Melville's "Moby Dick," Ch's 55-65 30 words

"Moby Dick" is about Captain Ahab and a whale, but it is also about the single-minded pursuit of one thing at the expense of everything else, and the consequences of such a pursuit.

Here are all of our word lists for the novel: Ch's 1-9, Ch's 10-21, Ch's 22-31, Ch's 32-40, Ch's 41-47, Ch's 48-54, Ch's 55-65, Ch's 66-73, Ch's 74-81, Ch's 82-92, Ch's 93-101, Ch's 102-114, Ch's 115-125, Ch's 126-132, and Ch's 133-Epilogue
  1. unscrupulous
    without scruples or principles
    For ever since those inventive but unscrupulous times when on the marble panellings of temples, the pedestals of statues, and on shields, medallions, cups, and coins, the dolphin was drawn in scales of chain-armor like Saladin's, and a helmeted head like St. George's; ever since then has something of the same sort of license prevailed, not only in most popular pictures of the whale, but in many scientific presentations of him.
  2. extant
    still in existence; not extinct or destroyed or lost
    Now, by all odds, the most ancient extant portrait anyways purporting to be the whale's, is to be found in the famous cavern-pagoda of Elephanta, in India.
  3. antediluvian
    so extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period
    But go to the old Galleries, and look now at a great Christian painter's portrait of this fish; for he succeeds no better than the antediluvian Hindoo.
  4. corpulence
    the property of excessive fatness
    The huge corpulence of that Hogarthian monster undulates on the surface, scarcely drawing one inch of water.
  5. delineation
    representation by drawing or painting etc
    But quitting all these unprofessional attempts, let us glance at those pictures of leviathan purporting to be sober, scientific delineations, by those who know.
  6. prodigious
    of momentous or ominous significance
    In another plate, the prodigious blunder is made of representing the whale with perpendicular flukes.
  7. veracious
    precisely accurate
    I doubt not the captain had this veracious picture taken for the benefit of his marines.
  8. manifold
    many and varied; having many features or forms
    But these manifold mistakes in depicting the whale are not so very surprising after all.
  9. unfathomable
    impossible to come to understand
    The living whale, in his full majesty and significance, is only to be seen at sea in unfathomable waters; and afloat the vast bulk of him is out of sight, like a launched line-of-battle ship; and out of that element it is a thing eternally impossible for mortal man to hoist him bodily into the air, so as to preserve all his mighty swells and undulations.
  10. undulation
    wavelike motion; a gentle rising and falling in the manner of waves
    The living whale, in his full majesty and significance, is only to be seen at sea in unfathomable waters; and afloat the vast bulk of him is out of sight, like a launched line-of-battle ship; and out of that element it is a thing eternally impossible for mortal man to hoist him bodily into the air, so as to preserve all his mighty swells and undulations.
  11. utilitarian
    having a useful function
    Though Jeremy Bentham's skeleton, which hangs for candelabra in the library of one of his executors, correctly conveys the idea of a burly-browed utilitarian old gentleman, with all Jeremy's other leading personal characteristics; yet nothing of this kind could be inferred from any leviathan's articulated bones.
  12. evince
    give expression to
    This peculiarity is strikingly evinced in the head, as in some part of this book will be incidentally shown.
  13. fastidious
    giving careful attention to detail; hard to please; excessively concerned with cleanliness
    Wherefore, it seems to me you had best not be too fastidious in your curiosity touching this Leviathan.
  14. tantamount
    being essentially equal to something
    For the most part, the English and American whale draughtsmen seem entirely content with presenting the mechanical outline of things, such as the vacant profile of the whale; which, so far as picturesqueness of effect is concerned, is about tantamount to sketching the profile of a pyramid.
  15. contrivance
    the act of devising something
    Throughout the Pacific, and also in Nantucket, and New Bedford, and Sag Harbor, you will come across lively sketches of whales and whaling-scenes, graven by the fishermen themselves on Sperm Whale-teeth, or ladies' busks wrought out of the Right Whale-bone, and other like skrimshander articles, as the whalemen call the numerous little ingenious contrivances they elaborately carve out of the rough material, in their hours of ocean leisure.
