aberrations a deviation from the normal or the typical.
acquiescence the act of acquiescing; agreement or consent without protest.
acrimonious bitter and caustic in temper, manner, or speech.
aggregation a group or mass of distinct things or individuals.
amanuensis an assistant who takes dictation or copies something already written; secretary.
ambidextrous able to use both hands with equal ease.
Appomattox town in central Virginia., near Lynchburg: In a former nearby village (Appomattox Court House), Lee surrendered to Grant (April 9, 1865), ending the Civil War.
asafoetida a bad-smelling gum resin obtained from various Asiatic plants of the umbel family it was formerly used to treat some illnesses or, in folk medicine, to repel disease.
bantam cock a small but aggressive person; a bantam is a small domestic fowl.
beadle [Obs.] a messenger of a law court.
Big Mules political term referring to modern Alabama power brokers.
Blackstone's Commentaries one of the most important books ever written on British law, written by Sir William Blackstone 1723-80; Eng. jurist & writer on law.
Braxton Bragg Commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee from the summer of 1862 until the end of 1863. Bragg had the distinction of being both recklessly offensive as well as hesitant to the point of ineffectiveness at various times in his career — sometimes in the same battle.
calomel mercurous chloride, HgCl, a white, tasteless powder that darkens on exposure to light: used in standard electrode cells and in agriculture and medicine to fight skin bacteria.
Cannas any of a genus (Canna) broad-leaved tropical plants, often grown for ornament because of the striking foliage and brilliant flowers.
caricatures a picture or imitation of a person, literary style, etc. in which certain features or mannerisms are exaggerated for satirical effect.
castile a fine, mild, hard soap prepared from olive oil and sodium hydroxide.
catawba worms a type of caterpillar highly prized by fishermen in the Southern United States.
champertous having to do with champerty, an act by which a person not concerned in a lawsuit makes a bargain with one of the litigants to help maintain the costs of the suit in return for a share of any proceeds: illegal in most U.S. states.
charlotte a molded dessert consisting of an outer layer of strips of bread, cake, etc. and a filling as of custard or cooked fruit.
chiffarobe a wardrobe with drawers or shelves on one side.
church vt. to bring (esp. a woman after childbirth) to church for special services.
climber [Informal] a person who tries to advance socially or in business.
constructionist a person who interprets, or believes in interpreting, a law, document, etc. in a specified way.
cootie [Slang] common head lice.
corroborative making certain; confirming; corroborating.
Cotton Tom Heflin J. Thomas "Cotton Tom" Heflin was Secretary of the State of Alabama, a member of Congress from 1905 until 1920, and a U.S. senator from 1921 until 1931.
the crash the 1929 stock market crash, which gave rise to the period of the Great Depression.
crepey wrinkled like crepe cloth or paper.
deportment the manner of conducting or bearing oneself; behavior; demeanor.
divinity a soft, creamy kind of candy.
Dixie Howell popular University of Alabama football player in the 1930s.
ecclesiastical of the church, the organization of the church, or the clergy.
entailment the act of entailing or of giving, as an estate, and directing the mode of descent. In this case, Walter Cunningham is most likely in a dispute over who is rightful heir to a piece of property.
ex cathedra with the authority that comes from one's rank or office: often specif. with reference to papal pronouncements, on matters of faith or morals, regarded as having authoritative finality.
feral savage; wild.
fey strange or unusual in any of certain ways, as, variously, eccentric, whimsical, visionary, elfin, shy, otherworldly.
flivver [Old Slang] a small, cheap automobile, esp. an old one.
foot-washing Baptist rural missionary Baptists who essentially take the Bible literally.
fractious peevish; irritable; cross.
Franklin stove a cast-iron heating stove resembling an open fireplace, named for Benjamin Franklin who invented it.
frog-sticking a method of hunting frogs on bayou banks with a small pitchfork.
furtive done or acting in a stealthy manner, as if to hinder observation; surreptitious; stealthy; sneaky.
The Gray Ghost One in a series of pulp fiction novels written in 1926 by Robert Schulkers. These humorous mystery stories were narrated by Seckatary Hawkins, the "seckatary" of a boy's club.
ground-itch an itchy allergic reaction caused when parasitic hookworms enter the body through bare feet.
habiliments clothing; dress; attire.
honed it down sharpened it.
hoodoo bad luck, or a person or thing that causes bad luck.
hookah a kind of water pipe associated with the Middle East, with a long flexible tube for drawing the smoke through water in a vase or bowl and cooling it.
hookworms a disease caused by hookworms, characterized by anemia, weakness, and abdominal pain: the larvae enter the body through the skin, usually of the bare feet.
impedimenta things hindering progress, as on a trip; encumbrances; esp., baggage, supplies, or equipment, as those carried along with an army.
impudent shamelessly bold or disrespectful; saucy; insolent.
interdict to prohibit (an action) or prohibit the use of (a thing); forbid with authority.
johnson grass a forage and pasture grass, widespread in the Southern U.S., often as a weed.
