"The Call of the Wild," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-2

Jack London's "Call of the Wild" takes us to the Yukon during The Gold Rush where a domesticated dog must shed his civilized ways to become a proper sled dog (etext found here).

Learn these word lists for the novel: Chapters 1-2, Chapters 3-4, Chapter 5, Chapters 6-7

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. toil
    work hard
    These men wanted dogs, and the dogs they wanted were heavy dogs, with strong muscles by which to toil, and furry coats to protect them from the frost.
  2. imperious
    having or showing arrogant superiority
    Among the terriers he stalked imperiously, and Toots and Ysabel he utterly ignored, for he was king,-- king over all creeping, crawling, flying things of Judge Miller's place, humans included.
  3. inseparable
    not capable of being split
    His father, Elmo, a huge St. Bernard, had been the Judge's inseparable companion, and Buck bid fair to follow in the way of his father.
  4. dignity
    the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect
    Nevertheless, one hundred and forty pounds, to which was added the dignity that comes of good living and universal respect, enabled him to carry himself in right royal fashion.
  5. kindred
    similar in quality or character
    Hunting and kindred outdoor delights had kept down the fat and hardened his muscles; and to him, as to the cold-tubbing races, the love of water had been a tonic and a health preserver.
  6. acquaintance
    a relationship less intimate than friendship
    But Buck did not read the newspapers, and he did not know that Manuel, one of the gardener's helpers, was an undesirable acquaintance.
  7. treachery
    an act of deliberate betrayal
    The Judge was at a meeting of the Raisin Growers' Association, and the boys were busy organizing an athletic club, on the memorable night of Manuel's treachery.
  8. grapple
    grip or seize, as in a wrestling match
    In quick rage he sprang at the man, who met him halfway, grappled him close by the throat, and with a deft twist threw him over on his back.
  9. loll
    hang loosely or laxly
    Then the rope tightened mercilessly, while Buck struggled in a fury, his tongue lolling out of his mouth and his great chest panting futilely.
  10. lacerate
    irregularly slashed and jagged as if torn
    The kidnapper undid the bloody wrappings and looked at his lacerated hand.
  11. intolerable
    incapable of being put up with
    Dazed, suffering intolerable pain from throat and tongue, with the life half throttled out of him, Buck attempted to face his tormentors.
  12. unkempt
    not properly maintained or cared for
    More tormentors, Buck decided, for they were evil-looking creatures, ragged and unkempt; and he stormed and raged at them through the bars.
  13. accumulate
    collect or gather
    For two days and nights he neither ate nor drank, and during those two days and nights of torment, he accumulated a fund of wrath that boded ill for whoever first fell foul of him.
  14. metamorphose
    change completely the nature or appearance of
    His eyes turned blood-shot, and he was metamorphosed into a raging fiend.
  15. withhold
    hold back; refuse to hand over or share
    The man struck the shrewd blow he had purposely withheld for so long, and Buck crumpled up and went down, knocked utterly senseless.
  16. recede
    become faint or more distant
    That was the last he saw of the man in the red sweater, and as Curly and he looked at receding Seattle from the deck of the Narwhal, it was the last he saw of the warm Southland.
  17. pervade
    spread or diffuse through
    At last, one morning, the propeller was quiet, and the Narwhal was pervaded with an atmosphere of excitement.
  18. primordial
    having existed from the beginning
    He had been suddenly jerked from the heart of civilization and flung into the heart of things primordial.
  19. imperative
    requiring attention or action
    There was imperative need to be constantly alert; for these dogs and men were not town dogs and men.
  20. comprehend
    get the meaning of something
    Buck did not comprehend that silent intentness, nor the eager way with which they were licking their chops.
  21. assailant
    someone who attacks
    Two minutes from the time Curly went down, the last of her assailants were clubbed off.
  22. reproof
    an act or expression of criticism and censure
    Spitz was the leader, likewise experienced, and while he could not always get at Buck, he growled sharp reproof now and again, or cunningly threw his weight in the traces to jerk Buck into the way he should go.
  23. arduous
    characterized by effort to the point of exhaustion
    The day had been long and arduous, and he slept soundly and comfortably, though he growled and barked and wrestled with bad dreams.
  24. forebear
    a person from whom you are descended
    It was a token that he was harking back through his own life to the lives of his forebears; for he was a civilized dog, an unduly civilized dog, and of his own experience knew no trap and so could not of himself fear it.
  25. extinct
    (of e.g. volcanos) permanently inactive
    They made good time down the chain of lakes which fills the craters of extinct volcanoes, and late that night pulled into the huge camp at the head of Lake Bennett, where thousands of goldseekers were building boats against the break-up of the ice in the spring.
  26. compel
    force somebody to do something
    To remedy this, he ate as fast as they; and, so greatly did hunger compel him, he was not above taking what did not belong to him.
  27. hostile
    very unfavorable to life or growth
    This first theft marked Buck as fit to survive in the hostile Northland environment.
  28. accommodate
    make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose
    He was fit, that was all, and unconsciously he accommodated himself to the new mode of life.
  29. loathsome
    physically offensive or sickening
    He could eat anything, no matter how loathsome or indigestible; and, once eaten, the juices of his stomach extracted the last least particle of nutriment; and his blood carried it to the farthest reaches of his body, building it into the toughest and stoutest of tissues.
  30. primeval
    having existed from the beginning
    In vague ways he remembered back to the youth of the breed, to the time the wild dogs ranged in packs through the primeval forest and killed their meat as they ran it down.

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