"All the Pretty Horses," Vocabulary from Part 3 50 words

The first volume of The Border Trilogy, "All The Pretty Horses" is Cormac McCarthy's take on the allure of freedom. Two people run away to be cowboys, but find they can't leave their former selves behind.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
  1. threadbare
    having the nap worn away so that the threads show through
    Rawlins turned off the water and pushed back the curtain and stood drying himself with one of the threadbare towels.
  2. roster
    a list of names
    He exhausted in the days following the roster of surgeons in that small upland desert metropolis without finding one to do what he asked.
  3. evoke
    call to mind
    And after and for a long time to come he’d have reason to evoke the recollection of those smiles and to reflect upon the good will which provoked them for it had power to protect and to confer honor and to strengthen resolve and it had power to heal men and to bring them to safety long after all other resources were exhausted.
  4. provoke
    evoke or provoke to appear or occur
    Both "evoke" and "provoke" have the same Latin root "vocare" ("to call"); while "evoke" is to call out (ex=out), "provoke" is to call forth (pro=forth). Both verbs are used in the example sentence to describe the power of good will and smiles.
    And after and for a long time to come he’d have reason to evoke the recollection of those smiles and to reflect upon the good will which provoked them for it had power to protect and to confer honor and to strengthen resolve and it had power to heal men and to bring them to safety long after all other resources were exhausted.
  5. irrigation
    supplying dry land with water by means of ditches etc
    At noon he bathed in an irrigation ditch and he shaved and washed and slept lying on his jacket in the sun while his clothes dried.
  6. twine
    a lightweight cord
    In the evening he took his supper with workers in their camp, five or six families seated together at a table made of cut poles bound with hemp twine.
  7. resolve
    bring to an end; settle conclusively
    The table was pitched under a canvas fly and the evening sun resolved within the space beneath a deep orange light where the seams and stitching passed in shadow over their faces and their clothes as they moved.
  8. orchard
    garden consisting of a small cultivated wood without undergrowth
    When he walked up to the house there were cats coming from the stable and orchard and cats coming along the high wall or waiting their turn to pass under the worn wood of the gate.
  9. dappled
    having spots or patches of color
    Carlos had slaughtered a sheep and along the dappled floor of the portal more cats sat basking in the earliest light falling through the hydrangeas.
  10. siphon
    convey, draw off, or empty by or as if by a siphon
    It passed with its head canted and its eyes rolling and its nostrils siphoning the morning air and then it recognized him and turned and came to him and he pushed open the gate and the horse whinnied and tossed its head and snorted and pushed its long sleek nose against his chest.
  11. repertoire
    the entire range of skills or aptitudes or devices used in a particular field or occupation
    "Repertoire" also means "a collection of works that an artist or company can perform"--both definitions give a graceful beauty to the horse, even as its gait ("a horse's manner of moving") changes from stamping and skittering to galloping.
    He waved again and touched up the horse and they went stamping and skittering as if the horse could find no gait within its repertoire to suit the day until he rode him through the gate and out of view of house and barn and cook and slapped the polished flank trembling under him and they went on at a hard flat gallop up the cidnaga road.
  12. frail
    physically weak
    The country rolled away to the west through broken light and shadow and the distant summer storms a hundred miles downcountry to where the cordilleras rose and sank in the haze in a frail last shimmering restraint alike of the earth and the eye beholding it.
  13. tread
    put down or press the foot, place the foot
    He tacked and quartered the horse to keep it from treading constantly in its own shadow for it seemed uneasy doing so.
  14. tapestry
    a wall hanging of heavy handwoven fabric with pictorial designs
    Behind her on the wall hung a large tapestry that portrayed a meeting in some vanished landscape between two horsemen on a road.
  15. conspire
    engage in plotting or enter into a conspiracy, swear together
    I’m prepared to believe that certain circumstances must have conspired against you.
  16. notion
    a general inclusive concept
    One does not like to entertain the notion of tainted blood.
  17. advocate
    a person who pleads for a cause or propounds an idea
    Were she a more civil person perhaps I’d have been less of an advocate.
  18. relegate
    refer to another person for decision or judgment
    He claimed that the responsibility for a decision could never be abandoned to a blind agency but could only be relegated to human decisions more and more remote from their consequences.
  19. dingy
    thickly covered with ingrained dirt or soot
    Peering with his poor eyes through dingy glasses at the blind tablets of metal before him.
  20. parable
    a short moral story (often with animal characters)
    My father must have seen in this parable the accessibility of the origins of things, but I see nothing of the kind.
  21. implement
    apply in a manner consistent with its purpose or design
    He was simply trying to implement the ideas he had discovered.
  22. occult
    supernatural practices and techniques
    He did not share Francisco’s taste for the occult.
  23. disfigure
    mar or spoil the appearance of
    That he could not help but view me as something disfigured.
