Vocabulary from Animal Farm, Chapters 3-4

A fable about the establishment of government and how easily power corrupts, George Orwell's "Animal Farm" features warring factions of farm animals and a struggle for power.

As you read the 1945 allegorical novella, learn these word lists: Ch's 1-2, Ch's 3-4, Ch's 5-6, Ch's 7-8, and Ch's 9-10.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. toil
    work hard
    How they toiled and sweated to get the hay in!
  2. harness
    put on leather straps fitted to a draft animal
    Boxer and Clover would harness themselves to the cutter or the horse-rake (no bits or reins were needed in these days, of course) and tramp steadily round and round the field with a pig walking behind and calling out “Gee up, comrade!" or “Whoa back, comrade!” as the case might be.
  3. shirk
    avoid one's assigned duties
    Nobody stole, nobody grumbled over his rations, the quarreling and biting and jealousy which had been normal features of life in the old days had almost disappeared. Nobody shirked—or almost nobody.
  4. hoist
    raise or haul up with or as if with mechanical help
    First came the hoisting of the flag.
  5. debate
    discuss the pros and cons of an issue
    Here the work of the coming week was planned out and resolutions were put forward and debated.
  6. resolution
    a formal expression by a meeting, agreed to by a vote
    It was always the pigs who put forward the resolutions.The other animals understood how to vote, but could never think of any resolutions of their own.
  7. orchard
    garden consisting of a small cultivated wood
    Even when it was resolved—a thing no one could object to in itself-—to set aside the small paddock behind the orchard as a home of rest for animals who were past work, there was a stormy debate over the correct retiring age for each class of animal.
  8. tame
    brought from wildness into a domesticated state
    He formed the Egg Production Committee for the hens, the Clean Tails League for the cows, the Wild Comrades’ Re-education Committee (the object of this was to tame the rats and rabbits), the Whiter Wool Movement for the sheep, and various others, besides instituting classes in reading and writing.
  9. maxim
    a saying that is widely accepted on its own merits
    After much thought Snowball declared that the Seven Commandments could in effect be reduced to a single maxim, namely: “four legs good, two legs bad.”
  10. windfall
    fruit that has fallen from the tree
    The early apples were now ripening, and the grass of the orchard was littered with windfalls.
  11. perpetually
    without interruption
    Its owner was a Mr. Frederick, a tough, shrewd man, perpetually involved in lawsuits and with a name for driving hard bargains.
  12. starve
    die of food deprivation
    The whole thing would be over in a fortnight, they said.They put it about that the animals on the Manor Farm (they insisted on calling it the Manor Farm; they would not tolerate the name “Animal Farm”) were perpetually fighting among themselves and were also rapidly starving to death.
  13. launch
    propel with force
    As the human beings approached the farm buildings, Snowball launched his first attack.
  14. calf
    the muscular back part of the shank
    All the pigeons, to the number of thirty-five, flew to and fro over the men’s heads and muted upon them from mid-air; and while the men were dealing with this, the geese, who had been hiding behind the hedge, rushed out and pecked viciously at the calves of their legs.
  15. retreat
    withdrawal of troops to a more favorable position
    But once again the men, with their sticks and their hobnailed boots, were too strong for them; and suddenly, at a squeal from Snowball, which was the signal for retreat, all the animals turned and fled through the gateway into the yard.
  16. ambush
    concealing yourself and lying in wait to attack by surprise
    As soon as they were well inside the yard, the three horses, the three cows, and the rest of the pigs, who had been lying in ambush in the cowshed, suddenly emerged in their rear, cutting them off.
  17. stable
    a farm building for housing horses or other livestock
    His very first blow took a stable-lad from Foxwood on the skull and stretched him lifeless in the mud.
  18. posthumously
    after death
    There was also “Animal Hero, Second Class,” which was conferred posthumously on the dead sheep.
  19. tractable
    easily managed
    Bulls which had always been tractable suddenly turned savage, sheep broke down hedges and devoured the clover, cows kicked the pail over, hunters refused their fences and shot their riders on to the other side.
  20. impromptu
    without advance preparation
    An impromptu celebration of the victory was held immediately.

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.