alcove a small area set off from a larger room or space.
animals a term used in Jonas' community to describe someone "uneducated or clumsy, or someone who didn't fit in."
aptitude skill or ability.
augmented added to.
benign not harmful; gentle and calm.
Birthmother a female who is assigned to give birth to three children within three years, after which she becomes a Laborer.
buoyancy the ability to stay afloat.
Capacity to See Beyond having the ability to see things that others cannot see.
Caretaker a person who cares for the elderly in the House of the Old.
carnage here, meaning a mutilated and bloody body.
Ceremony of Loss When a child dies unexpectedly, the citizens of the community repeat the dead person's name over and over — and more and more softly — during the day.
Climate Control Jonas' community controls the weather so that it is the same all the time.
Collection Crew people assigned to pick up food trays left outside of dwellings.
comfort object a stuffed animal that is issued to an infant until the child becomes an Eight, at which time the stuffed animal is recycled for another child's use.
conveyance here, meaning transportation.
December Ceremony the ceremony during which the children in each peer group chronologically move from one age to the next; infants are placed with family units, and Twelves are assigned their lifelong careers.
droning on speaking continuously; chattering idly.
dwelling a home.
ecstatic exciting and pleasurable.
electrode a conductor through which electric charge is passed.
Elsewhere a place outside of the community; Lowry only hints at what and where Elsewhere is.
embossed Embossing is a process in which letters or shapes are physically raised — for example, words in books printed in Braille; if you run your finger over the embossed letters or shapes, you can feel their outline.
exempted freed; not responsible.
Food Delivery people People in Jonas' community don't cook their own food. The food for each meal is delivered to community members by people who have been assigned to be Food Delivery people.
fretful agitated or uneasy.
genetic scientists here, scientists who study human genes and attempt to eliminate differences, or unique characteristics, in people and in the environment.
geraniums common house or garden plants that have white, pink, or red flowers.
gullies ditches that run parallel to roads.
Hall of Closed Records a building that houses various documents and video recordings; all information in the Hall of Closed Records is off-limits to the vast majority of citizens.
Hall of Open Records a building that stores records about citizens and events, as well as other information that is available to citizens of the community.
hatchery Jonas' community includes a salmon hatchery, a place where salmon are raised for the people's consumption.
hearing-beyond hearing things that other people in the community can't hear because they do not have the memories and no longer have the ability; for example, The Giver hears music.
hoarded selfishly accumulated.
House of the Old a facility, similar to a nursing home, in which elderly people reside and are cared for by Caretakers.
imperceptibly without a noticeable result.
imploringly begging for understanding in a painful situation.
indulgently here, meaning patiently, contentedly, and happily.
invigorating powerfully exciting.
ironic a contrast between what is expected and what actually occurs. For example, in Chapter 1, when the Speaker informs the community that the errant pilot will be released, he uses an "amusing" tone in his voice, but the act of release is a serious, fatal matter.
languid spiritless or weak.
lethargy dullness of spirit; a lack of energy.
luminous brightly lit.
Murmur-of-Replacement Ceremony When a new infant is given to a family unit to replace a child who died unexpectedly, the citizens of the community speak the child's name softly at first, then more rapidly and loudly, symbolizing the return of the dead child. The new infant is given the same name as that of the child who died.
newchildren newborns; infants.
obsolete of no consequence or importance; forgotten.
palpable here, meaning real.
piecemeal scattered; not together or in unison.
port here, a place to secure a bicycle.
relief-of-pain medication medication that is dispensed to community members to relieve pain so that no one in the community suffers.
retroactive putting something in effect at an earlier time.
ruefully regretfully or sadly.
runners blades used to glide over a surface, usually ice.
"seeing beyond" seeing things that other people in the community can't see because they do not have the memories and no longer have the ability; for example, Jonas sees the color red in Fiona's hair.
shed here, meaning discard or forget.
sheepish embarrassed and uncomfortable.
sinuous curving and supple.
solemnly seriously, with awe.
Speaker the person whose voice the people hear over the loudspeaker system.
Stirrings feelings of sexual desire.
tunic a piece of clothing.
usages ways in which words are used.
wheedle here, meaning to compete for attention.