WORD LISTS

"The Great Gatsby," Chapter 1 Vocabulary

March 19, 2012
F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic "The Great Gatsby" is a glittering parade of parties and excess, but at its heart it is about identity and whether being wealthy in America can help you change who you really are. Here is a list of 100 great vocabulary words from the opening chapter of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1926 novel "The Great Gatsby."
vulnerable
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
criticize
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
advantage
"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
communicative
He didn't say any more but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.
reserved
He didn't say any more but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.
privy
The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men.
grief
The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men.
intimate
Most of the confidences were unsought--frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon--for the intimate revelations of young men or at least the terms in which they express them are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions.
revelation
Most of the confidences were unsought--frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon--for the intimate revelations of young men or at least the terms in which they express them are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions.
marred
Most of the confidences were unsought--frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon--for the intimate revelations of young men or at least the terms in which they express them are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions.
suppression
Most of the confidences were unsought--frequently I have feigned sleep, preoccupation, or a hostile levity when I realized by some unmistakable sign that an intimate revelation was quivering on the horizon--for the intimate revelations of young men or at least the terms in which they express them are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions.
infinite
Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.
parcel
I am still a little afraid of missing something if I forget that, as my father snobbishly suggested, and I snobbishly repeat a sense of the fundamental decencies is parcelled out unequally at birth.
boast
And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit.
tolerance
And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit.
marsh
Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes but after a certain point I don't care what it's founded on.
excursion
When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart.
privileged
When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart.
glimpse
When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart.
exempt
Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction--Gatsby who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn.
scorn
Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book, was exempt from my reaction--Gatsby who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn.
series
If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.
gesture
If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.
gorgeous
If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.
sensitivity
If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.
intricate
If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.
register
If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.
dignified
This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the "creative temperament"--it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.
temperament
This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the "creative temperament"--it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.
romantic
This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the "creative temperament"--it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again.
prey
No--Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
foul
No--Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
wake
No--Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
abortive
No--Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
elation
No--Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
prominent
My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this middle-western city for three generations.
generation
My family have been prominent, well-to-do people in this middle-western city for three generations.
descend
The Carraways are something of a clan and we have a tradition that we're descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather's brother who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on today.
founder
The Carraways are something of a clan and we have a tradition that we're descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather's brother who came here in fifty-one, sent a substitute to the Civil War and started the wholesale hardware business that my father carries on today.
grave
All my aunts and uncles talked it over as if they were choosing a prep-school for me and finally said, "Why--ye-es" with very grave, hesitant faces.
confer
He had casually conferred on me the freedom of the neighborhood.
security
I bought a dozen volumes on banking and credit and investment securities and they stood on my shelf in red and gold like new money from the mint, promising to unfold the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew.
solemn
I was rather literary in college--one year I wrote a series of very solemn and obvious editorials for the "Yale News"--and now I was going to bring back all such things into my life and become again that most limited of all specialists, the "well-rounded man."
epigram
This isn't just an epigram--life is much more successfully looked at from a single window, after all.
domesticated
Twenty miles from the city a pair of enormous eggs, identical in contour and separated only by a courtesy bay, jut out into the most domesticated body of salt water in the Western Hemisphere, the great wet barnyard of Long Island Sound.
perpetual
They are not perfect ovals--like the egg in the Columbus story they are both crushed flat at the contact end--but their physical resemblance must be a source of perpetual confusion to the gulls that fly overhead.
phenomenon
To the wingless a more arresting phenomenon is their dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size.
bizarre
I lived at West Egg, the--well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them.
sinister
I lived at West Egg, the--well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them.
colossal
The one on my right was a colossal affair by any standard--it was a factual imitation of some Hôtel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden.

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Thursday March 22nd 2012, 8:54 AM
Comment by: Don B. (Bella Vista, AR)
When used in our everyday conversation, this excellent list of relatively common words will awaken a greater interest in what we are saying.

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