"The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell

On an isolated island in the Caribbean, a man washes ashore from a shipwreck. He think's he's safe, but who is that eccentric royal in charge of the island, and what is he really hunting? Find out in the short story by Richard Connell -- "The Most Dangerous Game."
definitions & notes only words
  1. dread
    fearful expectation or anticipation
    Sailors have a curious dread of the place.
  2. dank
    unpleasantly cool and humid
    "Can't see it," remarked Rainsford, trying to peer through the dank tropical night that was palpable as it pressed its thick warm blackness in upon the yacht.
  3. palpable
    capable of being perceived
    "Can't see it," remarked Rainsford, trying to peer through the dank tropical night that was palpable as it pressed its thick warm blackness in upon the yacht.
  4. cannibal
    a person who eats human flesh
    " Cannibals?" suggested Rainsford.
  5. tangible
    perceptible by the senses especially the sense of touch
    Sometimes I think evil is a tangible thing--with wave lengths, just as sound and light have.
  6. muffle
    deaden (a sound or noise), especially by wrapping
    There was no sound in the night as Rainsford sat there but the muffled throb of the engine that drove the yacht swiftly through the darkness, and the swish and ripple of the wash of the propeller.
  7. mystify
    be a mystery or bewildering to
    Rainsford sprang up and moved quickly to the rail, mystified.
  8. recede
    pull back or move away or backward
    Desperately he struck out with strong strokes after the receding lights of the yacht, but he stopped before he had swum fifty feet.
  9. doggedly
    with obstinate determination
    They had come from the right, and doggedly he swam in that direction, swimming with slow, deliberate strokes, conserving his strength.
  10. extremity
    the greatest or utmost degree
    It came out of the darkness, a high screaming sound, the sound of an animal in an extremity of anguish and terror.
  11. vitality
    an energetic style
    He did not recognize the animal that made the sound; he did not try to; with fresh vitality he swam toward the sound.
    "Vitality," in this context means "with life".
  12. jagged
    having a sharply uneven surface or outline
    Jagged crags appeared to jut up into the opaqueness; he forced himself upward, hand over hand.
  13. dense
    hard to pass through because of heavy growth
    Dense jungle came down to the very edge of the cliffs.
  14. peril
    a state of danger involving risk
    What perils that tangle of trees and underbrush might hold for him did not concern Rainsford just then.
  15. flounder
    walk with great difficulty
    He saw no sign of a trail through the closely knit web of weeds and trees; it was easier to go along the shore, and Rainsford floundered along by the water.
  16. lacerate
    cut or tear irregularly
    Some wounded thing--by the evidence, a large animal--had thrashed about in the underbrush; the jungle weeds were crushed down and the moss was lacerated; one patch of weeds was stained crimson.
  17. bleak
    unpleasantly cold and damp
    Bleak darkness was blacking out the sea and jungle when Rainsford sighted the lights.
  18. palatial
    relating to a large and stately mansion
    His eyes made out the shadowy outlines of a palatial chateau; it was set on a high bluff, and on three sides of it cliffs dived down to where the sea licked greedy lips in the shadows.
  19. chateau
    an impressive country house (or castle) in France
    His eyes made out the shadowy outlines of a palatial chateau; it was set on a high bluff, and on three sides of it cliffs dived down to where the sea licked greedy lips in the shadows.
  20. bluff
    a high steep bank
    His eyes made out the shadowy outlines of a palatial chateau; it was set on a high bluff, and on three sides of it cliffs dived down to where the sea licked greedy lips in the shadows.
  21. menacing
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    The menacing look in the eyes did not change.
  22. cultivated
    developed by human care and for human use
    In a cultivated voice marked by a slight accent that gave it added precision and deliberateness, he said, "It is a very great pleasure and honor to welcome Mr. Sanger Rainsford, the celebrated hunter, to my home."
  23. aristocrat
    a member of the nobility
    He had high cheekbones, a sharpcut nose, a spare, dark face--the face of a man used to giving orders, the face of an aristocrat.
  24. medieval
    relating to or belonging to the Middle Ages
    There was a medieval magnificence about it; it suggested a baronial hall of feudal times with its oaken panels, its high ceiling, its vast refectory tables where twoscore men could sit down to eat.
  25. feudal
    relating to a system where vassals are protected by lords
    There was a medieval magnificence about it; it suggested a baronial hall of feudal times with its oaken panels, its high ceiling, its vast refectory tables where twoscore men could sit down to eat.
  26. refectory
    a communal dining-hall, usually in a monastery
    There was a medieval magnificence about it; it suggested a baronial hall of feudal times with its oaken panels, its high ceiling, its vast refectory tables where twoscore men could sit down to eat.
