Anthem by Ayn Rand

Vocabulary list with sentences from the novel
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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. transgression
    the violation of a law or a duty or moral principle
    And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than to do or think alone. We have broken the laws. The laws say that men may not write unless the Council of Vocations bid them so. May we be forgiven! (Anthem 17)
  2. portal
    a grand and imposing entrance
    Over the portals of the Palace of the World Council, there are words cut in the marble, which we repeat to ourselves whenever we are tempted:
    "WE ARE ONE IN ALL AND ALL IN ONE.
    THERE ARE NO MEN BUT ONLY THE GREAT WE,
    ONE, INDIVISIBLE AND FOREVER." (Anthem 19)
  3. mandate
    a formal statement of a command to do something
    And we were punished when the Council of Vocations came to give us our life Mandates which tell those who reach their fifteenth year what their work is to be for the rest of their days. (Anthem 24)
  4. dais
    a platform raised above the surrounding level
    And the Council of Vocations sat on a high dais, and they had but two words to speak to each of the Students. (Anthem 25)
  5. atone
    turn away from sin or do penitence
    We knew we had been guilty, but now we had a way to atone for it. We would accept our Life Mandate, and we would work for our brothers, gladly and willingly, and we would erase our sin against them, (Anthem 26)
  6. pulpit
    a platform raised to give prominence to the person on it
    The candles are lit, and the Councils of the different Homes stand in a pulpit, and they speak to us of our duties and of our brother men. (Anthem 27)
  7. cesspool
    a covered cistern for waste water and sewage
    We wished to keep these things and to study them, but we had no place to hide them. So we carried them to the City Cesspool. And then we made the discovery. (Anthem 29)
  8. brigade
    army unit smaller than a division
    We Street Sweepers work in brigades of three, and we were with Union 5-3992, they of the half-brain, and with International 4-8818. (Anthem 29)
  9. convulsion
    a violent uncontrollable contraction of muscles
    Now Union 5-3992 are a sickly lad and sometimes they are stricken with convulsions, when their mouth froths and their eyes turn white. (Anthem 29)
  10. wretch
    someone you feel sorry for
    And yet there is no shame in us and no regret. We say to ourselves that we are a wretch and a traitor. (Anthem 37)
  11. avert
    turn away or aside
    Their face did not move and they did not avert their eyes. (Anthem 42-43)
  12. brine
    a strong solution of salt and water used for pickling
    The frog had been hanging on a wire of copper; and it had been the metal of our knife which had sent the strange power to the copper through the brine of the frog's body. (Anthem 52)
  13. deign
    do something that one considers to be below one's dignity
    They threw seeds from their hand as if they deigned to fling a scornful gift, and the earth was a beggar under their feet. (Anthem 39)
  14. eugenics
    the study of improving qualities by selective breeding
    And each of the men have one of the women assigned to them by the Council of Eugenics. Children are born each winter, but women never see their children and children never know their parents. (Anthem 41)
  15. fraternity
    a social club for male undergraduates
    There are Fraternity 2-5503, a quiet boy with wise, kind eyes, who cry suddenly, without reason, in the midst of day or night, and their body shakes with sobs they cannot explain.(Anthem 47)
  16. lassitude
    a feeling of lack of interest or energy
    Their head fell back, and their arms fell, as if their arms and their thin white neck were stricken suddenly with a great lassitude. (Anthem 40)
  17. lodestone
    a permanent magnet consisting of magnetite that possess polarity and has the power to attract as well as to be attracted magnetically
    It makes the needle move and turn on the compass which we stole from the Home of the Scholars; but we had been taught, when still a child, that the loadstone points to the north and that this is a law which nothing can change; yet our new power defies all law. (Anthem 53)
  18. pyre
    wood heaped for burning a dead body as a funeral rite
    They brought the Transgressor out into the square and they led them to the pyre. (Anthem 50)
  19. spangle
    adornment consisting of a small piece of shiny material
