Analysis Pages

Vocabulary in David Copperfield

Vocabulary Examples in David Copperfield:

Chapter 1 - I Am Born

🔒 9

"mourning weeds..."   (Chapter 1 - I Am Born)

In this context, the noun "weeds" refers to the traditionally black clothes worn by a widow grieving after the death of a her husband.

"sidled..."   (Chapter 1 - I Am Born)

The verb "to sidle" means to walk with one side forward, especially in a furtive way so as not to be noticed.

"portentous..."   (Chapter 1 - I Am Born)

The adjective "portentous" refers to one's giving a sign or warning of imminent unpleasantness. It can also refer to someone having a very grave, solemn, and serious demeanor. In this context, the suggestion is that Miss Betsey appears pompous and superior and evidently important.

"an annuity..."   (Chapter 1 - I Am Born)

An "annuity" is an insurance policy or an investment that pays someone a fixed amount of money each year.

"reversion..."   (Chapter 1 - I Am Born)

In legal contexts, a "reversion" refers to the returning of property to a former owner or to a person who received the right to it when the former owner died.

"fender..."   (Chapter 1 - I Am Born)

A "fender" is a low metal frame or screen placed in front of an open fireplace.

"Saracen's Head in a Dutch clock..."   (Chapter 1 - I Am Born)

In Europe in the late Middle Ages, Saracen was the term used to denote a Muslim from the Middle East. The word "Dutch" in the passage is generally considered to be a misnomer for Deutsch, meaning German. 

"a wax doll..."   (Chapter 1 - I Am Born)

A "wax doll" is a description that suggests she was not a mature woman of substance or refinement.

"caul..."   (Chapter 1 - I Am Born)

A "caul" is a piece of amniotic membrane that in rare instances covers a baby's head or face at birth.

"Lawk..."   (Chapter 2 - I Observe)

The interjection "lawk" is an expression of surprise similar to saying "Oh my goodness!"

"supposititious..."   (Chapter 2 - I Observe)

The adjective "supposititious" means that something is based on wondering or supposing. Seeing that Peggotty is not happy to be taking Davy away and leaving his mother with Murdstone makes Davy wonder if he is being taken away for good and, if that is the case, if he would be able to find his way back home.

"carrier's cart..."   (Chapter 2 - I Observe)

A carrier's cart is form of public transportation between towns and villages and the means to "mail" letters and packages.

"Quinion,' said Mr. Murdstone, 'take care, if you please. Somebody's sharp..."   (Chapter 2 - I Observe)

The expression "somebody's sharp" serves as a warning that Davy might understand what the men are talking about. The suggestion is that Mr. Murdstone has designs on Mrs. Copperfield and perhaps her inheritance.

"boat-cloaks..."   (Chapter 2 - I Observe)

A "boat-cloak" is a long black naval uniform cloak worn infrequently with evening dress uniforms.

"deferred..."   (Chapter 2 - I Observe)

The verb "to defer" means to submit to someone else's wishes, opinions, or governance.

"perspicuously..."   (Chapter 2 - I Observe)

The adverb "perspicuously" refers to something's being done in a way that is easy to understand because it is clear and precise.

"bolting furtive gooseberries..."   (Chapter 2 - I Observe)

Generally, the verb "to bolt" states that something happens rapidly. So, in this context, he eats the gooseberries very quickly so that his mother doesn't notice.

"sun-dial..."   (Chapter 2 - I Observe)

A sun-dial is a device used to show the time of day by the position of the sun; it consists of a plate with markings like a clock and an object with a straight edge that casts a shadow onto the plate. As the sun moves, the shadow moves around the face of the plate, showing the passing of time and the present hour.

"sheepish..."   (Chapter 3 - I Have A Change)

The adjective "sheepish" means appearing uncomfortable or embarrassed, as if one has done something wrong.

"oakum..."   (Chapter 3 - I Have A Change)

"Oakum" is hemp that's been treated with tar used for caulking seams in wooden ships to make them waterproof.

"pitch..."   (Chapter 3 - I Have A Change)

"Pitch" is a thick, sticky substance made from coal tar used for waterproofing, caulking, roofing, and paving roads.

Analysis Pages