"Fahrenheit 451," Vocabulary from Part 3: Burning Bright 30 words

As you read Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451,"
learn these word lists: Part 1: The Hearth and the Salamander, Part 2: The Sieve and the Sand, Part 3: Burning Bright
  1. rigidity
    the physical property of being stiff and resisting bending
    The front door opened; Mildred came down the steps, running, one suitcase held with a dream-like clenching rigidity in her fist, as a beetle-taxi hissed to the curb.
  2. incomprehensible
    incapable of being explained or accounted for
    Montag drifted about as if still another incomprehensible storm had turned him, to see Stoneman and Black wielding axes, shattering window-panes to provide cross-ventilation.
  3. rend
    tear or be torn violently
    And as before, it was good to burn, he felt himself gush out in the fire, snatch, rend, rip in half with flame, and put away the senseless problem.
  4. outrage
    a feeling of righteous anger
    The earthquake was still shaking and falling and shivering inside him and he stood there, his knees half-bent under the great load of tiredness and bewilderment and outrage, letting Beatty hit him without raising a hand.
  5. writhe
    to move in a twisting or contorted motion, (especially when struggling)
    And then he was a shrieking blaze, a jumping, sprawling, gibbering mannikin, no longer human or known, all writhing flame on the lawn as Montag shot one continuous pulse of liquid fire on him.
  6. clad
    wearing or provided with clothing; sometimes used in combination
    Montag caught it with a bloom of fire, a single wondrous blossom that curled in petals of yellow and blue and orange about the metal dog, clad it in a new covering as it slammed into Montag and threw him ten feet back against the bole of a tree, taking the flame-gun with him.
  7. excursion
    a journey taken for pleasure
    He tried to piece it all together, to go back to the normal pattern of life a few short days ago before the sieve and the sand, Denham's Dentifrice, moth-voices, fireflies, the alarms and excursions, too much for a few short days, too much, indeed, for a lifetime.
  8. waver
    pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness
    Two dozen of them flurried, wavering, indecisive, three miles off, like butterflies puzzled by autumn, and then they were plummeting down to land, one by one, here, there, softly kneading the streets where, turned back to beetles, they shrieked along the boulevards or, as suddenly, leapt back into the sir, continuing their search.
  9. falter
    move hesitatingly, as if about to give way
    Montag faltered, got a grip on the books, and forced himself not to freeze.
  10. confront
    deal with (something unpleasant) head on
    He dropped a book, broke pace, almost turned, changed his mind, plunged on, yelling in concrete emptiness, the beetle scuttling after its running food, two hundred, one hundred feet away, ninety, eighty, seventy, Montag gasping, flailing his hands, legs up down out, up down out, closer, closer, hooting, calling, his eyes burnt white now as his head jerked about to confront the flashing glare, now the beetle was swallowed in its own light, now it was nothing but a torch hurtling upon him;
  11. opportunity
    a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances
    Tonight, this network is proud to have the opportunity to follow the Hound by camera helicopter as it starts on its way to the target...”
  12. dilate
    become wider
    They both looked quickly about the house and Montag felt his nostrils dilate and he knew that he was trying to track himself and his nose was suddenly good enough to sense the path he had made in the air of the room and the sweat of his hand hung from the doorknob, invisible, but as numerous as the jewels of a small chandelier, he was everywhere, in and on and about everything, he was a luminous cloud, a ghost that made breathing once more impossible.
  13. oblivion
    the state of being disregarded or forgotten
    And if he kept his eye peeled quickly he would see himself, an instant before oblivion, being punctured for the benefit of how many civilian parlour-sitters who had been wakened from sleep a few minutes ago by the frantic sirening of their living-room walls to come watch the big game, the hunt, the one-man carnival.
  14. dwindle
    become smaller or lose substance
    Hound had turned, clenching him in its metal-plier jaws, and trotted off in darkness, while the camera remained stationary, watching the creature dwindle in the distance—a splendid fade-out!
  15. silhouette
    an outline of a solid object (as cast by its shadow)
    He stopped for breath, on his way to the river, to peer through dimly lit windows of wakened houses, and saw the silhouettes of people inside watching their parlour walls and there on the walls the Mechanical Hound, a breath of neon vapour, spidered along, here and gone, here and gone!
  16. deserted
    forsaken by owner or inhabitants
    The track that came out of the city and rusted across the land, through forests and woods, deserted now, by the river.
  17. warily
    in a wary manner
    But the fire was there and he approached warily, from a long way off.
  18. converge
    move or draw together at a certain location
    Police helicopters are converging on Avenue 87 and Elm Grove Park!”
  19. appreciate
    be fully aware of; realize fully
    It was suspended for a moment in their gaze, as if to give the vast audience time to appreciate everything, the raw look of the victim's face, the empty street, the steel animal a bullet nosing the target.
  20. avenge
    take revenge for a perceived wrong
    And then, after a time of the men sitting around the fire, their faces expressionless, an announcer on the dark screen said, “The search is over, Montag is dead; a crime against society has been avenged.”
  21. recall
    recall knowledge from memory; have a recollection
    Simmons here has worked on it for twenty years and now we've got the method down to where we can recall anything that's been read once.
  22. pedant
    a person who pays more attention to formal rules and book learning than they merit
    The most important single thing we had to pound into ourselves was that we were not important, we mustn't be pedants; we were not to feel superior to anyone else in the world.
  23. allot
    administer or bestow, as in small portions
    “My grandfather ran off the V-2 rocket film a dozen times and then hoped that some day our cities would open up and let the green and the land and the wilderness in more, to remind people that we're allotted a little space on earth and that we survive in that wilderness that can take back what it has given, as easily as blowing its breath on us or sending the sea to tell us we are not so big.
  24. bombardment
    an attack by dropping bombs
    The bombardment was to all intents and purposes finished, once the jets had sighted their target, alerted their bombardiers at five thousand miles an hour; as quick as the whisper of a scythe the war was finished.
  25. disintegrate
    break into parts or components or lose cohesion or unity
    Montag saw the flirt of a great metal fist over the far city and he knew the scream of the jets that would follow, would say, after the deed, disintegrate, leave no stone on another, perish.
  26. desolation
    a bleak and desolate atmosphere
    And Faber was out; there in the deep valleys of the country somewhere the five a. m. bus was on its way from one desolation to another.
  27. prattle
    speak (about unimportant matters) rapidly and incessantly
    He saw her leaning toward the great shimmering walls of colour and motion where the family talked and talked and talked to her, where the family prattled and chatted and said her name and smiled at her and said nothing of the bomb that was an inch, now a half-inch, now a quarter-inch from the top of the hotel.
  28. strive
    attempt by employing effort
    For another of those impossible instants the city stood, rebuilt and unrecognizable, taller than it had ever hoped or strived to be, taller than man had built it, erected at last in gouts of shattered concrete and sparkles of torn metal into a mural hung like a reversed avalanche, a million colours, a million oddities, a door where a window should be, a top for a bottom, a side for a back, and then the city rolled over and fell down dead.
  29. pyre
    wood heaped for burning a dead body as a funeral rite
    “There was a silly damn bird called a Phoenix back before Christ: every few hundred years he built a pyre and burned himself up.
  30. yield
    give or supply
    And on either side of the river was there a tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.