"A Christmas Carol," Vocabulary from Chapters 4-5

Here is some vocabulary from the tale of the thawing of a heart at Christmas: Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol." (etext found here)

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

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. shroud
    cover as if with a burial garment
    It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing of it visible save one outstretched hand.
  2. solemn
    dignified and somber in manner or character
    He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him, and that its mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread.
  3. wane
    decrease in phase
    “Lead on!” said Scrooge. “Lead on! The night is waning fast, and it is precious time to me, I know. Lead on, Spirit!”
  4. trifle
    waste time; spend one's time idly or inefficiently
    But there they were, in the heart of it; on 'Change, amongst the merchants; who hurried up and down, and chinked the money in their pockets, and conversed in groups, and looked at their watches, and trifled thoughtfully with their great gold seals; and so forth, as Scrooge had seen them often.
  5. excrescence
    (pathology) an abnormal outgrowth or enlargement of some part of the body
    “What has he done with his money?” asked a red-faced gentleman with a pendulous excrescence on the end of his nose, that shook like the gills of a turkey-cock.
  6. disinterested
    unaffected by concern for one's own welfare
    'Well, I am the most disinterested among you, after all,' said the first speaker, 'for I never wear black gloves, and I never eat lunch.'
  7. esteem
    an attitude of admiration
    He had made a point always of standing well in their esteem: in a business point of view, that is; strictly in a business point of view.
  8. assure
    cause to feel confident
    Scrooge was at first inclined to be surprised that the Spirit should attach importance to conversations apparently so trivial; but feeling assured that they must have some hidden purpose, he set himself to consider what it was likely to be.
  9. latent
    potentially existing but not presently evident or realized
    But nothing doubting that to whomsoever they applied they had some latent moral for his own improvement, he resolved to treasure up every word he heard, and everything he saw; and especially to observe the shadow of himself when it appeared.
  10. accustomed
    commonly used or practiced; usual
    He looked about in that very place for his own image; but another man stood in his accustomed corner, and though the clock pointed to his usual time of day for being there, he saw no likeness of himself among the multitudes that poured in through the Porch.
  11. obscure
    remote and separate physically or socially
    They left the busy scene, and went into an obscure part of the town, where Scrooge had never penetrated before, although he recognised its situation, and its bad repute.
  12. slipshod
    marked by great carelessness
    The ways were foul and narrow; the shops and houses wretched; the people half-naked, drunken, slipshod, ugly.
  13. straggle
    go, come, or spread in a rambling or irregular way
    Alleys and archways, like so many cesspools, disgorged their offences of smell, and dirt, and life, upon the straggling streets; and the whole quarter reeked with crime, with filth, and misery.
  14. offal
    viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal
    Far in this den of infamous resort, there was a low-browed, beetling shop, below a pent-house roof, where iron, old rags, bottles, bones, and greasy offal, were bought.
  15. scrutinize
    look at critically or searchingly, or in minute detail
    Secrets that few would like to scrutinize were bred and hidden in mountains of unseemly rags, masses of corrupted fat, and sepulchers of bones.
  16. defiance
    a hostile challenge
    While he did this, the woman who had already spoken threw her bundle on the floor, and sat down in a flaunting manner on a stool; crossing her elbows on her knees, and looking with a bold defiance at the other two.
  17. breach
    an opening, especially a gap in a dike or fortification
    But the gallantry of her friends would not allow of this; and the man in faded black, mounting the breach first, produced his plunder.
  18. extensive
    broad in scope or content
    It was not extensive. A seal or two, a pencil-case, a pair of sleeve-buttons, and a brooch of no great value, were all.
  19. appraise
    estimate the nature, quality, ability or significance of
    They were severally examined and appraised by old Joe, who chalked the sums he was disposed to give for each, upon the wall, and added them up into a total when he found there was nothing more to come.
  20. repent
    feel sorry for; be contrite about
    “That’s your account. If you asked me for another penny, and made it an open question, I’d repent of being so liberal and knock off half-a-crown.”
