"Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz," Vocabulary from the Novel

The fourth book in the Oz series, "Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, takes place mostly below the earth after a California earthquake. A trip to Oz only occurs later in the story as a way for Dorothy and Company to escape their troubles (etext found here).

Here are links to our lists for Oz books: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, The Magic of Oz, Glinda of Oz.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. frank
    characterized by directness in manner or speech
    He laughed at that, and his laugh was merry and frank.
    The author is having fun punning on his own name, although here, the "he" refers to the fictional character Zeb. L. Frank Baum also wrote in the opening letter to his readers: "It seems the jolly old fellow made hosts of friends in the first Oz book, in spite of the fact that he frankly acknowledged himself 'a humbug.'" This pun is more meaningful, because in many ways, the author is like the Wizard.
  2. rend
    tear or be torn violently
    Suddenly there was a rending, tearing sound, and the earth split into another great crack just beneath the spot where the horse was standing.
  3. chasm
    a deep opening in the earth's surface
    But by and by, as she stared ahead into the black chasm with a beating heart, she began to dimly see the form of the horse Jim--his head up in the air, his ears erect and his long legs sprawling in every direction as he tumbled through space.
  4. commence
    take the first step or steps in carrying out an action
    Dorothy sighed and commenced to breathe easier.
  5. ample
    more than enough in size or scope or capacity
    But they were floating very, very slowly--so slowly that it could no longer be called a fall--and the children had ample time to take heart and look about them.
  6. variegated
    having a variety of colors
    They saw a landscape with mountains and plains, lakes and rivers, very like those upon the earth's surface; but all the scene was splendidly colored by the variegated lights from the six suns.
  7. serene
    not agitated
    He was not a very large man, but was well formed and had a beautiful face--calm and serene as the face of a fine portrait.
    The man's mood is expressed in two synonyms here and another synonym in a later sentence (see the beginning of the next example sentence). "Calm," "serene," and "tranquil" all mean the same thing. The author emphasizes this man's mood in order to set the reader up for the contrasting mood of Dorothy when she sees the man walk off the edge of the roof, yet keep on walking in the air.
  8. ungainly
    lacking grace in movement or posture
    There was no expression of either fear or surprise upon his tranquil face, yet he must have been both astonished and afraid; for after his eyes had rested upon the ungainly form of the horse for a moment he walked rapidly to the furthest edge of the roof, his head turned back over his shoulder to gaze at the strange animal.
  9. scornful
    expressing extreme contempt
    "Eureka weighs only about half a pound," replied the horse, in a scornful tone, "while I weigh about half a ton."
  10. despondently
    with desperation
    "Oh, well; I'm old," said the horse, hanging his head despondently, "and I've had lots of trouble in my day, little one. For a good many years I drew a public cab in Chicago, and that's enough to make anyone skinny."
    Jim, the former cab-horse, is not hanging his head in desperation here. Rather, he is hanging his head because he is embarrassed and sad that Dorothy has noticed that he is "dreadfully skinny." But his response shows that he is trying to defend himself by explaining why he is so skinny.
  11. rebuke
    an act or expression of criticism and censure
    "Nothing is more dangerous than being without food," declared the horse, with a sniff at the rebuke of his young master; "and just at present no one can tell whether there are any oats in this queer country or not.
  12. alight
    settle or come to rest
    His great weight made him fall faster than the children walked, and he passed them on the way down; but when he came to the glass pavement he alighted upon it so softly that he was not even jarred.
    The word "alight" could've been deliberately chosen to emphasize the lightness that Jim does not actually have (he has a "great weight" of about half a ton), but somehow, the magic of falling inside the earth helps him to alight softly. This pun is not as obvious as a later one when Jim is described shouting something in a "hoarse voice."
  13. throng
    a large gathering of people
    There was not an ugly person in all the throng, yet Dorothy was not especially pleased by the appearance of these people because their features had no more expression than the faces of dolls.
  14. aggregation
    several things grouped together or considered as a whole
    "I belong to Bailum & Barney's Great Consolidated Shows--three rings in one tent and a menagerie on the side. It's a fine aggregation, I assure you."
