Melville's "Moby Dick," Ch's 115-125 20 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. complacent
    contented to a fault with oneself or one's actions
    In the forecastle, the sailors had actually caulked and pitched their chests, and filled them; it was humorously added, that the cook had clapped a head on his largest boiler, and filled it; that the steward had plugged his spare coffee-pot and filled it; that the harpooneers had headed the sockets of their irons and filled them; that indeed everything was filled with sperm, except the captain's pantaloons pockets, and those he reserved to thrust his hands into, in self- complacent testimony.
  2. jubilation
    a feeling of extreme joy
    And Ahab, he too was standing on his quarter-deck, shaggy and black, with a stubborn gloom; and as the two ships crossed each other's wakes—one all jubilations for things passed, the other all forebodings as to things to come—their two captains in themselves impersonated the whole striking contrast of the scene.
  3. foreboding
    a feeling of evil to come
    And Ahab, he too was standing on his quarter-deck, shaggy and black, with a stubborn gloom; and as the two ships crossed each other's wakes—one all jubilations for things passed, the other all forebodings as to things to come—their two captains in themselves impersonated the whole striking contrast of the scene.
  4. orison
    reverent petition to a deity
    It was far down the afternoon; and when all the spearings of the crimson fight were done: and floating in the lovely sunset sea and sky, sun and whale both stilly died together; then, such a sweetness and such plaintiveness, such inwreathing orisons curled up in that rosy air, that it almost seemed as if far over from the deep green convent valleys of the Manilla isles, the Spanish land-breeze, wantonly turned sailor, had gone to sea, freighted with these vesper hymns.
  5. placid
    (of a body of water) free from disturbance by heavy waves
    For that strange spectacle observable in all sperm whales dying—the turning sunwards of the head, and so expiring—that strange spectacle, beheld of such a placid evening, somehow to Ahab conveyed a wondrousness unknown before.
  6. homage
    respectful deference
    "He turns and turns him to it,—how slowly, but how steadfastly, his homage-rendering and invoking brow, with his last dying motions.
  7. gallows
    an instrument of execution consisting of a wooden frame from which a condemned person is executed by hanging
    "The gallows, ye mean.—I am immortal then, on land and on sea," cried Ahab, with a laugh of derision;—"Immortal on land and on sea!"
  8. vigilant
    carefully observant or attentive; on the lookout for possible danger
    The season for the Line at length drew near; and every day when Ahab, coming from his cabin, cast his eyes aloft, the vigilant helmsman would ostentatiously handle his spokes, and the eager mariners quickly run to the braces, and would stand there with all their eyes centrally fixed on the nailed doubloon; impatient for the order to point the ship's prow for the equator.
  9. ostentatiously
    with ostentation; in an ostentatious manner
    The season for the Line at length drew near; and every day when Ahab, coming from his cabin, cast his eyes aloft, the vigilant helmsman would ostentatiously handle his spokes, and the eager mariners quickly run to the braces, and would stand there with all their eyes centrally fixed on the nailed doubloon; impatient for the order to point the ship's prow for the equator.
  10. meridian
    of or happening at noon
    So, swinging his seated form to the roll of the ship, and with his astrological-looking instrument placed to his eye, he remained in that posture for some moments to catch the precise instant when the sun should gain its precise meridian.
  11. haughty
    having or showing arrogant superiority to and disdain of those one views as unworthy
    Here again with haughty agony, I read my sire.
  12. paltry
    not worth considering
    Aye," lighting from the boat to the deck, "thus I trample on thee, thou paltry thing that feebly pointest on high; thus I split and destroy thee!"
  13. tumultuous
    characterized by unrest or disorder or insubordination
    Standing between the knight-heads, Starbuck watched the Pequod's tumultuous way, and Ahab's also, as he went lurching along the deck.
  14. perilous
    fraught with danger
    Now, as the lightning rod to a spire on shore is intended to carry off the perilous fluid into the soil; so the kindred rod which at sea some ships carry to each mast, is intended to conduct it into the water.
  15. admonish
    warn strongly; put on guard
    "The rods! the rods!" cried Starbuck to the crew, suddenly admonished to vigilance by the vivid lightning that had just been darting flambeaux, to light Ahab to his post.
  16. pallid
    (of light) lacking in intensity or brightness; dim or feeble
    All the yard-arms were tipped with a pallid fire; and touched at each tri-pointed lightning-rod-end with three tapering white flames, each of the three tall masts was silently burning in that sulphurous air, like three gigantic wax tapers before an altar.
  17. pendulous
    having branches or flower heads that bend downward
    At the base of the mainmast, full beneath the doubloon and the flame, the Parsee was kneeling in Ahab's front, but with his head bowed away from him; while near by, from the arched and overhanging rigging, where they had just been engaged securing a spar, a number of the seamen, arrested by the glare, now cohered together, and hung pendulous, like a knot of numbed wasps from a drooping, orchard twig.
  18. acquiesce
    to agree or express agreement
    Meanwhile, whatever were his own secret thoughts, Starbuck said nothing, but quietly he issued all requisite orders; while Stubb and Flask—who in some small degree seemed then to be sharing his feelings—likewise unmurmuringly acquiesced.
  19. subservient
    compliant and obedient to authority
    There now's a patched professor in Queen Nature's granite-founded College; but methinks he's too subservient.
  20. libertine
    unrestrained by convention or morality
    Ye did beget this luckless child, and have abandoned him, ye creative libertines.