"The Catcher in the Rye," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-5 40 words

As you read J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye," you'll discover that Holden used more words than just "phony." To learn more of Holden's vocabulary, play these word lists: Chapters 1-5, Chapters 6-11, Chapters 12-16, Chapters 17-21, and Chapters 22-26.
  1. hemorrhage
    the flow of blood from a ruptured blood vessel
    In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them.
  2. splendid
    very good;of the highest quality
    And underneath the guy on the horse's picture, it always says: "Since 1888 we have been molding boys into splendid, clear-thinking young men."
  3. commit
    perform an act, usually with a negative connotation
    It was the last game of the year, and you were supposed to commit suicide or something if old Pencey didn't win.
  4. scrawny
    inferior in size or quality
    You couldn't see the grandstand too hot, but you could hear them all yelling, deep and terrific on the Pencey side, because practically the whole school except me was there, and scrawny and faggy on the Saxon Hall side, because the visiting team hardly ever brought many people with them.
  5. phony
    fraudulent; having a misleading appearance
    She probably knew what a phony slob he was.
  6. ostracize
    expel from a community or group
    The whole team ostracized me the whole way back on the train.
  7. academic
    associated with academia or an academy
    It has a very good academic rating, Pencey.
  8. posture
    the arrangement of the body and its limbs
    I mean he was all stooped over, and he had very terrible posture, and in class, whenever he dropped a piece of chalk at the blackboard, some guy in the first row always had to get up and pick it up and hand it to him.
  9. chuckle
    laugh quietly or with restraint
    He started chuckling like a madman.
  10. irritated
    aroused to impatience or anger
    "Well. . . they'll be pretty irritated about it," I said.
  11. privilege
    a special advantage or immunity or benefit not enjoyed by all
    Then he said, "I had the privilege of meeting your mother and dad when they had their little chat with Dr. Thurmer some weeks ago.
  12. sarcastic
    expressing or expressive of ridicule that wounds
    "You glanced through it, eh?" he said--very sarcastic.
  13. alternative
    one of a number of things from which only one can be chosen
    It was a very dirty trick, but I went over and brought it over to him--I didn't have any alternative or anything.
  14. reside
    live (in a certain place)
    The Egyptians were an ancient race of Caucasians residing in one of the northern sections of Africa.
  15. latter
    referring to the second of two things or persons mentioned (or the last one or ones of several)
    The latter as we all know is the largest continent in the Eastern Hemisphere.
  16. innumerable
    too numerous to be counted
    Modern science would still like to know what the secret ingredients were that the Egyptians used when they wrapped up dead people so that their faces would not rot for innumerable centuries.
  17. lagoon
    a body of water cut off from a larger body by a reef of sand or coral
    I live in New York, and I was thinking about the lagoon in Central Park, down near Central Park South.
  18. qualm
    uneasiness about the fitness of an action
    "Do you have any particular qualms about leaving Pencey?"
  19. sheer
    complete and without restriction or qualification; sometimes used informally as intensifiers
    So when I told old Spencer I had to go to the gym and get my equipment and stuff, that was a sheer lie.
  20. undertaking
    the trade of a funeral director
    He made a pot of dough in the undertaking business after he got out of Pencey.
  21. swell
    very good
    He was telling us all about what a swell guy he was, what a hot-shot and all, then all of a sudden this guy sitting in the row in front of me, Edgar Marsalla, laid this terrific fart.
  22. crude
    conspicuously and tastelessly indecent
    It was a very crude thing to do, in chapel and all, but it was also quite amusing.
  23. rostrum
    a platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it
    Hardly anybody laughed out loud, and old Ossenburger made out like he didn't even hear it, but old Thurmer, the headmaster, was sitting right next to him on the rostrum and all, and you could tell he heard it.
  24. compulsory
    required by rule
    He didn't say anything then, but the next night he made us have compulsory study hall in the academic building and he came up and made a speech.
  25. illiterate
    lacking culture, especially in language and literature
    I'm quite illiterate, but I read a lot.
  26. peculiar
    markedly different from the usual
    He was a very peculiar guy.
  27. hoarse
    deep and harsh sounding as if from shouting or illness or emotion
    "I think I'm going blind," I said in this very hoarse voice.
  28. grope
    feel about uncertainly or blindly
    I started groping around in front of me, like a blind guy, but without getting up or anything.
  29. sadistic
    deriving pleasure or sexual gratification from inflicting pain on another
    I was pretty sadistic with him quite often.
  30. falsetto
    artificially high; above the normal voice range
    He started laughing in this very high falsetto voice.
  31. conceited
    characteristic of false pride; having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
    He's a conceited sonuvabitch."
  32. aggravate
    exasperate or irritate
    Boy, he could really be aggravating sometimes.
  33. broad
    having great (or a certain) extent from one side to the other
    He had these very broad shoulders.
  34. torso
    the body excluding the head and neck and limbs
    He always walked around in his bare torso because he thought he had a damn good build.
  35. flatter
    praise somewhat dishonestly
    He was only flattering me, though, because right away he said, "Listen.
  36. liberate
    grant freedom to; free from confinement
    "Liberate yourself from my viselike grip."
  37. rile
    cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations
    You couldn't rile him too easily.
  38. fiend
    a person motivated by irrational enthusiasm (as for a cause)
    Old Brossard was a bridge fiend, and he started looking around the dorm for a game.
  39. monotonous
    sounded or spoken in a tone unvarying in pitch
    He started talking in this very monotonous voice, and picking at all his pimples.
  40. halitosis
    offensive breath
    Sinus trouble, pimples, lousy teeth, halitosis, crumby fingernails.