Snow Falling on Cedars By David Guterson Study Help Full Glossary for Snow Falling on Cedars

abaft of midship toward the stern of midship.

agnostic a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable.

alder small birch trees that grow best in wet ground.

alder stick a branch from a tree in the birch family.

alidades surveying instruments used for determining direction.

ambergris used for perfume, these gray secretions come from whale intestines and are found floating on the ocean or the shore.

anteroom an outer room that leads to another usually more important room and is often used as a waiting area.

bacchanal drunken revelry.

backing net off his drum turning the metal cylinder around which the net is wound.

baishakunin a person who procured homeland brides for Japanese men who lived in the United States.

barnacles difficult-to-remove marine shellfish that attach to rocks, ship bottoms, and other surfaces.

Belleau Wood an area in northern France that was the site of a violent two-week battle during World War I; the area is now a memorial to soldiers in the United States armed forces who were war casualties.

Bendix a radio built by U.S. inventor Vincent Bendix.

binnacle a case that holds a boat's compass.

black mouth also called king salmon, desirable deep feeder fish best caught by trolling.

boilerplate unoriginal, standard.

bokken a curved wooden sword.

bow gunnel the boat's front, upper edge.

bowline a rope on the front of the boat used to keep the weather edge of a vessel's square sail forward when sailing.

bow-picker a small fishing boat.

bracken clump of ferns with stem and leaves up to four feet high and three feet wide.

brigands bandits.

bugeisha a person in military uniform.

cannery a processing station for fish.

casements windows with hinges that allow them to open from the inside.

chandlery a retail shop dealing in provisions, supplies, or equipment of a specified kind; in this context, probably a boating supply shop.

chop a stretch of choppy sea, usually with small waves.

chuck an inlet.

chums a type of salmon that is undesirable to fishermen because of its bitter taste.

coast guard military coastal patrol set up to enforce navigation laws and to protect life and property at sea.

cork line a float on the top of a gill net that keeps the net on the surface of the water.

coxswain a person who steers a small boat.

crabber a person who fishes for crabs.

creosote the liquid mixture obtained from the heating and cooling of wood tar.

creosoted timbers wood that has been treated with a brownish oily liquid in order to preserve the wood.

culling cutting and collecting.

daisy cutters slang for anti-personnel bombs.

deck cleats pieces of metal attached to the boat dock to which rope line can be secured.

dell a secluded hollow or small valley.

diaphone a fog signal that produces a blast of two tones.

dogfish sharks, noted for their razor-sharp teeth, that live in the same waterways as the salmon; catching them can cause damage to nets.

dogleg a bent course, named because it resembles a hind leg of a dog.

dogwatch the last night shift.

dojo an exercise hall.

drag floats flotation devices used to retard wave motion.

duck loads charges for firearms, designed especially for ducks.

ebb the flowing back of tidewater to the ocean.

European Theater the European location where World War II took place.

eviscerated deprived of force.

fairleads rings through which ropes are passed to guide them.

ferrules rings put around a slender shaft to strengthen it and prevent it from splitting.

fishing scow a large, flat-bottomed boat with broad square ends used chiefly for transporting bulk material.

flange a metal rim for attachment to another object.

fly boy a worker whose chief duty is to load and unload the printing presses.

fog run in foggy conditions, sounding the prescribed signal of one long blast and two short blasts with either a foghorn or a bell every two minutes.

footman a male servant.

four-masted bark a small sailing ship.

freighter ship used to carry cargo.

frigates sailing war vessels of medium size.

froe a cleaving tool for splitting staves.

gaff a handled hook for holding or lifting heavy fish.

geisha a Japanese girl trained to provide entertaining and lighthearted company, especially for men.

geoduck clams edible clams, sometimes weighing over five pounds.

giri doing what is expected or required, without emotion or response.

Great Wheel a symbol for all life, circulating and rotating throughout time.

gunnel roller a roller attached to the upper edge of the boat, used to raise and lower fishing nets.

gunny bag a bag made from a coarse, heavy hemp material.

guys and stays control ropes.

hakama pleated trousers that appear to be a skirt.

hake fish similar to cod.

hakujin Japanese term for Caucasians.

halibut schooner a boat rigged with two or more masts used for fishing halibut.

hard-waked the track left by a ship as it moves through the water; as the freighter passed, the water formed waves that struck Carl's boat.

hematology the study of blood and its diseases.

his dinghy's over the reel A dinghy is a small boat often carried on a larger boat and used for emergencies; if it were "over the reel," then it was still spooled on the side of the boat, waiting to be used.

