Huckleberry Finn: A brief glossary


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Affix - to attach

allycumpain - Elecampane, a medicinal herb

barlow knife - a one-bladed jackknife

bashful - shy

bitts - vertical timbers with ropes strung in between

blubber - to cry noisily

budge - To move or stir slightly

bullrushers - the basket that Moses floated down the Nile in was made of bulrushes

bullyrag - to abuse

chaw - a chew, especially of tobacco

chimbly-guy - wire which brace chimneys

coarse-hand - printing

commence - to begin

Congress water - mineral water from the Congress spring at Sarasota, New York

cooper - barrelmaker

corn-pone - cheap bread, usually made without milk or eggs

curry-comb - A comb with metal teeth, used for grooming horses

cuss - to curse

dodge - to evade

doggery - a saloon

erysipelas - a skin disease; tuberculosis

fidgety - nervous

forty-rod - Very strong whiskey

frivolous - Unworthy of serious attention; trivial: silly

galluses - Suspenders for trousers

gaudy - Showy in a tasteless or vulgar way.

goggle - To stare with wide and bulging eyes

galley-west - cockeyed

gnaw - to chew slowly

hark from the tomb - a scolding

harum-scarum - wild

hive - store up

ingot - A mass of metal--often gold or silver-- such as a bar or block, that is cast in a standard shape for convenient storage or shipment

Iron Mask - the masked prisoner in Alexander Dumasís novel The Man in the Iron Mask

Langudoc - a province in southern France

linsey-woolsey frock - womenís dress made from linen and wool or cotton and wool

looard - leeward; the side toward which the wind is blowing

meeky - to come meekly

melodeum - a small reed organ

Methusalem-numskull - an old idiot

mournersí bench - front row seats reserved for penitents

mudcat - type of catfish

muggin - a fool

mullet-headed - naive and stubborn

nation - short for damnation

Nebokoodneezer - Nebucgadnezzarm King of Babylon

ornery (ordinary)- Mean-spirited, disagreeable, and contrary in disposition

palavering - idly chattering

phrenology - psuedo science; practice consisting of reading a personís character from the bumps on his skull

pious - Having or exhibiting religious reverence; earnestly compliant in the observance of religion; devout

polly-voo-franzy - Parlais vous Francais--Do you speak French?

pow-wow - a racket or commotion

pungle - To pay up

rapscallion - A rascal; a scamp.

reticule - A woman's drawstring handbag or purse.

Ryo Janeero - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

seven-up - a card game

skiff - A flatbottom open boat of having a pointed bow and a square stern and propelled by oars, sail, or motor.


a humdinger

spondulicks - money

stabboard - "starboard" the right-hand side facing forwrd

stanchion - An upright pole, post, or support.

staving - vivid

stile - double sets of steps straddling a fence

sumter - a pack mule

tallow - Hard fat obtained from parts of the bodies of cattle, sheep, or horses, and used in foodstuffs or to make candles, leather dressing, soap, and lubricants

tan, thrash - beat up (tanning, thrashing (n.) - a beating, physical punishment

texas - officersí cabin

thicket - A dense growth of shrubs or underbrush

tow - hemp fibers

trample - To beat down with the feet so as to crush, bruise, or destroy

trot line - Long fishing line to which other fishing lines are attached

trifling - Something of little importance or value

wadding - newspaper to hold down the powder in a gun

wigwam - A Native American dwelling commonly having an arched or conical framework overlaid with bark, hides, or mats

yaller-boys - gold coins

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