a person from whom you are descended
Along the cold hallway behind him hung the portraits of
forebears only dimly known to him all framed in glass and dimly lit above the narrow wainscotting.
coating consisting of a thin layer of superior wood glued to a base of inferior wood
He pressed his thumbprint in the warm wax pooled on the oak
shelf that projects from wall above fireplace
Inside the house there was no sound save the ticking of the
mantel clock in the front room.
a treeless grassy plain
The landscape is often the focus of description in the novel. Being aware of the definitions of particular terrain and vegetation would make the reading experience of "All the Pretty Horses" richer, especially since McCarthy tends to use the landscape in metaphorical relations with the characters that navigate this terrain.
He walked out on the
prairie and stood holding his hat like some supplicant to the darkness over them all and he stood there for a long time.
become less in amount or intensity
The wind was much
abated and it was very cold and the sun sat blood red and elliptic under the reefs of bloodred cloud before him.
an acute febrile highly contagious viral disease
Twelve years later when his wife was carried off in the
influenza epidemic they still had no children.
a coupling (as in a chain) that has one end that turns on a headed pin
On the desk was a small brass calendar mounted on
swivels that changed dates when you tipped it over in its stand.
link with or as with a yoke
The word here is used figuratively. Many of McCarthy's descriptions enter the realm of poetry, using the mundane objects of the current landscape in order to connect them to something greater.
The black crosses of the old telegraph poles
yoked across the constellations passing east to west.
join the ends of
His grandfather said the Comanche would cut the wires and
splice them back with horsehair.
humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness
The Good Book says that the
meek shall inherit the earth and I expect that’s probably the truth.
a pen for cattle
There were half a dozen of them breaking through a pole
corral and their manes were long and blowing and their eyes wild.
intermediate floor just above the ground floor
He went up the stairs to the
mezzanine and found Franklin’s name lettered in an arc across the pebbled glass of the door and took off his hat and turned the knob and went in.
a relatively flat highland
Snow was falling in the San Saba when they crossed it and snow was falling on the Edwards
Plateau and in the Balcones the limestone was white with snow and he sat watching out while the gray flakes flared over the windshield glass in the sweep of the wipers.
someone employed to conduct others
He thanked her and went in and tendered his ticket to an
usher who led him over to the red carpeted stairs and handed him the ticket back.
a small recess opening off a larger room
At the intermission he rose and put on his hat and went down to the lobby and stood in a gilded
alcove and rolled a cigarette and stood smoking it with one boot jacked back against the wall behind him.
the apparent surface of the imaginary sphere on which celestial bodies appear to be projected
He and Rawlins lay in the road where they could feel the heat coming off the blacktop against their backs and they watched stars falling down the long black slope of the
a feeling of shame when you do something immoral
If you got a bad
conscience just tell me what you want me to say and I’ll say it.
a circular projection that sticks outward from the crown of a hat
He stood back and touched the
brim of his hat and turned and went on up the street.
at or in an indicated (usually distant) place (`yon' is archaic and dialectal)
Why don't we lay up
yonder and wait on him?
material consisting of seed coverings and small pieces of stem or leaves that have been separated from the seeds
They lay in the dry
chaff under the trees with their coats rolled up under their heads and their hats over their eyes while the horses grazed in the grass along the creekbed.
feed as in a meadow or pasture
They lay in the dry chaff under the trees with their coats rolled up under their heads and their hats over their eyes while the horses
grazed in the grass along the creekbed.
deem to be
How far is that do you
a high steep bank (usually formed by river erosion)
They passed under a high limestone
bluff where a creek ran down and they crossed a broad gravel wash.
a seam used in surgery
To the west a mile away ran a wire fence strung from pole to pole like a bad
suture across the gray grasslands and beyond that a small band of antelope all of whom were watching them.
a large indefinite number
The sandbar below them was thickly grown with willow and carrizo cane and the bluffs on the far side were stained and cavepocked and traversed by a constant
myriad of swallows.
a sandbank in a stretch of water that is visible at low tide
We can cross right down yonder off of that
shoal, John Grady said.
lacking physical depth; having little spatial extension downward or inward from an outer surface or backward or outward from a center
The kid was sitting the big bay horse in the
shallow water off the gravel bar and looking across the river.
fall or sink heavily
Half a dozen low houses with walls of mud brick
slumping into ruin.
a V-shaped indentation
Two of them were empty but the third was covered with the tin lid from a lardpail and the lid was
notched to accommodate the handle of an enameled tin dipper.
a small stream
A thin blue
rivulet of drainwater ran down the clay gully in front of the store and a goat stood in the rutted road looking at the horses.
a shortage of rainfall
The road was deeply gullied and it was washed out in the draws and in the draws were cattle dead from an old
drought, just the bones of them cloven about with the hard dry blackened hide.
something solid that is usable as an inclined plane (shaped like a V) that can be pushed between two things to separate them
Compare with "notch." They share a similar shape, but a notch is an opening and a wedge is a solid piece.
Under it was a board supported by two
wedges driven into the wall and on the board was a small green glass with a blackened candlestub in it.
burn, sear, or freeze (tissue) using a hot iron or electric current or a caustic agent
Rawlins eyed balefully that
crouch or curl up
It was cold in the night and in the dawn before daylight when they woke Blevins was already up and had a fire going on the ground and was
huddled over it in his thin clothes.
thoroughly dried out
What they dredged smoking out of the ground looked like some
desiccated effigy from a tomb.
lighted up by or as by fire or flame
The change in his pocket burned through and fell out on the ground and set the grass
completely; used as intensifiers
plumb out of the country, called Rawlins.
a stream or brook
John Grady rode through the willows and down the
arroyo following the occasional bare footprint in the rainspotted loam until he came upon Blevins crouched under the roots of a dead cottonwood in a caveout where the arroyo turned and fanned out onto the plain.
pierce with a sharp stake or point
Bye and bye they passed a stand of roadside cholla against which small birds had been driven by the storm and there
(Middle Ages) a person who is bound to the land and owned by the feudal lord
The drawers he wore were baggy and dirty and he did indeed look like some sad and ill used
serf or worse.
pull or pull out sharply
Rawlins twisted the cigarette into the corner of his mouth and
plucked a match from his pocket and popped it alight with his thumbnail.
a state of extreme confusion and disorder
bedlam had broken across the lot.
stumble and nearly fall
If we don't
founder on deermeat I’m a chinaman.
I’ve seen them vaqueros worked for Blair cut a yearling
heifer so thin you could see through the meat.
the dead body of an animal especially one slaughtered and dressed for food
In the night the coyotes woke them and they lay in the dark and listened to them where they convened over the
carcass of the deer, fighting and squalling like cats.
make high-pitched, whiney noises
In the night the coyotes woke them and they lay in the dark and listened to them where they convened over the carcass of the deer, fighting and
squalling like cats.
look for and gather
This bunch has done been
culled once up on the mesa, ain't it?
move unsteadily, with a rocking motion
He was chewing woodenly and half
tottering on the bench.
(quantifier used with mass nouns) small in quantity or degree; not much or almost none or (with `a') at least some
She had blue eyes and she nodded or perhaps she only lowered her head slightly to better see what sort of horse he rode, just the
slightest tilt of the broad black hat set level on her head, the slightest lifting of the long black hair.
an apparatus consisting of an object mounted so that it swings freely under the influence of gravity
The brass weights stirred behind the casement doors, the
pendulum slowly swept.