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GLOSSARY / VOCABULARY LIST
AVATAR - Person embodying some entity or concept much larger than himself.
BEALE STREET - Memphis street famous as the center of the city's bars and brothels.
BELIKE - Perhaps, probably.
BIG HOUSE - Main house, where the owners of a plantation live.
BOOTLEGGER - Transporter and seller of illegal liquor during the years when the U.S. government prohibited such activities (1919-33).
BUCKBOARD - Light, four-wheeled carriage. The name comes from the seat's being mounted on a long board that connects the front and rear wheels.
BY ORDINARY - Ordinarily.
CAP-AND-BALL REVOLVER - Most common handgun of the Civil War period. It was
loaded from the front with both bullets and powder. A hammer detonated
a percussion cap, which then ignited the powder.
CAPTAIN - Term of respect.
CARPETBAGGER - Northerner who went South after the Civil War to make money under the Northern-imposed Reconstruction regime.
CHANCESO - Accident.
CHAP - Child.
CIRCUIT RIDER - Preacher who circulates among country churches and preaches at a different one each Sunday.
CLUMB - Climbed.
COTTON HOUSE - Small house in which cotton is stored between picking and ginning. It is usually about ten feet square.
CRITTER - Any creature, including a person.
CULTIVATOR - Mule-or tractor-drawn implement for loosening the soil around growing plants.
DRAW TIME - To be paid for time worked.
FIELD PEAS - Pea often planted with corn and usually cooked with molasses.
FIRE SIREN - Large steam whistle installed at the power plant and used as a general community alarm.
FITTEN - Suitable.
FUR PIECE - Far piece, that is, a long way.
HALVERS - Half share.
HEIFER - Young cow.
HIRAM - Hiram Hayseed was a contemptuous term for a farmer.
JOHN JACOB ASTOR - German-born fur trader and capitalist (1763-1848) thought of as a symbol of big-city wealth.
MIZ - Mrs.
MOTTSTOWN - Fictionalization of Water Valley, Mississippi, a town about twenty miles south-southwest of Oxford. Faulkner even uses the correct Water Valley-Oxford timetables for the train between Mottstown and Jefferson.
MOUGHT - Might. It is pronounced to rhyme with "out."
PALM LEAF FAN - Fan made from dried palm leaves. Palm trees do not grow in Mississippi, and the fan was bought in stores.
PLANNING MILL - Place where logs are sawed into lumber. The Jefferson mill was based on a real mill a mile south of Oxford.
MEMPHIS - City in southwest Tennessee. It is 75 miles north-northwest of Oxford and is the main urban center for northwestern Mississippi.
RIGHT SMART - Larger number or amount.
SWOLE BELLIED - Pregnant.
WASH-STAND - Table with a basin used for washing and shaving in a house without plumbing.
YANKEE - Union soldier in the Civil War, or, by extension, any Northerner.