Little Black Fish and Other Modern Persian Stories

Vocabulary selected from Samad Behrangi's collection
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definitions & notes only words
  1. crevice
    a long narrow opening
    Sometimes they joined other fish and rapidly darted in and out of small crevices.
  2. pretentious
    creating an appearance of importance or distinction
    "Forget this pretentious talk," interrupted the mother - "Let's go swimming. Now is the time to swim, not talk."
  3. pity
    a feeling of sympathy and sorrow for misfortunes of others
    One of the old fish asked, "Did you think we'd pity you?"
  4. mercy
    a disposition to be kind and forgiving
    Wait, we've gotten used to having you around ..." said a seventh.
    The mother cried, "Have mercy on me.
  5. acquainted
    having fair knowledge of
    The fish looked them over thoroughly and said, "Please don't insult me. My name is Little Black Fish. Tell me your names so that we'll get acquainted.
    "We call one another tadpole," replied one of the tadpoles.
    "We come from nobility," said another.
    "You can't find anyone prettier than us in the whole world," said another.
    "We aren't shapeless and ugly-faced like you," said another one.
    The fish said, "I never imagined you would be so conceited.
  6. conceited
    having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
    The fish looked them over thoroughly and said, "Please don't insult me. My name is Little Black Fish. Tell me your names so that we'll get acquainted.
    "We call one another tadpole," replied one of the tadpoles.
    "We come from nobility," said another.
    "You can't find anyone prettier than us in the whole world," said another.
    "We aren't shapeless and ugly-faced like you," said another one.
    The fish said, "I never imagined you would be so conceited.
  7. ignorance
    the lack of knowledge or education
    I'll forgive you since you're speaking out of ignorance."
  8. ignorant
    uneducated in general; lacking knowledge or sophistication
    "If you weren't ignorant," replied the fish, "you'd know that there are many others in the world who are pleased with their appearances. You don't even have names of your own."
  9. astray
    away from the right path or direction
    The frog responded "Worthless creature, now is not the time to show off. You've found some children to listen to you and are talking pretentiously. I've lived long enough to know that the world is this pond. Mind your own business and don't lead my children astray."
  10. sediment
    matter that has been deposited by some natural process
    The fish flipped quickly and fled like lightening, stirring up sediment and worms at the bottom of the pond.
  11. pessimistic
    expecting the worst possible outcome
    "Little fish, why are you so pessimistic and scared?" asked the crab.
  12. wit
    mental ability
    Then the lizard crawled into a crack in the rock and returned wit a very sharp dagger.
  13. meddlesome
    intrusive in an offensive manner
    "Excuse me for talking so much," said the black fish, "but if you don't think me meddlesome, tell me how they give the fisherman a hard time.
    "
  14. hastily
    in a hurried manner
    At one place a deer was hastily drinking some water.
  15. boisterous
    full of rough and exuberant animal spirits
    At another place the boisterous noise of partridges twisted through the valley.
  16. spite
    meanness or nastiness
    "In spite of all this, you still want to go?" exclaimed the tiny fish.
  17. deceitful
    marked by deliberate deceptiveness
    The little black fish moved aside and said to the tiny fish,
    "Don't agree! This deceitful bird wants to turn us against each other. I have a plan ..."
    But the tiny fish were so intent on saving themselves that they couldn't think of anything else.
  18. immensity
    unusual largeness in size or extent or number
    The black fish was enjoying the immensity of the water.
  19. ebb
    the outward flow of the tide
    The heron had grabbed the fish's waist so tightly that its life was ebbing away.
  20. several
    of an indefinite number more than 2 or 3 but not many
    If I were to write everything that happened to me in Tehran, it would take several volumes and perhaps be dull.
  21. vendor
    someone who exchanges goods or services for money
    Another bought and sold used clothing, and a third was an orange vendor.
  22. baffled
    perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements
    We four were completely baffled.
  23. seize
    take hold of; grab
    I seized the opportunity to say, "I'm going to cut off your balls with a knife."
  24. amicably
    in a friendly manner
    "Shoes aren't really so important to me," said Mahmud amicably.
  25. contagious
    capable of being transmitted by infection
    The laughter of those two jokers was contagious; we burst out laughing too.
  26. whatsoever
    one or some or every or all without specification
    Ahmad Husayn had no money whatsoever.
  27. flay
    strip the skin off
    Ahmad Husayn flayed out his arms and legs until his feet reached the ground, then he stood up right there at the edge of the gutter.
  28. billy club
    a short stout club used primarily by policemen
    The cop, billy club in hand, was two or three steps away from us.
  29. grate
    reduce to shreds by rubbing against a perforated surface
    The old woman honked the horn once or twice and yelled again, "Are you deaf or something? …Get out of the way of the car!…

