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'The Hunger Games' A-Z: A Glossary

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark in "The Hunger Games"
Lionsgate

Those faithful to Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" series know the books offer up a whole new catalog of vocab terms to explain the ins and outs of Panem.

Chances are, we'll be hearing plenty of such words this month when "The Hunger Games" finally hits theaters. So, to introduce the uninitiated and serve as a refresher for those who have read the books, we've created an A to Z glossary of the major "Hunger Games" terms you need to know before taking your spectator seat on March 23.

You might want to make flashcards.

A

Arena: The location of the Games. Each year's Hunger Games event takes place in a newly-designed Arena in a different part of the country of Panem. Previous years' Arenas are known tourist destinations. The site of each year's new Arena is unknown to the contestants and viewers until the Games actually commence. The landscape, climate, natural resources and weapons available in each Arena setting are completely decided upon by the Gamemakers.

Avox: A person who has been convicted of treason against The Capitol and subsequently punished by forcible removal of his or her tongue.

B

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta in The Hunger Games
Lionsgate

Bow and Arrow: Archery weapons favored by District 12's female tribute Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). These are useful for long-range combat and hunting purposes.

Boy with the Bread: The nickname for District 12's male tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), whose family owns a bakery and who gave Katniss Everdeen two loaves of bread during her time of extreme need years ago.

C

Capitol: The central government system of the nation of Panem. It is also the name for the government's primary city, which is located near the Rocky Mountains. The Capitol rules over the 12 subsidiary districts of Panem, all of which exist to provide some raw or manufactured good or service to it. The leader of the Capitol is President Coriolanus Snow (Donald Sutherland).

Careers: A moniker for tributes who've been amply prepared for combat and who often join together (temporarily) during The Hunger Games. Often, victors from each year come from career packs.

Cornucopia: A stockpile of survival-oriented items placed in the middle of the tributes' launch pads before the beginning of the Games. This is typically the location of several early tribute deaths, as many begin fighting over the items contained in the Cornucopia at the outset. In the 74th Annual Hunger Games event, the Cornucopia is horn-shaped, very large and made of metal.

D

Districts: Zones of Panem which have been divided, contained, policed and assigned with manufacturing or agricultural chores to service the Capitol. There were formerly 13 districts of Panem, but after a quarrel between District 13 and the Capitol some years ago, the number of districts was formally reduced to 12. The fate of District 13 is reported by the Capitol to be utter annihilation, but some rumors suggest otherwise.

Dystopian: The genre of "The Hunger Games"; this is the opposite of Utopian, wherein a society (or lack thereof)'s people often endure cruelties and live in fear.

E

Jennifer Lawrence and Elizabeth Banks in "The Hunger Games"
Lionsgate

Escort: A Capitol official assigned to accompany and manage each district's male and female tributes as they are selected and prepared for The Hunger Games. District 12's escort for the 74th Annual Hunger Games is Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), a vivacious woman with eccentric hair and make-up who hopes to some day escort tributes from a more reputable district.

F

Forcefield: An invisible barrier constructed to contain an area, such as the edging of the Arena. These are known to have weak spots which are barely visible to the untrained eye.

G

Gamemakers: Capitol persons responsible for constructing and officiating each year's Hunger Games event. For the 74th Annual Hunger Games event, Seneca Crane (Wes Bentley) serves as Head Gamemaker.

H

Hob: A black market trading facility in District 12 wherein goods (both legal and illegal) are bartered.

Hovercraft: Aerial vehicles employed by the Capitol for swift transportation.

Hunger Games: An annual death-match event populated by a male and female tribute from each of Panem's 12 districts and televised live across the Capitol's nationwide television system. Tributes are selected and trained by Capitol officials and then placed into an Arena designed by the Gamemakers. One victor — the last tribute standing — emerges from each Hunger Games event and is given a life of leisure and opulence as his or her reward for survival. Viewing the event is mandatory for all citizens of Panem, and the event was created by the Treaty of Treason decades ago to serve as annual punishment for the rebellion which District 13 participated in; the Games also serve to entertain citizens of the Capitol.

I

Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman in "The Hunger Games"
Lionsgate

Interview: During preparations for the Games, tributes are required to participate in public interviews which are conducted by Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci). These are meant to introduce spectators to the tributes and aid sponsors and wagerers in determining how (and upon whom) to spend their resources.

J

Jabberjays: Birds created by the Capitol during a time of rebellion in order to spy upon district citizens. Jabberjays were created to record and repeat conversations and thusly alert the Capitol of treacherous discussions; this effort proved ineffective, as citizens eventually discovered the ploy and used the birds to feed the Capitol false information. They were later left to die out and did so after mating with mockingbirds and creating an entire new avian specie, the mockingjay.

