Hound of the Baskervilles: Vocabulary and Essay Questions

By Marlene Gundlach

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

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

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?

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

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.