Kudzu a fast-growing, hairy perennial vine of the pea family, with large, three-part leaves: sometimes planted in the South for soil stabilization or forage.
Ladies' Law law from the criminal code of Alabama prohibiting the use of "abusive, insulting, or obscene language," especially around girls or women; punishable by up to $200 in fines, imprisonment in the county jail, or up to six months hard labor.
largo slow and stately: a musical tempo.
lavation the act of washing.
lineaments any of the features of the body, usually of the face, esp. with regard to its outline.
Lorenzo Dow a fiery, itinerant Methodist preacher of the Eastern and Southern United States.
magnesia a white, tasteless powder, used as a mild laxative and antacid.
Missouri Compromise a plan agreed upon by the United States Congress in 1820 to settle the debate over slavery in the Louisiana Purchase area. The plan temporarily maintained the balance between free and slave states.
monkey-puzzle bushes any araucaria tree; esp., a tall tree with stiff pointed leaves, edible nuts, and hard wood, widely grown as an ornamental.
morphodite comic slang pronunciation of hermaphrodite, a term used to describe a human or animal combining both male and female sexual characteristics or organs.
Mrs. Roosevelt Eleanor Roosevelt 1884-1962; U.S. writer, social activist, and delegate at UN: wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
National Recovery Act one of the measures by which President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to assist the nation's economic recovery during the Great Depression. The act authorized an expenditure of $3.3 billion for an expansion of public works.
neighborhood scold a person, esp. a woman, who habitually uses abusive language.
obstreperous noisy, boisterous, or unruly, esp. in resisting or opposing.
Ol' Blue Light nickname for Stonewall Jackson, a Confederate general.
palliation the lessening of pain or severity without actually curing; alleviation.
philippic a bitter verbal attack.
popped-the-whip this is in reference to a game in which a group of children line up together hand-in-hand; one end of the line slings itself forward, causing the child at the other end of the line to receive a violent snap.
privy a toilet; esp., an outhouse.
Quarters a particular district or section in a city.
reconnaissance an exploratory survey or examination, as in seeking out information about enemy positions or installations, or as in making a preliminary geological or engineering survey.
redbug any of various red insects, as a cotton stainer or chigger.
rotogravure a printing process using photogravure cylinders on a rotary press.
ruination anything that ruins or causes ruin.
ruttin' referring to rut, the periodic sexual excitement, or heat, of certain mammals: applied esp. to males.
salt pork pork cured in salt; esp., fatty pork from the back, side, or belly of a hog.
scuppernongs a golden-green grape of the Southern U.S.
Shadrach [Bible] one of the three captives who came out of the fiery furnace miraculously unharmed: Dan. 3:12-27.
snipe hunt practical joke in which the victim is made to sit in the woods with a bag and two sticks in an attempt to capture a creature that doesn't exist.
solicitor in the U.S., a lawyer serving as official law officer for a city, department, etc.
spurious not true or genuine; false; counterfeit.
swept yard In some areas of the South, a swept yard was a sign of a well-kept home. A swept yard was typically kept neat and clean using straw sagebrush brooms.
temerity foolish or rash boldness; foolhardiness; recklessness.
tenet principle, doctrine, or belief held as a truth, as by some group.
thrift any of a genus of dwarf, evergreen, perennial dicotyledonous plants (order Plumbaginales) with narrow leaves and small, white, pink, red, or purplish flowers.
tight [slang] drunk.
Tom Swift boys' pulp fiction serial featuring famed, fictitious inventor and adventurer, Tom Swift.
touchous [Dial.] touchy.
trousseau a bride's outfit of clothes, linens, etc.
umbrage offense or resentment.
Uncle Natchell cartoon mascot for a fertilizer product called Natural Chilean Nitrate of Soda; advertisements for this product were in comic book or story form.
voile a thin, sheer fabric, as of cotton, used for garments, curtains, etc.
wool short, thick, curly or crispy human hair.
WPA a part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) built new roads, hospitals, and schools throughout America.