Humanities › Literature 'Lord of the Flies' Vocabulary Share Flipboard Email Print Lord of the Flies Study Guide Overview Summary Characters Themes Key Quotes Vocabulary Quiz Getty Images / Michael Ochs Archives 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 29, 2020 In Lord of the Flies, William Golding tells the story of a group of schoolboys marooned on a desert island. The story serves as an allegory for the fundamental nature of humankind. Golding uses simple, straightforward vocabulary when describing the actions of the boys, but includes more complex, lyrical vocabulary when conveying the allegorical side of the story. 01 of 20 Furtive Definition: secretive; attempting to avoid notice Example: "There was a slight, furtive boy whom no one knew, who kept to himself with an inner intensity of avoidance and secrecy." 02 of 20 Strident Definition: harsh, grating, and loud Example: "The note boomed again: and then at his firmer pressure, the note, fluking up an octave, became a strident blare more penetrating than before." 03 of 20 Vicissitudes Definition: a change in luck or fortune, usually for the worst Example: "Jack stood there, streaming with sweat, streaked with brown earth, stained by all the vicissitudes of a day's hunting." 04 of 20 Impalpable Definition: unable to be felt physically Example: “There were creatures that lived in this last fling of the sea, tiny transparencies that came questing in with the water over the hot, dry sand. With impalpable organs of sense they examined this new field.” 05 of 20 Leviathan Definition: an enormous sea creature Example: "Then the sleeping leviathan breathed out, the waters rose, the weed streamed, and the water boiled over the table rock with a roar." 06 of 20 Fledged Definition: an adjective that describe a bird whose wing feathers have grown in Example: "The shore was fledged with palm trees." 07 of 20 Tremulous Definition: quavering; nervous or uncertain Example: "'I'm chief,' said Ralph tremulously." 08 of 20 Corpulent Definition: large and bulky; fat Example: "Then as the blue material of the parachute collapsed the corpulent figure would bow forward, sighing, and the flies settle once more." 09 of 20 Incantation Definition: a repeated recitation of words, as in a magic spell Example: "Percival Wemys Madison, of the Vicarage, Harcourt St. Anthony, lying in the long grass, was living through circumstances in which the incantation of his address was powerless to help him." 10 of 20 Derision Definition: scorn, disdain Example: "Piggy once more was the center of social derision so that everyone felt cheerful and normal." 11 of 20 Dreary Definition: gloomy, bleak, drab Example: "He walked drearily between the trunks, his face empty of expression, and the blood was dry round his mouth and chin." 12 of 20 Ludicrous Definition: amusingly absurd, deserving of mockery Example: "With ludicrous care he embraced the rock, pressing himself to it above the sucking sea. The sniggering of the savages became a loud derisive jeer." 13 of 20 Blatant Definition: obvious, with no attempt to hide Example: "The glittering sea rose up, moved apart in planes of blatant impossibility; the coral reef and the few stunted palms that clung to the more elevated parts would float up into the sky, would quiver, be plucked apart, run like raindrops on a wire or be repeated as in an odd succession of mirrors." 14 of 20 Daunting Definition: seeming difficult to do or accomplish; intimidating Example: "At that word the other boys forgot their urge to be gone and turned back to sample this fresh rub of two spirits in the dark. The word was too good, too bitter, too successfully daunting to be repeated." 15 of 20 Snivel Definition: to cry or sniffle lightly Example: "Piggy sniveled and Simon shushed him quickly as though he had spoken too loudly in church." 16 of 20 Talisman Definition: an object thought to have magic powers; a good luck charm Example: "Ralph stood facing them, a little to one side, his spear ready. By him stood Piggy still holding out the talisman, the fragile, shining beauty of the shell." 17 of 20 Glower Definition: to stare in an angry and aggressive manner Example: "Jack turned, red in the face, his chin sunk back. He glowered up under his eyebrows." 18 of 20 Totter Definition: to move in an unsteady way, as if about to fall Example: "Ralph stood now, one hand against an enormous red block, a block large as a mill wheel that had been split off and hung, tottering." 19 of 20 Demented Definition: irrational, crazy Example: "Piggy and Ralph, under the threat of the sky, found themselves eager to take a place in this demented but partly secure society." 20 of 20 Inimical Definition: unfriendly Example: "To carry he must speak louder; and this would rouse those striped and inimical creatures from their feasting by the fire."