Study Help Full Glossary for The Crucible


arbitrate to act as an impartial judge in order to settle disputes.

as clean as God's fingers pure or perfect, in the way that all parts of God are flawless.

autocracy a government in which one person has absolute power; dictatorship; despotism.

base having or showing little or no honor, courage, or decency; mean; ignoble; contemptible.

beguile to mislead by cheating or tricking; deceive.

bewildered confused or disoriented; here, meaning bewitched or acting unnaturally.

bound under compulsion; obliged; here it means in service to.

break charity to treat wrongfully or betray.

broken sick, weakened, or beaten; here, meaning weak and imperfect.

calamity deep trouble or misery; any extreme misfortune bringing great loss and sorrow; disaster.

calumny a false and malicious statement meant to hurt someone's reputation.

clapped put, moved, set swiftly ( clapped into jail).

conjure up to raise spirits from the dead.

contemptuous full of contempt; scornful; disdainful. Here, the word describes Giles Corey's attempt to disrupt the court.

contentious always ready to argue; quarrelsome.

cool emotionally uninvolved; uncommitted; dispassionate. Here, meaning calculated.

covenant a binding and solemn agreement to do or keep from doing a specified thing; compact; the promise made by God to humanity, as describedin the Bible. Here, "covenanted" specifically refers to a person bound by God's law and scriptures. For example, John Proctor is a married man and is bound to Elizabeth through their marriage promise or contract. According to God's law, Proctor and Elizabeth must remain faithful to one another. Of course, the entire premise of The Crucible is the result of Proctor's and Abigail's infidelity.

crucible a container made of a substance that can resist great heat, for melting, fusing, or calcining ores, metals, and the like; a severe test or trial; here, meaning a test designed to bring about change or reveal an individual's true character.

daft insane; crazy is closer to mad or crazy.

damn to cause the ruin of; make fail.

defamation damaging another individual's character or reputation, generally through false accusations.

deposition the testimony of a witness.

diabolism dealings with the Devil or devils, as by sorcery or witchcraft.

discontent dissatisfaction or restlessness. Here, the verb form is used, meaning to fail to satisfy.

disputation a discussion marked by formal debate, often as an exercise; here, meaning an argument.

dissemble to conceal under a false appearance; disguise.

faction a group of people inside a political party, club, government, and so on, working in a common cause against other such groups or against the main body; here, it refers to those resisting Reverend Parris.

floundering speaking or acting in an awkward, confused manner, with hesitation and frequent mistakes; here, meaning wavering, especially from indecision or doubt.

gibbet a gallows; a structure like a gallows, from which bodies of criminals already executed were hung and exposed to public scorn.

Goody [Archaic] a woman, esp. an old woman or housewife, of lowly social status: used as a title with the surname.

grand peeping courage behavior or attribute of someone who is too frightened to participate in a ritual, but will watch others participate..

guile slyness and cunning in dealing with others; craftiness; here, deception.

gull to cheat or trick; dupe.

hard proof undeniable, reliable, or actual proof; here, the phrase refers to solid evidence.

harlot a woman who engages in promiscuous sexual activity for pay; here, meaning a sexually immoral woman.

inculcate to impress upon the mind by frequent repetition or persistent urging.

lechery unrestrained, excessive indulgence of sexual desires; gross sensuality; lewdness; here, lechery refers to Proctor's affair with Abigail.

licentious morally unrestrained, esp. in sexual activity; lascivious.

paradox a statement that seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd but that may be true in fact. For example, the Puritans created a theocracy in order to provide a unified and stable community in Salem. Instead, the witch trials severed social relations, separated families, and turned the people of Salem against one another.

parochial of or in a parish or parishes; restricted to a small area or scope; narrow; limited; provincial; here, referring to the narrow-mindedness of the inhabitants of Salem.

partisan a person who takes the part of or strongly supports one side, party, or person; often, specifically, an unreasoning, emotional adherent.

perjury the willful telling of a lie while under lawful oath or affirmation to tell the truth in a matter material to the point of inquiry.

pointy reckoning the act or process of getting even or getting revenge.

poppet [Obsolete] a doll.

probity uprightness in one's dealings; integrity.

prodigious notable; here, meaning ominous.

providence the care or benevolent guidance of God or nature; here, the meaning is more closely aligned with "godsend," an unexpected but fortunate event. For example, Putnam believes God has revealed the presence of witchcraft in Salem. Although the idea of witchcraft frightens Putnam, he is grateful that the witchcraft has been revealed while it is still possible to control it.

purge to cleanse or rid of impurities, foreign matter, or undesireable elements.

quail to draw back in fear; lose heart or courage; cower.

rile to anger; irritate.

scaffold a raised platform on which criminals are executed, as by hanging.

sharp clearly defined; distinct; clear. Here, the word means decisive.

silly season phrase used to describe unexplainable, but natural behavior for a child.

slovenly careless in appearance, habits, work, and so on; untidy; slipshod.

soft gentle; low; not loud or harsh: said of sound.

softness the quality of being easily impressed, influenced, or imposed upon; here, lax or negligent.

sportin' jesting; joking.

strongbox a heavily made box or safe for storing valuables.

tainted morally corrupt.

theocracy a government by a person or persons claiming to rule with divine authority.

tonnage weight in tons.

trafficked had traffic, trade, or dealings with.

truck the practice of bartering; [Informal] dealings (have no further truck with them). Here, also a verb, meaning to be in league with someone. For example Tituba denies trucking, or being in league with, the Devil.

weighty of great significance or moment; serious.

wheels within wheels . . . fires within fires phrase used to imply conspiracies.

wintry of or like winter; cold, bleak; Here, it means without feeling.

your justice would freeze beer said here to a person who forgives another for an injustice, but still harbors resentment for the deed and makes the other person feel guilty.