Humanities › Literature Fahrenheit 451 Vocabulary Share Flipboard Email Print Fahrenheit 451 Study Guide Overview Summary Characters Themes Key Quotes Vocabulary Quiz Tony Hutchings / Getty Images By Jeffrey Somers Literature Expert B.A., English, Rutgers University Jeff Somers is an award-winning writer who has authored nine novels, over 40 short stories, and "Writing Without Rules," a non-fiction book about the business and craft of writing. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Jeffrey Somers Updated January 30, 2020 Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian science fiction novel by Ray Bradbury that examines the tension between knowledge and mindless escapism. Bradbury was inspired to write the novel in part because he believed television, then a new medium, was destructive to society. Bradbury selected vocabulary carefully to stress the power of learning and the overwhelming experience of society for his characters. His word choice creates a subtle dichotomy between the calm, reasoned moments (which tend to involve thought and reading) and the frenetic, exhausting moments (which tend to involve entertainment and the destruction of books). 01 of 18 Cacophony Definition: a jarring mixture of sound and noise that distracts or alarms Example: "You drowned in music and pure cacophony. He came out of the room sweating and on the point of collapse." 02 of 18 Symphony Definition: a long-form piece of music composed for a full orchestra Example: "[H]is hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history." 03 of 18 Pulverize Definition: to crush completely into dust Example: "He felt that the stars had been pulverized by the sound of the black jets..." 04 of 18 Suffuse Definition: to gradually cover or fill a space Example: "In the hall Mildred's face was suffused with excitement. 05 of 18 Sputter Definition: a staccato series of explosive sounds Example: "The perspiration gathered with the silence and the sub-audible trembling around and about and in the women who were burning with tension. Any moment they might hiss a long sputtering hiss and explode." 06 of 18 Phosphorescent Definition: glowing without flame, either from heat or other forms of radiation Example: "He was a phosphorescent target; he knew it, he felt it." 07 of 18 Incessant Definition: continuous and unending Example: "Silently, Granger arose, felt his arms, and legs, swearing, swearing incessantly under his breath, tears dripping from his face." 08 of 18 Titillation Definition: a feeling of curiosity or excitement Example: "That's all we live for, isn't it? For pleasure, for titillation?" 09 of 18 Litterateur Definition: someone who knows a lot about literature and books Example: "Go ahead now, you second-hand litterateur, pull the trigger." 10 of 18 Juggernaut Definition: an unstoppable force Example: "He saw a great juggernaut of stars form in the sky and threaten to roll over and crush him." 11 of 18 Odious Definition: repulsive, disgusting Example: "The engine slammed to a stop. Beatty, Stoneman, and Black ran up the sidewalk, suddenly odious and fat in the plump fireproof slickers." 12 of 18 Melancholy Definition: a mood of quiet sadness Example: "Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. 13 of 18 Abruptly Definition: without warning Example: "Abruptly the room took off on a rocket flight into the clouds, it plunged into a lime-green sea where blue fish ate red and yellow fish." 14 of 18 Scuttle Definition: to move rapidly with small, jerky movements Example: "He dropped a book, broke pace, almost turned, changed his mind, plunged on, yelling in concrete emptiness, the beetle scuttling after its running food..." 15 of 18 Torrent Definition: a violent flood Example: "The folly of mistaking a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself as an oracle, is inborn in us, Mr. Valery once said." 16 of 18 Fugitive Definition: someone who runs away, particularly from law enforcement Example: "The fugitive cannot escape if everyone in the next minute looks from his house." 17 of 18 Cadence Definition: a specific rhythm, either in speech or movement Example: "His name was Faber, and when he finally lost his fear of Montag, he talked in a cadenced voice, looking at the sky and the trees and the green park, and when an hour had passed he said something to Montag and Montag sensed it was a rhymeless poem." 18 of 18 Insidious Definition: slow and subtle movement or events with a negative impact Example: "It's an insidious plan, if I do say so myself."