Glossary

Élisabeth Lacombe

Dear Readers,

To enhance your reading of the first part of the book, I prepared a glossary containing all the words that you could encounter more difficult, especially for those having English as a second language.

Vicissitude:

When male and female, after whatever vicissitudes you like, are at least brought together they have fulfilled their biological function…’(Maugham p.3)

Definition: In this context, the word vicissitude is used to talk about certain circumstances or events at different times in life.

Intrinsic:

Then my book, if it is read at all, will be read only for what intrinsic interest it may possess. (Maugham p.3)

Definition: The word intrinsic in this sentence means the nature of the interest of the book.

Colloquial:

‘…so that instead of getting the colloquial effect he was after, is too often gives the English reader un uncomfortable jolt. (Maugham p.5)

Definition: Associated with informal conversation, ordinary.

Impecunious:

His business connections with the impecunious great both in France and in England had secured the foothold he had obtained on his arrival in Europe as a young man…’ (Maugham p.5)

Definition: to be poor, or having little money.

Alacrity:

People laughed at him behind his back and called him a filthy snob, but nevertheless accepted his invitation with alacrity. (Maugham p.10)

Definition: alacrity in this sentence means to accept the invitation with willingness.

Benignity:

The abbé spoke of the faith with wisdom and benignity; he was broad-minded, modern in his outlook, and tolerant. (Maugham p.11)

Definition: he spoke of faith with kindness.

Upholstered:

‘…for when she sat down she sat very erect in a straight-backed chair which the cruel armor of her corsets doubtless made more comfortable than an upholstered one. (Maugham p.15)

Definition: chair of sofa that is being covered or stuffed.

Tawdry:

She was so natural that she made Elliott, for all his elegance, look rather tawdry (Maugham p.17)

Definition: She made him look cheap.

Strenuous:

its very strenuous of you to be here so bright and early (Maugham p.30)

Definition: strenuous in this sentence means energetic, active.

Shrewd

‘Mr. Maturin looked at his son while he said this and his shrewd eyes softened.

Definition: Mr. Maturin’s piercing eyes. (Maugham p.34)

Ruthless

‘…there isn’t a man who can be harder and more ruthless’ (Maugham p.35)

Definition: it means to have no pity or compassion.

Preposterous:

‘Isabel smiled, for she knew how to preposterous her answer would seem to her mother.’ (Maugham p.38)

Definition: she knew how to change her answer completely to please her mother, so that it was free of common sense.

Lingering:

‘…after lingering interminably over our coffee, liqueurs, and cigars, returned to the drawing-room, I had a chance to speak to her.’ (Maugham p.41)

Definition: lingering in this sentence means to stay in place a long time, to be reluctant to leave.

Exhilarated:

‘Has was a fast driver and the speed at which he went exhilarated them both.’ (Maugham p.44)

Definition: means to be stimulated or cheerful.

Prig:

‘Perhaps it’s only because I’m a conceited prig’  (Maugham p.47)

Definition: to be a prig means to demand precise conformity to others in an irritating way.

Hindrance:

‘…it gives you the feeling that there you can think out your thoughts to the end without let or hindrance.’ (Maugham p.48)

Definition: In this sentence, it means to think out your thoughts without stopping, until the very end.

Grinned:

‘When he saw me he grinned’ (Maugham p.51)

Definition: to smile meaning that the person is amused or has pleasure.

Jigerred:

‘Well I’m jiggered’ (Maugham p.51)

Definition: Jiggered means to be damned. It is informal.

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