(From Uncle Tom's Cabin)
1. portentous (adjective) \pȯr-ˈten-təs\
- of, relating to, or constituting a portent
hints of sinister and violent mysteries — Francine Prose>
- eliciting amazement or wonder : prodigious
- being a grave or serious matter
- self-consciously solemn or important : pompous
unsalted by the least trace of humor — W. H. Pritchard>
- ponderously excessive
R. M. Coles>
Synonyms: ominous, marvelous, amazing, momentous
His hands, large and coarse, were plentifully bedecked with rings; and he wore a heavy gold watch-chain, with a bundle of seals of portentous size, and a great variety of colors, attached to it,—which, in the ardor of conversation, he was in the habit of flourishing and jingling with evident satisfaction.
2. quadroon (noun) \kwä-ˈdrün\
- a person having one-fourth black ancestry
- the offspring of a mulatto and a white.
Here the door opened, and a small quadroon boy, between four and five years of age, entered the room.
3. vehement (adjective) \ˈvē-ə-mənt\
- zealous; ardent; impassioned: a vehement defense; vehement enthusiasm.
- characterized by rancor or anger; violent: vehement hostility.
- strongly emotional; intense or passionate: vehement desire.
- marked by great energy or exertion; strenuous: vehement clapping.
Synonyms: aggressive, assertive, dynamic, energetic, forceful, full-blooded,
muscular, resounding, strenuous, emphatic, vigorous, violent
Antonyms: nonassertive, nonemphatic, unemphatic
Andy looked up innocently at Sam, surprised at hearing this new geographical fact, but instantly confirmed what he said, by a vehement reiteration.
4. mulatto (noun) \mə-ˈla-(ˌ)tō, mu̇-, myu̇-, -ˈlä \
- the offspring of one white parent and one black parent: not in technical use.
- a person whose ancestry is a mixture of Negro and Caucasian
- a person of mixed white and black ancestry
- of a light-brown color.
Other forms: plural mu·lat·toes or mu·lat·tos
She had been married to a bright and talented young mulatto man, who was a slave on a neighboring estate, and bore the name of George Harris.
5. witticism ( noun) \ˈwi-tə-ˌsi-zəm\
- cleverly witty and often biting or ironic remark
Synonyms: boff (or boffo), boffola, crack, drollery, funny, gag, giggle [chiefly
British], jape, jest, josh, laugh, nifty, one-liner, pleasantry, quip, rib, sally,
waggery, wisecrack, joke, yuk (or yuck also yak or yock) [slang]
Aunt Chloe sat back in her chair, and indulged in a hearty guffaw of laughter, at this witticism of young Mas'r's, laughing till the tears rolled down her black, shining cheeks, and varying the exercise with playfully slapping and poking Mas'r Georgey, and telling him to go way, and that he was a case—that he was fit to kill her, and that he sartin would kill her, one of these days;
6. benighted (adjective) \bi-ˈnī-təd, bē-\
- overtaken by darkness or night
- existing in a state of intellectual, moral, or social darkness : unenlightened
Synonyms: analphabetic, ignorant, dark, illiterate, nonliterate, rude, simple,
uneducated, uninstructed, unlearned, unlettered, unread, unschooled,
Antonyms: educated, knowledgeable, lettered, literate, schooled, well-informed,
“Pity, now, Tom couldn't," said Aunt Chloe, on whose benevolent heart the idea of Tom's benighted condition seemed to make a strong impression.
7. obstreperous (adjective) \əb-ˈstre-p(ə-)rəs, äb-\
- marked by unruly or aggressive noisiness : clamorous
- stubbornly resistant to control : unruly
Synonyms: blatant, caterwauling, clamant, clamorous, vociferous, squawking,
vociferant, vociferating, yawping (or yauping), yowling
Antonyms: amenable, biddable, compliant, conformable, docile, obedient, ruly,
“O! go long, will ye?" said the mother, giving now and then a kick, in a kind of general way, under the table, when the movement became too obstreperous. "Can't”
8. exhortation ( noun) \ˌek-ˌsȯr-ˈtā-shən, -sər-; ˌeg-ˌzȯr-, -zər-\
- an act or instance of exhorting
- language intended to incite and encourage
“Go long to de spring and wash yerselves!" she said, seconding her exhortations by a slap, which resounded very formidably, but which seemed only to knock out so much more laugh from the young ones, as they tumbled precipitately over each other out of doors, where they fairly screamed with merriment.
9. officious (adjective) \ə-ˈfi-shəs\
- volunteering one's services where they are neither asked nor needed :
- informal, unofficial
Synonyms: busy, interfering, intruding, meddlesome, meddling, nosy (or nosey),
obtrusive, intrusive, presuming, presumptuous, protrusive, prying,
pushing, pushy, snoopy
Mandy, Fanny, and all the smaller specimens on the place, both male and female, raced, clapped hands, whooped, and shouted, with outrageous officiousness and untiring zeal.
“Why, Mas'r," said Sam, in a deprecating tone, "I believe you mean to kill us all clar, horses and all."