Analysis Pages

Vocabulary in Daisy Miller

Vocabulary Examples in Daisy Miller:

Part I

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"invidious..."   (Part I)

The adjective "invidious" describes someone as having an unpleasant or objectionable nature, with such a nature as to tend to cause discontent.

"induction..."   (Part I)

Induction refers to the ability to think deductively or logically, beginning with a set of facts and then reaching a conclusion.

"embrasures..."   (Part I)

The noun "embrasures" refers to openings with sides flaring outward in a wall or parapet of a fortification, usually for allowing the firing of cannon.

"subjective..."   (Part I)

Another term with particular meaning in philosophy, "subjective" relates to the way a person experiences things within his or her mind and is based on feelings or opinions rather than facts.

"objective..."   (Part I)

In philosophy, the notion of something being "objective" refers to its existing outside the mind; existing in the real world.

"metaphysicians..."   (Part I)

Metaphysics is a school of philosophy in which philosophers concern themselves with the causes and nature of things.

"exclusive..."   (Part I)

In this context, the adjective "exclusive" refers to discriminating in one's social contacts and relationships.

""Tout bonnement! And pray what did you say?" ..."   (Part I)

The French expression tout bonnement translates as "all simply or everything simply." Mrs. Costello is dismissing Winterbourne's explanation that his encounter with Daisy Miller was limited to a casual meeting and simple conversation.

"common..."   (Part I)

In this context, "common" means that she is not of an elevated social rank, that she lacks an esteemed family heritage or social accomplishments.

"tournure..."   (Part I)

A "tournure" refers specifically to a bustle worn under a woman's dress. In this context, it refers to the form or fashioning of a princess.

"muslin furbelows..."   (Part I)

Muslin is a cotton cloth and furbelows are pleats or flounces on a woman's dress.

"courier..."   (Part I)

In this context, a "courier" is a person employed by a travel company and whose job is to help people who are on holiday.

"dishabituated to the American tone..."   (Part I)

The noun "dishabituation" means that something is restored to its full capacity after having previously been weakened by habitual use. In other words, Winterbourne's familiarity with American behavior had been restored after living abroad for so long.

"society..."   (Part I)

Since the noun "society" can have abstract meaning, here it is used as a reference to formal social gatherings, especially among the elite and wealthy members of society.

"coquette..."   (Part I)

The noun "coquette" refers to someone who endeavors without sincere affection to gain the attention and admiration of others and is synonymous with the "a flirt." Coquette has been traditionally used to refer to women who flirt with men.

"parasol..."   (Part I)

A "parasol" is small, lightweight umbrella used to provide shade in protecting the face from the sun.

"alpenstock..."   (Part I)

An "alpenstock" is a long iron-tipped staff used by hikers and mountain climbers.

"cravat..."   (Part I)

A cravat is a short, wide strip of fabric worn around the neck and tucked inside an open-necked shirt. Similar to a tie, it is a type of more formal attire for men's clothing.

"urchin..."   (Part I)

In this context, an "urchin" is a mischievous young child, especially one who is poorly or raggedly dressed.

"attache..."   (Part I)

An "attache" is a diplomatic official or a military officer assigned to an embassy or legation in a foreign country.

"legation..."   (Part I)

A secretary of legation is a kind of diplomatic minister (and staff), ranking below the position of ambassador.

"porter..."   (Part II)

A "porter" is a person stationed to admit or assist those who enter a doorway or a gate.

"perniciosa..."   (Part II)

perniciosa [Italian] "noxious or pernicious." In this context, it is a reference to malaria.

"a sanitary point of view..."   (Part II)

One of the definitions of the adjective "sanitary" pertains to health. In this context, Winterbourne is viewing the situation in terms of danger to Daisy's physical health.

"he cuts me..."   (Part II)

When used metaphorically, the verb "to cut someone" means to deliver a social slight by turning away from someone without acknowledgment, as Winterbourne does to Daisy here.

"ambiguity..."   (Part II)

The noun "ambiguity" refers to a state of being inexact in meaning and capable of meaning more than one thing.

