"1984," Vocabulary from Part 3

George Orwell's "1984" is a stark vision of a possible future where loyalty to leaders is demanded and our very thoughts are controlled. Learn this word list that focuses on curing.

Here are our word lists for the novel: Part 1: Chapters 1-4, Part 1: Chapters 5-8, Part 2: Chapters 1-5, Part 2: Chapters 6-10, Part 3, Appendix-Afterword

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. truncheon
    a short stout club used primarily by police officers
    He felt the smash of truncheons on his elbows and iron-shod boots on his shins; he saw himself groveling on the floor, screaming for mercy through broken teeth.
  2. perturbed
    thrown into a state of agitated confusion
    Ampleforth marched clumsily out between the guards, his face vaguely perturbed, but uncomprehending.
  3. sanctimonious
    excessively or hypocritically pious
    His froglike face grew calmer, and even took on a slightly sanctimonious expression. “Thought-crime is a dreadful thing, old man,” he said sententiously.
    "Sanctimonious" and "sententious" are nearly synonymous adjectives. Their Latin roots show their slight difference: "sanctus" means "holy" and "sententiosus" means "full of meaning"--Parsons puts on an expression that looks holy (because he is in the presence of a telescreen) to make a brief statement that's excessively filled with pompous morality.
  4. consign
    send to an address
    One, a woman, was consigned to “Room 101,” and, Winston noticed, seemed to shrivel and turn a different color when she heard the words.
  5. unvarying
    always the same
    The humming sound and the unvarying white light induced a sort of faintness, an empty feeling inside his head.
  6. writhe
    move in a twisting or contorted motion
    In the face of pain there are no heroes, no heroes, he thought over and over as he writhed on the floor, clutching uselessly at his disabled left arm.
  7. surly
    unfriendly and inclined toward anger or irritation
    He remembered a surly barber arriving to scrape his chin and crop his hair, and businesslike, unsympathetic men in white coats feeling his pulse, tapping his reflexes, turning up his eyelids, running harsh fingers over him in search of broken bones, and shooting needles into his arm to make him sleep.
  8. seditious
    arousing to action or rebellion
    He confessed to the assassination of eminent Party members, the distribution of seditious pamphlets, embezzlement of public funds, sale of military secrets, sabotage of every kind.
  9. respite
    a relief from harm or discomfort
    It was he who decided when Winston should scream with pain, when he should have a respite, when he should be fed, when he should sleep, when the drugs should be pumped into his arm.
  10. prevaricate
    be deliberately ambiguous or unclear
    If you tell me any lies, or attempt to prevaricate in any way, or even fall below your usual level of intelligence, you will cry out with pain, instantly.
  11. wayward
    resistant to guidance or discipline
    More than ever he had the air of a teacher taking pains with a wayward but promising child.
  12. blissful
    completely happy and contented
    Almost in the same instant a blissful, healing warmth spread all through his body.
  13. exaltation
    a state of being carried away by overwhelming emotion
    The exaltation, the lunatic enthusiasm, was still in his face.
  14. abject
    showing humiliation or submissiveness
    We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will.
    "Abject" also means "most unfortunate or miserable" and "showing utter resignation or hopelessness"--all three definitions fit the example sentence. The second sentence, with its focus on free will, emphasizes that the Party wants subjects that are not abject. However, it uses the most abject ("of the most contemptible kind") methods of torture to make rebellious members surrender.
  15. integrity
    moral soundness
    Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.
    The list of qualities Winston will never be capable of having again ends fittingly with "integrity" because 1) it comes from the Latin root "integer" which means "whole, complete"; 2) it sets up the points about hollowness.
  16. prostrate
    throw down flat, as on the ground
    Winston was not hurt, only prostrated. Although he had already been lying on his back when the thing happened, he had a curious feeling that he had been knocked into that position.
  17. luminous
    softly bright or radiant
    But there had been a moment—he did not know how long, thirty seconds, perhaps—of luminous certainty, when each new suggestion of O’Brien’s had filled up a patch of emptiness and become absolute truth, and when two and two could have been three as easily as five, if that were what was needed.
    "Luminous" also means "enlightened and intelligent" or "easily understood; lucid"--these definitions are a better fit for the example sentence, but the given definition emphasizes a contrast in mood between this moment and the one when all Winston saw was the "unvarying white light."
  18. solipsism
    the philosophical theory that the self is all that exists
    I told you, Winston,” he said, “that metaphysics is not your strong point. The word you are trying to think of is solipsism. But you are mistaken. This is not solipsism. Collective solipsism, if you like. But that is a different thing; in fact, the opposite thing.
  19. penitent
    feeling or expressing remorse for misdeeds
    Always we shall have the heretic here at our mercy, screaming with pain, broken up, contemptible—and in the end utterly penitent, saved from himself, crawling to our feet of his own accord.
  20. malleable
    capable of being shaped or bent
    But we create human nature. Men are infinitely malleable.
    "Malleable" also means "easily influenced"--this should be the chosen definition when describing human nature. But O'Brien's point about creating human nature connects to its Latin root ("malleus" means "hammer"), which emphasizes the physical and emotional torture that Winston is undergoing.
  21. forlorn
    marked by or showing hopelessness
    A forlorn, jailbird’s face with a nobby forehead running back into a bald scalp, a crooked nose and battered-looking cheekbones above which the eyes were fierce and watchful.
  22. degradation
    a low or downcast state
    You have been kicked and flogged and insulted, you have screamed with pain, you have rolled on the floor in your own blood and vomit. You have whimpered for mercy, you have betrayed everybody and everything. Can you think of a single degradation that has not happened to you?
  23. torpid
    in a condition of biological rest or suspended animation
    Even when he was awake he was completely torpid.
    "Torpid" also means "slow and apathetic"--both definitions fit, but the chosen definition gives a stronger image of Winston's mood, which is the same whether he is awake or asleep. Compare with "lassitude" in the list for Part 1: Chapters 5-8--there, Winston panics at the lassitude that came with the possibility that his life might be over because he had been seen where he shouldn't have been; here, Winston knows his life is over and he cannot hide or fight.
  24. capitulate
    surrender under agreed conditions
    He had capitulated; that was agreed. In reality, as he saw now, he had been ready to capitulate long before he had taken the decision.
  25. frivolity
    something of little value or significance
    From the moment when he was inside the Ministry of Love—and yes, even during those minutes when he and Julia had stood helpless while the iron voice from the telescreen told them what to do—he had grasped the frivolity, the shallowness of his attempt to set himself up against the power of the Party.
  26. interpose
    to insert between other elements
    He must interpose another human being, the body of another human being, between himself and the rats.
  27. cauterize
    burn, sear, or freeze using a hot iron or electric current
    Something was killed in your breast; burnt out, cauterized out.
  28. sallow
    unhealthy looking
    Her face was sallower, and there was a long scar, partly hidden by the hair, across her forehead and temple; but that was not the change.
  29. admonish
    warn strongly; put on guard
    No one cared what he did any longer, no whistle woke him, no telescreen admonished him.
  30. indispensable
    Much had changed in him since the first day in the Ministry of Love, but the final, indispensable, healing change had never happened, until this moment.

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