  16. effulgent
    radiating or as if radiating light
    And beneath the effulgent Antarctic skies I have boarded the Argo-Navis, and joined the chase against the starry Cetus far beyond the utmost stretch of Hydrus and the Flying Fish.
  17. preternatural
    surpassing the ordinary or normal
    Preternatural terrors rested upon the Hebrews, when under the feet of Korah and his company the live ground opened and swallowed them up for ever; yet not a modern sun ever sets, but in precisely the same manner the live sea swallows up ships and crews.
  18. azure
    of a deep somewhat purplish blue color similar to that of a clear October sky
    Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure.
  19. vivacious
    vigorous and animated
    For this part of the Indian Ocean through which we then were voyaging is not what whalemen call a lively ground; that is, it affords fewer glimpses of porpoises, dolphins, flying-fish, and other vivacious denizens of more stirring waters, than those off the Rio de la Plata, or the in-shore ground off Peru.
  20. denizen
    a person who inhabits a particular place
    For this part of the Indian Ocean through which we then were voyaging is not what whalemen call a lively ground; that is, it affords fewer glimpses of porpoises, dolphins, flying-fish, and other vivacious denizens of more stirring waters, than those off the Rio de la Plata, or the in-shore ground off Peru.
  21. vehement
    characterized by great force or energy
    And all the while, jet after jet of white smoke was agonizingly shot from the spiracle of the whale, and vehement puff after puff from the mouth of the excited headsman; as at every dart, hauling in upon his crooked lance (by the line attached to it), Stubb straightened it again and again, by a few rapid blows against the gunwale, then again and again sent it into the whale.
  22. abate
    become less in amount or intensity
    And now abating in his flurry, the whale once more rolled out into view; surging from side to side; spasmodically dilating and contracting his spout-hole, with sharp, cracking, agonized respirations.
  23. audacious
    disposed to venture or take risks
    Consider, now, how it must be in the case of four boats all engaging one unusually strong, active, and knowing whale; when owing to these qualities in him, as well as to the thousand concurring accidents of such an audacious enterprise, eight or ten loose second irons may be simultaneously dangling about him.
  24. elucidate
    make clear and (more) comprehensible
    All these particulars are faithfully narrated here, as they will not fail to elucidate several most important, however intricate passages, in scenes hereafter to be painted.
  25. adroit
    quick or skillful or adept in action or thought
    By adroit management the wooden float is made to rise on the other side of the mass, so that now having girdled the whale, the chain is readily made to follow suit; and being slipped along the body, is at last locked fast round the smallest part of the tail, at the point of junction with its broad flukes or lobes.
  26. quiescence
    a state of quiet (but possibly temporary) inaction
    If moody Ahab was now all quiescence, at least so far as could be known on deck, Stubb, his second mate, flushed with conquest, betrayed an unusual but still good-natured excitement.
  27. unassailable
    immune to attack; incapable of being tampered with
    How at such an apparently unassailable surface, they contrive to gouge out such symmetrical mouthfuls, remains a part of the universal problem of all things.
  28. propriety
    correct or appropriate behavior
    If you have never seen that sight, then suspend your decision about the propriety of devil-worship, and the expediency of conciliating the devil.
  29. unctuous
    unpleasantly and excessively suave or ingratiating in manner or speech
    It is not, perhaps, entirely because the whale is so excessively unctuous that landsmen seem to regard the eating of him with abhorrence; that appears to result, in some way, from the consideration before mentioned: i.e. that a man should eat a newly murdered thing of the sea, and eat it too by its own light.
  30. abhorrence
    hate coupled with disgust
    It is not, perhaps, entirely because the whale is so excessively unctuous that landsmen seem to regard the eating of him with abhorrence; that appears to result, in some way, from the consideration before mentioned: i.e. that a man should eat a newly murdered thing of the sea, and eat it too by its own light.