Honors American Literature 2011-12 Mr. Emra Page | 1 Vocabulary List 1 1. disquisition—noun—a formal discourse. I am looking for a disquisition from you when you write your essays; don’t be skimpy; spell out your thoughts in detail. 2. halcyon—adj.—peaceful; calm (as in skies or weather). After the storm passed through the area the skies turned a lovely halcyon pink. 3. melancholy—noun—sadness; gloom. I hope that you don’t have many moments of melancholy; I hope that, instead, you are happy most of the time. 4. discern—verb—to figure out; to make sense of. I hope that you will be able to discern a meaning in “Young Goodman Brown,” a famous short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. 5. abashed—adj.—embarrassed. He was abashed when he dropped all his books as he walked down the hallway. 6. ocular—adj.—relating to the eye. “This, of course, must have been an ocular deception, assisted by the uncertain light.” 7. covenant—noun—a binding agreement or contract. “Friend, having kept covenant by meeting thee here…” 8. scruples—noun—moral principles. Do you think that today’s teenagers have more or fewer scruples than teenagers did when your parents were your age? 9. firmament—noun—the sky; the expanse of the heavens. “While he still gazed upward into the deep arch of the firmament…” 10. lamentations—plural noun—expressions of sorrow and regret. “There was one voice, of a young woman, uttering lamentations, yet with an uncertain sorrow…” 11. zenith—noun—the highest point. I certainly hope that you haven’t yet reached the zenith of your life! 12. stupefied—adjective—having the senses dulled; bewildered. After his concussion he had to cope with a number of stupefied moments. 13. blasphemy—noun—to speak of God or of something sacred in an irreverent manner. His angry words just weren’t vulgar but were true blasphemy. 14. lurid—adj.—shocking. That passage in the novel was especially lurid and disturbing to a number of readers. Page | 2 15. obscure—adj.—hidden. Does “Young Goodman Brown” have an obscure meaning, or, on the other hand, is the/a meaning quite obvious? 16. sanctity—noun—a state of holiness. There are lines in “America the Beautiful” that go beyond the secular or “ordinary” world and enter a state of sanctity. 17. pious—adj.—very religious; devout. Some people are sincerely religious and pious, and some others may be insincere. 18. incantations—noun—words or spells to produce a magical effect. The people in the woods began to chant what sounded like incantations. 19. visage—noun—one’s facial expression. He never smiled; his visage was always one of sadness. 20. dissolute—adj.—lacking in moral restraint. Please don’t succumb to a dissolute life.