The Woman Warrior

The Woman Warrior Glossary


A savage; a person who lives and acts in an uncivilized manner. Barbarians are often considered to be cruel, uneducated, and violent ("barbaric").


The Chinese section of a town or city outside of China.


A person who leaves her or his home country to live in another country. The term is usually used from the perspective of the home country. In the new country, the same persons are called immigrants.


In addition to meaning a disembodied spirit, "ghost" is what Chinese emigrants and some Chinese-Americans in the book call non-Chinese people.

Gold Mountain

The Chinese name for California during the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s. Moon Orchid still refers to California as "Gold Mountain" when she arrives in the late 20th century.


A person who comes from another country to settle in a new country. The term is usually used from the perspective of the new country.


The act of killing one's own child.


A laundromat. A typical (or, today, stereotypical) business for Chinese-American families.


The state of being on a threshold between, for example, two sensory experiences, two states of mind, or two worlds.


An outcast.

second-wave feminism

This term refers to the feminist movement starting in the 1960s, particularly in America, where women campaigned for social and economic rights in addition to the more basic rights they had won during the "first wave."


According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (2000): "A member of certain tribal societies who acts as a medium between the visible world and an invisible spirit world and who practices magic or sorcery for purposes of healing, divination, and control over natural events."