Gatsby Chapters 1-3 Vocab

prodigality (40) CONTEXT: “Laughter is easier, minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word” (40).DEFINITION: the trait of spending extravagantly. Note that “prodigality” is used here metaphorically, as is “tipped out,” the monetary metaphor reinforcing the motif of extravagance.
erroneous (41) straying from what is moral, decent, proper
contemptuous (42) expressing extreme lack of disrespect “I knew now why her face was familiar–its pleasing contemptuous expression had looked out at me from many rotogravure pictures of the sporting life at Asheville and Hot Springs and Palm Beach”
homogeneity (44) CONTEXT: “Instead of rambling this party had preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself the function of representing the staid nobility of the countryside—East Egg condescending to West Egg, and carefully on guard against its spectroscopic gayety” (44).DEFINITION: the quality of being similar or comparable in kind or nature
staid (44) CONTEXT: “Instead of rambling this party had preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself thefunction of representing the staid nobility of the countryside—East Egg condescending to West Egg, andcarefully on guard against its spectroscopic gayety” (44). DEFINITION: characterized by dignity and propriety
nobility (44) belonging to the noble class of a place (high social ranking)Context: “Instead of rambling this party had preserved a dignified homogeneity, and assumed to itself the function of representing the staid nobility of the countryside—East Egg condescending to West Egg, and carefully on guard against its spectroscopic gayety” (44)
Scorn (2) lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike”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.”
Anaemic (25). lacking in color, spirit, or vitality, pale.
vacuous (46) CONTEXT: “A celebrated tenor had sung in Italian and a notorious contralto had sung in jazz and between thenumbers people were doing “stunts” all over the garden, while happy vacuous bursts of laughter rosetoward the summer sky” (46). DEFINITION: devoid of intelligence
florid (48) having a red or flushed complexionContext: “I had expected that Mr. Gatsby would be a florid and corpulent person in his middle years.”
corpulent (48) fatContext: “I had expected that Mr. Gatsby would be a florid and corpulent person in his middle years.”
Obscure (23) Not known about;uncertain of. Doubtful, mysterious.
Deft (37) CONTEXT: “Making a short deft movement Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand” (37). DEFINITION: skillful in physical movements; especially of the hands
Grotesque (23) odd or unnatural in shape, appearance, or character; fantastically ugly or absurd; bizarre.Context: “This is a valley of ashes — a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air.”
Supercilious (24) having or showing arrogant superiority toContext: “Now he was a sturdy, straw haired man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner.”
Discreet (26, 29, 34) unobtrusively perceptive and sympatheticContext: “When I came back they had disappeared so I sat down discreetly in the living room and read a chapter of “Simon Called Peter”–either it was terrible stuff or the whiskey distorted things because it didn’t make any sense to me.”
Prey (2) an animal that is hunted and killed by another for food.
Hauteur (30) CONTEXT: “The intense vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was converted into impressive hauteur”(30).DEFINITION: overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors
provincial (49) Definition:(adj.) narrow in mind or outlook, countrified in the sense of being limited and backward; of a simple, plain design that originated in the countryside.Context: But young men didn’t — at least in my provincial inexperience I believed they didn’t — drift coolly out of nowhere and buy a palace on Long Island Sound.

You Might Also Like