The Essential 'Hunger Games' Vocab Guide

The Essential 'Hunger Games' Vocab Guide
Source: AP
Source: AP

Catching Fire, the sequel to last year's blockbuster The Hunger Games, opens November 22. Fans of the novels know that entering the world of the series means adopting a new vocabulary. If you go into the movie with no prep, it will still be amazing but you might feel a little lost. Whether Catching Fire will be your entrance into the franchise or you're the kind of fan who keeps their Hunger Games DVD on repeat, enjoy this crash course on the vocab of the series.

Panem: The dystopian nation in which the games take place.

Tribute: A combatant in the Hunger Games.

Capitol: Seat of wealth, power, and excess in Panem.


Courtesy Lionsgate.

District: Name for states/territories within Panem. Each must send one male and one female tribute to the Hunger Games.

Hunger Games: A televised fight to the death to punish the Districts for rebelling against the Capital.

Quarter Quell: Held every 25 Hunger Games; produced on a larger scale than other years' Games.


Careers: Tributes trained for the Games by the richer Districts; training is technically illegal, but happens regardless.

Reaping: Ceremony at which tributes for the Games are chosen from among the teenagers of each District.


Courtesy Lionsgate.

Mockingjay: (1) Bird species descended from mockingbirds that mated with jabberjays which can mimic tonal patterns. (2) Symbol of the mounting uprising against the Capital.

Jabberjay: Species of bird genetically-engineered by the Capital to be spies which can memorize and repeat entire human conversations.

Tracker jacker: Insects with stingers which carry venom that can cause hallucinations and death.

Tesserae: Ration of oil and grain issued to teenagers in the Districts; each tesserae received equals an extra entry into the Reaping.

Victor: Winner of the Hunger Games.

May the odds be ever in your favor, everyone.


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Autumn Harbison

A lifelong UK Wildcat fan, Autumn earned Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Journalism, and a J.D. of law from the University of Kentucky. She is an attorney in a small town in Kentucky and proudly calls herself a nerd.

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