"picturesque..."   (Part II)

The adjective "picturesque" means visually attractive and scenic, especially in a quaint or charming way that would lend itself to painting. 

"a waning moon..."   (Part II)

As opposed to a "waxing" moon, a "waning" moon is one that appears increasingly smaller in size after having been a full moon.

"cicerone..."   (Part II)

A word derived from the rhetorical style of the Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 BCE), a "cicerone" is a guide who accompanies sightseers and explains provides information about antiquities and places of historic or artistic interest. 

"provincial..."   (Part II)

Winterbourne considers Daily too "provincial," meaning she is unsophisticated or unworldly; familiar with only one place and its culture.

"pilasters..."   (Part II)

A "pilaster" is a rectangular column that projects from a wall.

"qui se passe ses fantaisies..."   (Part II)

qui se passe ses fantaisies [French] literally, "which is happening his fantasies." In context, having a relationship with someone like Daisy is Giovanelli's fantasy.

"marchese..."   (Part II)

In French, a marquis is a nobleman in the peerages of various European countries.

"the Golden Age..."   (Part II)

The "Golden Age" comes from Greek mythology and legend, the first of several Ages of Man. The Golden Age refers to the beginning of the ancient world, a time of peace, stability, harmony, and prosperity. 

"contingencies..."   (Part II)

The noun "contingency" refers to an event or things that might happen, especially as the result of something else.

"puerility..."   (Part II)

The noun "puerility" means silliness or childishness that suggests a lack of seriousness or good judgment.

"discretion..."   (Part II)

The noun "discretion" means to act carefully and with good judgment so as not to embarrass or offend someone.

"incongruous..."   (Part II)

The adjective "incongruous" describes something as not in harmony or in keeping with the surroundings or with other aspects of something; out of place.

"conscientiously..."   (Part II)

The adverb "conscientiously" refers to something's being done in a way that shows concern for doing what one believes to be right; dutifully.

"pregnantly..."   (Part II)

The adverb "pregnantly" means that something is done in a way that is saturated with meaning. Mrs. Walker is voicing strong disapproval of Daisy's drawing attention to herself in a manner Mrs. Walker thinks is scandalous. 

"edified..."   (Part II)

The noun "edification" refers to the act or process of "edifying," or being instructed or improved, morally or intellectually. In this context, Mrs. Walker is speaking sarcastically.

"compromise..."   (Part II)

In this context, to "compromise herself" means to bring into disrepute by foolish, indiscreet, or reckless behavior.

"dissuade..."   (Part II)

The verb "to dissuade" is similar to "persuade" but rather than trying to convince someone to do something, to "dissuade" means to convince someone not to take a particular course of action.

"gallantry..."   (Part II)

The noun "gallantry" refers to courageous behavior or polite respect, traditionally as shown by men to women.

"victoria..."   (Part II)

A "victoria" is a light four-wheeled horse-drawn carriage with a collapsible hood, seats for two passengers, and an elevated driver’s seat in front.

"interlocutor..."   (Part II)

The noun "interlocutor" comes from the Latin interloqui and serves as a more formal word for a person who takes part in a conversation.

"amoroso..."   (Part II)

Italian: loving; affectionate; charming. Here, it is used in context to refer to Giovanelli as a charming suitor, the object of Daisy's interest and affection.

"urbane..."   (Part II)

The adjective "urbane" described Mr. Giovanelli as suave, courteous, and refined in his manners; he is sophisticated and cultured.

"glass..."   (Part II)

A single round lens that serves as an eyeglass for one eye is called a "monocle."

"prattle..."   (Part II)

The verb "to prattle" means to talk at length about things that aren't important or interesting.

"partisan..."   (Part II)

When used as a noun, "partisan" means a follower or supporter who exhibits blind or unreasoning allegiance.

"axiom-- ..."   (Part II)

The noun "axiom" refers to a rule or principle that many people accept and believe is true.

"compatriot..."   (Part II)

A "compatriot" is person from one's own country and can also be used more generally to refer to a friend or colleague who is a member of one's group or organization. 

"cynical..."   (Part II)

The adjective "cynical" describes someone as distrustful of human nature and people's motives. A cynical person assumes that people are selfish and dishonest.

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