Horatio Alger (1832-1899) American writer of boys' stories.

hull plate a metal plate secured on the front of the floating part of the boat.

jacklight a light used for fishing at night to attract fish.

katana a curved Japanese sword worn by samurais with the edge up.

kelp island a large mass of brown seaweed.

kendo a bamboo or wooden stick used for the Japanese sport of fencing.

kimono a loose robe that fastens with a wide sash.

kindling small pieces of wood used to start a fire.

landlubber a term used to characterize a person who is clumsy when learning to sail.

launch a small motorboat.

lead line the weighted bottom of a gill net.

lee of the cabin the side sheltered from the wind.

machete a large-bladed, heavy knife.

mail steamers small ships, propelled by steam, used for mail delivery.

manifest destiny a future event accepted as inevitable; in the mid- nineteenth century, expansion to the Pacific was regarded as the Manifest Destiny of the United States.

marine battery a battery that converts stored energy into electrical energy, similar to those used in golf carts; these batteries allow lights to operate without the engine running.

Meiji restoration the return of the imperial family in 1867 as rulers of Japan after the overthrow of the shogun; this period changed the feudal state into an industrialized and Westernized nation and brought about the abolition of samurai.

miasma a heavy, vaporous atmosphere.

mooring lines ropes used to attach a boat to something else.

motor abreast to steer a boat beside another.

murres narrow-billed, black and white, short-necked diving sea birds.

naginata a halberd; a weapon consisting of a battle axe and pike, mounted on a handle about six feet long.

navigator a person who steers a course.

net drum a hollow, revolving cylinder that stores the nets when not in use.

net gurry the unusable parts of a sea catch.

the net was all run out The fishing nets are set in the water, as though in use, although apparently not being used.

neurasthenia a condition resulting in fatigue, depression, and headaches.

nimbus a circle of light around the head.

Nootka a member of a Wakashan (Native American) people of Vancouver Island and the surrounding region; large timber trees grown on the Pacific Coast of the United States are named after them.

Northwest Passage the water route along the northern coast of North America leading from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

obi a belt, or sash.

odori a traditional Japanese dance.

parish beadle a church officer who keeps order during the service.

pelts the skin and fur of an animal.

picking lights lights used to illuminate the deck of the ship.

piling a long slender column used to carry a vertical load.

potlatch a social event.

propitious advantageous.

Purple Heart a military decoration of honor for those wounded in action against the enemy.

purse seiners large nets designed to be set by two boats around a school of fish and so arranged that after the ends have been brought together the bottom can be closed.

reconnaissance gathering information about position, strength, and movement of enemy troops.

reel drive the device that uncoils fishing nets.

rice paper delicate paper made from rice straw.

saboteurs persons destroying enemy war materials.

sageo a personal flag.

salal a small shrub of the Pacific Coast, having edible dark purple berries about the size of a common grape.

salmon gill-netters fishermen who used flat nets that suspended vertically in the water to capture fish, especially salmon. The head of the fish passed through the mesh opening, but the fish entangled itself as it attempted to withdraw.

samurai the warrior aristocracy of Japan.

scabbard the sheath for a sling sword; for Japanese aristocracy, this item was often highly decorated.

schooner hands members of the ship's crew.

schottische a round dance resembling a slow polka.

sciatica pain in the lower back.

scupper holes the openings through the raised upper deck of a ship that allow water to flow overboard.

sea yarn a tall tale about sailors and sailing.

séance a spiritualist meeting to receive spirit communications.

sea-run cutthroat a desirable species of trout.

seawall an embankment used to prevent the erosion of the shore.

seppukka to take one's own life by using a special and lavishly decorated sword.

set the fenders out Rubber cushions — "fenders" — are placed between the boat and the dock (or another boat) to protect the boat's body.

shakuhachi a bamboo flute.

shipping lane the ocean route prescribed for ships.

silvers the common name of silver salmon, which is prized for its superb taste.

siphon the tubular organ used for drawing in or ejecting fluids.

solicitous meticulously careful.

sounding boards safety structures used to extend sound and help ships determine their course when weather conditions are poor.

stanchion an upright post.

starboard gunnel the right upper edge of a boat.

stern gunnel the back upper edge of a boat.

stern-picker a standard net fishing boat.

stern-side entry an entrance to the cabin on the rear side.

stevedores persons who load and unload cargo ships.

stood to port stood on the left side.

surf scoters sea ducks.

tide drift the movement of an unanchored boat as a result of the movement of the ocean tide.

timber schooner ship used to transport timber.

tin lizzie slang for a Ford Model T automobile.

tire chains chains wrapped around an automobile tire and used in the winter for traction.

Tojo a celebrated Japanese general of World War II.

topography the physical features of a region.

transits an instrument with a mounted telescope used for measuring angles.

transom the outer-side of the back of a boat.

trolling fishing by pulling a line through the water.

typhoid a bacterial infection resulting in severe intestinal disturbances and rose-red spots on the chest and abdomen.

utsukushii beautiful.

vole a short-tailed, mouselike rodent.

wattle fleshy folds of skin under the chin.

whitecaps foamy crests at the tops of waves.

with her net set Here, "her" refers to the ship Susan Marie; the fishing nets were in the water, though apparently not being used; when fishing nets are "all run out," they are said to be "set."

zenshin constant awareness of impending danger.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

Although visibly composed in the courtroom, Kabuo feels guilt and anger over what incident?




Quiz