"The Emerald City of Oz," Vocabulary from the Novel

"The Emerald City of Oz" is the sixth book in the Oz series by L. Frank Baum. After going back and forth to Kansas for a few novels, in this book Dorothy (along with Uncle Henry and Auntie Em) permanently relocate to Oz (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. unaccountable
    not to be explained
    Her uncle and aunt listened to her stories eagerly and in spite of their doubts began to feel that the little girl had gained a lot of experience and wisdom that were unaccountable in this age, when fairies are supposed no longer to exist.
  2. profusion
    the property of being extremely abundant
    The Emerald City is built all of beautiful marbles in which are set a profusion of emeralds, every one exquisitely cut and of very great size.
  3. implore
    call upon in supplication
    The girl Ruler had even made Dorothy a Princess of Oz, and had often implored her to come to Ozma's stately palace and live there always; but Dorothy had been loyal to her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, who had cared for her since she was a baby, and she had refused to leave them because she knew they would be lonely without her.
    The use of the verb "implore" shows how loved and valued Dorothy is, especially since she is being implored by someone who is used to being loved, valued and obeyed by most of the inhabitants of Oz. Not always in Kansas anymore, Dorothy is now both a simple farm girl and a princess in a palace.
  4. genial
    diffusing warmth and friendliness
    That evening Dorothy had many callers, and among them were such important people as Tiktok, a machine man who thought and spoke and moved by clockwork; her old companion the genial Shaggy Man; Jack Pumpkinhead, whose body was brush-wood and whose head was a ripe pumpkin with a face carved upon it;
  5. unaffected
    free of artificiality; sincere and genuine
    Dorothy agreed to this, although she knew that neither gowns nor jewels could make her anything else than the simple, unaffected little girl she had always been.
  6. fortify
    prepare oneself for a military confrontation
    He did not wish his armies to appear above ground in the Country of the Winkies, which was the part of the Land of Oz nearest to King Roquat's own country, as then the people would give the alarm and enable Ozma to fortify the Emerald City and assemble an army.
    In general, "fortify" means to "make strong or stronger"--the chosen definition for the example sentence gives a specific need to make something strong. One method of fortifying a city, aside from assembling an army, is suggested through another definition of the word: "enclose by walls around a stronghold."
  7. composure
    steadiness of mind under stress
    He accepted his good fortune with calm composure and refused to have a servant to assist him.
  8. persistence
    steady determination
    The result of this wise persistence was that the General finally reached firmer soil and, after penetrating a dense forest, came to the Dominion of the Growleywogs.
  9. invincible
    incapable of being overcome or subdued
    "I'm the Lord High General of the Invincible Army of the Nomes, and my name is Guph," was the reply. "All the world trembles when that name is mentioned."
  10. impertinence
    inappropriate playfulness
    The Growleywogs gave a shout of jeering laughter at this, and one of them caught the Nome in his strong arms and tossed him high into the air. Guph was considerably shaken when he fell upon the hard ground, but he appeared to take no notice of the impertinence and composed himself to speak again to the Grand Gallipoot.
  11. endeavor
    attempt by employing effort
    But Uncle Henry and Aunt Em had some trouble in getting used to the finery and pomp and ceremony of Ozma's palace, and felt uneasy because they were obliged to be "dressed up" all the time. Yet every one was very courteous and kind to them and endeavored to make them happy.
    Compare the example sentences here to the previous two words'. Guph arrived uninvited thinking he's great, while Uncle Henry and Aunt Em were magically brought into a palace that they think is too great for them. Readers can guess which attitude the author prefers by the impertinence Guph receives and the courteous endeavors Uncle Henry and Aunt Em are treated to.
  12. disposition
    your usual mood
    The Shaggy Man had shaggy whiskers and hair, but a sweet disposition and a soft, pleasant voice.
  13. complacently
    in a self-satisfied manner
    "This college," said Professor Wogglebug, complacently, "is a great success. Its educational value is undisputed, and we are turning out many great and valuable citizens every year."
    The author is both appealing to his young readers' dream of school and making fun of Professor Wogglebug's complacent attitude. Readers might want to play sports all day in school, but they understand that a successful education in our world requires more work than swallowing pills, and valuable citizens would want to work hard at making themselves and society great.
