'Animal Farm' Vocabulary

Animal Farm utilizes a straightforward tone and simple sentences, but some of the novella's vocabulary is quite complex. In this Animal Farm vocabulary list, you'll learn key words through definitions and examples from the novella.

01
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Capitulate

Definition: to surrender or give in after a struggle

Example: "For five days the hens held out, then they capitulated and went back to their nesting boxes."

02
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Complicity

Definition: shared responsibility for a crime or misdeed

Example: "On the same day it was given out that fresh documents had been discovered which revealed further details about Snowball's complicity with Jones."

03
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Countenance

Definition: facial expression, physical demeanor

Example: "Napoleon appeared to change countenance, and sharply ordered Boxer to let the dog go, whereat Boxer lifted his hoof, and the dog slunk away, bruised and howling."

04
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Dissentient

Definition: someone who disagrees with a majority opinion

Example: "The vote was taken at once, and it was agreed by an overwhelming majority that rats were comrades. There were only four dissentients, the three dogs and the cat, who was afterwards discovered to have voted on both sides."

05
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Ensconce

Definition: to be comfortably settled

Example: "At one end of the big barn, on a sort of raised platform, Major was already ensconced on his bed of straw, under a lantern which hung from a beam."

06
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Gambol

Definition: to run around joyously

Example: "In the ecstasy of that thought they gambolled round and round, they hurled themselves into the air in great leaps of excitement."

07
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Ignominious

Definition: shameful and embarrassing (typically in reference to behavior)

Example: "And so within five minutes of their invasion they were in ignominious retreat by the same way as they had come, with a flock of geese hissing after them and pecking at their calves all the way."

08
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Inebriate

Definition: a drunkard

Example: "Jones too was dead—he had died in an inebriates' home in another part of the country."

09
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Machination

Definition: a clever plot, a scheme

Example: "In the late summer yet another of Snowball's machinations was laid bare."

10
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Malignity

Definition: meanness, hatefulness

Example: "Snowball has done this thing! In sheer malignity, thinking to set back our plans and avenge himself for his ignominious expulsion, this traitor has crept here under cover of night and destroyed our work of nearly a year."

11
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Manifestly

Definition: clearly, obviously

Example: "It had come to be accepted that the pigs, who were manifestly cleverer than the other animals, should decide all questions of farm policy, though their decisions had to be ratified by a majority vote."

12
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Maxim

Definition: a short statement that expresses a general truth or rule

Example: "After much thought Snowball declared that the Seven Commandments could in effect be reduced to a single maxim, namely: ‛Four legs good, two legs bad.’"

13
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Pervade

Definition: to spread out and become present everywhere in a space

Example: "It seemed to them as though Snowball were some kind of invisible influence, pervading the air about them and menacing them with all kinds of dangers."

14
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Piebald

Definition: an animal that has irregular pattern of pigmented spots on an unpigmented (white) coat

Example: "The young pigs were piebald, and as Napoleon was the only boar on the farm, it was possible to guess at their parentage."

15
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Restive

Definition: restless, agitated, and unable to remain still

Example: "They had all the more reason for doing so because the news of their defeat had spread across the countryside and made the animals on the neighboring farms more restive than ever."

16
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Skulk

Definition: to sneak around in a menacing way

Example: "Snowball was known to be still skulking on Pinchfield Farm."

17
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Stupefy

Definition: to make someone so shocked or surprised that they cannot think or respond

Example: "The animals were stupefied. ... But it was some minutes before they could fully take it in."

18
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Taciturn

Definition: reserved, quiet

Example: "Only old Benjamin was much the same as ever, except for being a little grayer about the muzzle, and, since Boxer's death, more morose and taciturn than ever."

19
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Tractable

Definition: easy to persuade or influence

Example: "Bulls which had always been tractable suddenly turned savage, sheep broke down hedges and devoured the clover, cows kicked the pail over, hunters refused their fences and shot their riders on to the other side."

20
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Unanimous

Definition: fully agreed upon or supported (in reference to a decision or vote)

Example: "A unanimous resolution was passed on the spot that the farmhouse should be preserved as a museum. All were agreed that no animal must ever live there."