K

Katniss: The first-person protagonist of "The Hunger Games" series, who volunteers to take her little sister Prim's place as District 12's female tribute for the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Also the name of an edible root plant.

L

Lamb Stew: One of the many delicious dishes served by the Capitol during tribute training for the 74th Annual Hunger Games; it is a particular favorite of District 12's Katniss Everdeen.

M

Mockingjay: A species of bird which resulted from cross-breeding between mockingbirds and the Capitol-constructed Jabberjays. While they are unable to repeat words and phrases as the parent specie Jabberjay could, they are known to replicate sounds, such as whistling.

Muttation: Capitol-constructed animal monsters which have sharp claws and teeth as well as characteristics which resemble human beings, such as eyes and coloring.

N

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games
Lionsgate

Nightlock Berry: A type of poisonous berry lethal to anyone who consumes it.

O

Orange Backpack: One of the many items found in the Cornucopia of the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Katniss retrieves this at the beginning of the Games and it contains several useful items.

P

Panem: The name of the post-revolutionary country which sprung up, led by the Capitol and comprised of several districts. It is located across what was once known as North America.

Peacekeepers: Capitol officials charged with maintaining peace and order in the various districts of Panem.

Primrose: The younger sister of protagonist Katniss Everdeen; she is selected to serve as the female tribute for the 74th Annual Hunger Games but is replaced when Katniss volunteers in her stead. Also the name of a blossoming flower.

Q

Quarter Quell: Every 25 years, in celebration of the anniversary of the Treaty of Treason, The Hunger Games are given special treatment and titled Quarter Quells. These are usually elevated installments of the Games. For the first Quarter Quell, districts were allowed to vote in their tributes for the year, and for the second, four tributes from each district were selected rather than the usual two.

R

Reaping: The name of the annual district ceremonies wherein two tributes,  a male and a female, are selected by lottery for entry into the Hunger Games. The reaping ceremonies are televised and conducted by each district's escort.

S

Donald Sutherland as President Snow in "The Hunger Games"
Lionsgate

Seam: An impoverished section of District 12, the coal-mining district, which is located in what was once known as Appalachia.

Snow: The President of Panem (full name: Coriolanus Snow), who rules from the Capitol and tends to his rose garden for leisure.

Sponsors: Persons who purchase items to be sent by miniature parachute to tributes during the Games. Sponsors can be very important to the survival of any given tribute.

T

Tessera: An optional exchange ticket in which a district citizen who is eligible for entry into The Hunger Games can receive extra food for his or her family in return for additional name entries into the reaping lottery. These are limited in number and frequency for each potential tribute and are completely voluntary. (Plural form: tesserae).

Tracker Jackers: Poisonous wasp-like bugs designed by the Capitol. They nest in trees and their stinger venom can cause hallucinations and even death in certain doses.

Tributes: Those children selected to fight in The Hunger Games. One boy and one girl from each of the 12 districts are chosen to serve as tributes each year.

U

Universe: Outside of Panem, the state of the world and universe at large is unknown in "The Hunger Games." The affairs of Panem comprise the entire focus of the story.

V

Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy in "The Hunger Games"
Lionsgate

Victor's Village: A neighborhood located in each district which exists to house Hunger Games victors only. In District 12 at the time of the 74th Annual Hunger Games' beginning, Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) is the only occupant of this area.

W

Water Source: In the Arena, this is a crucial find for survival of the Games. Katniss is advised by her mentor Haymitch to locate a water source immediately.

X

X: A demarcation which can be used to target something with a weapon, such as a bow and arrow. Peeta Mellark employs the use of this at a crucial time in "The Hunger Games."

Y

Youth: The age-group selected for participation in each year's Hunger Games. District youth ranging from ages 12 to 18 are eligible for each year's reaping.

Z

Zeitgeist: "The Hunger Games" has nudged its way into becoming a mainstay in the cultural climate of American literature (and is likely to do so in the movie sphere as well). With political and social undertones which are instructive for today's society, "The Hunger Games" has officially become a part of today's cultural zeitgeist.

Any terms and definitions you'd like to add to this glossary? Teach away in the comments below!

Amanda Bell is a young adult book-to-film enthusiast and has made a name for herself as a fan-friendly, informative and dependable source. In addition to being the District 14 columnist for NextMovie, she runs the popular Twilight Examiner column. Keep tabs on her on Twitter.

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