  14. elocution
    an expert manner of speaking involving control of voice
    You see, the chicken had eaten an Elocution Pill."
  15. barren
    providing no shelter or sustenance
    He did not know that these despised rock heaps of the Phanfasms were merely deceptions to his own eyes, nor could he guess that he was standing in the midst of one of the most splendid and luxurious cities ever built by magic power. All that he saw was a barren waste of rock heaps, a hairy man with an owl's head and another with a bear's head.
  16. horde
    a vast multitude
    Here he gave a curious wailing cry, and, as if in answer, from all the rocky huts on the mountain-top came flocking a horde of Phanfasms, all with hairy bodies, but wearing heads of various animals, birds and reptiles.
    "Horde" and "multitude" are synonyms that are both used to describe the many Phanfasms; before they appear to show their powers to Guph, they try to scare him as "an unseen multitude" that stares, rustles, approaches, and echoes laughter.
  17. repress
    conceal or hide
    All were ferocious and repulsive-looking to the deceived eyes of the Nome, and Guph could not repress a shudder of disgust as he looked upon them.
  18. ravage
    cause extensive destruction or ruin utterly
    Then we will destroy the Whimsies, the Growleywogs and the Nomes, and afterward go out to ravage and annoy and grieve the whole world."
  19. strew
    spread by scattering
    The strangers entered the first house they came to, which was also the largest, and found the floor strewn with pieces of the people who lived there.
  20. accommodation
    living quarters provided for public convenience
    "This," said the Wizard, pointing to the first tent, "is for the accommodation of the ladies.
  21. consequence
    the state of having important effects or influence
    "So you see," continued the zebra, addressing the crab, "here are people of real consequence, who know what they are talking about."
  22. petulant
    easily irritated or annoyed
    "Then they know there's more water in the world than there is land," asserted the crab, in a shrill, petulant voice.
  23. rile
    disturb, especially by minor irritations
    "Do! Do, you ignoramus!" shouted the crab, as loudly as his little voice would carry. " Rile some other pool with your clumsy hoofs, and let your betters alone after this!"
  24. piquant
    engagingly stimulating or provocative
    "Your remarks are piquant and highly-seasoned, but you need a scattering of commonsense.
  25. mettle
    the courage to carry on
    "But now that the foolish deed is done let us all prove our mettle and have a slashing good time."
    Just as the King is referring to a pepperbox with the adjectives "piquant" and "highly-seasoned" (in the previous example sentence), the speaker of the example sentence here who seeks to "prove our mettle" is a carving knife made of metal. The entire scene in Utensia is filled with puns.
  26. turbulent
    characterized by unrest or disorder or insubordination
    So she said, addressing the King, who seemed very unfit to rule his turbulent subjects: "I wish you'd decide my fate right away. I can't stay here all day, trying to find out what you're going to do with me."
  27. portly
    fairly fat
    They looked at one another undecidedly, and then one portly bun man, who seemed a person of consequence, stepped forward and said: "Little girl, to be frank with you, we are all eatables.
  28. ravenous
    devouring or craving food in great quantities
    Everything in Bunbury is eatable to ravenous human creatures like you.
  29. bilious
    suffering from a liver disorder or gastric distress
    But don't think I'm bilious, for I was never in better health in my life," replied the old gentleman. "If anything ailed me, I'd willingly acknowledge the corn."
    "Bilious" also means "irritable as if suffering from indigestion"--but this definition does not apply to Johnny Cake, who is cheerfully explaining to Dorothy why he's yellow.
  30. prominent
    conspicuous in position or importance
    It was a large picture, set in a beautiful gold frame, and it hung in a prominent place upon a wall of Ozma's private room.
  31. sedate
    characterized by dignity and propriety
    Back of the bars appeared the face of a white rabbit--a very sober and sedate face--with an eye-glass held in his left eye and attached to a cord in his button-hole.
  32. missive
    a written message addressed to a person or organization
    "It will please me to have my subjects greet Princess Dorothy, the bearer of this royal missive, with the same courtesy and consideration they would extend to me."
  33. dais
    a platform raised above the surrounding level
    There was a throne in this room, set on a dais and having a big, cushioned seat, and on this seat reclined the Rabbit King.
