New

'Of Mice and Men' Vocabulary

'Of Mice and Men' Vocabulary

Of Mice and Men is written in simple language, reflecting the understated nature of the world in which it takes places. However, a verbal richness appears through Steinbeck's use of slang and phonetics to capture the manner in which the characters speak, and the novel is filled with uncommon vocabulary words and phrases.

01of 20

Alfalfa

Definition: a plant grown for harvesting and fodder

Example: “George says we're gonna have alfalfa for the rabbits.”

02of 20

Bindle

Definition: a sack, bag, or carpet tied to a stick, used by migrant workers during the Great Depression

Example: “George unslung his bindle and dropped it gently on the bank.”

03of 20

Bindle Stiff

Definition: someone who carries a bindle, a hobo

Example: “Ever'body out doin' som'pin'. Ever'body! An' what am I doin'? Standin' here talkin' to a bunch of bindle stiffs.”

04of 20

Bemused

Definition: dazed, lost in thought

Example: "George stood up… 'We'll fix up that little old place an' we'll go live there.' He sat down again. They all sat still, all bemused by the beauty of the thing, each mind was popped into the future when this lovely thing should come about."

05of 20

Brittle

Definition: fragile, likely to break or shatter

Example: “'I'm lookin' for Curley,' she said. Her voice had a nasal, brittle quality."

06of 20

Dejectedly

Definition: with sadness, or in defeat

Example: “Lennie sat down on the ground and hung his head dejectedly.”

07of 20

Derision

Definition: ridicule, scorn

Example: "Through the open door came the thuds and occasional clangs of a horseshoe game, and now and then the sound of voices raised in approval or derision."

08of 20

Euchre

Definition: a trick-based multiplayer card game

Example: "George said, 'Anybody like to play a little euchre?"I'll play out a few with you,' said Whit."

09of 20

Golden Gloves

Definition: a national amateur boxing tournament

Example: “An' Curley's handy, God damn handy. Got in the finals for the Golden Gloves. He got newspaper clippings about it.”

10of 20

Graybacks

Definition: lice

Example: “'Then how come he got graybacks?' George was working up a slow anger."

11of 20

Halter

Definition: a rope or strap placed around the head of a horse or other animal for leading or tethering

Example: “And while she went through the barn, the halter chains rattled, and some horses snorted and some stamped their feet.”

12of 20

Hoosegow

Definition: prison (informal, slang)

Example: “These here jail baits is just set on the trigger of the hoosegow.”

13of 20

Jackson Fork

Definition: a fork suspended from a machine for gathering hay

Example: “One end of the great barn was piled high with new hay and over the pile hung the four-taloned Jackson fork suspended from its pulley.”

14of 20

Jungle-up

Definition: to camp outside

Example: “Tramps who come wearily down from the highway in the evening to jungle-up near water.”

15of 20

Lame

Definition: injured or physically disabled

Example: "After a moment the ancient dog walked lamely in through the open door."

16of 20

Mollify

Definition: to appease, to reduce severity

Example: “'Damn right he don't,' said George, slightly mollified, 'not if he wants to stay workin' long.'”

17of 20

Skinner

Definition: a type of worker on a farm, especially one who works with horses and mules

Example: “You ain't no skinner. They's no call for a bucker to come into the barn at all. You ain't no skinner. You ain't got nothing to do with the horses.”

18of 20

Skitter

Definition: to move quickly and lightly (especially a small animal)

Example: "When a little bird skittered over the dry leaves behind him, his head jerked up and he strained toward the sound with eyes and ears until he saw the bird, and then he dropped his head and drank again."

19of 20

Sullen

Definition: sulky, in a foul mood

Example: “She paused and her face lost its sullenness and grew interested.”

20of 20

Whitewashed

Definition: (of a surface) painted uniformly white

Example: "The bunk house was a long, rectangular building. Inside, the walls were whitewashed and the floor unpainted."