The Crucible Vocabulary Words


crucible: (krs-bl) n. 1. A vessel made of a refractory substance such as graphite or porcelain, used for melting and calcining materials at high temperatures. 2. A severe test, as of patience or belief; a trial.

3. A place, time, or situation characterized by the confluence of powerful intellectual, social, economic, or political forces: "Macroeconomics . . . was cast in the crucible of the Depression" Peter Passell.


inert: (n-ûrt) adj. 1. Unable to move or act. 2. Sluggish in action or motion; lethargic. 3. Chemistry Not readily reactive with other elements; forming few or no chemical compounds. 4. Having no pharmacologic or therapeutic action.

in·ertly adv.                 in·ertness n.


creed: (krd) n. 1. A formal statement of religious belief; a confession of faith. 2. A system of belief, principles, or opinions: laws banning discrimination on the basis of race or creed; an architectural creed that demanded simple lines.


ne’er-do-well: (nârd-wl) n. An idle, irresponsible person.

ne'er-do-well adj.


predilection: (prdl-kshn, prd-) n. A partiality or disposition in favor of something; a preference.


autocracy: (ô-tkr-s) n. 1. Government by a single person having unlimited power; despotism.

2. A country or state that is governed by a single person with unlimited power.


theocracy: (th-kr-s) n.1. A government ruled by or subject to religious authority. 2. A state so governed.



titillate: (ttl-t) v. tit·il·lat·ed, tit·il·lat·ing, tit·il·lates 1. To stimulate by touching lightly; tickle.

2. To excite (another) pleasurably, superficially or erotically. v.intr.  To excite another, especially in a superficial, pleasurable manner: "Once you decide to titillate instead of illuminate . . . you create a climate of expectation that requires a higher and higher level of intensity" Bill Moyers.

titil·later n.     titil·lating·ly adv.         titil·lation n.                titil·lative adj.


prodigious: (pr-djs) adj. 1. Impressively great in size, force, or extent; enormous: a prodigious storm.

2. Extraordinary; marvelous: a prodigious talent. 3. Obsolete Portentous; ominous.

pro·digious·ly adv.       pro·digious·ness n.



diabolical: (d-bl-kl) also di·a·bol·ic (-k) adj. 1. Of, concerning, or characteristic of the devil; satanic.

2. Appropriate to a devil, especially in degree of wickedness or cruelty.

dia·boli·cal·ly adv.      dia·boli·cal·ness n.



arbiter: (ärb-tr) n. 1. One chosen or appointed to judge or decide a disputed issue; an arbitrator.

2. One who has the power to judge or ordain at will: an arbiter of fashion.



mores: (môrz, -z, mr-) pl.n. 1. The accepted traditional customs and usages of a particular social group.

2. Moral attitudes. 3. Manners; ways.


licentious: (l-snshs) adj. 1. Lacking moral discipline or ignoring legal restraint, especially in sexual conduct.

2. Having no regard for accepted rules or standards.

li·centious·ly adv.        li·centious·ness n.



blasphemy: (blsf-m) n. pl. blas·phe·mies 1. a. A contemptuous or profane act, utterance, or writing concerning God or a sacred entity. b. The act of claiming for oneself the attributes and rights of God.

2. An irreverent or impious act, attitude, or utterance in regard to something considered inviolable or sacrosanct.



daft: (dft) adj. daft·er, daft·est 1. Mad; crazy. 2. Foolish; stupid.  3. Scots Frolicsome.

daftly adv.       daftness n.


qualm: (kwäm, kwôm) n. 1. A sudden feeling of sickness, faintness, or nausea. 2. A sudden disturbing feeling: qualms of homesickness. 3. An uneasy feeling about the propriety or rightness of a course of action.

qualmish adj.              qualmish·ly adv.


probity: (prb-t) n. Complete and confirmed integrity; uprightness: "He was a gentlemanly Georgian, a person of early American probity" Mary McGrory.


perjury: (pûrj-r) n. pl. per·ju·ries  1. Law The deliberate, willful giving of false, misleading, or incomplete testimony under oath. 2. The breach of an oath or promise.

per·juri·ous (pr-jr-s) adj.               per·juri·ous·ly adv.


guile: (gl) n. 1. Treacherous cunning; skillful deceit. 2. Obsolete A trick or stratagem. tr.v. guiled, guil·ing, guiles Archaic To beguile; deceive.


quail: (kwl) n. pl. quail or quails 1. Any of various Old World chickenlike birds of the genus Coturnix, especially C. coturnix, small in size and having mottled brown plumage and a short tail.

v. to shrink back with fear; cower


reprieve: (r-prv) tr.v. re·prieved, re·priev·ing, re·prieves  1. To postpone or cancel the punishment of.

2. To bring relief to.  n. 1. a. Postponement or cancellation of a punishment. b. A warrant for such an action.

2. Temporary relief, as from danger or pain.


sibilance: (sb-lnt) adj. Of, characterized by, or producing a hissing sound like that of (s) or (sh): the sibilant consonants; a sibilant bird call. n. A sibilant speech sound, such as English (s), (sh), (z), or (zh).

sibi·lance, sibi·lan·cy n.         sibi·lant·ly adv.