"Animal Farm" by George Orwell, Chapters 5-6

What would happen if the Russian Revolution of 1917 took place on a small English farm? This provocative novella blends fable, satire, and allegory while grappling with some of the twentieth-century's most consequential political ideas.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1-2, Chapters 3-4, Chapters 5-6, Chapters 7-8, and Chapters 9-10

Here are links to our lists for other works by George Orwell: 1984, Politics and the English Language, Shooting an Elephant

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. pretext
    a fictitious reason that conceals the real reason
    On every kind of pretext she would run away from work and go to the drinking pool, where she would stand foolishly gazing at her own reflection in the water.
  2. blithely
    in a joyous, carefree, or unconcerned manner
    One day, as Mollie strolled blithely into the yard, flirting her long tail and chewing at a stalk of hay, Clover took her aside.
  3. hedge
    a fence formed by a row of closely planted shrubs or bushes
    This morning I saw you looking over the hedge that divides Animal Farm from Foxwood.
  4. manifest
    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
    It had come to be accepted that the pigs, who were manifestly cleverer than the other animals, should decide all questions of farm policy, though their decisions had to be ratified by a majority vote.
  5. aloof
    remote in manner
    Only Napoleon held aloof. He had declared himself against the windmill from the start.
  6. procure
    get by special effort
    (How these were to be procured, Snowball did not say.)
  7. faction
    a dissenting clique
    The animals formed themselves into two factions under the slogans, “Vote for Snowball and the three-day week” and “Vote for Napoleon and the full manger.”
  8. restive
    being in a tense state
    They had all the more reason for doing so because the news of their defeat had spread across the countryside and made the animals on the neighbouring farms more restive than ever.
  9. advocate
    push for something
    When the animals had assembled in the big barn, Snowball stood up and, though occasionally interrupted by bleating from the sheep, set forth his reasons for advocating the building of the windmill.
  10. sordid
    morally degraded
    In glowing sentences he painted a picture of Animal Farm as it might be when sordid labour was lifted from the animals' backs.
  11. reaper
    farm machine that gathers a food crop from the fields
    Electricity, he said, could operate threshing machines, ploughs, harrows, rollers, and reapers and binders, besides supplying every stall with its own electric light, hot and cold water, and an electric heater.
  12. preside
    act as executive officer
    In future all questions relating to the working of the farm would be settled by a special committee of pigs, presided over by himself.
  13. expulsion
    the act of forcing out someone or something
    In spite of the shock that Snowball’s expulsion had given them, the animals were dismayed by this announcement.
  14. disinter
    dig up for reburial or for medical investigation
    The skull of old Major, now clean of flesh, had been disinterred from the orchard and set up on a stump at the foot of the flagstaff, beside the gun.
  15. quarry
    a surface excavation for extracting stone or slate
    There was a good quarry of limestone on the farm, and plenty of sand and cement had been found in one of the outhouses, so that all the materials for building were at hand.
  16. yoke
    join with stable gear, as two draft animals
    The horses carried it off in cart-loads, the sheep dragged single blocks, even Muriel and Benjamin yoked themselves into an old governess-cart and did their share.
  17. arable
    capable of being farmed productively
    And again, since no animal now stole, it was unnecessary to fence off pasture from arable land, which saved a lot of labour on the upkeep of hedges and gates.
  18. solicitor
    a British lawyer who gives legal advice
    A Mr. Whymper, a solicitor living in Willingdon, had agreed to act as intermediary between Animal Farm and the outside world, and would visit the farm every Monday morning to receive his instructions.
  19. intermediary
    a negotiator who acts as a link between parties
    A Mr. Whymper, a solicitor living in Willingdon, had agreed to act as intermediary between Animal Farm and the outside world, and would visit the farm every Monday morning to receive his instructions.
  20. reconcile
    accept as inevitable
    Nevertheless, the sight of Napoleon, on all fours, delivering orders to Whymper, who stood on two legs, roused their pride and partly reconciled them to the new arrangement.
  21. repose
    the absence of mental stress or anxiety
    You would not rob us of our repose, would you, comrades? You would not have us too tired to carry out our duties?
  22. plod
    walk heavily and firmly, as when weary, or through mud
    After the harvest there was a stretch of clear dry weather, and the animals toiled harder than ever, thinking it well worth while to plod to and fro all day with blocks of stone if by doing so they could raise the walls another foot.
  23. imposing
    impressive in appearance
    In their spare moments the animals would walk round and round the half-finished mill, admiring the strength and perpendicularity of its walls and marvelling that they should ever have been able to build anything so imposing.
  24. malign
    evil or harmful in nature or influence
    In sheer malignity, thinking to set back our plans and avenge himself for his ignominious expulsion, this traitor has crept here under cover of night and destroyed our work of nearly a year.
  25. indignation
    a feeling of righteous anger
    There was a cry of indignation, and everyone began thinking out ways of catching Snowball if he should ever come back.

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.