To Kill a Mockingbird

Glossary

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akimbo

body position -- hands on hips, elbows bent outward

apoplectic

on the verge of having a stroke

arbor

an outdoor area shaded by trees

asafoetida

strong smelling substance made from parsley that is often used in folk medicine

bantam cock

a small agressive rooster

bridgework

sections of replacement teeth (not full dentures) than can be easily inserted and removed

calomel

a laxative often used to rid a person of intestinal worms

catawba worms

caterpillars; highly prized as fishbait in the American South

changelings

a child secretly put in the place of another

chiffarobe

a large cabinet with drawers and a place for hanging clothes

collards

cabbage with very coarse, thick leaves

cootie

slang term for a head louse

dog-trot hall

a covered passageway between two parts of a building

eddy

a whirlpool or current of water that moves against the current

edification

instruction or education

entailment

legal issue regarding inheritance

fey

strange or eccentric

Franklin stove

a cast iron heating stove invented by Benjamin Franklin

guile

craftiness and cunning

habiliments

clothing

haint

ghost or spook

hock

the joint of a pig's leg

hookah

a tobacco pipe of Eastern origin that draws smoke through a bowl of water

hookworm

a parasite that enters the body through the feet and settles in the small intestine

Jew's Harp

small musical instrument played by plucking a piece of metal while holding the instrument to one's mouth.

kudzu

a large leafed quick-growing vine of the South

largo

a musical term meaning "a very slow tempo"

manacles

handcuffs

mimosa

a tree or shrub, often specifically a silk tree

morphodite (hermaphrodite)

Scout hears Miss Maudie call her and Jem's snowman a "morphodite". Miss Maudie most likely said "hermaphrodite", which is an animal or plant with both male and female reproductive organs.

myopic

near-sighted

nome

"no ma'am"

obstreperous

noisy and unruly

palliate

to lessen pain

plaited

braided

Providence

the care of God

ringworm

a contagious skin disease caused by fungus

roly-poly

a small bug that can turn itself into a ball. Also known as a pillbug

rotogravure print

a kind of photograph

ruttin'

slang for having sexual intercourse

scrip stamps

paper money of small denominations issued by government agencies for temporary emergency use; particularly common during the Great Depression

scuppernogs

sweet grapes grown in the American South

shinny

slang term for whiskey

smockin'

decorative stitching that gathers fabric

switches

small thin twigs or branches

tollable

Mayella's pronunciation of "tolerable"

trousseau

the new clothes a woman brings to her marriage

voile

a thin, cotton like fabric

widow's walk

a platform with a rail around it built on the roof of a house, named for women who would stand on it and wait in vain for their husbands' ships to return to port