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arnica any of a number of plants of the composite family, bearing bright yellow flowers on long stalks with clusters of leaves at the base; here, a preparation made from certain of these plants, once used for treating sprains and bruises.

ask lief of anybody ask permission of anyone.

badger any of certain mammals of a family of burrowing carnivores of North America, Europe, and Asia, with a broad back, thick, short legs, and long claws on the forefeet.

bobs knobs, or small polished wheels of solid felt or leather with rounded edges.

Bohemia a former independent kingdom in central Europe (13th-15th centuries); part of Austria-Hungary until 1918 and then part of Czechoslovakia until 1993, when it was incorporated into the Czech Republic.

Bohemie Ántonia is trying to pronounce Bohemia, the American name for her country. The Bohemian word for Bohemia is Bohèma.

Bohunk [Slang] a person from east-central Europe; a derisive or contemptuous term.

Booth and Barrett Edwin Booth (1833-1893) and John Barrett (1838-1891), two prominent nineteenth-century Shakespearean actors, formed a theatrical troupe in 1887 and traveled around the country putting on dramatic productions.

box-elder a medium-sized, fast-growing North American maple, with compound leaves.

breaking up this place and making the first crops grow Cuzak is referring to plowing his land and making it suitable for growing crops.

brood-sow a sow kept for breeding.

the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed from Exodus 3, when an angel of God appeared as a burning bush, moments before God revealed himself to Moses.

Buying "findings" for Mrs. Thomas Findings are small articles used in various trades; in the case of Mrs. Thomas, a dressmaker, these would be buttons, hooks, fringe, and the like.

capote a long cloak, usually with a hood. Cather is metaphorically referring to the green feathers on the ducks' heads and necks as such a cloak.

carried in the cobs brought in a container of corn cobs, to be used as fuel.

catalpa any of a genus of hardy American and Asiatic trees of the bignonia family, with large, heart-shaped leaves, showy clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers, and slender beanlike pods

chaps leather trousers without a seat, worn over ordinary trousers by cowboys to protect their legs.

cinders any matter, as coal or wood, burned out or partly burned, but not reduced to ashes.

commercial travellers traveling salesmen.

corral an enclosure for holding or capturing horses, cattle, or other animals; pen.

cut bands cutting pieces of twine or metal to be used for binding sheaves of grain.

Cutter was one of the "fast set" of Black Hawk business men Cather is suggesting that Wick Cutter came to the frontier because there were fewer laws governing behavior, allowing him to get away with things that could have landed him in jail on the East Coast.

day-coaches railroad cars used for daytime travel only.

Dives in torment The reference is to Luke 16:19-31.

divide a ridge that divides two drainage areas; watershed.

draw a shallow gully or ravine, as one that water drains into or through.

dray a low, sturdily built cart with detachable sides, for carrying heavy loads.

dugout a shelter dug in the ground or in a hillside.

dumb-bell a device usually used in pairs, consisting of round weights joined by a short bar, by which it is lifted or swung about in the hand for muscular exercise.

elder any of a genus of shrubs and small trees of the honeysuckle family, with compound leaves and flat-topped clusters of small white flowers followed by red or purple berries.

elder any of a group of shrubs and small trees of the honeysuckle family, with compound leaves and flat-topped clusters of small white flowers followed by red or purple berries.

enter the freshman class at the university without conditions Jim does extra studying at home during his last year of high school so he won't have to take college preparatory courses in the fall.

fancy-work needlework, tailoring, stitchery.

fire-break a strip of land cleared or plowed to stop the spread of fire, as in a forest or prairie.

Get your back up an order to show some courage. Anson Kirkpatrick says this to Johnnie Gardener, who worries that his wife won't like it when she hears that the hired girls have been dancing with the men who are staying at the hotel.

grain elevators tall warehouses, often cylindrical, for collecting, storing, and discharging grain.

ground-cherry bushes any of a genus of plants of the nightshade family, including the Chinese-lantern plant, having small tomatolike fruits completely enclosed by a papery calyx.

harness the assemblage of leather straps and metal pieces by which a horse, mule, etc. is fastened to a vehicle, plow, or load.

hayloft a loft, or upper story, in a barn or stable, for storing hay.

He had twelve rattles, but they were broken off before they began to taper, so I insisted that he must once have had twenty-four. Jim is assuming, as many people do, that rattlesnakes grow one rattle each year of their lives. Actually, a rattlesnake grows a new rattle each time it sheds its skin, which is three or more times a year for a young rattler and once or twice a year for an adult; this makes counting the rattles an unreliable indicator of the snake's age.

heat lightning lightning seen near the horizon, especially on hot evenings, and thought to be reflections of lightning on clouds below the horizon; its thunder is too distant to hear.

heavy work-horses horses used for working, as for pulling a plow.

he'll be rich some day Here, Ántonia equates hard work with financial success, as did most of the immigrant pioneers.

hollyhocks tall, usually biennial plants of the mallow family, with palmately lobed leaves, a hairy stem, and large, showy flowers of various colors in elongated spikes.

horse sense [Informal] common sense.

