Chapters 1–6

On his eleventh birthday, orphan Harry Potter learns the shocking truth: he's a wizard about to begin his education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. tawny
    having the color of tanned leather
    None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window.
  2. tantrum
    a display of bad temper
    At half past eight, Mr. Dursley picked up his briefcase, pecked Mrs. Dursley on the cheek, and tried to kiss Dudley good-bye but missed, because Dudley was now having a tantrum and throwing his cereal at the walls.
  3. chortle
    laugh quietly or with restraint
    “Little tyke,” chortled Mr. Dursley as he left the house.
  4. swoop
    move with a sweep
    He didn’t see the owls swooping past in broad daylight, though people down in the street did; they pointed and gazed open-mouthed as owl after owl sped overhead.
  5. contrary
    in an opposing direction
    On the contrary, his face split into a wide smile and he said in a squeaky voice that made passersby stare, “Don’t be sorry, my dear sir, for nothing could upset me today!"
  6. spectacles
    His blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling behind half-moon spectacles and his nose was very long and crooked, as though it had been broken at least twice.
  7. fancy
    imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind
    Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall.”
  8. pierce
    penetrate or cut through with a sharp instrument
    It seemed that Professor McGonagall had reached the point she was most anxious to discuss, the real reason she had been waiting on a cold, hard wall all day, for neither as a cat nor as a woman had she fixed Dumbledore with such a piercing stare as she did now.
  9. grudging
    petty or reluctant in giving or spending
    “I’m not saying his heart isn’t in the right place,” said Professor McGonagall grudgingly, “but you can’t pretend he’s not careless."
  10. astride
    with one leg on each side
    If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it.
  11. astonishing
    surprising greatly
    A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen.
  12. shrill
    having or emitting a high-pitched and sharp tone or tones
    His Aunt Petunia was awake and it was her shrill voice that made the first noise of the day.
  13. scrawny
    inferior in size or quality
    Piers was a scrawny boy with a face like a rat.
  14. hoodlum
    an aggressive and violent criminal
    “... roaring along like maniacs, the young hoodlums,” he said, as a motorcycle overtook them.
  15. slither
    pass or move unobtrusively or smoothly
    Behind the glass, all sorts of lizards and snakes were crawling and slithering over bits of wood and stone.
  16. porridge
    soft food made by boiling meal or legumes in water or milk
    Within seconds it was the grayish white of old porridge.
  17. musty
    stale and unclean smelling
    Dudley and Harry shared a room with twin beds and damp, musty sheets.
  18. snivel
    snuff up mucus through the nose
    Dudley sniveled.
  19. warlock
    a male witch or sorcerer
    Chief Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
  20. ashen
    pale from illness or emotion
    “Where was I?” said Hagrid, but at that moment, Uncle Vernon, still ashen-faced but looking very angry, moved into the firelight.
  21. gargoyle
    an ornament consisting of a grotesquely carved figure
    “Gulpin’ gargoyles, Harry, people are still scared.
  22. rubbish
    worthless material that is to be disposed of
    I’ve read those letters and he needs all sorts of rubbish—spell books and wands and—”
  23. cauldron
    a very large pot that is used for boiling
    1 wand
    1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
    1 set glass or crystal phials
    1 telescope
    1 set brass scales
    Students may also bring an owl OR a cat OR a toad
  24. apothecary
    a health professional trained in the art of preparing drugs
    A plump woman outside an Apothecary was shaking her head as they passed, saying, “Dragon liver, sixteen sickles an ounce, they’re mad....”
  25. swarthy
    naturally having skin of a dark color
    He had a swarthy, clever face, a pointed beard and, Harry noticed, very long fingers and feet.
  26. surname
    the name used to identify the members of a family
    What’s your surname, anyway?”
  27. befuddle
    be confusing or perplexing to
    Hagrid almost had to drag Harry away from Curses and Countercurses (Bewitch Your Friends and Befuddle Your Enemies with the Latest Revenges: Hair Loss, Jelly-Legs, Tongue-Tying and Much, Much More) by Professor Vindictus Viridian.
  28. phoenix
    a legendary bird that burned to death and emerged reborn
    We use unicorn hairs, phoenix tail feathers, and the heartstrings of dragons.
  29. ruddy
    inclined to a healthy reddish color
    “Got to have that ruddy tail removed before he goes to Smeltings.”
  30. prefect
    a chief officer or chief magistrate
    “I’m up front, the prefects have got two compartments to themselves—”
Created on July 8, 2013 (updated September 11, 2018)

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