Vocabulary from dialogue written by Harold Ramis (1944-2014)

Harold Ramis died on February 24, 2014. As a writer and director he was involved in some of the biggest successes of the late seventies and early eighties, some of which endure as a few of the funniest films of the past few decades. Below are ten vocabulary words from films Ramis co-wrote. Although films like "Animal House" and "Ghostbusters" are known for elaborate antics, these selections show that he had a great way with words as well.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. confiscate
    take temporary possession of a security by legal authority
    They confiscated everything, even the stuff we didn't steal! -Animal House
  2. cadaver
    the dead body of a human being
    Who dropped a whole truckload of fizzies into the varsity swim meet? Who delivered the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner?- Animal House
  3. indictment
    an accusation of wrongdoing
    But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general?...isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America- Animal House
  4. extortion
    the crime of exacting money, as by threats
    Look, these parades you throw are very expensive. You using my police, my sanitation people, and my Oldsmobiles free of charge. So, if you mention extortion again, I'll have your legs broken.- Animal House
  5. rational
    consistent with or based on or using reason
    Sorry, Venkman, I'm terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.- Ghostbusters
  6. hustle
    sell something to by energetic and underhanded activity
    You seem to regard science as some kind of dodge... or hustle. Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable! You are a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman!- Ghostbusters
  7. bereft
    sorrowful through loss or deprivation
    When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter.- Groundhog Day
  8. fetter
    a shackle for the ankles or feet
    If my hands weren't tied by the unalterable fetters of the law, then I would invoke the tradition of our illustrious forebears, reach back to a purer, sterner justice, and have you BURNED AT THE STAKE!-Ghostbusters II
  9. delegate
    give an assignment to or assign a task to
    [Thornton has a room full of experts writing his papers]
    Jason Melon: Dad, what's goin' on here?
    Thornton Melon: I'm doin' my homework.
    Jason Melon: No, no, no, no, THEY're doing your homework.
    Thornton Melon: Jason, a good executive knows how to delegate authority. -Back to School
  10. epitome
    a standard or typical example
    That... is Mr. Thornton Mellon. The world's oldest living freshman... and the walking epitome of the decline in modern education. The stupid clod thinks he can buy his way out of the gutter.-Back to School
  11. hysteria
    state of violent mental agitation
    Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! -Ghostbusters

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