Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" Chapters 1-16

Vocabulary study list for Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" (Chapters 1-16).

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. raspy
    unpleasantly harsh or grating in sound
    I was getting sort of used to the widow's ways, too, and they warn't so raspy on me.
  2. haggle
    an instance of intense argument (as in bargaining)
    I catched a catfish and haggled him open with my saw, and towards sundown I started my camp fire and had supper.
  3. rummage
    search haphazardly
    We rummaged the clothes we'd got, and found eight dollars in silver sewed up in the lining of an old blanket overcoat.
  4. welt
    a raised mark on the skin
    I was all over welts.
  5. browse
    feed as in a meadow or pasture
    And they'll follow that meal track to the lake and go browsing down the creek that leads out of it to find the robbers that killed me and took the things.
  6. jabber
    talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner
    A couple of squirrels set on a limb and jabbered at me very friendly.
  7. limber
    easily bent
    Pap was agoing on so he never noticed where his old limber legs was taking him to, so he went head over heels over the tub of salt pork and barked both shins, and the rest of his speech was all the hottest kind of language--mostly hove ...
  8. careen
    pitching dangerously to one side
    The door slammed to because it was on the careened side; and in a half second I was in the boat, and Jim come tumbling after me.
  9. seedy
    shabby and untidy
    There was a seedy old chest, and an old hair trunk with the hinges broke.
  10. vial
    a small bottle that contains a drug
    We got an old tin lantern, and a butcher-knife without any handle, and a bran-new Barlow knife worth two bits in any store, and a lot of tallow candles, and a tin candlestick, and a gourd, and a tin cup, and a ratty old bedquilt off the bed, and a reticul
  11. aggravate
    make worse
    The lot of towheads was troubles we was going to get into with quarrelsome people and all kinds of mean folks, but if we minded our business and didn't talk back and aggravate them, we would pull through and get out of the fog and into the big clea
  12. muddle
    make clouded as with sediment
    Do you want to go to doing different from what's in the books, and get things all muddled up?"
  13. budge
    move very slightly
    Pretty soon a spider went crawling up my shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit in the candle; and before I could budge it was all shriveled up.
  14. navigate
    direct carefully and safely
    And when they come to look at that spare room they had to take soundings before they could navigate it.
  15. sapling
    young tree
    Well, the second night a fog begun to come on, and we made for a towhead to tie to, for it wouldn't do to try to run in a fog; but when I paddled ahead in the canoe, with the line to make fast, there warn't anything but little saplings to tie to.
  16. bounce
    spring back; spring away from an impact
    He bounced up and stared at me wild.
  17. loll
    be lazy or idle
    When breakfast was ready we lolled on the grass and eat it smoking hot.
  18. slough
    a hollow filled with mud
    There was a slough or a creek leading out of it on the other side that went miles away, I don't know where, but it didn't go to the river.
  19. wallow
    roll around
    Then he went down on all fours and crawled off, begging them to let him alone, and he rolled himself up in his blanket and wallowed in under the old pine table, still a-begging; and then he went to crying.
  20. pivot
    axis consisting of a shaft supporting something that turns
    Throw stiff-armed from the shoulder, like there was a pivot there for it to turn on, like a girl; not from the wrist and elbow, with your arm out to one side, like a boy.
  21. skiff
    a small boat propelled by oars or by sails or by a motor
    So we unhitched a skiff and pulled down the river two mile and a half, to the big scar on the hillside, and went ashore.
  22. cooper
    a craftsman who makes or repairs wooden barrels or tubs
    "I tuck out en shin down de hill, en 'spec to steal a skift 'long de sho' som'ers 'bove de town, but dey wuz people a-stirring yit, so I hid in de ole tumble-down cooper-shop on de bank to wait for everybody to go 'way.
  23. shaky
    vibrating slightly and irregularly
    I started out, after breakfast, feeling worried and shaky, and wondering where it was going to fall on me, and what it was going to be.
  24. victuals
    a source of materials to nourish the body
    When you got to the table you couldn't go right to eating, but you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals, though there warn't really anything the matter with them,--that is, nothing only everything w
  25. speculate
    reflect deeply on a subject
    "What did you speculate in, Jim?"

