"To Kill a Mockingbird," Vocabulary from Ch's 20-25

As you read Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1960), learn these word lists: Ch's 1-6, Ch's 7-11, Ch's 12-15, Ch's 16-19, Ch's 20-25, and Ch's 26-31.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. iota
    a tiny or scarcely detectable amount
    "The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence to the effect that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place.
  2. effort
    earnest and conscientious activity intended to do something
    "I have nothing but pity in my heart for the chief witness for the state, but my pity does not extend so far as to her putting a man's life at stake, which she has done in an effort to get rid of her own guilt.
  3. motivated
    given incentive for action
    "I say guilt, gentlemen, because it was guilt that motivated her.
  4. victim
    an unfortunate person who suffers from adverse circumstances
    She is the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance, but I cannot pity her: she is white.
  5. circumstantial
    suggesting that something is true without proving it
    We don't know, but there is circumstantial evidence to indicate that Mayella Ewell was beaten savagely by someone who led almost exclusively with his left.
  6. temerity
    fearless daring
    "And so a quiet, respectable, humble Negro who had the unmitigated temerity to 'feel sorry' for a white woman has had to put his word against two white people's.
  7. context
    the set of facts or circumstances that surround a situation
    There is a tendency in this year of grace, 1935, for certain people to use this phrase out of context, to satisfy all conditions.
  8. idealist
    someone not guided by practical considerations
    "I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in the jury system-that is no ideal to me, it is a living, working reality.
  9. passion
    a strong feeling or emotion
    I am confident that you gentlemen will review without passion the evidence you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this defendant to his family.
  10. precisely
    indicating exactness or accuracy
    "They're right up yonder in the colored balcony -been there since precisely one-eighteen P.M."
  11. remorse
    a feeling of deep regret, usually for some misdeed
    When you oughta be hangin' your head in shame you go along laughin'---" Calpurnia revived a series of rusty threats that moved Jem to little remorse, and she sailed up the front steps with her classic, "If Mr. Finch don't wear you out, I will-get in that house, sir!"
  12. tacit
    implied by or inferred from actions or statements
    Jem went in grinning, and Calpurnla nodded tacit consent to having Dill in to supper.
  13. convict
    find or declare guilty
    "Don't see how any jury could convict on what we heard.”
  14. overpower
    overcome by superior force
    Apparently you had to kick and holler, you had to be overpowered and stomped on, preferably knocked stone cold.
  15. convincing
    causing one to believe the truth of something
    Perhaps I was too convincing, because Jem hushed and never discussed the subject again.
  16. impassive
    having or revealing little emotion or sensibility
    Atticus was standing under the street light looking as though nothing had happened: his vest was buttoned, his collar and tie were neatly in place, his watch-chain glistened, he was his impassive self again.
  17. heathen
    a person who does not acknowledge your god
    And I thought to myself, well, we're making a step-it's just a baby-step, but it's a step."
    " 't's all right to talk like that-can't any Christian judges an' lawyers make up for heathen juries," Jem muttered.
  18. prompt
    give an incentive for action
    Mr. Ewell was a veteran of an obscure war; that plus Atticus's peaceful reaction probably prompted him to inquire, "Too proud to fight, you nigger-lovin' bastard?"
  19. credibility
    the quality of being believable or trustworthy
    I destroyed his last shred of credibility at that trial, if he had any to begin with.
  20. misgiving
    uneasiness about the fitness of an action
    He said he didn't have any quarrel with the rape statute, none whatever, but he did have deep misgivings when the state asked for and the jury gave a death penalty on purely circumstantial evidence.
  21. improbable
    having a chance of occurring too low to inspire belief
    There's always the possibility, no matter how improbable, that he's innocent."
  22. apprehension
    fearful expectation or anticipation
    Ladies in bunches always filled me with vague apprehension and a firm desire to be elsewhere, but this feeling was what Aunt Alexandra called being "spoiled."
  23. preface
    furnish with an introduction
    She had a curious habit of prefacing everything she said with a soft sibilant sound.
  24. tribute
    something given or done as an expression of esteem
    Whether Maycomb knows it or not, we're paying the highest tribute we can pay a man.
  25. demise
    the time when something ends
    Maycomb had lost no time in getting Mr. Ewell's views on Tom's demise and passing them along through that English Channel of gossip, Miss Stephanie Crawford.

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