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Fahrenheit 451
Vocabulary

Extra Credit Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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consonant
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
consonant or vowel?
A special spot-wavex-scrambler also caused his televised image, in the area immediately about his lips, to mouth the vowels and consonants beautifully.
consonants = speech sounds that are not vowels

(editor's note:  On standardized tests, you are more likely to see a very different sense of consonant which means "in keeping with; or in harmony with" as in "Her behavior was consonant with her beliefs.")
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consonant means:
a letter of the alphabet (or a speech sound) that is not a vowel
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convoluted
1 use
Grandfather's been dead for all these years, but if you lifted my skull, by God, in the convolutions of my brain you'd find the big ridges of his thumbprint.
convolutions = complex folds and twists
DefinitionGenerally convoluted means:
highly complex or intricate
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dictum
1 use
There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no!
dictum = formal pronouncement
DefinitionGenerally dictum means:
a short saying intended to make a point
in various senses, including:
  • a popular saying — such as "Nothing is certain but death and taxes."
  • a formal declaration from a respected source — such as the Constitution's statement that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech"
  • a non-binding remark in a judge's opinion — short for obiter dictum
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liberal arts
1 use
The old man admitted to being a retired English professor who had been thrown out upon the world forty years ago when the last liberal arts college shut for lack of students and patronage.
liberal arts = intended to provide general knowledge and intellectual skills
DefinitionGenerally liberal arts means:
studies intended to provide general knowledge and intellectual skills (rather than occupational or professional skills)
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linguist
1 use
Aren't there professors like yourself, former writers, historians, linguists ....
linguists = specialists in the study of language
DefinitionGenerally linguist means:
a specialist in the study of language

or:

a person who is skilled in multiple languages
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loam
1 use
We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam.
loam = rich soil
DefinitionGenerally loam means:
a rich soil consisting of a mixture of sand and clay and decaying organic materials
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metropolis
1 use
Before the bus had run another fifty yards on the highway, its destination would be meaningless, and its point of departure changed from metropolis to junkyard.
metropolis = a large city
DefinitionGenerally metropolis means:
a large city — especially one that is considered important
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nettle
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
beware of nettles near the river
Half an hour later, cold, and moving carefully on the tracks, fully aware of his entire body, his face, his mouth, his eyes stuffed with blackness, his ears stuffed with sound, his legs prickled with burrs and nettles, he saw the fire ahead.
nettles = irritating hairs from certain  types of plants

(editor's note:  On standardized tests, you are more likely to see another sense of nettle which means "to annoy" as in "Don't nettle your sister," or "...my nettlesome little sister.")
DefinitionGenerally this sense of nettle means:
a type of plant with stinging or irritating hairs
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olfactory
1 use
At night when things got dull, which was every night, the men slid down the brass poles, and set the ticking combinations of the olfactory system of the Hound and let loose rats in the firehouse area-way, and sometimes chickens, and sometimes cats that would have to be drowned anyway, and there would be betting to see which the Hound would seize first.
olfactory = smelling
DefinitionGenerally olfactory means:
relating to the sense of smell
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pantomime
1 use
He could only pantomime, hoping she would turn his way and see him.
pantomime = communicate through gestures and body movements (without words)
DefinitionGenerally pantomime means:
a performance or expression of something through gestures and body movements without words
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patronage
1 use
The old man admitted to being a retired English professor who had been thrown out upon the world forty years ago when the last liberal arts college shut for lack of students and patronage.
patronage = donations of money
DefinitionGenerally patronage means:
support or favor given
The exact sense of patronage depends upon its context. For example::
  • "wants to increase federal patronage of the arts" — donations made to support an organization or person
  • "a political patronage appointee" — favors given such as political appointments or contracts given in return for political support
  • "rewards repeat patronage" — business from customers — especially recurring business
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pedantic
1 use
The most important single thing we had to pound into ourselves was that we were not important, we mustn't be pedants; we were not to feel superior to anyone else in the world. We're nothing more than dust-jackets for books, of no significance otherwise.
pedants = showoffs of academic knowledge
DefinitionGenerally pedantic means:
too concerned with formal rules, details, or book learning
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proclivity
1 use
Were all firemen picked then for their looks as well as their proclivities?
proclivities = natural inclinations
DefinitionGenerally proclivity means:
a natural inclination
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quibble
1 use
Let's not quibble over individuals with memoriams.
quibble = argue (about unimportant things)
DefinitionGenerally quibble means:
to argue about unimportant things; or an argument or complaint about something unimportant
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rationalize
1 use
My uncle says the architects got rid of the front porches because they didn't look well. But my uncle says that was merely rationalizing it; the real reason, hidden underneath, might be they didn't want people sitting like that, doing nothing, rocking, talking; that was the wrong kind of social life.
rationalizing = using reason to make excuses for bad behavior
DefinitionGenerally this sense of rationalize means:
to think of a good excuse for behavior that seems bad or unreasonable, and to believe the excuse is good or reasonable — typically done subconsciously and often after the behavior in question
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rebuttal
1 use
"Oh, you were scared silly," said Beatty, "for I was doing a terrible thing in using the very books you clung to, to rebut you on every hand, on every point!"
rebut = argue against
DefinitionGenerally rebuttal means:
a statement that argues that something is not true
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resolve
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
Her resolve weakened.
He was looking for a brightness, a resolve, a triumph over tomorrow that hardly seemed to be there. Perhaps he had expected their faces to burn and glitter with the knowledge they carried, to glow as lanterns glow, with the light in them.
resolve = firmness of purpose
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolve means:
firmness of purpose (strong determination to do something)
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SAT®*top 500
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simile
1 use
People were more often-he searched for a simile, found one in his work-torches, blazing away until they whiffed out.
simile = a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds
DefinitionGenerally simile means:
a phrase expressing a similarity between things of different kinds — usually formed with "like" or "as"

as in "It's like looking for a needle in a haystack," or "She is as quiet as a mouse."
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stock
1 use
Playing the stock-market, of course, the last refuge in the world for the dangerous intellectual out of a job.†
stock = regarding shares of ownership of corporations
DefinitionGenerally this sense of stock means:
shares of ownership of a corporation
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strata
1 use
The entire operation was not unlike the digging of a trench in one's yard. The woman on the bed was no more than a hard stratum of marble they had reached.
stratum = layer
DefinitionGenerally strata means:
layers

or:

levels, classes, or groups into which people or other things are divided
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Sample usage followed by this mark was not checked by an editor. Please let us know if you spot a problem.
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