Melville's "Moby Dick," Ch's 74-81 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. imperceptibly
    in an imperceptible manner or to an imperceptible degree
    Moreover, while in most other animals that I can now think of, the eyes are so planted as imperceptibly to blend their visual power, so as to produce one picture and not two to the brain; the peculiar position of the whale's eyes, effectually divided as they are by many cubic feet of solid head, which towers between them like a great mountain separating two lakes in valleys; this, of course, must wholly separate the impressions which each independent organ imparts.
  2. profound
    situated at or extending to great depth; too deep to have been sounded or plumbed
    The whale, therefore, must see one distinct picture on this side, and another distinct picture on that side; while all between must be profound darkness and nothingness to him.
  3. sentry
    a person employed to keep watch for some anticipated event
    Man may, in effect, be said to look out on the world from a sentry-box with two joined sashes for his window.
  4. incongruity
    the quality of disagreeing; being unsuitable and inappropriate
    Nor, strictly investigated, is there any incongruity in this comparison.
  5. vacillation
    changing location by moving back and forth
    It may be but an idle whim, but it has always seemed to me, that the extraordinary vacillations of movement displayed by some whales when beset by three or four boats; the timidity and liability to queer frights, so common to such whales; I think that all this indirectly proceeds from the helpless perplexity of volition, in which their divided and diametrically opposite powers of vision must involve them.
  6. beset
    assail or attack on all sides: "The zebra was beset by leopards"
    It may be but an idle whim, but it has always seemed to me, that the extraordinary vacillations of movement displayed by some whales when beset by three or four boats; the timidity and liability to queer frights, so common to such whales; I think that all this indirectly proceeds from the helpless perplexity of volition, in which their divided and diametrically opposite powers of vision must involve them.
  7. perplexity
    trouble or confusion resulting from complexity
    It may be but an idle whim, but it has always seemed to me, that the extraordinary vacillations of movement displayed by some whales when beset by three or four boats; the timidity and liability to queer frights, so common to such whales; I think that all this indirectly proceeds from the helpless perplexity of volition, in which their divided and diametrically opposite powers of vision must involve them.
  8. volition
    the capability of conscious choice and decision and intention
    Unerringly impelling this dead, impregnable, uninjurable wall, and this most buoyant thing within; there swims behind it all a mass of tremendous life, only to be adequately estimated as piled wood is—by the cord; and all obedient to one volition, as the smallest insect.
  9. capacious
    large in capacity
    But if his eyes were broad as the lens of Herschel's great telescope; and his ears capacious as the porches of cathedrals; would that make him any longer of sight, or sharper of hearing?
  10. hypochondriac
    suffering from hypochondria
    This whale is not dead; he is only dispirited; out of sorts, perhaps; hypochondriac; and so supine, that the hinges of his jaw have relaxed, leaving him there in that ungainly sort of plight, a reproach to all his tribe, who must, no doubt, imprecate lock-jaws upon him.
  11. supine
    offering no resistance
    This whale is not dead; he is only dispirited; out of sorts, perhaps; hypochondriac; and so supine, that the hinges of his jaw have relaxed, leaving him there in that ungainly sort of plight, a reproach to all his tribe, who must, no doubt, imprecate lock-jaws upon him.
  12. aperture
    a natural opening in something
    If you stand on its summit and look at these two F-shaped spoutholes, you would take the whole head for an enormous bass-viol, and these spiracles, the apertures in its sounding-board.
  13. diadem
    an ornamental jeweled headdress signifying sovereignty
    But if this whale be a king, he is a very sulky looking fellow to grace a diadem.
  14. vestige
    an indication that something has been present
    Furthermore, you are now to consider that only in the extreme, lower, backward sloping part of the front of the head, is there the slightest vestige of bone; and not till you get near twenty feet from the forehead do you come to the full cranial development.
  15. inestimable
    beyond calculation or measure
    Just so with the head; but with this difference: about the head this envelope, though not so thick, is of a boneless toughness, inestimable by any man who has not handled it.
  16. impel
    cause to move forward with force
    While yet some distance from the Pequod, she rounded to, and dropping a boat, her captain was impelled towards us, impatiently standing in the bows instead of the stern.
  17. provincial
    a country person
    For unless you own the whale, you are but a provincial and sentimentalist in Truth.
  18. limpid
    clear and bright
    Moreover, as that of Heidelburgh was always replenished with the most excellent of the wines of the Rhenish valleys, so the tun of the whale contains by far the most precious of all his oily vintages; namely, the highly-prized spermaceti, in its absolutely pure, limpid, and odoriferous state.
  19. odoriferous
    emitting an odor
    Moreover, as that of Heidelburgh was always replenished with the most excellent of the wines of the Rhenish valleys, so the tun of the whale contains by far the most precious of all his oily vintages; namely, the highly-prized spermaceti, in its absolutely pure, limpid, and odoriferous state.
  20. irrevocably
    in an irrevocable manner
    A large whale's case generally yields about five hundred gallons of sperm, though from unavoidable circumstances, considerable of it is spilled, leaks, and dribbles away, or is otherwise irrevocably lost in the ticklish business of securing what you can.
  21. dexterous
    skillful in physical movements; especially of the hands
    He averred, that upon first thrusting in for him, a leg was presented; but well knowing that that was not as it ought to be, and might occasion great trouble;—he had thrust back the leg, and by a dexterous heave and toss, had wrought a somerset upon the Indian; so that with the next trial, he came forth in the good old way—head foremost.
  22. anomalous
    deviating from the general or common order or type
    Physiognomically regarded, the Sperm Whale is an anomalous creature.
  23. impertinent
    not pertinent to the matter under consideration
    A nose to the whale would have been impertinent.
  24. firmament
    the apparent surface of the imaginary sphere on which celestial bodies appear to be projected
    For you see no one point precisely; not one distinct feature is revealed; no nose, eyes, ears, or mouth; no face; he has none, proper; nothing but that one broad firmament of a forehead, pleated with riddles; dumbly lowering with the doom of boats, and ships, and men.
  25. physiognomy
    the human face (`kisser' and `smiler' and `mug' are informal terms for `face' and `phiz' is British)
    Physiognomy, like every other human science, is but a passing fable.
  26. citadel
    a stronghold into which people could go for shelter during a battle
    The brain is at least twenty feet from his apparent forehead in life; it is hidden away behind its vast outworks, like the innermost citadel within the amplified fortifications of Quebec.
  27. negation
    the speech act of negating
    And by those negations, considered along with the affirmative fact of his prodigious bulk and power, you can best form to yourself the truest, though not the most exhilarating conception of what the most exalted potency is.
  28. indomitable
    impossible to subdue
    And that the great monster is indomitable, you will yet have reason to know.
  29. indubitably
    in a manner or to a degree that could not be doubted
    However curious it may seem for an oil-ship to be borrowing oil on the whale-ground, and however much it may invertedly contradict the old proverb about carrying coals to Newcastle, yet sometimes such a thing really happens; and in the present case Captain Derick De Deer did indubitably conduct a lamp-feeder as Flask did declare.
  30. plaintive
    expressing sorrow
    But the bird has a voice, and with plaintive cries will make known her fear; but the fear of this vast dumb brute of the sea, was chained up and enchanted in him; he had no voice, save that choking respiration through his spiracle, and this made the sight of him unspeakably pitiable; while still, in his amazing bulk, portcullis jaw, and omnipotent tail, there was enough to appal the stoutest man who so pitied.