  27. modesty
    formality and propriety of manner
    I think I may say, in all modesty, that I have done a rare thing.
  28. ardent
    characterized by intense emotion
    He was a very rich man with a quarter of a million acres in the Crimea, and he was an ardent sportsman.
  29. cavalry
    troops trained to fight on horseback
    I went into the army--it was expected of noblemen's sons--and for a time commanded a division of Cossack cavalry, but my real interest was always the hunt.
  30. debacle
    a sudden and violent collapse
    "After the debacle in Russia I left the country, for it was imprudent for an officer of the Czar to stay there.
  31. imprudent
    not wise
    "After the debacle in Russia I left the country, for it was imprudent for an officer of the Czar to stay there.
  32. analytical
    using or skilled in using reasoning
    Now, mine is an analytical mind, Mr. Rainsford.
  33. surmount
    get on top of; deal with successfully
    The general smiled the quiet smile of one who has faced an obstacle and surmounted it with success.
  34. bewilderment
    confusion resulting from failure to understand
    Rainsford's bewilderment showed in his face.
  35. grisly
    shockingly repellent; inspiring horror
    This is a grisly joke.
  36. Puritan
    a member of a group of English Protestants who in the 16th and 17th centuries thought that the Protestant Reformation under Elizabeth was incomplete and advocated the simplification and regulation of forms of worship
    Ah, well, doubtless you had Puritan ancestors.
  37. scruples
    motivation deriving from ethical or moral principles
    But I think I can show you that your scruples are quite ill founded."
  38. barbarous
    primitive in customs and culture
    That would be barbarous.
  39. elude
    escape, either physically or mentally
    If my quarry eludes me for three whole days, he wins the game.
  40. invariably
    without change, in every case
    Invariably, Mr. Rainsford, invariably they choose the hunt."
  41. braggart
    a very boastful and talkative person
    Then he added, hastily: "I don't wish you to think me a braggart, Mr. Rainsford.
  42. grotesque
    distorted and unnatural in shape or size
    The lights from the windows sent a flickering illumination that made grotesque patterns on the courtyard below, and Rainsford could see moving about there a dozen or so huge black shapes; as they turned toward him, their eyes glittered greenly.
  43. stealthy
    marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
    Once he thought he heard stealthy steps in the corridor outside his room.
  44. sallow
    unhealthy looking
    The lights of the chateau were out now, and it was dark and silent; but there was a fragment of sallow moon, and by its wan light he could see, dimly, the courtyard.
  45. solicitous
    full of anxiety and concern
    He was solicitous about the state of Rainsford's health.
  46. ennui
    the feeling of being bored by something tedious
    To Rainsford's questioning glance the general said, " Ennui..."
  47. thicket
    a dense growth of bushes
    The general raised his thickets of eyebrows; he seemed hurt.
  48. venerable
    profoundly honored
    He filled Rainsford's glass with venerable Chablis from a dusty bottle.
  49. futile
    producing no result or effect
    He saw that straight flight was futile; inevitably it would bring him face to face with the sea.
  50. intricate
    having many complexly arranged elements; elaborate
    He executed a series of intricate loops; he doubled on his trail again and again, recalling all the lore of the fox hunt, and all the dodges of the fox.
  51. zealous
    marked by active interest and enthusiasm
    Even so zealous a hunter as General Zaroff could not trace him there, he told himself; only the devil himself could follow that complicated trail through the jungle after dark.
  52. apprehensive
    in fear or dread of possible evil or harm
    An apprehensive night crawled slowly by like a wounded snake and sleep did not visit Rainsford, although the silence of a dead world was on the jungle.
  53. tapestry
    a wall hanging of heavy fabric with pictorial designs
    He flattened himself down on the limb and, through a screen of leaves almost as thick as tapestry, he watched.
  54. pungent
    strong and sharp
    Then he straightened up and took from his case one of his black cigarettes; its pungent incenselike smoke floated up to Rainsford's nostrils.
  55. uncanny
    surpassing the ordinary or normal
    The general could follow a trail through the woods at night; he could follow an extremely difficult trail; he must have uncanny powers; only by the merest chance had the Cossack failed to see his quarry.
  56. precariously
    in a manner affording no ease or reassurance
    Three hundred yards from his hiding place he stopped where a huge dead tree leaned precariously on a smaller, living one.
  57. protruding
    extending out above or beyond a surface or boundary
    His foot touched the protruding bough that was the trigger.
  58. mocking
    expressing contempt or ridicule
    He stood there, rubbing his injured shoulder, and Rainsford, with fear again gripping his heart, heard the general's mocking laugh ring through the jungle.
  59. placid
    not easily irritated
    That had been a placid pastime compared to his digging now.
  60. cower
    show submission or fear
    Then he cowered back.