be emphatic or resolute and refuse to budge
The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother
insisted on throwing me a going-away party.
disparaging terms for the common people
Although I was more or less forced to invite all my “school friends,” i.e., the
ragtag bunch of drama people and English geeks I sat with by social necessity in the cavernous cafeteria of my public school, I knew they wouldn’t come.
be persistent, refuse to stop
Still, my mother
persevered, awash in the delusion that I had kept my popularity secret from her all these years.
not disposed or willing to believe; unbelieving
He got through the A’s before looking up and noticing my
the act of indulging or gratifying a desire
It was an
indulgence, learning last words.
characterized by careless unconcern
He told me this while ripping through his duffel bag, throwing clothes into drawers with
in a random manner
Her library filled her bookshelves and then overflowed into waist-high stacks of books everywhere, piled
haphazardly against the walls.
characterized by intense emotion
I mean, I hate the rich snots here with a
fervent passion I usually reserve only for dental work and my father.
She had the kind of eyes that
predisposed you to supporting her every endeavor.
overcome, as with emotions or perceptual stimuli
“Yeah, you’re not bad either,” I said,
overwhelmed by her compliment.
formality and propriety of manner
But Takumi felt no such
modesty—he could, and did, eat and chew and swallow while talking.
a courteous or respectful or considerate act
I wondered why no one had shown the common
courtesy to tell me to put on shoes, and why was I out there in my underwear, chicken legs exposed to the world?
an instance in which you are caused to lose your prestige or self-respect
humiliations crossed my mind: There’s the new junior, Miles Halter, handcuffed to the soccer goal wearing only his boxers.
from appearances alone
My French I class back in Florida did not prepare me for Madame O’Malley, who skipped the “how was your summer” pleasantries and dove directly into something called the passé compose, which is
apparently a verb tense.
defying imitation; matchless
And the way her mouth curled up on the right side all the time, like she was preparing to smirk, like she’d mastered the right half of the Mona Lisa’s
an indication that something has been present
vestige from when Culver Creek was a Christian boys’ school, I figured the World Religions class, required of every junior and senior, might be an easy A.
lacking clarity or distinctness
I hated talking, and I hated listening to everyone else stumble on their words and try to phrase things in the
vaguest possible way so they wouldn’t sound dumb, and I hated how it was all just a game of trying to figure out what the teacher wanted to hear and then saying it.
After my last class of my first week at Culver Creek, I entered Room 43 to an unlikely sight: the
diminutive and shirtless Colonel, hunched over an ironing board, attacking a pink button-down shirt.
put up with something or somebody unpleasant
The Old Man, who obviously did not
tolerate vocalized rambling, cut me off.
put up with something or somebody unpleasant
For fifty minutes a day, five days a week, you
abide by my rules.
I don’t understand why you’re so obsessed with figuring out everything that happens here, like we have to
unravel every mystery.
impervious to correction by punishment
“Yeah, Pudge is adorable / but you want
incorrigible / so Jake is more endurable / ’cause he’s so—damn."
beyond doubt or reproach
She looked at me and smiled widely, and such a wide smile on her narrow face might have looked goofy were it not for the unimpeachably elegant green in her eyes.
Although I’d never ridden in it, Alaska apparently had a car, and she offered to drive the Colonel and me to McDonald’s, but the Colonel didn’t have any money, and I didn’t have much either, what with constantly paying for his
extravagant cigarette habit.
based on or manifesting objectively defined standards of rightness or morality
I didn’t hate him like the Colonel did, of course, because the Colonel hated him on principle, and
principled hate is a hell of a lot stronger than “Boy, I wish you hadn’t mummified me and thrown me into the lake” hate.
discouraging through fear
Still, I tried to stare at him
intimidatingly as he looked at the Colonel, but it was hard to forget that this guy had seen my skinny ass in nothing but boxers a couple weeks ago.
disagreement among those expected to cooperate
Like any good teacher, she tolerated little
make clear and (more) comprehensible
She smoked and talked and ate for an hour without stopping, and I scribbled in my notebook as the muddy waters of tangents and cosines began to
As she talked, she bobbed her head back and forth to the MTV music, even though the song was the kind of manufactured pop ballad she
professed to hate.
making claim to or creating an appearance of (often undeserved) importance or distinction
The Colonel blew smoke rings, and Takumi called them “
pretentious,” while Alaska followed the smoke rings with her fingers, stabbing at them like a kid trying to pop bubbles.
tending or intended to rectify or improve
I sat in the hall with my back against the wall and read my American history textbook (kind of
remedial reading for me, to be honest) until Alaska showed up and sat down next to me.
a special advantage or immunity or benefit not enjoyed by all
“Don’t abuse your
privileges at this school, young man, or you will regret it.”
remote in manner
If I were you, I’d sit down, look cute, and be your pleasantly
a vague unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some (usually ill-defined) misfortune
I don’t know whether it was the general
anxiety of being on a date (albeit one with my would-be date sitting five people away from me) or the specific anxiety of having the Beast stare in my direction, but for some reason, I took off running after Takumi.
an expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its context
And I vaguely remember Lara smiling at me from the doorway, the glittering
ambiguity of a girl’s smile, which seems to promise an answer to the question but never gives it.