To Kill a Mockingbird – Chapter 3: Vocabulary

onslaught (n.): a violent attack
dispensation (n.): a release from an obligation or promise. In this case, by offering friendship to Walter and promising that Scout won’t fight with him, Jem dispenses her threat to fight with him more.
irked (v.): to be irked is to be annoyed. Scout is annoyed when Jem tells Walter that she won’t fight with him (Walter) anymore.
hain’t (n.): a ghost or spook; someone or something very scary
erratic (adj.): irregular. Calpurnia usually uses good grammar, but when she is angry, her grammar is irregular.
tranquility (n.): peacefulness; serenity
eddy (n.): a current of water that moves against the main current; a whirlpool
persevere (v.): to carry on in spite of difficulties
cootie (n.): a slang term for a head louse. A louse (plural: lice) is a bloodsucking parasite. See a picture of a head louse.
lye soap (n.): Lye is a very strong alkaline substance used for cleaning. Lye soap is very strong, harsh soap that contains lye.
kerosene (n.): a thin oil. Kerosene is sometimes used as a solvent or cleaning agent, although its more common use is for fuel or lighting.
contemptuous (adj.): To be contemptuous is to have the feeling that someone or something is beneath you; that it or they are worthless. The Ewell boy obviously feels this way about his teacher, Miss Caroline.
contentious (adj.): always ready to argue or fight
diminutive (adj.): smaller than ordinary
monosyllabic (adj.): Mono means “one.” A syllable is word or a part of a word, which can be pronounced with a single, uninterrupted sound. The name “Atticus,” for example, is made up of three syllables: at + ti + cus. Thus, monosyllabic literally means “one sound.” Scout’s monosyllabic replies to Atticus’s questions about her first day at school might have been made up of one-sound words like “yes” and “no.”
cracklin bread (n.): a type of cornbread mixed with cracklins (bits of fried pork skin).
amiable (adj.): friendly
dose (of) magnesia (n. + n.): A dose is an exact amount of medicine. Magnesia is a medicine used as a laxative and antacid.
compromise (n.): an agreement where each person agrees to give up something
mutual concessions (adj. + n.): A concession is an agreement; something that is mutual is done by two or more people. Thus, a mutual concession occurs when two or more people agree on something.
disapprobation (n.): disapproval
gravely (adv.): seriously
discernible (adj.): understandable

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