    The fields are black and ploughed, and they lie like a great fan before us, with their furrows gathered in some hand beyond the sky, spreading forth from that hand, opening wide apart as they come toward us, like black pleats that sparkle with thin, green spangles. (Anthem 38)
  20. taut
    pulled or drawn tight
    But their face was taut, and their eyes were dark. (Anthem 40)
  21. abyss
    a bottomless gulf or pit
    We could not see our body nor feel it, and in that moment nothing existed save our two hands over a wire glowing in a black abyss. (Anthem 60)
  22. boon
    something that is desirable, favorable, or beneficial
    The Candle is a great boon to mankind, as approved by all men. (Anthem 73)
  23. collective
    done by or characteristic of individuals acting together
    Then Collective 0-0009, the oldest and wisest of the Council, spoke and asked:
    "Who are you, our brother? For you do not look like a Scholar." (Anthem 71)
  24. corruption
    use of a position of trust for dishonest gain
    Whatever days are left to us, we shall spend them alone. And we have heard of the corruption to be found in solitude. (Anthem 76)
  25. detention
    a state of being confined (usually for a short time)
    "Take our brother Equality 7-2521 to the Palace of Corrective Detention. Lash them until they tell." (Anthem 64)
  26. illustrious
    widely known and esteemed
    We saw a great painting on the wall over their heads, of the twenty illustrious men who had invented the candle. (Anthem 68)
  27. infamy
    a state of extreme dishonor
    "Yes," said Collective 0-0009, "we have much to say to a wretch who have broken all the laws and who boast of their infamy! (Anthem 71)
  28. redemption
    the act of purchasing back something previously sold
    We have torn ourselves from the truth which is our brother men, and there is no road back for us, and no redemption. (Anthem 76)
  29. solidarity
    a union of interests or purposes among members of a group
    "Many men in the Homes of the Scholars have had strange new ideas in the past," said Solidarity 8-1164, "but when the majority of their brother Scholars voted against them, they abandoned their ideas, as all men must." (Anthem 73)
  30. solitude
    a state of social isolation
    Whatever days are left to us, we shall spend them alone. And we have heard of the corruption to be found in solitude. (Anthem 76)
  31. alms
    money or goods contributed to the poor
    Whatever days are left to us, we shall spend them alone. And we have heard of the corruption to be found in solitude. (Anthem 95)
  32. depraved
    deviating from what is considered moral or right or proper
    It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages. (Anthem 97)
  33. impotent
    (of a male) unable to copulate
    And the roads of the world will become as veins which will carry the best of the world's blood to my threshold. And all my brothers, and the Councils of my brothers, will hear of it, but they will be impotent against me. (Anthem 104)
  34. martyr
    one who voluntarily suffers death
    The Saint of the pyre had seen the future when he chose me as his heir, as the heir of all the saints and all the martyrs who came before him and who died for the same cause, for the same word, no matter what name they gave to their cause and their truth. (Anthem 99)
  35. raze
    tear down so as to make flat with the ground
    And the day will come when I shall break all the chains of the earth, and raze the cities of the enslaved, and my home will become the capital of a world where each man will be free to exist for his own sake. (Anthem 104)
  36. reverence
    a feeling of profound respect for someone or something
    We see the dust of centuries, the dust which hid the great secrets and perhaps great evils. And yet it stirs no fear within our heart, but only silent reverence and pity. (Anthem 93)
  37. sanction
    official permission or approval
    I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction. (Anthem 94)
  38. shackled
    bound by chains fastened around the ankles
    Through the years ahead, I shall rebuild the achievements of the past, and open the way to carry them further, the achievements which are open to me, but closed forever to my brothers, for their minds are shackled to the weakest and dullest ones among them. (Anthem 100)
  39. undefiled
    free from stain or blemish
    Let each man keep his temple untouched and undefiled. (Anthem 96)
  40. vindicate
    show to be right by providing justification or proof
    For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. (Anthem 95)
Created on June 1, 2013 (updated June 1, 2013)

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