repeated too often; overfamiliar through overuse
“Fifty years,” I
hackneyed, “is a long time.”
“Not when you're looking back at them," she said. “You wonder how they vanished so quickly.”
In this sentence, Asimov uses the uncommon verb form of
hackney, meaning "to overuse or make overfamiliar."
in disarray; extremely disorderly
She pushed uselessly at her
disheveled hair in vague imitation of one of her mother’s gestures and twisted to see if her dress were torn.
show submission or fear
cowered, holding his hands over his face so that she had to add, “No, I won’t, Robbie. I won’t spank you. But anyway, it’s my turn to hide now be cause you’ve got longer legs and you promised not to run till I found you.”
move about or proceed hurriedly
“Don’t peek now—and don’t skip any numbers,” warned Gloria, and
scurried for cover.
labored and dull
But Robbie was hurt at the unjust accusation, so he seated himself carefully and shook his head
ponderously from side to side.
forceful and definite in expression or action
He gazed stubbornly at the sky, and shook his head even more
unshaken in purpose
She aimed over her shoulder with
undaunted courage and Robbie was a blunt-nosed spaceship zooming through the void at maximum acceleration.
stopping and starting at irregular intervals
Gloria gasped and panted, and gave voice to
intermittent whispered exclamations of “That was nice!”
simple and natural; without cunning or deceit
“You want something?” said Gloria, eyes wide in an apparently
artless complexity that fooled her huge “nursemaid” not at all.
liveliness and eagerness
Robbie obeyed with
alacrity for somehow there was that in him which judged it best to obey Mrs. Weston, without as much as a scrap of hesitation.
diffusing warmth and friendliness
Gloria’s father was rarely home in the daytime except on Sunday—today, for instance—and when he was, he proved a
genial and understanding person.
give off unsteady sounds
“I was with Robbie,”
quavered Gloria. “I was telling him Cinderella, and I forgot it was dinner-time.”
sad beyond comforting; incapable of being soothed
The robot left with a
disconsolate step and Gloria choked back a sob.
frenzied as if possessed by a demon
“But something might go wrong. Some—some—” Mrs. Weston was a bit hazy about the insides of a robot, “some little jigger will come loose and the awful thing will go
berserk and—and—” She couldn’t bring herself to complete the quite obvious thought.
not able to perform its normal function
You know that it is impossible for a robot to harm a human being; that long before enough can go wrong to alter that First Law, a robot would be completely
inoperable. It’s a mathematical impossibility.
the act of improving by renewing and restoring
Besides I have an engineer from U.S. Robots here twice a year to give the poor gadget a complete
having ethical or moral principles
George Weston, after all, was only a man—poor thing—and his wife made full use of every device which a clumsier and more
scrupulous sex has learned, with reason and futility, to fear.
following immediately and as a result of what went before
Ten times in the
ensuing week, he cried, “Robbie stays,—and that’s final!” and each time it was weaker and accompanied by a louder and more agonized groan.
done with very great haste and without due deliberation
precipitously and ran down the basement steps, shouting as she went, “Robbie—Come and see what Daddy and Mamma brought me. They brought me a dog, Robbie.”
in a sullen, moody manner
Mrs. Weston glanced at her husband for help, but he merely shuffled his feet
morosely and did not withdraw his ardent stare from the heavens, so she bent to the task of consolation, “Why do you cry, Gloria? Robbie was only a machine, just a nasty old machine. He wasn’t alive at all.”
characterized by intense emotion
Mrs. Weston glanced at her husband for help, but he merely shuffled his feet morosely and did not withdraw his
ardent stare from the heavens, so she bent to the task of consolation, “Why do you cry, Gloria? Robbie was only a machine, just a nasty old machine. He wasn’t alive at all.”
walk in an emphatic or exaggerated way
Then, one evening, she
flounced into the living room, sat down, folded her arms and looked boiling mad.
a quick reply to a question or remark
“Yes, Mamma,” was Gloria’s unenthusiastic
not allowing contradiction or refusal
They visited the zoos where Gloria stared in delicious fright at the “real live lion” (rather disappointed that the keepers fed him raw steaks, instead of human beings, as she had expected), and asked insistently and
peremptorily to see “the whale.”
so extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period
She was taken halfway up the Hudson in an excursion steamer fitted out in the
archaism of the mad Twenties.
atmospheric layer between the troposphere and the mesosphere
She travelled into the
stratosphere on an exhibition trip, where the sky turned deep purple and the stars came out and the misty earth below looked like a huge concave bowl.
not fanciful or imaginative
On a more
prosaic level, Mrs. Weston took her to the department stores where she could revel in another type of fairyland.
take delight in
On a more prosaic level, Mrs. Weston took her to the department stores where she could
revel in another type of fairyland.
a notable achievement
It was while the Westons were standing totally absorbed in the
exploits of a powerful electro-magnet that Mrs. Weston suddenly became aware of the fact that Gloria was no longer with her.
rise and fall of the voice pitch
There was an oily whir of gears and a mechanically-timbered voice boomed out in words that lacked accent and
in a manner expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
Gloria stared at it
ruefully. It did talk, but the sound came from inside somewheres.
likely to perform unpredictably
To which the Talking Robot’s only response was an
erratic splutter and an occasional incoherent sound.
a loud harsh or strident noise
Gloria raised her grieved voice over the
din, “I only came to see the Talking Robot, Mamma. I thought he might know where Robbie was because they’re both robots.”
spectacles clipped to the nose by a spring
"...You see,” he tapped his
pince-nez into one palm argumentatively, “what the labor unions don’t realize—and I say this as a man who has always been very sympathetic with the labor movement in general—is that the advent of the robot, while involving some dislocation to begin with, will inevitably—”
arrival that has been awaited
"...You see,” he tapped his pince-nez into one palm argumentatively, “what the labor unions don’t realize—and I say this as a man who has always been very sympathetic with the labor movement in general—is that the
advent of the robot, while involving some dislocation to begin with, will inevitably—”
in such a manner as could not be otherwise
"...You see,” he tapped his pince-nez into one palm argumentatively, “what the labor unions don’t realize—and I say this as a man who has always been very sympathetic with the labor movement in general—is that the advent of the robot, while involving some dislocation to begin with, will
conduit that carries a rapid flow of water
Then, when they had entered a large well-lit room that buzzed with metallic activity, the
sluices opened and the flood of explanation poured forth again.
a tiny or scarcely detectable amount
With one sweep of an arm, Robbie snatched up Gloria, slackening his speed not one
iota, and, consequently, knocking every breath of air out of her.
extremely impressive in strength or excellence
She turned to her husband, and, despite her disheveled and undignified appearance, managed to look quite
formidable, “You engineered this, didn't you?”
(plural) the most basic facts or elements
I tried to keep her talking, “If you would give me the
bare bones, Dr. Calvin, I can have Mr. Powell fill it in afterward."