    One or two other cars passed around us. The old woman stuck her head out and was about to say something else when I spit in her face, swore at her several times, and then ran off.

    When I had run a ways, I sat down on the step of a locked store. My heart was beating fast. The store had a door of iron grating. It was light inside. All kinds of shoes were in the show window
  30. gnaw
    bite or chew on with the teeth
    The old woman honked the horn once or twice and yelled again, "Are you deaf or something? …Get out of the way of the car!…

    One or two other cars passed around us. The old woman stuck her head out and was about to say something else when I spit in her face, swore at her several times, and then ran off.

    When I had run a ways, I sat down on the step of a locked store. My heart was beating fast. The store had a door of iron grating. It was light inside. All kinds of shoes were in the show window
  31. magnificent
    characterized by grandeur
    "No," the camel said, "Not summer quarters. Millionaires build palaces and magnificent houses for themselves in places with pleasant climates so that whenever they feel like it, they can go there to rest and enjoy themselves. These houses are called villas. Villas have pools, fountains, large gardens and flower plots full of flowers. They have a troupe of gardeners, cooks, servants and maids. Some millionaires own several villas in foreign countries, Switzerland and France for example. Now we're
  32. bouquet
    an arrangement of flowers that is usually given as a present
    "Well," I said, "out here, there's no smell whatsoever of smoke or filth. The houses are all large and pretty as a bouquet of flowers."
  33. putrid
    of or relating to the process of decay
    The camel smiled and said, "You're right, Latif, my boy. Tehran has two parts, each with its own characteristics. North and South. The North is clean, but the South is full of smoke, filth, dust and dirt, because all the worn-out buses operate in that section. All the brick kilns are in that section, and the diesels and trucks come and go from there. Many of the streets in the south aren't paved; the dirty putrid water in the open sewage gutters of the north flows downhill to the South. In short
  34. elegant
    refined and tasteful in appearance, behavior, or style
    The camel smiled and said, "You're right, Latif, my boy. Tehran has two parts, each with its own characteristics. North and South. The North is clean, but the South is full of smoke, filth, dust and dirt, because all the worn-out buses operate in that section. All the brick kilns are in that section, and the diesels and trucks come and go from there. Many of the streets in the south aren't paved; the dirty putrid water in the open sewage gutters of the north flows downhill to the South. In short
  35. luxurious
    furnishing gratification to the senses
    The camel smiled and said, "You're right, Latif, my boy. Tehran has two parts, each with its own characteristics. North and South. The North is clean, but the South is full of smoke, filth, dust and dirt, because all the worn-out buses operate in that section. All the brick kilns are in that section, and the diesels and trucks come and go from there. Many of the streets in the south aren't paved; the dirty putrid water in the open sewage gutters of the north flows downhill to the South. In short
  36. intoxicating
    extremely exciting
    Lots of different foods with intoxicating odors were arranged on the tables.
  37. ungrateful
    not feeling or showing gratitude
    Don't be ungrateful, Son.
  38. ragged
    being or dressed in clothes that are worn or torn
    There was a woman lottery ticket vendor who wore a ragged veil like Zivar the lottery ticket vendor.
  39. ulcer
    an inflammatory lesion resulting in decay of tissue
    Qasem's mother was always having trouble with either aching legs or ulcer.
  40. suffocate
    deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing
    The air was hot and suffocating.
  41. depression
    a sunken or lowered geological formation
    My father didn't want to leave me alone, but I said I wanted to walk around to shake off my depression.

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