Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Vocabulary Quiz Derived From Five Pages of "Blood Meridian"

Here are eleven words you'll need to know in order to understand pages 60-65 of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."
-William Faulkner, on Ernest Hemingway

"Poor Faulkner.  Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"
-Ernest Hemingway, on William Faulkner

Below are some words that come from the first half of chapter 5 of Blood Meridian, in which the kid and Sproule regroup after the brutal Comanche scalping raid.  How many of these words do you know? Can you beat my score of 0/11?

1. vadose

A.  a conical heap of stones built as a monument or a landmark
2. tenon

B. a projecting part cut on the end of a piece of wood for insertion into a corresponding hole to make a joint
3. talus

C. a short timber placed lengthwise under a beam or girder
4. squail

D. a spiny desert candlewood
5. spectra

E. designating water that clings to solid matter
6. slag

F. dipping in one direction: said of strata, or rock layers
7. ocotillo

G. sloped
8. monoclinal

H. the fused refuse or dross separated from a metal in the process of smelting; lava resembling this
9. hove

I. to throw anything about awkwardly or irregularly
10. corbel

J. (alt pt. & pp. of heave) to raise or lift with effort
11. cairn

K. (plural of spectrum) afterimages

(Words not in my dictionary: carreta, slear)

1: E,   2: B,   3: G,   4: I,   5: K,   6: H,   7:D,   8: F,   9: J,   10: C,   11: A


  1. Ugh! you read that? That book made me feel hopeless. I had to quit it after the "tree" scene.

    1. I'm only about 75 pages in. You've got to gird your loins when you're reading McCarthy. This is my fourth book by him, so I know that feeling you're talking about.