do out of selfishness; that no one truly behaves or does something out of sincerity. Atticus's mention of the
witnesses's cynical confidence refers to the fact that they are selfish and self-centered enough to think that everyone will
believe their story.
detachment (n.): the state of being disinterested or unemotional
discreet (adj.): carefully phrased; cautious
fraud (n.): a lie; a deception
indicted (vb.): formally accused; charged
iota (n.): a very small amount
minute (adj.): [pronounced: my - NEWT]exact; precise
pauper (n.): an extremely poor person
perpetrated (vb.): committed
temerity (n.): foolish or rash boldness
unmitigated (adj.): absolute
acquit (vb.): clear of a charge; find not guilty
charged the jury (vb. + n.): When Judge Taylor charges the jury, he gives them instructions in law before
they go off to deliberate or decide the case
exhilarated (adj.): cheerful, merry
indignant (adj.): angry
cynical (adj.): a cynic is someone who often belittles or makes fun of someone else. Aunt Alexandra tells
Dill that his remarks about his own Aunt's drinking habits are cynical, especially since, as a child, Dill should have more
respect for his elders.
fatalistic (adj.): to accept the event as though it were inevitable; that is, that nothing could be done to
change or alter it.
feral (adj.): wild; savage
heathen (adj.): unenlightened; without religion or morals
ruefully (adv.): regretfully
commutes (vb.): changes; makes less severe
dry (adj.): clever but subtle
furtive (adj.): sneaky
infantile (adj.): childish
statute (n.): law
vehement (adj.): full of emotion and strong feeling
wary (adj.): cautious
wryly (adv.): humorously; slightly sarcastic
apprehension (n.): In this case, fear
bellows (n.): a machine that allows air to be pumped through a system; in this case, an organ
bovine (adj.): cow-like
brevity (n.): shortness
charlotte (n.): a dessert made with fruit in a mold that is lined with pieces of bread or cake.
devout (adj.): devoted to religion
hypocrites (n.): people who pretend to be something they are not
impertinence (n.): disrespect
largo (adj.): a direction used in music which means "at a very slow tempo." Mrs. Merriweather is apparently
speaking to Scout very slowly.
squalid (adj.): miserable; wretched
squalor (n): filth
sulky (adj.): moody
vague (adj.): not clearly felt; somewhat subconscious
yaws (n.): an infectious contagious tropical disease.
roly-poly (n.): a small bug that can roll itself into a ball. Also known as a pillbug, sowbug or wood louse.
scowling (vb.): A scowl is a facial expression caused by scrunching up one's forehead and brow; a look of
veneer (n.): attractive outer surface
remorse (n.): a feeling of regret and guilt
recluse (n.): someone who stays away from society and the company of others
spurious (adj.): to outwardly resemble something but not have the genuine qualities of that thing. Miss Gates
thinks that The Grit Paper is spurious because, although it resembles a newspaper, to her mind, it is far inferior to a publication
like The Mobile Register or other newspapers.
industry (n.): work, especially on a steady basis
notoriety (n.): fame
florid (adj.): very flowery in style; elegant
nondescript (adj.): dull; with no special or interesting qualities
carcass (n.): body
eccentricities (n.): odd behavior
maiden ladies (adj. + n.): women who have never married
boil-prone (adj.): A boil is an inflamed, pus-filled swelling on the skin, like a pimple only usually bigger.
To be prone to something is to be inclined to it. If the children had been boil-prone, they would have been inclined to have
a lot of boils.
climbers (n.): social climbers; people trying to move into a different social class
crap games (n.): a gambling game played with two dice
divinity (n.): a white fudge made from whipped egg whites, sugar, and nuts.
forest primeval (n. + adj.): in this instance, a forest that had been primarily untouched or unchanged by
furtive (adj.): secret
gait (n.): pace, walk
hock (n.): the joint bending backward in the hind leg of an animal like a pig. Scout is dressed as a ham,
and a ham is the upper part of a hog's hind leg, Scout's hock would be the part of her costume that resembles the joint of
a pig's leg.
irascible (adj.): angry
mocker (n.): mockingbird
pinioned (adj.): confined; held down
repertoire (n.): accomplishments; skills. The repertoire of the mockingbird is all the songs it can sing and
sounds it can make.
rout (vb.): defeat
smockin' (n.): Smocking, decorative stitching used to gather cloth.
staccato (adj.): distinct; sharp and crisp
reprimand (vb.): scold
blandly (adv.): smoothly; without excitement
connived (vb.): secretly cooperated or agreed to
wisteria (n.): twinning woody vines with large clusters of flowers.
railing (adj.): painful