  21. detestation
    hate coupled with disgust
    As they sat grouped about their spoil, in the scanty light afforded by the old man’s lamp, he viewed them with a detestation and disgust, which could hardly have been greater, though they had been obscene demons, marketing the corpse itself.
  22. recoil
    draw back, as with fear or pain
    He recoiled in terror, for the scene had changed, and now he almost touched a bed: a bare, uncurtained bed: on which, beneath a ragged sheet, there lay a something covered up, which, though it was dumb, announced itself in awful language.
  23. bereft
    sorrowful through loss or deprivation
    A pale light, rising in the outer air, fell straight upon the bed; and on it, plundered and bereft, unwatched, unwept, uncared for, was the body of this man.
  24. disclose
    expose to view as by removing a cover
    The cover was so carelessly adjusted that the slightest raising of it, the motion of a finger upon Scrooge's part, would have disclosed the face.
  25. revered
    profoundly honored
    But of the loved, revered, and honored head, thou canst not turn one hair to thy dread purposes, or make one feature odious.
  26. foremost
    before anything else
    He thought, if this man could be raised up now, what would be his foremost thoughts?
  27. beseech
    ask for or request earnestly
    “If there is any person in the town, who feels emotion caused by this man’s death,” said Scrooge quite agonised, “show that person to me, Spirit, I beseech you!”
  28. vain
    unproductive of success
    She was expecting some one, and with anxious eagerness; for she walked up and down the room; started at every sound; looked out from the window; glanced at the clock; tried, but in vain, to work with her needle; and could hardly bear the voices of the children in their play.
  29. repress
    conceal or hide
    There was a remarkable expression in it now; a kind of serious delight of which he felt ashamed, and which he struggled to repress.
  30. distress
    cause mental pain to
    Bob told them of the extraordinary kindness of Mr. Scrooge's nephew, whom he had scarcely seen but once, and who, meeting him in the street that day, and seeing that he looked a little -- 'just a little down you know,' said Bob, inquired what had happened to distress him.
  31. replete
    fill to satisfaction
    Walled in by houses; overrun by grass and weeds, the growth of vegetation’s death, not life; choked up with too much burying; fat with repleted appetite.
  32. convey
    take something or somebody with oneself somewhere
    The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come conveyed him, as before -- though at a different time, he thought: indeed, there seemed no order in these latter visions, save that they were in the Future -- into the resorts of business men, but showed him not himself.
  33. persevere
    be persistent, refuse to stop
    'Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,' said Scrooge.
  34. intercede
    act between parties with a view to reconciling differences
    'Good Spirit,' he pursued, as down upon the ground he fell before it: 'Your nature intercedes for me, and pities me.
  35. entreaty
    earnest or urgent request
    It sought to free itself, but he was strong in his entreaty, and detained it.
  36. amends
    something done or paid in expiation of a wrong
    Best and happiest of all, the Time before him was his own, to make amends in!
  37. illustrious
    having or conferring glory
    Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh.
  38. portly
    fairly fat
    He had not gone far, when coming on towards him he beheld the portly gentleman, who had walked into his counting-house the day before, and said, 'Scrooge and Marley's, I believe.'
  39. yield
    give or supply
    He went to church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro, and patted children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of houses, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure.
  40. array
    an impressive display
    They were looking at the table (which was spread out in great array); for these young housekeepers are always nervous on such points, and like to see that everything is right.
  41. unanimity
    everyone being of one mind
    Wonderful party, wonderful games, wonderful unanimity, wonderful happiness!
  42. feign
    make believe with the intent to deceive
    'Hallo!' growled Scrooge, in his accustomed voice, as near as he could feign it.
  43. earnestness
    a sincere feeling
    “A merry Christmas, Bob!” said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back.
  44. endeavor
    attempt by employing effort
    I'll raise your salary, and endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob!
  45. abstinence
    act or practice of refraining from indulging an appetite
    He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.