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Hound of the Baskervilles: Vocabulary and Essay Questions

written by: Marlene Gundlach • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 9/11/2012

In this article, you will find vocabulary words, essays, and sample quizzes for the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic "Hound of the Baskervilles".

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    Vocabulary Words and Definitions from Chapters 1-7

    At its core, understanding a chapter is understanding the words you are reading. Here are some vocabulary words from chapters 1-7 that will help your comprehension of the first half of the book.

    Chapter 1

    Dolichocephalic: (adjective) to have a large skull

    Parietal: (adjective) pertaining to or forming the walls of any body cavity

    Fulsome: (adjective) offensive and distasteful because excessive

    Covet: (verb) to have a desire for something

    Agile: (adjective) able to move quickly and easily; nimble

    Chapter 2

    Shrewd: (adjective) having keen insight; clever

    Manuscript: (noun) a piece of writing

    Forgery: (noun) something forged or altered

    Circumspect: cautious; attentive to all possibilities

    Wanton: (adjective) lewd, heartless, unjust

    Yeoman: (noun) farmer who cultivates his own land

    Flagon: (noun) vessel with a ahndle, spout, and lid used to serve liquor

    Trencher: (noun) a wooden plate used to serve food or cut it

    Anon: (adjective) in a little while, soon

    Bemused: (adjective) muddled, stupefied, preoccupied

    Inquest: (noun) a judicial inquiry, aided by a jury

    Chimerical: (adjective) not possible, impractical

    Chapter 3

    Apparition: (noun) phatom, ghost, unusual sight

    Diabolical: (adjective) wicked, cruel

    Vestry: (noun) in a church, a room where vestments are kept and put on

    Miry: (adjective) muddy, swampy

    Chapter 4

    Baronet: (noun) inherited English title

    Chapter 6

    Bracken: (noun) large, coarse, weedy fern

    Mottle: (adjective) marked with spots of different shades

    Bramble: (noun) a prickly plant or shurb

    Summit: (adjective) highest part, top

    Warder: (noun) guard or sentinel

    Commutation: (noun) substitution of payment or service

    Cairn: (noun) mound of stones serving as a memorial

    Crenelate: (verb) fortify with battlement

    Dais: (noun) raised platform where speakers of guests may sit or stand

    Chapter 7

    Efface: (verb) to cancel or destroy

    Pallid: (adjective) pale, lacking color

    Propitious: (adjective) gracious

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    Sample Essay Questions

    Here are some basic questions to consider when reading chapters 1-7. As you read, keep these thoughts in mind and you will have a more basic understanding of how the story is developing.

    • As soon as Sherlock Holmes is given the background of the curse of the Baskervilles, he begins his struggle with balancing these supernatural beliefs with his own brand of logical, straight-forward thinking. How does he manage to consider the supernatural while still developing a real, down-to-earth solution?
    • What role does classism play in the story?
    • How do the characters of Holmes and Watson contrast one another? How does the author use these differences to the benefit and build upon the storyline?
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    Chapters 8-14

    These vocabulary words and definitions will aid in your comprehension of chapters 8-14.

    Chapter 8

    Approbation: (noun) approval, commendation

    Choleric: (adjective) easily aroused to anger

    Litigation: (noun) a lawsuit

    Effigy: (noun) representation of a despised person

    Chapter 9

    Haughty: (adjective) proud, arrogant

    Peremptory: (adjective) putting an end to debate or appeal

    Chapter 10

    Spectral: (adjective) pertaining to a ghost

    Abet: (verb) to encourage and support

    Atone: (verb) to make amends

    Deluge: (verb) to flood with water

    Sodden: (adjective) soaked, saturated

    Morass: (noun) tract of low-laying, soft, wet ground

    Russet: (adjective) reddish-brown or yellowish-brown in color

    Blackguard: (noun) a despicable scoundrel

    Equivocal: (adjective) uncertain, doubtful

    Tempestuous: (adjective) stormy, violent

    Chapter 11

    Stealth: (noun) secret action or movement

    Incessant: (adjective) continued or repeated without stopping

    Abhor: (verb) to regard with horror or disgust

    Reticent: (adjective) reluctant to speak

    Magnate: (noun) a person of rank, power, or importance

    Constable: (noun) an officer of the peace; a policeman

    Incredulity: (noun) refusal to believe

    Furtive: (adjective) done on the sly, secret

    Decanter: (noun) an ornamental bottle for wine

    Curt: (adjective) concise, brief, abrupt

    Chapter 12

    Lintel: (noun) horizontal top piece over a door or window

    Vehemence: (noun) strong feeling

    Precipitous: (adjective) steep

    Paroxysm: (noun) a sudden and violent outburst

    Surmise: (noun) to guess or infer based on evidence

    Chapter 13

    Unmitigated: (adjective) not relieved or lessened

    Connoisseur: (noun) a competent, critical judge

    Prim: (adjective) precise, proper, neat

    Precipice: (noun) high, steep place

    Chapter 14

    Exultant: (adjective) rejoicing triumphantly

    Hackles: (noun) the hair standing on the back of a dog’s neck

    Dewlap: (noun) the skin under the throat of an animal

    Flank: (noun) the hind part of an animal’s side

    Insensible: (adjective) not capable or deprived of feeling; unaware

    Mastiff: (noun) hunting dog

    Phosphorus: (noun) a soft, metallic element

    Doddering: (adjective) trebling, tottering

    Dupe: (noun) a victim of deception

    Quagmire: (noun) marshy ground that gives way under foot

    Miasmatic: (adjective) poisonous fumes from swamps

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    Sample Essay Questions

    Here are some basic questions to consider when reading. As you read, keep these thoughts in mind and you will have a more basic understanding of how the story is developing.

    • Why does the author choose to tell this story from the viewpoint of Watson, and not Sherlock Holmes? What affect does this have on you, the reader?
    • Mr. Stapleton used the two women in his life to attempt to accomplish his goals. Who are the two women and specifically how does Stapleton manipulate each of them? Name three things that led to the unraveling of his plan.
    • Watson opens chapter 14 by making note of "one of Holmes' defects". What was the defect and how does it relate to the events in chapters 13 and 14.