Friday, September 21, 2007


My apologies in advance for the obvious title. You've come to expect more because I usually deliver more. Not today.

I finished reading Moby Dick this afternoon. I had started reading in January. Nine months and 725 pages later I can finally lay to rest the tale of the white whale. I am proud to be able to say that I have read the complete, unabridged version of the novel, but I may only have enough time to finish one other book before the end of the year.

Since AP Literature class with Mr. Collins (Hackettstown High, senior year), I have made it my policy as I read to underline words that I don't know, look up the definition, and write each in the bottom margin. A work like Farenheit 451 or Blue Like Jazz will net me a dozen vocabulary words, but a piece from a theologian, or worse, the Romantic Era, will slow page-turning without fail.

Below is the complete list of vocabulary words from my reading of Moby Dick -- 352 in all:

(pages 1 - 99) hypo, insular, lath, lee, decoction, portentous, grapnel, extant, wight, glazier, waiscot, dint, yeast, ever and anon, aggregate, welter, founder, tallow, direful, skrimshander, arrant, toper, obstreperous, plaguy, ider, fargo, nonplus, grego, wrapall, dreadnot, andirons, expostulation, stave, ablution, accost, sally, bombazine, scoria, proffer, candelabra, incredulous, doleful, brevet, verdure, maw, cenotaph, canticle, bale, obliquity, swarthy, main-truck, kelson, inexorable, phrenology, promintory, pyspepsia, unbidden, confabulate, tester, vitiate, nonce, punctilious, offing, hillock, spile, quohog, chamois, larboard, by dint of, repast, belie, ply, stultify, segacity, galliot, venerable, thews, parmacetty, transome, annuitant, chancery, anomalous, sanguinary, sepulchral, oblique, celerity, (100 - 199) pilau, crotchet, appellative, stove, confluent, prate, calabash, humbug, bugbear, costermonger, jocular, vernal, stave, palavere, demigod, apotheosis, carrion, plaudit, puissant, feret, pestiferous, conspicuous, palpable, quoggy, macassar, staid, pantemime, latent, evince, vicissitude, ignomonious, craven, cholera, camphorate, unvitiate, tacit, binnacle, cudgel, spermacetti, opine, ellucidate, baleen, misenthropic, appellative, tallow, aver, ferule, hone, rotund, subaltern, in terrorem, sultanism, husting, mizen, saline, pallid, abstenious, convivial, sedentary, buckler, credulous, scimitar, scabbard, progenitor, indolent, languor, cark, upbraiding, inscrutable, vortice, (200 - 299) tost, capstan, volition, quail, chalice, sidelong, pugilist, demigorgon, waggish, strand, chassee, ubiquitous, erudite, gainsay, sanguine, bruit, august, lacquer, cant, howdah, legerdemain, cordon, somnambulism, peremptory, corroborative, prefecture, aliment, ascendency, corporeal, evanescent, quiescent, sordid, perquisite, warp, samphire, swart, ebon, wallow, inculcating, enigmatical, adroit, tyro, aslant, dun, haply, bivouack, vacuity, perfidious, fuller, (300 - 399) erudition, abaft, peltry, serry, subaltern, cozen, billet, brook, conflagration, comport, poniard, brigandish, swart, visage, fetid, perfidious, bantam, maelstrom, archiepiscopacy, advert, antediluvian, veracious, hippogriff, fastidious, skrimshander, elucidate, argosy, conciliate, fastidious, unctuous, integument, rapacious, poniards, rood, punctilious, peradventure (five on one page!), interdicted, lotus, maw, peremptorily, scaramouch, laudanum (400 - 499), ligature, interregnum, calomel, jalap, gamboge, soldadoe, cooper, orlop, pannier, bandy, vacillation, volition, subtilise, portcullis, supine, galliot, busk, farthingale, unctuous, tierce, limpid, pelisse, sagacious, beadle, veneration, indomitable, paregoric, ponderosity, sordid, tutelary, confluent, flexion, nosegay, obsequious, proas, corsair, kentledge, gallied, dromedary, consternation, dalliance, bower, unctuous, lassitude, sated (500 - 599), rapacious, emolument, sinecure, fob, perquisite, cupidity, worsted, ambergris, diddle, aspersion, opine, poltroon, mollify, acerbity, appelation, coalesce, recondite, rapt, plethoric, misanthrope, profundity, mermetical, freshet, ablution, morass, talisman, scorbutic, erudite, verdant, tendril, woof, folio, hawser, antideluvian, emprise, lexicographer (five on one page!), chirography, placard, credulous, osseous, recondite, peremptorily, remunerate, cachalot, primogeniture, bruit, antidiluvian, anamalous, compendious, spavine (600 - 699), prate, puncheon, shook, demi-john, sinecure, lave, importunity, orison, corpusant, hooroosh, boon, epaulet, sagacious, incommodious, taffrail, gambol, argosy, pennon, poltroon (700 - 725), pertinacious, prescience, evanescence, hawser, heliotrope.

[Ed. note]: Please feel free to comment with the definitions of any of these words that you know from memory. Words like 'woof' and 'shook' obviously have other meanings as used by Herman Melville. Any repeats are incidental, and are not intended to bolster the list.