Chapters 9–11

In this prequel to The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet life until a group of dwarves and a wizard named Gandalf enlist him in their quest for a dragon's treasure.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. hesitate
    pause or hold back in uncertainty or unwillingness
    Across this bridge the elves thrust their prisoners, but Bilbo hesitated in the rear.
  2. surly
    unfriendly and inclined toward anger or irritation
    They were surly and angry and did not even pretend to be polite.
  3. rouse
    cause to become awake or conscious
    Did you not three times pursue and trouble my people in the forest and rouse the spiders with your riot and clamour?
  4. plight
    a situation from which extrication is difficult
    They all thought their own shares in the treasure (which they quite regarded as theirs, in spite of their plight and the still unconquered dragon) would suffer seriously if the Wood-elves claimed part of it, and they all trusted Bilbo.
  5. potent
    having a strong physiological or chemical effect
    It must be potent wine to make a wood-elf drowsy; but this wine, it would seem, was the heady vintage of the great gardens of Dorwinion, not meant for his soldiers or his servants, but for the king's feasts only, and for smaller bowls, not for the butler's great flagons.
    In describing the wine, "potent" and "heady" are synonymous adjectives that lead to drunken sleep (which is very lucky for Bilbo who needs to steal the prison keys and then steal past the guard with the dwarves).
  6. stifle
    die from lack of oxygen
    Thorin had given a lot of trouble, and turned and twisted in his tub and grumbled like a large dog in a small kennel; while Balin, who came last, made a great fuss about his air-holes and said he was stifling, even before his lid was on.
  7. jostle
    come into rough contact with while moving
    He had as much as he could do to prevent himself from being hustled and battered to bits; but at last the jostling crowd began to break up and swing off, one by one, under the stone arch and away.
  8. eddy
    flow in a circular current, of liquids
    The luck turned all right before long: the eddying current carried several barrels close ashore at one point and there for a while they stuck against some hidden root.
  9. ominous
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    Great floods and rains had swollen the waters that flowed east; and there had been an earthquake or two (which some were inclined to attribute to the dragon--alluding to him chiefly with a curse and an ominous nod in the direction of the Mountain).
    Compare with "foreboding" in the list for Chapters 12-14--both words are used to describe a feeling connected to a dragon (although "foreboding" is used as a noun in the example sentence, it can also be an adjective that is synonymous with "ominous").
  10. recede
    become faint or more distant
    After a while, however, the river took a more southerly course and the Mountain receded again, and at last, late in the day the shores grew rocky, the river gathered all its wandering waters together into a deep and rapid flood, and they swept along at great speed.
  11. buffet
    strike, beat repeatedly
    Wet straw was in his draggled beard; he was so sore and stiff, so bruised and buffeted he could hardly stand or stumble through the shallow water to lie groaning on the shore.
    Bruised, buffeted, draggled ("limp and soiled as if dragged in the mud"), and groaning, Thorin does not feel, look, or sound like a leader who's about to take on a dragon. But he recovers quickly from the barrel ride and declares in a loud voice to the guards that he is "Thorin son of Thrain son of Thror King under the Mountain!"
  12. famished
    extremely hungry
    He had a famished and a savage look like a dog that has been chained and forgotten in a kennel for a week.
  13. flounder
    walk with great difficulty
    In the darkness floundering in the cold water they had a difficult and very nasty job finding which were the right barrels.
    Compare with "blunder" in the list for Chapters 5-8--although the verbs are not synonymous, they are used in similar situations, where movements are made difficult by darkness (here, cold water adds to the difficulty). "Blunder" seems less serious, since it comes from an Old Norse word that means "to doze" while "flounder" is connected to "founder" which means "to sink beneath the water."
  14. vagabond
    wandering aimlessly without ties to a place or community
    "These are prisoners of our king that have escaped, wandering vagabond dwarves that could not give any good account of themselves, sneaking through the woods and molesting our people!"
    As seen in the definition and in the Latin root ("vagari" means "to wander"), the phrase "wandering vagabond" is repetitive. But the use of the synonymous adjectives could be meant as an insulting emphasis on the dwarves' homelessness and untrustworthy nature.
  15. waylay
    wait in hiding to attack
    "It is true that we were wrongfully waylaid by the Elven-king and imprisoned without cause as we journeyed back to our own land," answered Thorin.
  16. hinder
    be an obstacle to
    But lock nor bar may hinder the homecoming spoken of old.
  17. enmity
    a state of deep-seated ill-will
    The Elvenking was very powerful in those parts and the Master wished for no enmity with him, nor did he think much of old songs, giving his mind to trade and tolls, to cargoes and gold, to which habit he owed his position.
  18. sorrow
    an emotion of great sadness associated with loss
    The streams shall run in gladness,
    The lakes shall shine and burn,
    And sorrow fail and sadness
    At the Mountain-king's return!
  19. obscure
    difficult to find
    Even Bilbo was given a seat at the high table, and no explanation of where he came in--no songs had alluded to him even in the obscurest way--was asked for in the general bustle.
  20. gratitude
    a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation
    What help we can offer shall be yours, and we trust to your gratitude when your kingdom is regained.
  21. stealthy
    marked by quiet and caution and secrecy
    It was a weary journey, and a quiet and stealthy one.
  22. bleak
    providing no shelter or sustenance
    The land about them grew bleak and barren, though once, as Thorin told them, it had been green and fair.
    Compare with "stark" in the list for Chapters 5-8. In both example sentences, the adjectives are synonymous with "barren" and refer to the land near where Smaug the dragon lives. "Bleak" also means "offering little or no hope" and "unpleasantly cold and damp"--this could describe the feelings of Bilbo, especially when he compares the lands around the Lonely Mountain to his comfortable hobbit-hole back at The Hill.
  23. desolation
    the state of being decayed or destroyed
    They were come to the Desolation of the Dragon, and they were come at the waning of the year.
    "Desolation" also means "sadness resulting from being forsaken or abandoned"--this definition does not fit the example sentence, since the focus is on what the dragon had done to the land; but it could be used to describe the mood of the land, especially when seen through the eyes of the dwarves who had lived there before it was destroyed and abandoned.
  24. reek
    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    But he might be gone away some time, or he might be lying out on the mountain-side keeping watch, and still I expect smokes and steams would come out of the gates: all the halls within must be filled with his foul reek.
  25. maraud
    raid and rove in search of plunder
    On this western side there were fewer signs of the dragon's marauding feet, and there was some grass for their ponies.
  26. threshold
    the entrance for passing through a room or building
    No sign was there of post or lintel or threshold, nor any sign of bar or bolt or key-hole; yet they did not doubt that they had found the door at last.
  27. implore
    beg or request earnestly and urgently
    They beat on it, they thrust and pushed at it, they implored it to move, they spoke fragments of broken spells of opening, and nothing stirred.
  28. tread
    put down, place, or press the foot
    I should turn dizzy and tread on my beard, and then you would be thirteen again.
  29. reign
    rule or have supreme power
    Out up there a silence reigned, broken by no bird or sound except that of the wind in the crannies of stone.
  30. trill
    a note that alternates with another note a semitone above it
    The old thrush, who had been watching from a high perch with beady eyes and head cocked on one side, gave a sudden trill.
Created on December 5, 2013 (updated September 11, 2018)

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