    "Well, fust I tackled stock."
  26. sprinkle
    scatter with liquid; wet lightly
    I noticed some pieces of limbs and such things floating down, and a sprinkling of bark; so I knowed the river had begun to rise.
  27. hive
    a structure that provides a natural habitation for bees
    We used to hop out of the woods and go charging down on hog-drivers and women in carts taking garden stuff to market, but we never hived any of them.
  28. meddle
    intrude in other people's affairs or business
    Who told you you might meddle with such hifalut'n foolishness, hey?--who told you you could?"
  29. rustle
    make a dry crackling sound
    The stars were shining, and the leaves rustled in the woods ever so mournful; and I heard an owl, away off, who-whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and a dog crying about somebody that was going to die; and the wind was trying to
  30. delirium
    a usually brief state of excitement and mental confusion
    After supper pap took the jug, and said he had enough whisky there for two drunks and one delirium tremens.
  31. carcass
    the dead body of an animal
    And if anybody that belonged to the band told the secrets, he must have his throat cut, and then have his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his name blotted off of the list with blood and never mentioned again by the gang, bu
  32. twinkle
    gleam or glow intermittently
  33. gaudy
    tastelessly showy
    I read considerable to Jim about kings and dukes and earls and such, and how gaudy they dressed, and how much style they put on, and called each other your majesty, and your grace, and your lordship, and so on, 'stead of mister; and Jim's eyes bugg
  34. discourage
    try to prevent; show opposition to
    You see, maybe you's got to be po' a long time fust, en so you might git discourage' en kill yo'sef 'f you didn' know by de sign dat you gwyne to be rich bymeby."
  35. chuckle
    a soft partly suppressed laugh
    It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn't ever feel like talking loud, and it warn't often that we laughed--only a little kind of a low chuckle.
  36. hinge
    a joint that holds two parts together so that one can swing
    There was a seedy old chest, and an old hair trunk with the hinges broke.
  37. contrive
    make or work out a plan for; devise
    Why, I spotted you for a boy when you was threading the needle; and I contrived the other things just to make certain.
  38. calculate
    make a mathematical computation
    I got an old tin lamp and an iron ring, and went out in the woods and rubbed and rubbed till I sweat like an Injun, calculating to build a palace and sell it; but it warn't no use, none of the genies come.
  39. scour
    rub hard or scrub
    He never could go after even a turnip-cart but he must have the swords and guns all scoured up for it, though they was only lath and broomsticks, and you might scour at them till you rotted, and then they warn't worth a mouthful of ashes more than
  40. tangle
    twist together or entwine into a confusing mass
    His hair was long and tangled and greasy, and hung down, and you could see his eyes shining through like he was behind vines.
  41. scoop
    the shovel or bucket of a dredge or backhoe
    One time Tom sent a boy to run about town with a blazing stick, which he called a slogan (which was the sign for the Gang to get together), and then he said he had got secret news by his spies that next day a whole parcel of Spanish merchants and rich A-r
  42. chilly
    appreciably or disagreeably cold
    Right in the middle of the wigwam we made a layer of dirt about five or six inches deep with a frame around it for to hold it to its place; this was to build a fire on in sloppy weather or chilly; the wigwam would keep it from being seen.
  43. victual
    any substance that can be used as food
  44. abreast
    alongside each other, facing in the same direction
    It kept a-coming, and when it was abreast of me I see there warn't but one man in it.
  45. doze
    a light fitful sleep
    So he dozed off pretty soon.
  46. snug
    enjoying comforting warmth and shelter in a small space
    When it was beginning to come on dark we poked our heads out of the cottonwood thicket, and looked up and down and across; nothing in sight; so Jim took up some of the top planks of the raft and built a snug wigwam to get under in blazing weather a
  47. sparkle
    emit or produce sparks
    Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hilltop we looked away down into the village and could see three or four lights twinkling, where there was sick folks, maybe; and the stars over us was sparkling ever so fine; and down by the village was
  48. gust
    a strong current of air
    It would get so dark that it looked all blue-black outside, and lovely; and the rain would thrash along by so thick that the trees off a little ways looked dim and spider-webby; and here would come a blast of wind that would bend the trees down and turn u
  49. twinkling
    shining intermittently with a sparkling light
    Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hilltop we looked away down into the village and could see three or four lights twinkling, where there was sick folks, maybe; and the stars over us was sparkling ever so fine; and down by the village was
  50. rusty
    covered with or consisting of an oxide coating
    But this time I found something at last; I found an old rusty wood-saw without any handle; it was laid in between a rafter and the clapboards of the roof.
  51. tangled
    in a confused mass
    His hair was long and tangled and greasy, and hung down, and you could see his eyes shining through like he was behind vines.
  52. infernal
    characteristic of or resembling Hell
    Here's a govment that calls itself a govment, and lets on to be a govment, and thinks it is a govment, and yet's got to set stock-still for six whole months before it can take a hold of a prowling, thieving, infernal, white-shirted free nigger, and
  53. starve
    die of food deprivation
    "Well, you must be most starved, ain't you?"
  54. clump
    a grouping of a number of similar things
    We went to a clump of bushes, and Tom made everybody swear to keep the secret, and then showed them a hole in the hill, right in the thickest part of the bushes.
  55. tilt
    lean over; tip
    I stood a-looking at him; he set there a-looking at me, with his chair tilted back a little.
  56. paddle
    a short light oar used to propel a canoe or small boat
    It was a drift-canoe sure enough, and I clumb in and paddled her ashore.
  57. ferry
    a boat transporting people or vehicles over a body of water
    Every little while he locked me in and went down to the store, three miles, to the ferry, and traded fish and game for whisky, and fetched it home and got drunk and had a good time, and licked me.
  58. leak
    enter or escape as through a hole or crack or fissure
    But it warn't good judgment, because that was the boot that had a couple of his toes leaking out of the front end of it; so now he raised a howl that fairly made a body's hair raise, and down he went in the dirt, and rolled there, and held his toes
  59. cavern
    a large cave or a large chamber in a cave
    We tramped and clumb around all over it, and by and by found a good big cavern in the rock, most up to the top on the side towards Illinois.
  60. dismal
    causing dejection
    The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn't stand it no longer I li
  61. lumber
    the wood of trees prepared for use as building material
    A monstrous big lumber-raft was about a mile up stream, coming along down, with a lantern in the middle of it.
  62. lump
    a compact mass
    She went and got the lump of lead and fetched it back, and brought along a hank of yarn which she wanted me to help her with.
  63. stump
    the base part that remains after a tree has been felled
    Well, nobody could think of anything to do--everybody was stumped, and set still.
  64. monstrous
    distorted and unnatural in shape or size
    Jim was monstrous proud about it, and he got so he wouldn't hardly notice the other niggers.
  65. bluff
    a high steep bank
    Well, I had a notion I could lan' mos' anywhers, but I couldn't--bank too bluff.

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.