Vocabulary Words To Know in The Pearl

What Do These Terms Mean?

The Pearl - John Steinbeck
The Pearl - John Steinbeck. Penguin

Although short, The Pearl by John Steinbeck can be a challenging read. A great way to expand your vocabulary is to read a book with words that you don't know yet. In that way, reading The Pearl can be a helpful exercise. Here's a vocabulary list from John Steinbeck by chapter. 

Chapter 1

  • avarice - greed
  • bougainvillea - a type of tropical flower
  • consolation - to comfort
  • detachment - lack of concern or attachment
  • indigent - poor; impoverished
  • lymphatic - tissue where white blood cells are produced
  • scandal - shameful
  • ulcers - open sores

Chapter 2

  • bulwark - defensive wall
  • estuary - river meets sea tide
  • gloating - prideful; bragging
  • incandescence - giving off light
  • lateen - sail (triangle)
  • poultice - an herbal application for the purpose of healing or remedy
  • telescopically - slide within one another; like a telescope

Chapter 3

  • almsgiving - giving money to the poor

  • ammonia - colorless gas with a characteristic pungent odour
  • consecrated - sacred
  • cozened - trickery; misleading
  • disparagement - insult
  • dissembling - misleading
  • furtive - secretive
  • judicious - to exercise good judgment; sound thinking
  • lucent - softly bright; radiant
  • precipitated - hurled; cause to move suddenly
  • subjugation - forced submission; conquer
  • transfigured - idealize; metamorphosis

Chapter 4

  • appraiser - one who estimates worth or value

  • contemptuous - scorn or disdain
  • countenanced - tolerated
  • crafty - clever
  • freshet - freshwater stream (flowing into the sea)
  • legerdemain - magic
  • lethargy - tired; weak
  • tules - weaving material

Chapter 5

  • edifice - building or structure

  • exhilaration - glad; joyful
  • leprosy - chronic granulomatous communicable disease
  • skirled - a shrill call
  • stifling - smothering; suffocating; to take away breath or restrict

Chapter 6

  • apprehensively - fearful

  • cleft - split
  • escarpment - a long, steep slope or cliff; declivity
  • intercession - intervention; protection; mediation
  • malignant - dangerous; harmful; tumorous; deadly
  • monolithic - huge; imposing
  • monotonously - boring; without variation
  • outcroppings - layers of rock
  • threshed - beat; whipped