How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

220 terms

The Scarlet Letter Vocabulary

Vocabulary from the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
STUDY
PLAY
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)
acquiesce
accept something reluctantly but without protest (160)
rankle
(of a wound or sore) continue to be painful; fester (165)
propinquity
close kinship (166)
sere
dry, arid; withered (171)
verdure
lush green vegetation (171)
sedulous
showing dedication and diligence (171)
unwonted
unaccustomed or unusual (175)
petulant
childishly sulky or bad-tempered (175)
precocious
having developed certain abilities at an earlier age than usual (175)
acrid
having an irritatingly strong and unpleasant taste or smell, bitter (175)
enigma
a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand; riddle or paradox (176)
asperity
harshness of tone or manner (177)
ulterior
existing beyond what is obvious or admitted; intentionally hidden (179)
amiss
wrongly or inappropriately (180)
vivacious
(esp. of a woman) attractively lively and animated (180)
scrofula
a disease with glandular swellings, probably a form of tuberculosis (181)
loquacious
talkative (183)
prattle
talk at length in a foolish or inconsequential way (183)
repine
feel or express discontent; fret (184)
haggard
looking exhausted and unwell, esp. from fatigue, worry, or suffering (184)
spectre
a ghost (187)
consolation
comfort received by a person after a loss or disappointment (189)
consecration
declare sacred; dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose (193)
doleful
expressing sorrow; mournful (193)
fervent
displaying a passionate intensity; hot, burning, glowing (195)
cumber
hamper or hinder (195)
latitude
scope for freedom of action or thought (197)
trammel
deprive of freedom of action (198)
extenuate
make (guilt or an offense) seem less serious or more forgivable (198)
avail
help or benefit (198)
effluence
a substance that flows out from something (200)
subjugate
bring under domination or control, esp. by conquest (200)
denizen
an inhabitant or occupant of a particular place (202)
repent
express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin (202)
array
dress someone in (206)
inure
accustom (someone) to something, esp. something unpleasant (206)
mollify
appease the anger or anxiety of (someone) (206)
entreaty
an earnest or humble request (206)
alloy
degrade (something) by adding something inferior (208)
irrefragable
not able to be refuted or disproved; indisputable (212)
comport
accord with; agree with (214)
obeisance
deferential respect (214)
hoary
(of a person) having gray or white hair; aged (214)
gild
give a specious or false brilliance to (216)
blight
spoil, harm, or destroy (216)
buckram
(of a person) starchy or formal, stiffness of manner (217)
potentate
a monarch or ruler, esp. an autocratic one (218)
mien
a person's look or manner, esp. one of a particular kind indicating their character or mood (224)
languor
the state or feeling, often pleasant, of tiredness or inertia (224)
lees
the sediment of wine in the barrel (224)
effervescent
(of a liquid) giving off bubbles; fizzy (225)
jocular
fond of or characterized by joking; humorous or playful (228)
posterity
all future generations of people; the descendants of a person (228)
desperado
a desperate or reckless person, esp. a criminal (229)
scruple
a feeling of doubt or hesitation with regard to the morality or propriety of a course of action; qualm (229)
aquavit
an alcoholic spirit (229)
tender
offer or present (something) formally (229)
arraign
call or bring (someone) before a court to answer a criminal charge (229)
depredation
an act of attacking or plundering (229)
probity
the quality of having strong moral principles; honesty and decency (230)
animadversion
criticism or censure (230)
galliard
a lively dance in triple time for two people, including complicated turns and steps (230)
berth
a ship's allotted place at a wharf or dock (231)
contiguous
sharing a common border; touching (233)
necromancy
the supposed practice of communicating with the dead, esp. in order to predict the future; witchcraft, sorcery (237)
plaintive
sounding sad and mournful (240)
swarthy
dark-skinned (241)
surmise
suppose that something is true without having evidence to confirm it (248)
portent
a sign or warning that something, esp. something momentous or calamitous, is likely to happen (255)
escutcheon
a shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms (261)
gules
red, as a heraldic tincture (261)