"Treasure Island"--Vocabulary from Part Four (Chapters 16-21)

"Treasure Island," an adventure novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, supplies everything desired of a pirate story: treasure maps, booty, and of course, bad guys (etext found here). Learn this word list that focuses on fighting.

Here are links to all of our word lists for Treasure Island: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. stockade
    fortification consisting of a fence set firmly for defense
    The gigs had leaned to their right, but Hunter and I pulled straight in, in the direction of the stockade upon the chart.
  2. prime
    insert an igniter to initiate the burning of a propellant
    I jumped out and came as near running as I durst, with a big silk handkerchief under my hat for coolness' sake and a brace of pistols ready primed for safety.
    Another definition of the adjective "primed" is "on the point of or strongly disposed"--this could also fit the example sentence, but the chosen definition fits better, since the doctor is referring to two 18th century pistols that had to be primed with gunpowder in order for it be primed for safety.
  3. besiege
    surround so as to force to give up
    All round this they had cleared a wide space, and then the thing was completed by a paling six feet high, without door or opening, too strong to pull down without time and labour and too open to shelter the besiegers.
  4. regiment
    army unit smaller than a division
    All they wanted was a good watch and food; for, short of a complete surprise, they might have held the place against a regiment.
  5. ammunition
    projectiles to be fired from a gun
    For though we had a good enough place of it in the cabin of the HISPANIOLA, with plenty of arms and ammunition, and things to eat, and excellent wines, there had been one thing overlooked—we had no water.
  6. palisade
    a strong fence made of stakes driven into the ground
    All three made the first journey, heavily laden, and tossed our stores over the palisade.
  7. scuffle
    fight or struggle in a confused way at close quarters
    There was a sudden scuffle, a sound of blows, and out burst Abraham Gray with a knife cut on the side of the cheek, and came running to the captain like a dog to the whistle.
  8. bombardment
    the heavy fire of artillery to saturate an area
    "I have thought of that," said I, for I made sure he was thinking of a bombardment of the fort. "They could never get the gun ashore, and if they did, they could never haul it through the woods."
  9. bustle
    a rapid active commotion
    They exchanged guns, and Trelawney, silent and cool as he had been since the beginning of the bustle, hung a moment on his heel to see that all was fit for service.
  10. molestation
    the act of tormenting by continued persistent attacks and criticism
    I believe the readiness of our return volley had scattered the mutineers once more, for we were suffered without further molestation to get the poor old gamekeeper hoisted over the stockade and carried, groaning and bleeding, into the log-house.
  11. acquiescence
    acceptance without protest
    Poor old fellow, he had not uttered one word of surprise, complaint, fear, or even acquiescence from the very beginning of our troubles till now, when we had laid him down in the log-house to die.
  12. ricochet
    a glancing rebound
    We had no ricochet to fear, and though one popped in through the roof of the log-house and out again through the floor, we soon got used to that sort of horse-play and minded it no more than cricket.
  13. magazine
    a storehouse where weapons and ammunition are stored
    Silver was in the stern-sheets in command; and every man of them was now provided with a musket from some secret magazine of their own.
  14. clatter
    a rattling noise
    Even as I looked, there came another red flash and another report that sent the echoes clattering, and one more round-shot whistled through the air.
  15. demolish
    destroy completely
    Men were demolishing something with axes on the beach near the stockade
  16. sentry
    a person employed to keep watch for some anticipated event
    I was put sentry at the door
  17. truce
    a state of peace agreed to between opponents
    "And what do you want with your flag of truce?" he cried.
  18. cavalier
    given to haughty disregard of others
    We could see the man who carried the flag of truce attempting to hold Silver back. Nor was that wonderful, seeing how cavalier had been the captain's answer.
    The adjective "cavalier" describes Captain Smollett's attitude towards a man who had unsuccessfully tried to mutiny and who is now asking for a truce from outside a stockade. The noun "cavalier" can refer to an armed horseman or a supporter of a royal government. These definitions give more punch to Captain Smollett's later proposal to either bring the pirates back to England to be tried and hanged by the king or to shoot Silver in the back the next time he sees him.
  19. nettled
    aroused to impatience or anger
    He had been growing nettled before, but now he pulled himself together.
  20. imprecation
    the act of calling down a curse that invokes evil
    Growling the foulest imprecations, he crawled along the sand till he got hold of the porch and could hoist himself again upon his crutch.
  21. stave
    burst or force (a hole) into something
    Before an hour's out, I'll stove in your old block house like a rum puncheon.
    "Stove" is the past tense of "stave"--this shouldn't grammatically fit the example sentence, since Silver is threatening Captain Smollett with what he will do within the hour, but Silver is a cook and pirate who does not speak in Standard English.
  22. drub
    beat thoroughly and conclusively in a competition or fight
    We're outnumbered, I needn't tell you that, but we fight in shelter; and a minute ago I should have said we fought with discipline. I've no manner of doubt that we can drub them, if you choose.
  23. volley
    rapid simultaneous discharge of firearms
    The report had scarcely died away ere it was repeated and repeated from without in a scattering volley, shot behind shot, like a string of geese, from every side of the enclosure.
  24. hostility
    violent action that is usually unprovoked
    It was plain, therefore, that the attack would be developed from the north and that on the other three sides we were only to be annoyed by a show of hostilities.
  25. assailant
    someone who attacks
    Right in front, the doctor was pursuing his assailant down the hill, and just as my eyes fell upon him, beat down his guard and sent him sprawling on his back with a great slash across the face.
  26. sally
    a military action in which besieged troops burst forth
    When I had first sallied from the door, the other mutineers had been already swarming up the palisade to make an end of us.
  27. dispose
    throw or cast away
    A third, as I had seen, the doctor had disposed of at a blow.
    The definition suggests that the doctor threw out the attacking pirate like trash, but the blow came through a sword, so "disposed of" in the example sentence means "killed".
  28. recommence
    begin again
    The survivors would soon be back where they had left their muskets, and at any moment the fire might recommence.

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