Ever wonder where the expression "an albatross around one's neck" comes from? Or even what the word albatross means? Look no further than Samuel Taylor Coleridge's oft-quoted ballad "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" to find out.

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" tells the story of a sailor who upsets the order of the universe by shooting a giant bird called an albatross. As punishment, the sailor is forced by his shipmates to hang the dead bird from his neck as he travels a slow and thirsty path toward madness. During the 19th century, when this poem was widely recited and read, the idea of wearing an albatross around one's neck became synonymous with guilt.

If learning one key vocabulary word makes this tale of near-hallucinogenic terror more accessible, imagine how reading it would feel after you'd learned 40? Now you can, with "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," Parts I-IV and Parts V-VII Vocabulary Lists. 

Teachers: Looking for more literature-based Vocabulary Lists? Find them here and check back often. Our curriculum development team adds new lists every week.  Or get started on making your own lists with a short video "Vocabulary Lists Made Quick and Easy" and blog post "Six Steps to Better List Making."