acres (n.): An acre is an area of land equal to 4,840 square yards or 43,560 square feet. For comparison, a football field is 45,000 square feet, so one acre is a little smaller than a football field.
anguished (adj.): anguish is a feeling of great physical or mental pain. The look on Lennie's face would show the mental pain he feels at the thought of George leaving him.
bank (n.): the part of land that meets a body of water
bindle (n.): a small bundle of items rolled up inside a blanket and carried over the shoulder or on the back; a bedroll. See a picture of a man carrying a bindle.
brusquely (adv.): quickly; bluntly; abruptly; almost rudely
bucking (v.): To buck in this instance is to throw large bags of grain on a truck. Barley is poured into large burlap bags (75 or more pounds) and passed brigade-style (in a line) to the truck.
carp (n.): a freshwater fish. See some pictures of carp.
cat house (n.): whore house; house of prostitution
contemplated (v.) To contemplate something is to think about it. Lennie is thinking about running away.
'coons (n.): raccoons. See one in this picture.
current (n.): the strong flow of water in a definite direction
debris (n.): remains. In this case, the "debris of the winter's flooding" would be drops of water falling from the leaves of the tree.
elaborate (adj.): expressed in great detail
flats (n.): level, flat ground
heron (n.): a wading bird (that is, a bird that is often found wading in the water, usually in a search for food) with a long neck, beak, and legs. See some pictures of heron.
junctures (n.): A juncture is where two things come together. The juncture of a willow leaf is where the two sides of the leaf meet in the center.
mimicking (v.): imitating
morosely (adv.): in a sad, gloomy manner
mottled (adj.): having a variety of hues or colors; variegated, like marble
periscope (n.): a device that, through a series of mirrors and prisms, allows one to view something not directly in the line of sight. Periscopes are used on submarines to allow the sailors to see above the waterline.
rabbit hutch (n.): A type of cage for keeping rabbits.
recumbent (adj.): still; without movement
reeds (n.): tall grass with hollow stems, often found in or near water. See a picture of some water reeds.
single file (n.): a line of people, animals, or things moving one after the other. Instead of walking side by side, George and Lennie walk in single file; George first, then Lennie behind him.
stake (n.): an amount of money
stilted (adj.): In the instance, stilted refers to the legs of the heron which are very long and thin, like stilts.
sycamores (n.): a type of shade tree with leaves resembling the leaves of a maple tree. See a picture of a sycamore tree.
thrashin' machines (n): Thrashing machines, sometimes called threshers or threshing machines, are used on farms to separate the grain or seed from the straw of such plants as barley or wheat. See some pictures of threshing machines.
tramps (n.): In this case, a tramp is a person who travels about on foot, usually doing odd jobs for a living (To "tramp" means to travel on foot).
unslung (v.): removed; took off
wearily (adv.): tired; in a tired way
willows (n.): a type of tree with narrow leaves and strong, flexible twigs and branches. See a picture of willows.
abruptly (adv.): suddenly; almost rudely
apprehensive (adj.): anxious; fearful
archly (adv.): playfully
axles (n.): bars connecting two opposite wheels
bale (n.): a large bundle of something that has been compressed and tied together. Grains such as hay, wheat, and barley are often made into bales after they're harvested.
barley (n.): a type of cereal grass. The grain from the barley plant is often used for making malts and for animal feed. See a picture of barley.
bitch (n.): a female dog
blacksmith (n.): a person who works with iron, especially in the making of horseshoes. See some pictures of blacksmiths at work.
bridled (v.): to pull one's head back in anger or pride; especially when one feels one has been offended
bristled (adj.): stiff and prickly
bristly (adj.): stiff and prickly
brusquely (adv.): roughly; abruptly
buckers (n.): people who buck grain bags
bunk house (n): a building that provides sleeping quarters for workers on a ranch or farm.
bunks (n): beds
burlap (n.): a coarse, inexpensive, woven fabric; often used for making grain sacks
calculating (adj.): shrewd; scheming
cesspool (n.): a deep hole in the ground into which sewage from sinks, toilets, etc. is drained.
cockier (adj.): To be cocky is to be conceited, overbearing, and aggressive.
complacently (adv.): in a pleased, satisfied manner
cultivator (n.): a large farm machine used for cultivation (the preparation of the earth for planting). See some pictures of cultivators.
