Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: Chapters 1–4

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.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–4, Chapters 5–7, Chapters 8–11, Chapters 12–14, Chapters 15–17

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40 words 22,904 learners

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Full list of words from this list:

  1. tawny
    having the color of tanned leather
    None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window.
  2. chortle
    laugh quietly or with restraint
    “Little tyke,” chortled Mr. Dursley as he left the house.
  3. 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.
  4. rummage
    search haphazardly
    He was busy rummaging in his cloak, looking for something.
  5. severe
    very harsh or strict, especially when dealing with others
    Instead he was smiling at a rather severe-looking woman who was wearing square glasses exactly the shape of the markings the cat had had around its eyes.
  6. distinct
    easy to perceive; especially clearly outlined
    She looked distinctly ruffled.
  7. flinch
    draw back, as with fear or pain
    Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice.
  8. exasperated
    greatly annoyed; out of patience
    “I know you haven’t,” said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring.
  9. piercing
    very perceptive
    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.
  10. falter
    speak haltingly
    “It’s—it’s true?" faltered Professor McGonagall.
  11. grudging
    unwilling or reluctant
    “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. He does tend to—what was that?”
  12. astride
    with one leg on each side
    If the motorcycle was huge, it was nothing to the man sitting astride it.
  13. tuft
    a bunch or cluster of strands, as of grass, hair, etc.
    Under a tuft of jet-black hair over his forehead they could see a curiously shaped cut, like a bolt of lightning.
  14. gingerly
    in a manner marked by extreme care or delicacy
    “Yes, yes, it’s all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we’ll be found,” Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door.
  15. muffled
    being or made softer or less loud or clear
    “Yeah,” said Hagrid in a very muffled voice, “I’d best get this bike away. G’night, Professor McGonagall—Professor Dumbledore, sir.”
  16. 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.
  17. prod
    poke or thrust abruptly
    One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours’ time by Mrs. Dursley’s scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley.
  18. fateful
    having momentous consequences; of decisive importance
    The sun rose on the same tidy front gardens and lit up the brass number four on the Dursleys’ front door; it crept into their living room, which was almost exactly the same as it had been on the night when Mr. Dursley had seen that fateful news report about the owls.
  19. shrill
    being sharply insistent on being heard
    His Aunt Petunia was awake and it was her shrill voice that made the first noise of the day.
    “Up! Get up! Now!”
  20. scrawny
    being very thin
    Piers was a scrawny boy with a face like a rat.
  21. revolting
    highly offensive; arousing aversion or disgust
    Another time, Aunt Petunia had been trying to force him into a revolting old sweater of Dudley’s (brown with orange puff balls).
  22. 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.
  23. intently
    with strained or eager attention
    Harry moved in front of the tank and looked intently at the snake.
  24. vigorously
    in an energetic manner
    The snake nodded vigorously.
  25. parchment
    a superior paper resembling sheepskin
    The envelope was thick and heavy, made of yellowish parchment, and the address was written in emerald-green ink.
  26. promptly
    with little or no delay
    Harry and Dudley promptly had a furious but silent fight over who would listen at the keyhole; Dudley won, so Harry, his glasses dangling from one ear, lay flat on his stomach to listen at the crack between door and floor.
  27. pelt
    cast, hurl, or throw repeatedly with some missile
    Next moment, thirty or forty letters came pelting out of the fireplace like bullets.
  28. musty
    stale and unclean smelling
    Dudley and Harry shared a room with twin beds and damp, musty sheets.
  29. snivel
    cry or whine with snuffling
    Dudley sniveled.
    “It’s Monday,” he told his mother. “The Great Humberto’s on tonight. I want to stay somewhere with a television."
  30. amble
    walk leisurely
    A toothless old man came ambling up to them, pointing, with a rather wicked grin, at an old rowboat bobbing in the iron-gray water below them.
  31. ration
    the food allowance for one day
    Uncle Vernon’s rations turned out to be a bag of chips each and four bananas.
  32. bewildered
    extremely confused and uncertain what to do
    “Yeh don’ know...yeh don’ know..." Hagrid ran his fingers through his hair, fixing Harry with a bewildered stare.
  33. quail
    draw back, as with fear or pain
    A braver man than Vernon Dursley would have quailed under the furious look Hagrid now gave him; when Hagrid spoke, his every syllable trembled with rage.
  34. 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.
  35. rubbish
    nonsensical talk or writing
    “We swore when we took him in we’d put a stop to that rubbish,” said Uncle Vernon, “swore we’d stamp it out of him! Wizard indeed!”
  36. scuttle
    move about or proceed hurriedly
    “CAR CRASH!” roared Hagrid, jumping up so angrily that the Dursleys scuttled back to their corner.
  37. codswallop
    nonsensical talk or writing
    Some say he died. Codswallop, in my opinion. Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die. Some say he’s still out there, bidin’ his time, like, but I don’ believe it.
  38. reckon
    expect, believe, or suppose
    Most of us reckon he’s still out there somewhere but lost his powers.
  39. clout
    strike hard, especially with the fist
    He’d spent his life being clouted by Dudley, and bullied by Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon; if he was really a wizard, why hadn’t they been turned into warty toads every time they’d tried to lock him in his cupboard?
  40. ruefully
    in a manner expressing pain or sorrow
    “Shouldn’ta lost me temper,” he said ruefully, “but it didn’t work anyway. Meant ter turn him into a pig, but I suppose he was so much like a pig anyway there wasn’t much left ter do.”
Created on July 8, 2013 (updated June 10, 2022)

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