"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chapters 6–7

Nick Carraway rents a summer house in Long Island where he befriends his mysterious neighbor Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who hides behind an extravagant and decadent lifestyle.

Here are links to all our word lists for the novel: Chapter 1, Chapters 2–3, Chapters 4–5, Chapters 6–7, Chapters 8–9

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definitions & notes only words
  1. notoriety
    the state of being known for some unfavorable act or quality
    Gatsby's notoriety, spread about by the hundreds who had accepted his hospitality and so become authorities on his past, had increased all summer until he fell just short of being news.
  2. meretricious
    tastelessly showy
    He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father's Business, the service of a vast, vulgar and meretricious beauty.
  3. conceit
    an artistic device or effect
    The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night.
  4. ineffable
    defying expression or description
    A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the wash-stand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor.
  5. turgid
    ostentatiously lofty in style
    The none too savory ramifications by which Ella Kaye, the newspaper woman, played Madame de Maintenon to his weakness and sent him to sea in a yacht, were common knowledge to the turgid journalism of 1902.
  6. ingratiate
    gain favor with somebody by deliberate efforts
    For several weeks I didn't see him or hear his voice on the phone—mostly I was in New York, trotting around with Jordan and trying to ingratiate myself with her senile aunt—but finally I went over to his house one Sunday afternoon.
  7. perturbed
    thrown into a state of agitated confusion
    Tom was evidently perturbed at Daisy's running around alone, for on the following Saturday night he came with her to Gatsby's party.
  8. pervade
    spread or diffuse through
    There were the same people, or at least the same sort of people, the same profusion of champagne, the same many-colored, many-keyed commotion, but I felt an unpleasantness in the air, a pervading harshness that hadn't been there before.
  9. septic
    containing or resulting from disease-causing organisms
    But what had amused me then turned septic on the air now.
  10. proximity
    the region close around a person or thing
    It occurred to me that he had been very slowly bending toward her all evening to attain this proximity, and even while I watched I saw him stoop one ultimate degree and kiss at her cheek.
  11. chafe
    become or make sore by or as if by rubbing
    She was appalled by West Egg, this unprecedented "place" that Broadway had begotten upon a Long Island fishing village—appalled by its raw vigor that chafed under the old euphemisms and by the too obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short cut from nothing to nothing.
  12. euphemism
    an inoffensive expression substituted for an offensive one
    She was appalled by West Egg, this unprecedented "place" that Broadway had begotten upon a Long Island fishing village—appalled by its raw vigor that chafed under the old euphemisms and by the too obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short cut from nothing to nothing.
  13. menagerie
    a collection of live animals for study or display
    "Well, he certainly must have strained himself to get this menagerie
  14. dilatory
    wasting time
    The dilatory limousine came rolling up the drive.
  15. desolate
    crushed by grief
    The straw seats of the car hovered on the edge of combustion; the woman next to me perspired delicately for a while into her white shirtwaist, and then, as her newspaper dampened under her fingers, lapsed despairingly into deep heat with a desolate cry.
  16. harrowing
    causing extreme distress
    And yet I couldn't believe that they would choose this occasion for a scene—especially for the rather harrowing scene that Gatsby had outlined in the garden.
  17. affront
    a deliberately offensive act
    In this heat every extra gesture was an affront to the common store of life.
  18. genial
    diffusing warmth and friendliness
    "I read somewhere that the sun's getting hotter every year," said Tom genially.
  19. stagnant
    not circulating or flowing
    On the green Sound, stagnant in the heat, one small sail crawled slowly toward the fresher sea.
  20. boisterous
    full of rough and exuberant animal spirits
    "Plenty of gas," said Tom boisterously.
  21. oppressive
    weighing heavily on the senses or spirit
    Jordan and Tom and I got into the front seat of Gatsby's car, Tom pushed the unfamiliar gears tentatively and we shot off into the oppressive heat leaving them out of sight behind.
  22. inexplicable
    incapable of being explained or accounted for
    Her expression was curiously familiar—it was an expression I had often seen on women's faces but on Myrtle Wilson's face it seemed purposeless and inexplicable until I realized that her eyes, wide with jealous terror, were fixed not on Tom, but on Jordan Baker, whom she took to be his wife.
  23. inviolate
    safe from harm or desecration
    His wife and his mistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control.
  24. precipitate
    done with very great haste and without due deliberation
    His wife and his mistress, until an hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control.
  25. intermittent
    stopping and starting at irregular intervals
    The prolonged and tumultuous argument that ended by herding us into that room eludes me, though I have a sharp physical memory that, in the course of it, my underwear kept climbing like a damp snake around my legs and intermittent beads of sweat raced cool across my back.
  26. stifling
    characterized by oppressive heat and humidity
    The room was large and stifling, and, though it was already four o'clock, opening the windows admitted only a gust of hot shrubbery from the Park.
  27. portentous
    of momentous or ominous significance
    As Tom took up the receiver the compressed heat exploded into sound and we were listening to the portentous chords of Mendelssohn's Wedding March from the ballroom below.
  28. libertine
    a dissolute person
    The transition from libertine to prig was so complete.
    A prig is someone who is snobby or obnoxiously proper.
  29. vicariously
    indirectly, as, by, or through a substitute
    At this point Jordan and I tried to go but Tom and Gatsby insisted with competitive firmness that we remain—as though neither of them had anything to conceal and it would be a privilege to partake vicariously of their emotions.
  30. rancor
    a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will
    "Please don't." Her voice was cold, but the rancour was gone from it.
  31. magnanimous
    generous and understanding and tolerant
    She looked at Tom, alarmed now, but he insisted with magnanimous scorn.
  32. expostulation
    the act of expressing earnest opposition or protest
    The circle closed up again with a running murmur of expostulation; it
    was a minute before I could see anything at all.
  33. clamorous
    conspicuously and offensively loud
    At first I couldn't find the source of the high, groaning words that echoed clamorously through the bare garage—then I saw Wilson standing on the raised threshold of his office, swaying back and forth and holding to the doorposts with both hands.
  34. truculent
    defiantly aggressive
    Only the Negro and I were near enough to hear what he said but the policeman caught something in the tone and looked over with truculent eyes.
  35. earnest
    characterized by a firm, humorless belief in one's opinions
    He was talking intently across the table at her and in his earnestness his hand had fallen upon and covered her own.

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