    "Aggregation" and "menagerie" have similar meanings, except that an aggregation can be a collection of general things for any purpose (in this case, the Wizard is referring to the three rings and the menagerie of the circus), while a menagerie is a collection of animals for display or study.
  15. demure
    shy or modest, often in a playful or provocative way
    Jim had refused to leave the field of grass, where he was engaged in busily eating; so the Wizard got out of the buggy and joined Zeb and Dorothy, and the kitten followed demurely at their heels.
  16. devoid
    completely wanting or lacking
    On some of the bushes might be seen a bud, a blossom, a baby, a half-grown person and a ripe one; but even those ready to pluck were
    motionless and silent, as if devoid of life.
  17. poised
    marked by balance or equilibrium and readiness for action
    On the central stalk stood poised the figure of a girl so exquisitely formed and colored and so lovely in the expression of her delicate features that Dorothy thought she had never seen so sweet and adorable a creature in all her life.
  18. sovereignty
    royal authority
    When she becomes fully ripe I must abandon the sovereignty of the Mangaboos to her."
  19. assert
    declare or affirm solemnly and formally as true
    "I'm sure the Princess is ready to be picked," asserted Dorothy, gazing hard at the beautiful girl on the bush.
  20. exalted
    of high moral or intellectual value
    But while the people in the procession walked upon the ground the Princess walked in the air just above their heads, to show that she was a superior being and more exalted than her subjects.
  21. imposing
    impressive in appearance
    When he lighted the oil a hundred tongues of flame shot up, and the effect was really imposing.
  22. defiantly
    in a rebellious manner
    Each of the vegetable folks bore a branch covered with sharp thorns, which was thrust defiantly toward the horse, the kitten and the piglets.
  23. permeate
    spread or diffuse through
    As the new arrivals gazed upon this exquisite scene they were enraptured by its beauties and the fragrance that permeated the soft air, which they breathed so gratefully after the confined atmosphere of the tunnel.
  24. gambol
    play or run boisterously
    Slowly they walked along the path toward the nearest cottage, the piglets racing and gambolling beside them and Jim pausing at every step for another mouthful of grass.
  25. enticing
    highly attractive and able to arouse hope or desire
    In front of each place was a plate bearing one of the delicious dama-fruit, and the perfume that rose from these was so enticing and
    sweet that they were sorely tempted to eat of them and become invisible.
  26. induce
    cause to act in a specified manner
    Our greatest Champion, Overman-Anu, once climbed the spiral stairway and fought nine days with the Gargoyles before he could escape them and come back; but he could never be induced to describe the dreadful creatures, and soon afterward a bear caught him and ate him up."
  27. obscure
    make less visible or unclear
    On peering out all they could see was rolling banks of clouds, so thick that they obscured all else.
  28. timorous
    timid by nature or revealing timidity
    "It seems we were mistaken," declared a third, looking at the kitten timorously, "no one with such murderous desires should belong to our party, I'm sure."
  29. reprovingly
    in a reproving or reproachful manner
    "You see, Eureka," remarked Dorothy, reprovingly, "you are making yourself disliked.
  30. fray
    a noisy fight
    When the Wizard had fired all of his twelve bullets he had caused no damage to the enemy except to stun a few by the noise, and so he was no nearer to victory than in the beginning of the fray.
  31. flounder
    walk with great difficulty
    Dorothy was a little anxious about the success of their trip, for the way Jim arched his long neck and spread out his bony legs as he fluttered and floundered through the air was enough to make anybody nervous.
    Notice the alliteration in the verbs "fluttered" and "floundered" that emphasizes the difficulty Jim has flying through the air without feeling frightened of falling.
  32. dwindle
    become smaller or lose substance
    Their front legs, which grew just back of their heads, were also strong and big; but their bodies were smaller around than their heads, and dwindled away in a long line until their tails were slim as a shoe-string.
    "Dwindle" is not a verb usually used to describe a dragon's body, but what Dorothy had come across are "dragonettes" that might need a hundred more years to grow to the size of their mother. The fact that the dragonettes' tails are tied around rocks in the caves also helps Dorothy's fear dwindle.
