Richard Adams (1920-2016) Tribute List

Author Richard Adams died on December 24, 2016. He was 96 years old. "Watership Down," the tale of rabbits who must find a new home after a prophecy that their old warren will be destroyed, is Adams most famous work, and it has influenced generations of young readers with its lessons about courage and survival. Here are 12 vocabulary words drawn from quotes from "Watership Down" which illustrate Adams's sensitivity and the freedom of his imagination.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. devise
    arrange by systematic planning and united effort
    "Animals don't behave like men," he said. 'If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don't sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures' lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality."
  2. cunning
    showing inventiveness and skill
    But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.
  3. callousness
    devoid of passion or feeling; hardheartedness
    Rabbits (says Mr. Lockley) are like human beings in many ways. One of these is certainly their staunch ability to withstand disaster and to let the stream of their life carry them along, past reaches of terror and loss. They have a certain quality which it would not be accurate to describe as callousness or indifference. It is, rather, a blessedly circumscribed imagination and an intuitive feeling that Life is Now
  4. circumscribe
    restrict or confine
    Rabbits (says Mr. Lockley) are like human beings in many ways. One of these is certainly their staunch ability to withstand disaster and to let the stream of their life carry them along, past reaches of terror and loss. They have a certain quality which it would not be accurate to describe as callousness or indifference. It is, rather, a blessedly circumscribed imagination and an intuitive feeling that Life is Now.
  5. conspicuous
    obvious to the eye or mind
    A magpie, seeing some light-colored object conspicuous on the empty slope, flew closer to look. but all that lay there was a splintered peg and a twisted length of wire.
  6. stupefied
    as if struck dumb with astonishment and surprise
    Then the rain fell like a waterfall. In a few seconds the ground was covered with water and over it, to a height of inches, rose a haze formed of a myriad minute splashes. Stupefied with the shock, unable even to move, the sodden rabbits crouched inert, almost pinned to the earth by the rain.
  7. inert
    unable to move or resist motion
    Then the rain fell like a waterfall. In a few seconds the ground was covered with water and over it, to a height of inches, rose a haze formed of a myriad minute splashes. Stupefied with the shock, unable even to move, the sodden rabbits crouched inert, almost pinned to the earth by the rain.
  8. propriety
    correct behavior
    When several creatures, men or animals, have worked together to overcome something offering resistance and have at last succeeded, there follows often a pause, as though they felt the propriety of paying respect to the adversary who has put up so good a fight.
  9. apprehension
    fearful expectation or anticipation
    Although there was no enemy or danger to be perceived, they felt the apprehension and doubt of those who have come unaware upon some awe-inspiring place where they themselves are paltry fellows of no account
  10. paltry
    contemptibly small in amount
    Although there was no enemy or danger to be perceived, they felt the apprehension and doubt of those who have come unaware upon some awe-inspiring place where they themselves are paltry fellows of no account
  11. shrewd
    marked by practical hardheaded intelligence
    He looked as though he knew how to take care of himself. There was a shrewd, buoyant air about him as he sat up, looked round and rubbed both front paws over his nose.
  12. buoyant
    characterized by liveliness and lightheartedness
    He looked as though he knew how to take care of himself. There was a shrewd, buoyant air about him as he sat up, looked round and rubbed both front paws over his nose.

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