WORD LISTS

"Matilda" by Roald Dahl, Chapters 1–7

August 6, 2019
Brilliant Matilda Wormwood finds clever ways to get the best of her ignorant parents and the cruel headmistress of her school.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–7, Chapters 8–10, Chapters 11–14, Chapters 15–21

Here are links to our lists for other works by Roald Dahl: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Boy: Tales of Childhood
doting
If I were a teacher I would cook up some real scorchers for the children of doting parents.
periodical
I might even delve deeper into natural history and say, “The periodical cicada spends six years as a grub underground, and no more than six days as a free creature of sunlight and air. Your son Wilfred has spent six years as a grub in this school and we are still waiting for him to emerge from the chrysalis."
cicada
I might even delve deeper into natural history and say, “The periodical cicada spends six years as a grub underground, and no more than six days as a free creature of sunlight and air. Your son Wilfred has spent six years as a grub in this school and we are still waiting for him to emerge from the chrysalis."
chrysalis
I might even delve deeper into natural history and say, “The periodical cicada spends six years as a grub underground, and no more than six days as a free creature of sunlight and air. Your son Wilfred has spent six years as a grub in this school and we are still waiting for him to emerge from the chrysalis."
nimble
Her mind was so nimble and she was so quick to learn that her ability should have been obvious even to the most half-witted of parents.
hanker
At the age of four, she could read fast and well and she naturally began hankering after books.
enlightened
The only book in the whole of this enlightened household was something called Easy Cooking belonging to her mother, and when she had read this from cover to cover and had learnt all the recipes by heart, she decided she wanted something more interesting.
aback
Mrs Phelps, slightly taken aback at the arrival of such a tiny girl unaccompanied by a parent, nevertheless told her she was very welcome.
instinctive
Her first thought was to pick a young teenager's romance of the kind that is written for fifteen-year-old schoolgirls, but for some reason she found herself instinctively walking past that particular shelf.
formidable
It was a formidable list and by now Mrs Phelps was filled with wonder and excitement, but it was probably a good thing that she did not allow herself to be completely carried away by it all.
resent
She resented being told constantly that she was ignorant and stupid when she knew she wasn't.
rakish
He thought it gave him a rakish daring look, especially when he wore it at an angle with his loud checked jacket and green tie.
skulk
And later on, as she watched her skinny little husband skulking around the bedroom in his purple-striped pyjamas with a pork-pie hat on his head, she thought how stupid he looked.
chasten
The experience had clearly chastened Mr Wormwood and he seemed temporarily to have lost his taste for boasting and bullying.
subtle
Matilda's wonderfully subtle mind was already at work devising yet another suitable punishment for the poisonous parent.
brandish
"Come on!" Matilda cried and she burst into the room, brandishing her knife.
sheer
For sheer cleverness she could run rings around them all.
asinine
But the fact remained that any five-year-old girl in any family was always obliged to do as she was told, however asinine the orders might be.
goggle
“You mean you did it in your head, dad?" the son asked, goggling.
tonic
She carefully left enough of her father's original hair tonic in the bottle so that when she gave it a good shake the whole thing still looked reasonably purple.
lavatory
"Peroxide is a very powerful chemical. It's what they put down the lavatory to disinfect the pan only they give it another name."
bleak
The village school for younger children was a bleak brick building called Crunchem Hall Primary School.
bewilderment
She seemed to understand totally the bewilderment and fear that so often overwhelms young children who for the first time in their lives are herded into a classroom and told to obey orders.
tangible
Some curious warmth that was almost tangible shone out of Miss Honey's face when she spoke to a confused and homesick newcomer to the class.
tyrannical
She was a gigantic holy terror, a fierce tyrannical monster who frightened the life out of the pupils and teachers alike.
aura
There was an aura of menace about her even at a distance, and when she came up close you could almost feel the dangerous heat radiating from her as from a red-hot rod of metal.
recital
She had been listening slightly spellbound to this smooth recital, and now she said, "How far can you go?"
facility
She had never come across a five-year-old before, or indeed a ten-year-old, who could multiply with such facility.
solemn
She looked again at the small girl with bright eyes standing beside her desk so sensible and solemn.
prodigy
There was no doubt in her mind that she had met a truly extraordinary mathematical brain, and words like child-genius and prodigy went flitting through her head.
flit
There was no doubt in her mind that she had met a truly extraordinary mathematical brain, and words like child-genius and prodigy went flitting through her head.
understatement
"That really is very good indeed," Miss Honey said, making the understatement of her life.
epicure
Smoothly, without a pause and at a nice speed, Matilda began to read:
"An epicure dining at Crewe
Found a rather large mouse in his stew.
Cried the waiter, "Don't shout
And wave it about
Or the rest will be wanting one too."
dainty
"It is someone who is dainty with his eating," Matilda said.
limerick
"It's called a limerick," Matilda said.

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