derogatory (adj.): belittling and insulting
dinner (n.): the major meal of the day. In this case, dinner is served in the middle of the day.
disengage (v.): free
dousing (n): to douse is to be drenched with liquid. A dousing refers to someone having been covered with a liquid, in this case water, during a washing.
dragfooted (adj.) lame; dragging a lame foot
gingerly (adv.): in a careful, cautious way
grain teams (n): A team is two or more horses harnessed to a wagon or other drawn vehicle. Grain teams would be the teams (horses and wagons) used to haul grain in from the fields.
graybacks (n.): lice; parasites. Lice are small, wingless insects that live off the blood of other animals. See a picture of a louse.
grizzled (adj.): gray
handy (adj.): clever with one's hands; especially, in this case, in terms of fighting
harness (n.): the leather straps and metal pieces by which a horse or mule is fastened to a vehicle. See a picture of various pieces of horse harness.
hatchet face (n): a lean, sharp face
heavy-laden (adj.) heavily loaded
insteps (n.): the parts of the shoes between the toe and the ankle
laboring (adj.): working, particularly work that involves physical labor.
lamely (adv.): To be lame is to be crippled; especially to have an injured leg or foot.
lashed (v.): swung around quickly
lean (adj.): thin
leaves (n.): pages
levelly (adv.): Something that is level is flat and horizontal. To stare at someone levelly is to stare at that person straight on -- not looking up nor down.
lice: a type of parasite. See a picture of a louse.
lightweight (n.): a boxer who weighs between 127 - 135 pounds
liniment (n.): a medicated liquid rubbed on the skin to ease sore muscles and sprains
mollified (adj.): soothed; pacified
mules (n): a type of shoe or slipper than does not cover the heal. See a picture of a pair of mules.
muzzle (n.): the projecting part (the part that sticks out) of a dogs head that includes the mouth, nose, and jaw.
nosey (adj.): nosy. A nosey person is one who tends to pry into the business of others.
ominously (adv.): in a threatening way
peered (v.): To peer is to look closely or squint at something to see it more clearly.
pocket (n.): in this instance, a pocket would be a hollow or cavity in the land filled with gold ore
precede (v.): go before or ahead of
pugnacious (adj.): eager and ready to fight
rectangular (adj.): A rectangle is a shape that is longer than it is wide. The rectangular bunk house is a building that is longer than it is wide.
rouged (adj.): colored red, as with lipstick
scourges (n.): a scourge is anything that inflicts discomfort or suffering; in this case, any variety of insects and pests
scowled (v.): a scowl is an angry look achieved by frowning and scrunching the eyebrows together.
sheep dog (n.): a breed of dog trained to herd sheep. See a picture of a sheep dog.
shepherds (n.): dogs bred to herd sheep. See a picture of a shepherd.
skeptically (adv.): To be skeptical is doubt or question something. George is doubting that the bunk house, and especially his mattress, is really clean
slough (v): get rid of
soiled (adj.): dirty; stained
solitaire lay (n): Solitaire is a one-person game of cards. A solitaire lay is the set up of the cards at the beginning of the game. See a picture of a solitaire lay.
spurs (n.): sharp, pointed metal devices worn on the heels of a boots, used to urge on horses when riding. See a picture of spurs.
squinted (v.): To squint one's eyes is to look or peer with the eyes partly closed or narrowed.
squirmed (v.): twisted and turned; wriggled
stable buck (n.): a stable is a building where horses are kept. A buck, in this case, is a derogatory word for a black man. A staple buck, then, would be a black man who works in a stable.
stocky (adj.): heavily and solidly built
swamper (n.): a handyman; someone who performs odd jobs often involving cleaning
tart (n.) a woman of loose morals; one who is prone to be sexually unfaithful
tick (n.) mattress covering
ticking (n.): the cloth case for a mattress. In this instance, the cloth case was made from burlap.
time book (n): a book used to record the hours of workers
trace chains (n): the chains that connect a horse's harness to a vehicle
tramp (n.): In this case, a tramp is a woman of loose morals who is sexually promiscuous
vials (n.): small bottles
viciously (adv.): cruelly; in a mean way
wheeler (n.): the horse harnessed nearest to the front wheels of a vehicle
alfalfa: a plant widely grown for animal feed. See a picture of a field of alfalfa.
