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Barron's Booknotes-Moby Dick by Herman Melville
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GLOSSARY

AMBERGRIS - A grayish, waxy substance secreted in the whale's intestine and highly valued for use in the production of perfume.

BREACH - The whale's spectacular, near-vertical leap out of the water into the air. BRIT - A yellowish substance (probably tiny crustaceans) favored as food by the right whale. CETOLOGY - The scientific study of whales.

CUTTING-IN - The initial butchering of a whale. DEAD RECKONING - A system of determining a ship's location without the use of instruments other than a compass.

DRUGGS - Wooden blocks tied to the whale-line to tire a fleeing whale. FAST-FISH - A whale held "fast" to the boat that harpoons it, and by whaling custom the property of that boat.

FORECASTLE - The compartment where common sailors sleep, in the bow of the ship. GAM - A meeting between two whaling ships to exchange news and mail.

IRON - A harpoon; generally each harpooner carries a first and second iron. JONAH - In the Old Testament book, the son of Amitai who disobeyed God's orders to preach to Ninevah and was punished by being swallowed up by a great whale; the subject of Father Mapple's sermon. LARBOARD - The left or port side of a ship.

LAY - A percentage of the profits of a whaling voyage; Ishmael is signed on for the 300th lay, or 1/300th of the profits of the Pequod's voyage.



LEEWARD - The side of a ship away from the direction the wind blows from. LEVIATHAN - An enormous sea-beast mentioned in the Bible, often assumed to be a whale and used by Ishmael to mean a whale.

LOG AND LINE - A rope and wood device which, when dragged behind a ship, can aid in determining the ship's location and speed.

LOOSE-FISH - A harpooned fish that has broken free of a line and is fair game for other ships. PARSEE - A follower of the religion of Zoroastrianism. Fedallah is a Parsee.

PARMACETI - A sperm whale. PEQUOD - A Massachusetts Indian tribe, exterminated by the Puritans; Ahab's ship is named for them. PITCHPOLE - A light whale lance that can be hurled long distances.

QUARTERDECK - The upper part of the deck behind the mainmast. RAMADAN - The Muslim month of fasting, used by Ishmael to mean Queequeg's day of fasting. SKRIMSHANDER - Intricate carvings made by whalemen from whale bone, also called scrimshaw. SOUND - The whale's dramatic, near-vertical plunge from the ocean surface into its depths. SPERMACETI - The Sperm whale's oil, valuable as a lubricant and for lighting.

STARBOARD - The right side of a ship. TRY-WORKS - A brick oven on board a whaling ship, used to melt whale blubber into oil. YOJO - The small black wooden idol worshipped by Queequeg.

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Barron's Booknotes-Moby Dick by Herman Melville
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