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Thread: The Handmaid's Tale- Vocabulary

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    The Handmaid's Tale- Vocabulary

    Vocabulary List - The Handmaid’s Tale


    1. Anachronisms - n. – something out of its proper time. Example – Shakespeare’s Romeo calling Juliette in her cellie.

    2. Blatant - adj. – completely (and often offensively) obvious. Example – A person at a funeral blah, blahing on their phone!

    3. Ceremony: A formal act. "The ceremony goes as usual" Page 93.

    4. Contaminate: To sicken or spread to. "...flesh sickens and contaminates her..." Page 95.

    5. Covet - v. – to desire or want excessively.

    6. Covert – adj. – concealed; hidden; secret. Ex. A covert mission for the FBI.

    7. Decorum - n. – appropriateness of behavior or conduct.

    8. Demure – adj. – modest and reserved in behavior.

    9. Diminutive – adj. – small in size.

    10. Disconsolate – adj. – hopelessly sad

    11. Eccentric: Outside of the norm. "...the gold fingernail she wore to be eccentric..." Page 37.

    12. Ethereality: Highly refined, delicate. "...both ethereality and matter..." Page 93.

    13. Eunuch: A castrated man. "...a eunuch in the background, standing guard..." Page 69.

    14. Furtive – adj. – sly and sneaky.

    15. Gauziness: Thin fabric covered. "...by the gauziness of its fabric..." Page 93.

    16. Genteel – adj. – refined in manner; polite.

    17. Glimmering: A dim flash of light. "....glimmering in the aura cast by the searchlight...." Page 96.

    18. Hazardous: Marked by danger. "...risker, more hazardous..." Page 40.

    19. Incognito – adj. – the state of being disguised or concealed.

    20. Insatiability: Impossible to satisfy. "...that talent for insatiability?" Page 2.

    21. Ingratiate – v. – to try to get on the good side of someone; blatantly sucking up.

    22. Interpreter: A person who translates languages. "..says the interpreter again, to catch our attention..." Page 29.

    23. Loathing: Great dislike. "...loathing in her voice..." Page 95.

    24. Menial – adj. – pertaining to a job seen as servile or lowly.

    25. Irreverent – adj. disrespectful; especially toward sacred things or accepted standards.

    26. Jaunty – adj. crisp and dapper in appearance; well-bred.

    27. Lugubrious – adj. – exaggerated mourning.

    28. Nostalgic – adj. – a bittersweet longing for things past.

    29. Obligatory – adj. – mandatory; compulsory.

    30. Palimpsest – n. – a written document, often on vellum or parchment, that has been written on several times with remnants of the previous writing still visible.

    31. Parody – n. – a literary or artistic work that mimics an author’s style and hold it up to ridicule.

    32. Pedantic – adj. – characterized by narrow and often ostentatious concern for book learning and rules.

    33. Precedent – n. – an act or instance that may be used as an example for future cases.

    34. Pungent – adj. – a strong or sharp taste or smell (not necessarily bad). "...the pungent smell of sweat..." Page 1.

    35. Quagmire – n. – 1. a swamp. 2. A difficult situation.

    36. Reproach – v. – to blame for something; scold.

    37. Sacrilege – n. – the desecration, misuse or theft of something sacred.

    38. Sanctity – n. – holiness of life; saintliness.

    39. Sparse – adj. – growing or settled at widely spaced intervals.

    40. Spindly – adj. – 1. slender and elongated. 2. Of weak growth.

    41. Sterile: Incapable of reproducing. "...he's a forbidden word. Sterile..." Page 61.

    42. Tokens: A coin-like version of currency. "...hand their tokens across it..." Page 25.

    43. Treacherous: Not to be relied on. "...a treacherous smell, and I know I must shut it out..." Page 47.

    44. Undulate – v. – moving in a wavelike manner.

    45. Surreptitiously – adv. – done in a sneaky or sly manner.

    46. Unfathomable – adj. – unable to be misunderstood or measured.

    47. Wheedle – v. – to persuade by flattery or guile.
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    palimpsest: a parchment from which writing has been erased to make room for another text












    pedantic: overly concerned with minute details

    debase: to reduce in value or dignity
    pungent: sharply affecting taste or smell
    catkins: drooping cluster of cylindrical flowers


    servile: submissive; fawning
    surly: rude; unfriendly; bad-tempered
    stipple: a painting made with dots or small spots
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
    Check out the MasterRussian Music Playlist
    Click here for list of Russian films with English subtitles and links to watch them.

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