  34. afflicted
    grievously affected especially by disease
    "But I am," protested the King, fresh tears gathering in his eyes. "Even my jokes are miserable. I'm wretched, woeful, afflicted, distressed and dismal as an individual can be. Are you not sorry for me?"
    "Wretched," "woeful," and "distressed" are synonyms for "afflicted" and the use of these words doesn't make Dorothy feel sorry for the King. The adjective "dismal" is included by the author to make fun of the King. Because the King is so dismal, he can't appreciate what he has--until Dorothy forces him to think about giving it all up to a better king who could make his subjects happy.
  35. falter
    speak haltingly
    "N--o!" he faltered; "that may be so. But I've dressed up so long that I'm used to it, and I don't imagine I'd care to run around naked again. So perhaps the Good Glinda will let me keep the costumes."
  36. dexterity
    adroitness in using the hands
    Their spears, or pikes, had slender shafts of polished silver with golden heads, and during the drill they handled these weapons with wonderful dexterity.
  37. winsome
    charming in a childlike or naive way
    And now you shall listen to the Winsome Waggish Warblers, who have often cheered me in my moments of anguish."
  38. blithe
    carefree and happy and lighthearted
    Each is very
    Blithe and merry,
    Gamboling with laughter droll.
  39. diffident
    lacking self-confidence
    "Seems like the only common and ordinary folks here are ourselves," rejoined Aunt Em, diffidently.
  40. bountiful
    producing in abundance
    Aunt Em found, to her satisfaction, that Dorothy's promise was more than fulfilled; for, although the Tin Woodman had no appetite of his own, he respected the appetites of his guests and saw that they were bountifully fed.
  41. disport
    occupy in an agreeable, entertaining or pleasant fashion
    In one corner of the gardens Nick Chopper had established a fish-pond in which they saw swimming and disporting themselves many pretty tin fishes.
  42. impending
    close in time; about to occur
    As they indulged in these sad plans for the future they journeyed in sight of the Scarecrow's new mansion, and even though filled with care and worry over the impending fate of Oz, Dorothy couldn't help a feeling of wonder at the sight she saw.
  43. despoil
    destroy and strip of its possession
    It is surely time enough to be sad when our country is despoiled and our people made slaves.
  44. dolefully
    with sadness; in a sorrowful manner
    "I had expected to live here in ease and comfort for many centuries," said Jack, dolefully; "but of course if the Nome King destroys everything in Oz I shall be destroyed too.
  45. formidable
    extremely impressive in strength or excellence
    Now a still more formidable creature entered the cavern. It was the First and Foremost of the Phanfasms and he proudly sat down in King Roquat's own throne and demanded the right to lead his forces through the tunnel in advance of all the others.
  46. pilfer
    make off with belongings of others
    They were dreadful beings, indeed, and longed to get to Oz that they might begin to pilfer and destroy.
  47. oppress
    cause to suffer
    "My tin brains are very bright, but that is all I claim for them," said Nick Chopper, modestly. "Yet I do not aspire to being very wise, for I have noticed that the happiest people are those who do not let their brains oppress them."
    This philosophical discussion of wisdom is taking place immediately before the arrival of an enemy who is using his brains to try and oppress Oz. Even though Nick Chopper, the Scarecrow, Jack Pumpkinhead, and Tiktok are all talking about their own brains, the scene reveals the author's thoughts on how much thinking one should do and act upon.
  48. slake
    satisfy, as thirst
    The other Growleywogs were not slow to follow suit, and even before they had finished drinking the Chief of the Whimsies and his people came to push them away, while they one and all cast off their false heads that they might slake their thirst at the fountain.
  49. enmity
    a state of deep-seated ill-will
    They had forgotten all their enmity against Ozma and against Oz.
  50. disconcerted
    having self-possession upset; thrown into confusion
    The writer of these Oz stories has received a little note from Princess Dorothy of Oz which, for a time, has made him feel rather disconcerted. The note was written on a broad, white feather from a stork's wing, and it said:
    This note is a little disconcerting, because the author is making himself seem like a fictional character who is friends with Dorothy, which is very different from the tone he takes in his letters to his readers, whom he credits for helping him to develop his characters and stories. Baum had originally intended this book to be the last Oz story, so this was his way of ending the series.

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