Jan the Bohemian equivalent of John; pronounced "yahn."

kawn-tree Ántonia's pronunciation of country.

kolaches (ko-LAH-cheese) small, round Bohemian pastries with fruit filling in their centers. The Ceske Kolaces (Czech kolaches) that Ántonia and her family eat are made with lard and require much time to make (the dough must rise five separate times). Josie Macha Nemec shared this modern, and quite tasty, equivalent still made by the Czechs in southeast Nebraska.

lariat a rope used for tethering grazing horses, etc.

lariat-pin a peg fixing a lariat to the ground so the animal is restricted to that area.

make up a purse take up a collection.

Mamenka Cather may have misspelled the familiar Bohemian word for mama, which is maminka.

Marshall Field's man a salesman representing Marshall Field's large retail dry-goods store in Chicago.

Mary Anderson an actress (1859-1940) who was noted for her beauty and her flexible voice. She retired from the stage in 1889 after suffering a nervous collapse during a performance in Washington, D.C.

Mormons members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church), founded in the U.S. in 1830 by Joseph Smith; among its sacred books is the Book of Mormon, represented by Smith as his translation of an account of some ancient American peoples by a prophet among them named Mormon.

Niobrara a river flowing from eastern Wyoming east through northern Nebraska into the Missouri River.

noblesse oblige the inferred obligation of people of high rank or social position to behave nobly or kindly toward others.

"Optima dies . . . prima fugit" A Latin phrase meaning "the best days are the first to flee." The quotation is from Virgil's Georgics, which opens with this statement: "In the lives of mortals, the best days are the first to flee."

parasol a lightweight umbrella carried by women as a sunshade.

pavilion a large tent, usually with a peaked top.

plough a farm implement used to cut, turn up, and break up the soil.

pommel the rounded, upward-projecting front part of a saddle.

poultice a hot, soft, moist mass, as of flour, herbs, or mustard, sometimes spread on cloth, applied to a sore or inflamed part of the body.

Prague capital of Bohemia (later of Czecholoslovakia, and now of the Czech Republic), on the Vltava River.

Prairie dog any of a group of small, burrowing rodents of North America, having a barking cry and living in colonies.

The Prince of the House of David a biblical romance by J. H. Ingrahm, an American novelist.

Progressive Euchre Club a club for playing euchre, a card game basically for two, three, or four players, played with thirty-two cards (sevens up through aces), five cards being dealt to each player.

quinsy former term for tonsillitis, inflammation of the tonsils.

reaper a machine for cutting grain.

"retail trade" a customer, rather than a retail merchant, who is purchasing items for resale.

she went from farm to farm, binding sheaves or working with the threshers Ambrosch hired out his sister to help farmers with their harvest.

sledge a sled or sleigh for carrying loads over ice, snow, etc.

sod corn corn grown in a field of freshly broken sod.

soft piles of chaff piles of husks of wheat or other grain separated in threshing or winnowing.

the spirit if not the fact of slavery persisted Although slavery was illegal, many white people treated blacks as inferiors and denied them rights and courtesies that they themselves expected.

spring wagon a light wagon.

spurs a pair of pointed devices worn on the heels by the rider of a horse and used to urge the horse forward.

steer a castrated male ox, especially one raised for beef.

a tall bonnet with bristling aigrettes a lady's tall hat with bunches of the long, white, showy plumes of the egret used for ornament.

Tatinek a familiar Bohemian term meaning papa.

team two or more horses, oxen, etc. harnessed to the same vehicle or plow.

telling raw stories telling bawdy stories.

threshing the act of freeing grain or seed from hulls.

to husk corn to remove the dry outer covering of an ear of corn.

victuals articles of food, especially when prepared for use; pronounced "vittles."

a white hart a female deer; here, a symbol of virginity.

Wilber A small town in southeastern Nebraska, settled primarily by Bohemians.

windlass a winch, especially a simple one for lifting an anchor, a bucket in a well, etc.

windmill a mill operated by the wind's rotation of large, oblique sails or vanes radiating from a shaft; used as a source of power for grinding grain, pumping water, generating electricity, etc.

worsted a smooth, firmly twisted thread or yarn made from long-staple wool combed to make the fibers lie in the same direction.

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