  24. deformity
    an affliction in which some part of the body is misshapen or malformed
    I’d learned to affect a handkerchief in my left hand in such a way as to cover my deformity.
  25. wither
    lose freshness, vigor, or vitality
    He said that those who have endured some misfortune will always be set apart but that it is just that misfortune which is their gift and which is their strength and that they must make their way back into the common enterprise of man for without they do so it cannot go forward and they themselves will wither in bitterness.
  26. manifest
    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
    In the months that followed my revolutionary spirit was rekindled and the political aspects of Francisco Madero’s activities became more manifest.
  27. accomplice
    a person who joins with another in carrying out some plan (especially an unethical or illegal plan)
    Huerta of course was the secret accomplice.
  28. volley
    rapid simultaneous discharge of firearms
    Finally a volley of rifle shots was fired into him.
  29. intercede
    act between parties with a view to reconciling differences
    Francisco’s mother had sent a telegram to President Taft asking him to intercede to save her son’s life.
  30. gauge
    measure precisely and against a standard
    It is the control group which enables the scientist to gauge the effect of his experiment.
  31. libertine
    a dissolute person; usually a man who is morally unrestrained
    "Dissolute" means "unrestrained by convention or morality"--this describes a person who is taking too many liberties with the rules, which should be the opposite of someone who has strictness and authority.
    For all his strictness and authority he proved to be a libertine of the most dangerous sort.
  32. myopic
    unable to see distant objects clearly
    Sometimes I think we are all like that myopic coiner at his press, taking the blind slugs one by one from the tray, all of us bent so jealously at our work, determined that not even chaos be outside of our own making.
  33. leavened
    made light by aerating, as with yeast or baking powder; often used as a combining form
    Some of them had never eaten leavened bread and they looked to an older boy among them for guidance in the matter.
  34. adjoin
    lie adjacent to another or share a boundary
    In the diningroom adjoining the lobby there were people still at lunch.
  35. sequester
    set apart from others
    He walked through the narrow twisting streets of the town with its ancient buildings and small sequestered plazas.
  36. raucous
    unpleasantly loud and harsh
    He went to a bar in a sidestreet where the raucous hybrid beerhall music of the north was blaring from an open door and he got very drunk and got in a fight and woke in the gray dawn on an iron bed in a green room with paper curtains at a window beyond which he could hear roosters calling.
  37. hybrid
    produced by crossbreeding
    He went to a bar in a sidestreet where the raucous hybrid beerhall music of the north was blaring from an open door and he got very drunk and got in a fight and woke in the gray dawn on an iron bed in a green room with paper curtains at a window beyond which he could hear roosters calling.
  38. snarl
    a vicious angry growl
    The others turned in a snarling mass of teeth and fur but the fallen dog struggled up before he could be set upon and all went on as before.
  39. aria
    an elaborate song for solo voice
    He said that he had traveled all over the world when he was young and that he had studied opera in Milan and in Buenos Aires and as they rolled through the countryside he sang arias and gestured with great vigor.
  40. fractious
    easily irritated or annoyed
    "Fractious" also means "stubbornly resistant to authority or control"--this could also fit the description of a scared horse who does not want to be in the middle of traffic.
    He rode the horse out into the noon traffic and the horse was fractious and scared and it skittered about in the street and kicked a great dish into the side of a bus to the delight of the passengers who leaned out and called challenges from the safety of the windows.
  41. luminous
    softly bright or radiant
    The rain had ripened all the country around and the roadside grass was luminous and green from the run-off and flowers were in bloom across the open country.
  42. incubate
    grow under conditions that promote development
    He imagined the pain of the world to be like some formless parasitic being seeking out the warmth of human souls wherein to incubate and he thought he knew what made one liable to its visitations.
  43. talisman
    a trinket or piece of jewelry usually hung about the neck and thought to be a magical protection against evil or disease
    He called out his own name before him like a talisman against harm.
  44. collusion
    secret agreement
    He found he was breathing in rhythm with the horse as if some part of the horse were within him breathing and then he descended into some deeper collusion for which he had not even a name.
  45. lank
    long and thin and often limp
    He’d lost his hat and his lank black hair hung down and his face was a gray color and he called out to them to help him.
  46. sardonic
    disdainfully or ironically humorous; scornful and mocking
    He managed a sardonic smile and John Grady nodded.
  47. equity
    conformity with rules or standards
    He thought the world’s heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world’s pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.
  48. deficit
    an excess of liabilities over assets (usually over a certain period)
    He thought the world’s heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world’s pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.
  49. squalid
    foul and run-down and repulsive
    A squalid alameda where there stood a rotting brushwood gazebo and a few old iron benches.
  50. provocation
    something that incites or provokes; a means of arousing or stirring to action
    You must have had some provocation.