Chapters 15–19

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. decrepit
    lacking bodily or muscular strength or vitality
    Before long there was a fluttering of wings, and back came the thrush; and with him came a most decrepit old bird.
    Ravens often represent bad omens that connect to death. Here, the raven connects to death in both good and bad ways, but the dwarves focus more on the good news of the death of Smaug than on the warnings about battle and slaughter that could be prevented with shares of the treasure. Despite being decrepit and nearly blind, the old raven represents wisdom that Thorin and the dwarves should listen to.
  2. carrion
    the dead and rotting body of an animal; unfit for human food
    Already a host of the elves is on the way, and carrion birds are with them hoping for battle and slaughter.
  3. amend
    make better
    The treasure was not his that his evil deeds should be amended with a share of it.
  4. kindred
    group of people related by blood or marriage
    "It is in my mind to ask what share of their inheritance you would have paid to our kindred, had you found the hoard unguarded and us slain."
  5. parley
    discuss, as between enemies
    I will not parley, as I have said, with armed men at my gate.
  6. succor
    help in a difficult situation
    "The Elvenking is my friend, and he has succoured the people of the Lake in their need, though they had no claim but friendship on him," answered Bard.
  7. repent
    feel sorry for; be contrite about
    We will give you time to repent your words. Gather your wisdom ere we return!
    Compare with "regret" in this list. As verbs, the words are synonymous. But in the example sentences, "repent" is used as a verb and "regret" is used as a noun to connect to situations that are opposite in nature. Here, Bard is seemingly giving Thorin time to repent, but he is actually threatening him with an army; later, Bilbo feels regret about leaving the happiness and beauty of Beorn's home.
  8. besiege
    surround so as to force to give up
    “Since such is your answer," he called in return, "I declare the Mountain besieged.
    Compare with "beset" in this list--both connect to the armies led by Bard and the Elvenking. Although the armies have not made a move in either example sentence, the definitions of the verbs seem to suggest otherwise, since an army that besieges is seated (from the Latin "sedere") and blocking supplies, while an army that besets will directly "assail or attack on all sides."
  9. beset
    annoy continually or chronically
    Though they are a grim folk, they are not likely to overcome the host that besets you; and even if they did so, what will you gain?
    The dwarves are beset because they are besieged (notice how "beset" can be both a verb and adjective), but don't be bewildered by the example sentence's contranyms. "Host" can mean "a person who invites guests to a social event" but here is used in its opposite meaning as "a vast multitude" who's behaving like a hostile army. "Grim" can describe sad hopelessness, but here is used to describe the fierce fighting skills of the dwarves.
  10. sentinel
    a person employed to keep watch for some anticipated event
    "Who are you? Are you the dwarves' hobbit? What are you doing? How did you get so far past our sentinels?" they asked one after another.
  11. forbear
    resist doing something
    It was rightly guessed that I could not forbear to redeem the Arkenstone, the treasure of my house.
    "Forbear" also means "a person from whom you are descended"--although this definition does not fit the example sentence, it is suggested by Thorin's earlier words: "For the Arkenstone of my father," he said, "is worth more than a river of gold in itself, and to me it is beyond price."
  12. ponder
    reflect deeply on a subject
    And already, so strong was the bewilderment of the treasure upon him, he was pondering whether by the help of Dain he might not recapture the Arkenstone and withhold the share of the reward.
  13. tarry
    leave slowly and hesitantly
    But the Elvenking said: "Long will I tarry, ere I begin this war for gold.
  14. reconciliation
    the reestablishment of cordial relations
    Let us hope still for something that will bring reconciliation.
  15. vanguard
    the leading units moving at the head of an army
    Ere long the vanguard swirled round the spur's end and came rushing into Dale.
  16. feint
    any distracting or deceptive maneuver
    A few brave men were strung before them to make a feint of resistance, and many there fell before the rest drew back and fled to either side.
