The Scarlet Letter Vocabulary

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Vocabulary from the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

decorous

polite and restrained (1)

prate

talk foolishly or tediously about something (2)

prolix

using or containing too many words; tediously (2)

dilapidate

cause (something) to fall into disrepair or ruin (2)

languid

(of an occasion or period of time) pleasantly lazy and peaceful (2)

truculent

eager or quick to argue or fight; aggressively defiant (3)

vixen

a spiteful or quarrelsome woman (3)

multitudinous

consisting of or containing many individuals or elements (3)

tarpaulin

sailor (4)

inclement

weather) unpleasantly cold or wet (4)

decrepit

elderly and infirm (5)

besom

a broom made of twigs tied around a stick (6)

emoluments

a salary, fee, or profit from employment or office (6)

laudable

deserving praise and commendation (8)

bandied

exchanged; passed back and forth (8)

indolent

wanting to avoid activity or exertion; lazy (9)

epoch

a period of time in history (10)

vicissitude

a change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant (10)

infirmity

physical or mental weakness (10)

gouty

a disease in which defective metabolism of uric acid causes arthritis (10)

verily

truly; certainly (11)

torpid

mentally or physically inactive; lethargic (13)

unction

a manner of expression arising or apparently arising from deep emotion (14)

expatiate

speak or write at length or in detail (16)

inveterate

long-established and unlikely to change (17)

palsy

paralysis; a condition of incapacity or helplessness (17)

imbecility

great stupidity or foolishness (18)

polemical

strongly critical, controversial, or disputatious writing or speech (19)

countenance

the face; visage (20)

perforce

by necessity; by force of circumstance (21)

esoteric

belonging to the select few; private, confidential (22)

fastidious

excessively particular, critical, or demanding; hard to please (22)

impunity

immunity from detrimental effects or punishment (23)

festoon

a string or chain suspended in a curve between two points (25)

dearth

an inadequate supply; scarcity; lack (26)

chirography

handwriting; penmanship (26)

sacrilegious

profane, blasphemous, sinful, disrespectful (28)

propensity

an inclination or natural tendency to behave a certain way (29)

foolscap

a sheet of paper of 13 x 18 in. (30)

hangdog

having a dejected or guilty appearance; shamefaced (30)

exhort

strongly encourage or urge (someone) to do something (30)

filial

of or due from a son or daughter; dutiful, affectionate (30)

lucubrations

a piece of writing, typically an overelaborate one (30)

emphatically

in a forceful way (30)

twit

tease or taunt (someone), esp. in a good-humored way (32)

torpor

a state of physical or mental inactivity; lethargy (32)

accrued

received by someone in regular or increasing amounts over time (26)

prolix

using or containing too many words; tediously lengthy (41)

congenial

pleasant because of a personality, qualities, or interests that are similar to one's own (43)

physiognomy

a person's facial features or expression, esp. when regarded as indicative of character or ethnic origin (45)

augur

predict a good or bad outcome (45)

betoken

be a warning or indication of (a future event) (45)

vagrant

a person without a settled home or regular work who wanders from place to place and lives by begging (45)

impropriety

a failure to observe standards or show due honesty or modesty; improper language, behavior, or character (46)

purport

appear or claim to be or do something, esp. falsely; profess (46)

repute

the opinion generally held of someone or something; the state of being generally regarded in a particular way; reputation (47)

beadle

a ceremonial officer of a church, college, or similar institution (48)

sumptuary

relating to or denoting laws that limit private expenditure on food and personal items; consumption (49)

ignominy

public shame or disgrace (49)

iniquity

immoral or grossly unfair behavior (50)

pillory

a wooden framework with holes for the head and hands, in which an offender was imprisoned and exposed to public abuse (51)

contumely

insolent or insulting language or treatment (52)

preternatural

beyond what is normal or natural (53)

phantasm

a figment of the imagination; an illusion or apparition (53)

remonstrance

a forcefully reproachful protest (53)

cloister

any place or position of seclusion (54)

lurid

very vivid in color, esp. so as to create an unpleasantly harsh or unnatural effect (64)

draught

the amount swallowed or inhaled in one such act (66)

quaff

drink (something, esp. an alcoholic drink) heartily (67)

expostulate

express strong disapproval or disagreement (68)

besmirch

damage the reputation of (someone or something) in the opinion of others (71)

