"Inherit the Wind," Vocabulary from Act 3

Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee collaborated on "Inherit the Wind," a fictional account of the Scopes trial where the teaching of evolution in schools was debated. The play, both for its subject matter and its depiction of the legal system, is still relevant today.

Learn these word lists for the play: Act 1 Scene 1, Act 1 Scene 2, Act 2 Scene 1, Act 2 Scene 2, Act 3

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. somber
    grave or even gloomy in character
    The lighting is low, somber.
  2. furor
    a sudden outburst, as of protest
    CATES, the focus of the furor, is resting his head on his arms.
  3. melange
    a motley assortment of things
    A melange of Moorish and Methodist;
  4. smirk
    smile affectedly or derisively
    HORNBECK smirks at his own joke, then sits in the shadows and pores over a newspaper.
  5. debris
    the remains of something that has been destroyed
    (At the other side of the stage, BRADY rises majestically from his debris of paper napkins and banana peels, and goes off.)
  6. skimp
    limit in quality or quantity
    Ma had skimped on the groceries, and my father’d worked nights for a month.
  7. precedent
    an example that is used to justify similar occurrences
    There’s no precedent for this sort of thing.
  8. brandish
    move or swing back and forth
    The MAYOR hurries on, worried, brandishing a telegram.
  9. telegram
    a message transmitted by telegraph
    The MAYOR hurries on, worried, brandishing a telegram.
  10. barren
    completely wanting or lacking
    This is going to be a barren source of amusement!
  11. apparatus
    equipment designed to serve a specific function
    Kindly signal me while I am speaking, if my voice does not have sufficient projection for your radio apparatus.
  12. scurry
    move about or proceed hurriedly
    MEEKER hurries on—and the spectators begin to scurry expectantly back into the courtroom.
  13. reconvene
    meet or cause to meet again
    Court will reconvene in the case of the State versus Bertram Cates.
  14. unanimous
    in complete agreement
    The jury’s decision is unanimous.
  15. spiteful
    showing malicious ill will and a desire to hurt
    It is a spiteful, bitter victory for him, not a conquest with a cavalcade of angels.
  16. eloquence
    powerful and effective language
    I do not have the eloquence of some of the people you have heard in the last few days.
  17. exultant
    joyful and proud especially because of triumph or success
    In his hour of triumph, BRADY expected to be swept from the courtroom on the shoulders of his exultant followers.
  18. indignant
    angered at something unjust or wrong
    BRADY is indignant.
  19. titanic
    of great force or power
    Where the issues are so titanic, the court must mete out more drastic punishment—
  20. adjourn
    close at the end of a session
    The defense holds that the court shall be adjourned.
  21. antiquity
    the historic period preceding the Middle Ages in Europe
    From the hallowed hills of sacred Sinai, in the days of remote antiquity, came the law which has been our bulwark and our shield.
  22. bulwark
    an embankment built around a space for defensive purposes
    From the hallowed hills of sacred Sinai, in the days of remote antiquity, came the law which has been our bulwark and our shield.
  23. mantel
    shelf that projects from wall above fireplace
    As the orator is maneuvered into position, he seems almost to be an inanimate object, like a huge ornate vase which must be precisely centered on a mantel.
  24. anticlimax
    a disappointing decline after a previous rise
    BRADY’s vanity and cussedness won’t let him give up, even though he realizes this is a sputtering anticlimax.
  25. sheaf
    a package of several things tied together
    The sheaf of manuscript, clutched in his raised hand, scatters in mid air.
  26. innocuous
    lacking intent or capacity to injure
    The great words flutter innocuously to the courtroom floor.
  27. contemptuously
    without respect; in a disdainful manner
    ( Contemptuously)
  28. pulpit
    a platform raised to give prominence to the person on it
    Split pulpits with their pounding!
  29. daze
    overcome as with astonishment or disbelief
    ( Dazed, the JUDGE goes off without answering.)
  30. obituary
    a notice of someone's death
    HORNBECK Shall I put that in the obituary?
  31. atheist
    someone who denies the existence of god
    I must get me to a typewriter and hammer out the story of an atheist who believes in God.

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