  17. rend
    tear or be torn violently
    Already many of the goblins were flying back down the river to escape from the trap: and many of their own wolves were turning upon them and rending the dead and the wounded.
  18. ravening
    living by preying on other animals
    There a host of Wargs came ravening and with them came the bodyguard of Bolg, goblins of huge size with scimitars of steel.
  19. wield
    handle effectively
    Thorin wielded his axe with mighty strokes, and nothing seemed to harm him.
  20. hideous
    so extremely ugly as to be terrifying
    Once again the goblins were stricken in the valley; and they were piled in heaps till Dale was dark and hideous with their corpses.
  21. assault
    close fighting during the culmination of a military attack
    Soon the attackers were attacked, and they were forced into a great ring, facing every way, hemmed all about with goblins and wolves returning to the assault.
  22. vile
    morally reprehensible
    I would rather old Smaug had been left with all the wretched treasure, than that these vile creatures should get it, and poor old Bombur, and Balin and Fili and Kili and all the rest come to a bad end; and Bard too, and the Lake-men and the merry elves.
    "Vile" and "wretched" are used synonymously here, although the treasure is morally deserving of severe criticism or disapproval only because vile creatures, such as the goblins, are willing to kill over it (dwarves and men could then also be considered vile, but Bilbo does not include them in his use of the adjective here).
  23. muster
    a gathering of military personnel for duty
    The Eagles had long had suspicion of the goblins' mustering; from their watchfulness the movements in the mountains could not be altogether hid.
  24. precipice
    a very steep cliff
    They it was who dislodged the goblins from the mountain-slopes, casting them over precipices, or driving them down shrieking and bewildered among their foes.
  25. fray
    a noisy fight
    Then Beorn stooped and lifted Thorin, who had fallen pierced with spears, and bore him out of the fray.
  26. abode
    housing that someone is living in
    There now Dain son of Nain took up his abode, and he became King under the Mountain, and in time many other dwarves gathered to his throne in the ancient halls.
  27. wrought
    shaped to fit by altering the contours of a pliable mass
    Yet a fourteenth share of all the silver and gold, wrought and unwrought, was given up to Bard; for Dain said: "We will honour the agreement of the dead, and he has now the Arkenstone in his keeping."
  28. hospitality
    kindness in welcoming guests or strangers
    "Well, er, I thought, don't you know," said Bilbo rather confused, "that, er, some little return should be made for your, er, hospitality.
  29. regret
    sadness associated with some wrong or disappointment
    It was spring, and a fair one with mild weathers and a bright sun, before Bilbo and Gandalf took their leave at last of Beorn, and though he longed for home, Bilbo left with regret, for the flowers of the gardens of Beorn were in springtime no less marvellous than in high summer.
  30. effects
    property of a personal character that is portable
    There was a large notice in black and red hung on the gate, stating that on June the Twenty-second Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrowes would sell by auction the effects of the late Bilbo Baggins Esquire, of Bag-End, Underhill, Hobbiton.
  31. presumption
    a premise that is taken for granted
    In short Bilbo was "Presumed Dead," and not everybody that said so was sorry to find the presumption wrong.
  32. hearth
    home symbolized as a part of the fireplace
    He was quite content; and the sound of the kettle on his hearth was ever after more musical than it had been even in the quiet days before the Unexpected Party.
  33. extravagant
    recklessly wasteful
    His gold and silver was largely spent in presents, both useful and extravagant--which to a certain extent accounts for the affection of his nephews and his nieces.
  34. prosperous
    very lively and profitable
    And Lake-town was refounded and was more prosperous than ever, and much wealth went up and down the Running River; and there was friendship in those parts between elves and dwarves and men.
    Although the liveliness and profit of the town (rebuilt partly through Bard's share of the treasure) is emphasized in the first half of the sentence, the second half emphasizes that a town's prosperity often goes hand in hand with peaceful relationships with its neighbors.
  35. prophecy
    a prediction uttered under divine inspiration
    Surely you don't disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself?
Created on December 5, 2013 (updated September 11, 2018)

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