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Free Study Guide-Beloved by Toni Morrison-Free Online Booknotes Summary
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Since the novel is filled with early black dialect and idioms, the book is sometime difficult to follow or understand. Listed below are definitions of some of the obscure vocabulary and idioms, in alphabetical order:

bit - a piece of iron put in a slave’s mouth to keep him from talking

bloody side of the Ohio River - reference to Kentucky, the slave side of the river

brine in the barrel - an early method of preserving fish and meat with salt

buffalo men - men with dark, wiry hair, especially blacks

chamomile sap - the medicinal, sweet-smelling juice from an herb

chippy - a young prostitute

chokecherry - a common shrub that bears red berries

clabber - thickened milk or cream

coffle - a line of chained slaves

cold house - a darkened store room used for holding meats and dairy products away from heat

comfrey - a herb used to make tea

croaker sack - burlap bag

dropsy - a sickness caused by excessive accumulation of fluid

faggot - a small bundle of wood, usually used to start a fire

fixing ceremony - preparing a body for burial

foal - a crude term that whites used to refer to the birth of a black baby

four o’clocks - flowers that open in the morning and close at night

Fugitive Bill - a bill that required a free state to return a slave to his/her rightful owner

gone to glory - gone to heaven after dying

haint - a ghost

half peck - a dry measurement equal to four quarts

horehound - a type of candy

huckleberries - wild blueberries

hutch - shanty or lean-to

in deep water - in trouble

juba - an African dance

keeping room - a parlor

let water - urinate

lisle - a good quality cotton fabric

normal school - an advanced school that prepare teachers for their profession

pass air - burp

pateroller - mispronunciation of patroller or slave catcher

pickaninnies - a crude term used by white to describe black children

pike - turnpike or highway

press - a wardrobe used to hold hanging clothes before closets were built in houses

privy - outdoor toilet

rendered fat - pork fat that has been cooked and hardened into lard

rind - a piece of pork skin used as seasoning while cooking vegetables

rue - a bitter herb, often used in literature to symbolize regret

sassafras - a spice taken from the bark of a laurel tree

setting-up - staying up all night to watch over the body of someone who has died

skin voting - the privilege of voting if you had white skin; blacks could not vote

Society of Friends - another name for Quakers, who were usually abolitionists

slop jar - indoor pot used as a toilet, especially at night

stud his boys - use males slaves as breeders

sugar teat - an early form of the pacifier made by placing sugar inside a piece of cloth

talking sheets - members of the Ku Klux Klan

walking man - an unmarried man who did not want to settle down

way station - a stopping place for travelers, especially wandering blacks

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