barrel: the long part of a gun through which the bullet travels when it is fired
bemused: preoccupied; deep in thought
bleated: A bleat is the cry usually associated with a goat, sheep, or calf. In this case, Lennie cries out with terror in an animal-like way.
candy wagon: a crew bus or truck used for transporting people
chamber: the part of the gun that holds the next bullet to be shot
'cots: apricots. See some in this picture.
cowering: To cower is to shrink and tremble from fear.
crouched: To crouch is to bend low with arms and legs drawn close to the body.
defensively: To be defensive is to be on guard against attack, be it verbal or physical. George is on guard against an attack about his relationship with Lennie.
derision: To deride someone is to make fun of that person. The sound of voices of derision would be the sound of people making fun of, or laughing at, another.
does (n.): female rabbits
dusk (n.): shadowy; gloomy (dusk is the period of time that comes just before dark or evening)
ejector: the mechanism of a gun that throws out the empty cartridge of a fired bullet
euchre: a card game
loaded shell: an unfired bullet
magazine: the part of the gun that holds the bullets
orchard (n.): an area where many fruit or nut trees are planted. See a picture of a pecan orchard.
pig pen: a pen, in this case, is a small enclosures for animals. A pig pen is a small enclosure for pigs.
receptive: able and willing to listen to and accept information, new ideas, etc. Slim is willing to listen to what George is about to tell him.
reprehensible: To reprehend someone is to reprimand or criticize that person. Something that is reprehensible is something that is deserving of criticism.
rheumatism: a painful condition involving the joints and muscles
run: an enclosure for animals in which they can exercise, feed, etc.
sarcastically: in a mean way; bitterly
setter dog (n): A setter is any of several breeds of long-haired dogs usually trained to work with hunters. See some pictures of various types of setters.
slug: a single drink; especially of alcohol
smoke (v.): Many meats and fish can be preserved by the means of smoking. To smoke meat is to expose it for a length of time to
smoke house: a building where meat or fish is cured (prepared) by means of dense smoke. See a picture of a smoke house.
thong: a narrow strip of material; in this case, leather
aloof (adj.): distant; removed; cool
arouse: to excite; bring about
blackjack game: a gambling card game; also known as "Twenty-One"
champing (v.): chewing noisily
contemptuously: full of contempt or scorn
ego: sense of self; self-awareness
hame (n.): the piece along the side of a horse collar to which the trace chains are attached
intensity (n.): great strength and sharpness
keg (n.): a small barrel
mauled (adj.): torn; worn-out. To maul something is to treat it roughly or clumsily.
meager (adj.): of poor quality or small amount
persuasive (adj.): convincing
riveter (n.): a tool used to fasten rivets. Rivets are small metal bolts or pins used to attach fabric and leather pieces together
rummy (n.): a card game
scornful: Scorn is a feeling of contempt for someone or something; the belief that a person or thing is worthless. Crooks is scornful of Lennie because he thinks Lennie's plan is nothing more than a dream.
spectacles (n.): eyeglasses
subsided: became less excited; calmed down
twict: a sharp, sudden punch
whinnied: the low, gently sound (sometimes called a "neigh") that a horse makes
Chapters Five and Six
craftily (adv.): in a sly, cunning manner
darkly (adv.): deeply; richly; secretly
drawn (v.): To draw someone out is to get that person to talk. Curley's wife cannot get Lennie to talk to her.
dugs (n.): nipples; teets
emphasis (n.): force; expression; stress
fainter (adj.): weaker; dimmer; unclear
gingham (n.): a cotton cloth, usually woven in stripes or checks. See some samples of gingham.
gust (n.): a strong, sudden rush of air
hovered (v.): lingered; stayed suspended
jack-pin (n.): Also known as a belaying pin, a jack pin is a removable wooden or metal pin inserted in the rail of ships around which ropes can be fastened. See a picture of a jack pin.
monotonous (adj.): flat, with no expression
pulley (n.): a small wheel with a grove or rim in which a rope or chain runs. Pulleys are used with ropes or chains to left heavy items. See pictures of various types of pulleys.
snooker (n.): a type of pool game. Find out more about snooker.
sulkily (adv.): in a gloomy manner
sullenly (adv.): sadly; in a depressing and gloomy way
taloned (adj.): A talon is a finger-like claw. A four-taloned fork would be a fork with four "claws."
wisps (n.): tiny, slight strands or pieces
writhed (v.): twisted