inscrutable

impossible to understand or interpret (74)

fain

with pleasure; gladly (76)

sable

black (76)

progenitor

ancestor, forefather (76)

typify

represent; symbolize (77)

emolmument

a salary, fee, or profit from employment (77)

commiseration

expressing or feeling sympathy or pity; sympathize (77)

imbibe

absorb or assimilate (ideas or knowledge) (80)

efficacy

the ability to produce a desired or intended result (83)

smite

defeat or conquer (a people or land) (89)

deportment

a person's behavior or manners (90)

eminence

fame or recognized superiority, esp. within a particular sphere or profession (94)

imperious

assuming power without justification; arrogant and domineering (94)

unpremeditated

not thought out or planned beforehand (94)

pallid

pale, typically because of poor health (94)

similitude

likeness, similarity (95)

pestilence

a fatal epidemic disease, esp. bubonic plague (95)

cabalistic

relating to mystical interpretation or esoteric doctrine (96)

caper

skip or dance about in a lively or playful way (96)

embowed

bent or arched (97)

panoply

a splendid display, esp. a suit of armor (98)

exigency

an urgent need or demand (98)

eldritch

weird and sinister or ghostly, impish (100)

endue

endow or provide with a quality or ability (101)

behest

a person's orders or command (101)

pulpit

religious teaching as expressed in sermons; preachers collectively (102)

reproof

disapproval, criticism, condemnation (102)

bedizen

ornament something in showy, tasteless, or gaudy finery (102)

catechism

a summary of the principles of Christian religion in the form of questions and answers, used for the instruction of Christians (102)

indefeasible

not able to be lost, annulled, or overturned (105)

unhallowed

unholy; wicked (107)

montebank

a person who deceives others, esp. in order to trick them out of their money (107)

adduce

cite as evidence (108)

vehemence

strong feeling, passion, force (108)

accord

give or grant someone (power, status, or recognition) (108)

aver

state or assert to be the case (109)

parable

a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels (110)

sunder

split apart (110)

consign

assign; commit decisively or permanently (111)

chirurgical

surgical (112)

deacon

an ordained minister of an order ranking below that of priest (112)

countenanced

admitted as acceptable or possible (114)

tumult

confusion or disorder (117)

erudition

great knowledge or learning (119)

importunate

persistent, esp. to the point of annoyance or intrusion (126)

penitent

feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong (127)

self-abasement

the belittling or humiliation of oneself (127)

demerit

a mark awarded against someone for a fault or offense (128)

palliate

make (a disease or its symptoms) less severe or unpleasant without removing the cause (131)

somniferous

tending to induce sleep (131)

rapture

a feeling of intense pleasure or joy (132)

comport

conduct oneself; behave (132)

vestment

a garment, esp. a ceremonial or official robe (132)

balk

hesitate or be unwilling to accept an idea or undertaking (133)

prick

a sudden feeling of distress, anxiety, or some other unpleasant emotion (135)

abstruse

difficult to understand; obscure (135)

ethereal

heavenly or spiritual, beautiful, perfect (135)

apostolic

relating to the pope (135)

totter

move in a feeble or unsteady way (136)

scourge

a person or thing that causes great trouble or suffering, esp. a whip (138)

pall

something regarded as enveloping a situation with an air of gloom, heaviness, or fear, esp. a dark cloud (141)

catarrh

excessive discharge or buildup of mucus in the nose or throat (141)

defunct

no longer existing or functioning (145)

scantly

barely (145)

gable

the part of a wall that encloses the end of a pitched roof (147)

cope

a long, loose cloak worn by a priest or bishop on ceremonial occasions (148)

impute

represent (something, esp. something undesirable) as being done, caused, or possessed by someone; attribute (149)

archfiend

a chief fiend, esp. the Devil (149)

strait

close, strict, or rigorous (150)

scurrilous

making or spreading scandalous claims about someone with the intention of damaging their reputation (151)

repose

rest from activity, excitement, or exertion (153)

confer

have a conference in order to talk something over (154)

gibe

an insulting or mocking remark; a taunt (154)

requital

return for (a favor or service) (154)

taper

a slender candle (155)

meed

a deserved share or reward (155)

accost

approach and address (someone) boldly or aggressively, with hostility or harmful intent (155)

precipice

a very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one (159)

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