  33. perilous
    fraught with danger
    That meant that their world—the real world--was not very far away, and that the succession of perilous adventures they had encountered had at last brought them near the earth's surface, which meant home to them.
  34. slander
    words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another
    "To be accused of being a real wizard, when I'm not, is a slander I will not tamely submit to.
  35. stupor
    marginal consciousness
    Zeb shook the reins to rouse the cab-horse from his stupor of amazement, for the people were beginning to gather around and stare at the strangers.
  36. cordially
    in a politely friendly manner
    The little man looked at her closely and then took both the maiden's hands in his and shook them cordially.
  37. mollify
    cause to be more favorably inclined
    This mollified Jim a little, and after some thought the green maiden decided to give the cab-horse a room in the palace, such a big building having many rooms that were seldom in use.
  38. surly
    unfriendly and inclined toward anger or irritation
    "You have queer friends, seems to me," replied the kitten, in a surly tone.
  39. deference
    a disposition or tendency to yield to the will of others
    We have no whole oats," the Steward replied, with much deference.
  40. crestfallen
    brought low in spirit
    "I couldn't help it," returned the other, rather crestfallen. "Ozma sprinkled me with a magic powder, and I just had to live. I know I'm not much account; but I'm the only horse in all the Land of Oz, so they treat me with great respect."
  41. gratify
    make happy or satisfied
    "Not only possible, but true," replied Jim, who was gratified by the impression he had created.
  42. distinct
    easy to perceive; especially clearly outlined
    "I can see the bones all right," replied the Sawhorse, "and they are admirable and distinct.
    Because the Sawhorse had never seen a real horse before, when he describes Jim's bones as "distinct," he is actually admiring what he sees. But the reason Jim's bones are distinct is that he's "dreadfully skinny."
  43. lithe
    moving and bending with ease
    The other was a great Tiger with purple stripes around his lithe body, powerful limbs, and eyes that showed through the half closed lids like coals of fire.
  44. raiment
    especially fine or decorative clothing
    In the chariot rode Ozma and Dorothy, the former in splendid raiment and wearing her royal coronet, while the little Kansas girl wore around her waist the Magic Belt she had once captured from the Nome King.
  45. sumptuous
    rich and superior in quality
    After the people had been dismissed with this promise our friends joined Princess Ozma at an elaborate luncheon in the palace, where even the Tiger and the Lion were sumptuously fed and Jim the Cab-horse ate his oatmeal out of a golden bowl with seven rows of rubies, sapphires and diamonds set around the rim of it.
  46. impudent
    improperly forward or bold
    "Don't be impudent, Eureka," admonished Dorothy.
    As a pet, Eureka is very different than Toto. While Eureka causes Dorothy to scold her about being impudent, Toto makes Dorothy laugh by playing with her all day long. Additionally, Eureka is a cat while Toto is a dog, Eureka talks while the other just barks, and most importantly, Eureka creates the conflict at the end of the book while Toto is the one who accidentally reveals the Wizard as a humbug.
  47. depraved
    deviating from what is considered moral or right or proper
    And finally she made a wicked plan to satisfy her depraved appetite for pork.
    The "she" here is Eureka. This makes the prosecuting Woggle-Bug's use of the adjectives "wicked" and "depraved" to describe an appetite for pork seem silly, because kittens eat meat. What makes this a criminal case is that Eureka is suspected of having eaten the miniature pet pig of the Princess.
  48. stealthy
    marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
    "I say I see the criminal, in my mind's eye, creeping stealthily into the room of our Ozma and secreting herself, when no one was looking, until the Princess had gone away and the door was closed.
  49. remonstrate
    censure severely or angrily
    "Oh, cut it short," said Eureka; "you've talked long enough."
    "I'm trying to defend you," remonstrated the Tin Woodman.
  50. sonorous
    full and loud and deep
    They were all together (except Eureka) in the pretty rooms of the Princess, and the Wizard did some new tricks, and the Scarecrow told stories, and the Tin Woodman sang a love song in a sonorous, metallic voice, and everybody laughed and had a good time.

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