Study Help Full Glossary for Brave New World


A.F. Huxley's term, following all the dates in the modern era ("After Ford").

abjection a state of misery and degradation.

agaves plants of the agave family, such as the century plant.

Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon the names of the castes of the dystopia. They are the first five letters of the Greek alphabet, used most commonly in British schools and universities as grades, equivalent to A, B, C, D, and F.

anthrax an infectious disease of wild and domesticated animals, especially cattle and sheep, which is caused by a bacillus and can be transmitted to people.

Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury Huxley's term describing the dystopia's equivalent for the Archbishop of Canterbury, primate of the Church of England.

Ariel a character from Shakespeare's The Tempest. Shakespeare describes him as a "airy spirit," with magical powers.

arpeggios the playing of notes of a chord in quick succession instead of simultaneously. Here, again, the musical term is used to describe the scent organ.

asafoetida a bad-smelling gum resin. It was formerly used to treat some illnesses, or, in folk medicine, to repel disease.

auto-eroticism masturbation.

Bokanovsky's Process Huxley's phrase. A method for producing many identical eggs from a single egg. It is the basis for producing identical human beings.

boskage a natural growth of trees or shrubs.

brachycephalic having a relatively short or broad head.

bursar a treasurer, as of a college or similar institution. Here, Huxley's term for the person who holds and distributes soma at the Park Lane Hospital.

caffeine solution Huxley's phrase for a tea-like drink in the brave new world.

Capriccio a musical composition in various forms, usually lively and whimsical in spirit. Here, the term is used in describing the scent organ.

carapace the horny, protective covering over all or part of the back of certain animals, as the upper shell of a turtle, armadillo, crab, etc.

Cardinal Newman (1801-90) John Henry Newman, English theologian and writer.

Charing-T Tower Huxley's re-creation of a London train station, Charing Cross Station.

chary careful or cautious; not given freely.

civet a yellowish, fatty substance with a musklike scent, secreted by a gland near the genitals of the civet cat and used in making some perfumes. Here, John quotes Shakespeare's sarcastic use of the term to mean a sweet scent. Pure civet is foul-smelling.

corpus luteum a mass of yellow tissue formed in the ovary by a ruptured graafian follicle that has discharged its ovum; if the ovum is fertilized, this tissue secretes the hormone progesterone, needed to maintain pregnancy.

decanting pouring from one container into another. Here, Huxley's term for birth.

demijohn a large bottle of glass or earthenware, with a narrow neck and a wicker casing.

detumescence a decrease in swelling.

diminuendo a decrease in volume.

dolychocephalic having a relatively long head.

ectogenesis the growth process of embryonic tissue placed in an artificial environment, as a test tube. Here, the conventional process of birth.

Etonians students of Eton College, the most prestigious of British preparatory schools.

Falkland Islands a small group of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of South America. Here, the place of Bernard's and Helmholtz's banishment.

fitchew a polecat or weasel. John's quotation of Shakespeare refers to the popular tradition of the fitchew's enthusiasm for mating.

flivver a small, cheap automobile, especially an old one. Here, used respectfully to refer to Ford's Model T.

freemartin an imperfectly developed female calf, usually sterile. Here, Huxley's term for a sterile woman. Most of the women of the dystopia are freemartins.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British dramatist and critic. Here, one of Huxley's most famous contemporaries, whom he sarcastically singles out for particular mention as an accepted genius of the dystopia.

Good-morrow old-fashioned greeting, used in Shakespeare's time, to mean "good day."

Henry Ford (1863-1947) U.S. automobile manufacturer credited with developing interchangeable parts and the assembly-line process. Here, the god-like figure of the dystopia.

hypnopaedia sleep-teaching.

Lambeth Palace the official residence in London of the Archbishop of Canterbury since 1197. Here, the home of the Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury.

lift British word for elevator.

lupus any of various diseases with skin lesions.

Malthusian drill Huxley's phrase for practicing contraception. From the word "Malthusian," referring to the theory developed by English economist Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), that the world population tends to increase faster than the food supply with inevitable disastrous results unless natural restrictions, such as war, famine, and disease, reduce the population or the increase is checked by moral restraint.

mescal a colorless alcoholic liquor of Mexico made from pulque or other fermented agave juice.

Model-T the first car produced on Henry Ford's assembly line.

Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning Huxley's term for the dystopian form of infant training. The term derives from the classical conditioning system named for the Russian physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1931).

neurasthenia a former category of mental disorder, including such symptoms as irritability, fatigue, weakness, anxiety, and localized pains without apparent physical cause, thought to result from weakness or exhaustion of the nervous system. Here, Mustapha Mond's description of normal emotional tension.

obliquity a turning aside from moral conduct or sound thinking.

Octoroon a person who has one black great-grandparent.

orgy-porgy Huxley's term for a ritual sexual orgy, from the children's nursery rhyme, "Georgy-Porgy."

Our Freud Huxley's phrase. A pious reference to Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Austrian physician and neurologist: father of psychoanalysis.

parathyroid any of usually four small, oval glands on or near the thyroid gland; they secrete a hormone important in the control of the calcium-phosphorus balance of the body.

paroxysm a sudden attack or spasm.

Penitentes members of a penitential religious sect who whip themselves to express remorse for sin and in hope of forgiveness. Here, the spiritual men of John's Malpais home.

peyote a small, spineless cactus of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States, with rounded stems whose buttonlike tops are chewed, specifically in religious ceremonies by Mexican Indians, for their hallucinogenic effects.

plagently loudly and with resonance.

platitude a commonplace or trite remark.

pneumatic inflated. Here, Huxley's word describing a woman with a full, shapely figure.

Podsnap's Technique Huxley's phrase. A method for speeding up the ripening of mature eggs. The process makes possible the production of many identical human beings at roughly the same time.

prognathous having jaws that project beyond the upper face.

scatological having to do with excrement or excretion.

scullion a servant doing the rough dirty work in a kitchen. Here, Mustapha Mond uses the word humorously to describe his lowly position early in his career.

simian of or like an ape or monkey. Here, used to describe the Epsilon elevator operator.

soma an intoxicating plant juice referred to in Indian religious writings. Here, Huxley's term for a powerful calming and hallucinogenic drug without any serious side effects.

St. Helena a small island in the South Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Africa. It was Napoleon's prison after his defeat by the British. Here, one of the many islands where Mustapha Mond sends people who challenge the World State.

strumpet a prostitute.

surreptitious secret, stealthy.

surrogate a substitute.

thyroxin the active hormone of the thyroid gland.

treble high-pitched or shrill.

turpitude baseness, vileness, depravity. Here used to refer to John's feelings about Lenina.

undulation a swaying motion. Here, describing Linda's sexually provocative entrance into the Fertilizing Room.

usurp to take or assume by force or without right.

viscose a substance used in making rayon thread and fabric.

vitrified changed into glass by heat.

viviparous bearing or bringing forth living young, as most mammals and some other animals do.

voluptuous sexually attractive because of a full, shapely figure.

Westminster Abbey Gothic church (originally a Benedictine abbey) where English monarchs are crowned; it is also a burial place for English monarchs, famous statesmen and writers, etc. Here, the site of the Westminster Abbey cabaret, or nightclub.

zippicamiknicks Huxley's word for one-piece underwear for women.