Vocabulary in Common Sense

Vocabulary Examples in Common Sense:

Introduction 3

"extirpating..."   (Introduction)

To "extirpate" someone, or something, is to find and destroy it. In this circumstance Paine is writing about concern over the destruction of those who defend against the natural rights of mankind.

"censure..."   (Introduction)

Paine chooses the word "censure" to express strong disapproval; in this case Paine is clarifying that he will neither praise, nor formally disprove of, any individuals in the pamphlet.

"tumult..."   (Introduction)

The word "tumult" means confusion or disorder, and in this context, it refers to the chaos or confusion that Paine believes will wane after people read, and think about, this text.

"obstinate..."   (I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution)

"Obstinate" refers to someone who is stubborn and refuses to accept ideas or beliefs that they do not agree with. Within this context, the phrase "obstinate prejudice" is practically an oxymoron, because prejudice is often founded upon non-logical feelings.

"fidelity..."   (I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution)

"Fidelity" refers to a strong degree of loyalty or faithfulness. Within this context Paine advocates that the elected officials will remain faithful to their constituents due to a strong desire to be well-regarded.

"remissness..."   (I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution)

To be "remiss" is to be neglectful, or careless, so in this instance Paine is cautioning against the inevitable relaxation of people, when it comes to their responsibilities, which enable them to exist without a form of government.

"impregnable..."   (I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution)

"Impregnable" refers to something that cannot be defeated or captured. Within this context Paine concedes that vice can be avoided only in heaven, and therefore there will inevitably be some difficulties with emigration.

"reciprocal..."   (I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution)

A "reciprocal" blessing is one which is shared, or felt, in turn. Within this context it provides Paine with an opportunity for strong diction to further reinforce his belief in the mutually beneficial development of a society without a need for government.

"sequestered..."   (I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution)

"Sequestered" refers to a place that is secluded, or hidden away. Paine uses this word to clarify that the example he is presenting should be imagined in isolation, without any real-world connotations or influences.

"bowers..."   (I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution)

A "bower" is a shady place beneath trees or bushes. Paine is against a monarchical structure and subsequently believes that the palaces of kings are not made to stand in the light, but instead they exist in the shadow of the ruins of paradise.

"patron..."   (I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution)

A "patron" is someone who offers financial support to a person, or organization, frequently in the arts.

"confounded..."   (I. Of the Origin and Design of Government in General, with Concise Remarks on the English Constitution)

Paine uses the word "confounded" (a verb which refers to something that both surprises, or confuses) to state that certain writers from this period have mixed up society and government and subsequently reference them interchangeably.

"exalted..."   (II. Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession)

"Exalted" is an adjective used to describe someone or something held in extremely high regard, often with greater power. Paine objects to a monarchical government because it encourages a line of men to be exalted above others, including those whom they rule.

"Antiquity..."   (II. Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession)

"Antiquity" references the ancient past, particularly the period prior to the Middle Ages. In this context Paine is referencing a time from long ago to further support his claims.

"avarice..."   (II. Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession)

"Avarice" means extreme greed, particularly in regards to wealth and material possessions.

"sophist..."   (II. Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession)

A "sophist" is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as "a captious, or fallacious reasoner," meaning someone who's reasoning is clever but who's argument is false.

"To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession..."   (II. Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession)

The absolute power of a monarchy is made worse by hereditary succession, which is a legal term that refers to the passing of power through a single family lineage. This subsequently eliminates any sort of power or autonomy the people of a country may have had to elect their own leader.

"Popish..."   (II. Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession)

"Popish" is a somewhat derogatory adjective of, or in reference to, the Roman Catholic Church.

"fallacious..."   (III. Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs)

Something "fallacious" is based upon a mistaken, or inaccurate, belief. In this context, Paine uses this word to more strongly assert the wrongness of the aforementioned argument.

"Lucifer..."   (III. Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs)

In Judeo-Christian ideology, Lucifer is an alternate name for the devil. Within this context, Paine is making a strong stance by equating anyone who promotes governmental discord to the devil.

"Reconciliation is now a fallacious dream..."   (III. Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs)

By a "fallacious dream," Paine means that at this point the colonists have reached the point of no return; the war must be carried out to its inevitable end.

"coward..."   (III. Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs)

Paine uses the word "coward"—someone who lacks courage and fears danger, or pain—to single out those who maintain loyalty to England and seeks to shame them for their decision.

"sycophant..."   (III. Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs)

A "sycophant" is someone who tries to falsely flatter a person in a position of authority in order to get what they want. In this case, the word is used to further reinforce the utter disdain Paine thinks should be directed towards those who do not support the revolution.