"Treasure Island"--Vocabulary from Part Six (Chapters 28-34)

"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 Captain Long John Silver.

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. composure
    steadiness of mind under stress
    Silver took a whiff or two of his pipe with great composure and then ran on again.
  2. truculent
    defiantly aggressive
    "You'll perhaps batten down your hatches till you're spoke to, my friend," cried Silver truculently to this speaker.
  3. furtive
    marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
    Silver leant back against the wall, his arms crossed, his pipe in the corner of his mouth, as calm as though he had been in church; yet his eye kept wandering furtively, and he kept the tail of it on his unruly followers.
  4. audible
    heard or perceptible by the ear
    "Now, look you here, Jim Hawkins," he said in a steady whisper that was no more than audible, "you're within half a plank of death, and what's a long sight worse, of torture. They're going to throw me off. But, you mark, I stand by you through thick and thin.
  5. hobble
    walk impeded by some physical limitation or injury
    He hobbled to the torch, where it stood propped among the firewood, and took a fresh light to his pipe.
  6. staunch
    firm and dependable especially in loyalty
    I know when a game's up, I do; and I know a lad that's staunch.
    The definition of "staunch" as a verb is "stop the flow of a liquid"--this does not fit the example sentence because Silver is using "staunch" as an adjective; however, his efforts to gain the favor of the staunch lad Jim are so that he can staunch the flow of his own blood.
  7. contemptuous
    expressing extreme scorn
    I thought you said you knowed the rules," returned Silver contemptuously.
  8. vehemence
    intensity or forcefulness of expression
    "That's for number one," cried the accused, wiping the sweat from his brow, for he had been talking with a vehemence that shook the house.
  9. derisive
    expressing contempt or ridicule
    "A Bible with a bit cut out!" returned Silver derisively.
  10. vengeance
    harming someone in retaliation for something they have done
    Soon after, with a drink all round, we lay down to sleep, and the outside of Silver's vengeance was to put George Merry up for sentinel and threaten him with death if he should prove unfaithful.
    Although Silver's vengeance here against George Merry was simply to verbally threaten him and make him stay up to be a lookout, this is not evidence of mercy. At the moment, Silver needs the loyalty of George and the rest of the crew. But when it is safe for him to do so, he really makes Merry pay for both insulting him and trying to take his place as captain.
  11. patter
    plausible glib talk (especially useful to a salesperson)
    So he pattered on, standing on the hilltop with his crutch under his elbow and one hand upon the side of the log-house—quite the old John in voice, manner, and expression.
  12. rudiment
    the elementary stage of any subject
    Silver, I'm surprised at you. You're less of a fool than many, take you all round; but you don't appear to me to have the rudiments of a notion of the rules of health.
  13. preponderance
    superiority in power or influence
    But he was twice the man the rest were, and his last night's victory had given him a huge preponderance on their minds.
  14. volubility
    the quality of being facile in speech and writing
    And then he bade them get the fire lit, and stalked out upon his crutch, with his hand on my shoulder, leaving them in a disarray, and silenced by his volubility rather than convinced.
  15. earnest
    characterized by a firm, humorless belief in one's opinions
    Silver was a changed man once he was out there and had his back to his friends and the block house; his cheeks seemed to have fallen in, his voice trembled; never was a soul more dead in earnest.
  16. gallows
    an instrument from which a person is executed by hanging
    But I'll own up fairly, I've the shakes upon me for the gallows.
  17. cunning
    marked by skill in deception
    Even Silver, eating away, with Captain Flint upon his shoulder, had not a word of blame for their recklessness. And this the more surprised me, for I thought he had never shown himself so cunning as he did then.
  18. feasible
    capable of being done with means at hand
    For my part, I was horribly cast down. Should the scheme he had now sketched prove feasible, Silver, already doubly a traitor, would not hesitate to adopt it.
  19. ashen
    anemic looking from illness or emotion
    "Come," said Silver, struggling with his ashen lips to get the word out; "this won't do. Stand by to go about. This is a rum start, and I can't name the voice, but it's someone skylarking—someone that's flesh and blood, and you may lay to that."
    Silver's lips are ashen but his words are trying to be strong, because he needs to hide his own fear of possible ghosts in order to encourage his men to go on looking for the treasure.
  20. irreverence
    a mental attitude showing lack of due respect
    But there was no sign of reawakening courage in his followers, rather, indeed, of growing terror at the irreverence of his words.
  21. countenance
    the human face
    Silver hobbled, grunting, on his crutch; his nostrils stood out and quivered; he cursed like a madman when the flies settled on his hot and shiny countenance; he plucked furiously at the line that held me to him and from time to time turned his eyes upon me with a deadly look.
  22. insolence
    the trait of being rude and impertinent
    "Dig away, boys," said Silver with the coolest insolence; "you'll find some pig-nuts and I shouldn't wonder."
  23. imposter
    a person who makes deceitful pretenses
    "John Silver," he said, "you're a prodigious villain and imposter—a monstrous imposter, sir.
  24. obsequious
    attentive in an ingratiating or servile manner
    And there was Silver, sitting back almost out of the firelight, but eating heartily, prompt to spring forward when anything was wanted, even joining quietly in our laughter—the same bland, polite, obsequious seaman of the voyage out.
  25. ingratiate
    gain favor with somebody by deliberate efforts
    Indeed, it was remarkable how well he bore these slights and with what unwearying politeness he kept on trying to ingratiate himself with all.

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