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Moby Dick
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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benevolent
7 uses
Queequeg ... cherished Yojo ... as a rather good sort of god, who perhaps meant well enough upon the whole, but in all cases did not succeed in his benevolent designs.
benevolent = good or kind
DefinitionGenerally benevolent means:
kind, generous, or charitable
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 91-93
Web Links
countenance
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a pleasant countenance
I have never seen him except in the remoter southern seas, and then always at too great a distance to study his countenance.
countenance = facial expression
DefinitionGenerally this sense of countenance means:
facial expression; or face; or composure
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 31-33
Web Links
credulous
5 uses
his credulous disciples believed that he had specifically fore-announced it, instead of only making a general prophecy
credulous = too willing to believe
DefinitionGenerally credulous means:
gullible (being too willing to believe)
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
1st useChapter 34-36
Web Links
desist
6 uses
"Ahab," cried Starbuck, "not too late is it, even now, the third day, to desist."
desist = to not do something
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 52-54
Web Links
diligent
10 uses
Hands go diligently along the bulwarks, and with buckets of water and rags restore them to their full tidiness.
diligently = with hard work and care
DefinitionGenerally diligent means:
hard work and care in tasks — often continuing when others might quit because of difficulties
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1-3
Web Links
disdain
6 uses
let them never eye a Nantucketer with disdain
disdain = a lack of respect
DefinitionGenerally disdain means:
a lack of respect — often suggesting distaste and an undeserved sense of superiority

or:

to reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
1st useChapter 10-12
Web Links
engender
3 uses
engendering an element in him, which, under suitable circumstances, would break out from its confinement, and burn all his courage up.
engendering = causing
DefinitionGenerally engender means:
cause — usually a feeling (possibly a situation)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 25-27
Web Links
forbearance
7 uses
Starbuck grasped Ahab by the arm—"God, God is against thee, old man; forbear!"
forbear = refrain (in this case, he is saying "refrain from hunting Moby Dick.")
DefinitionGenerally forbearance means:
refraining (holding back) from acting

or:

patience, tolerance, or self-control
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 52-54
Web Links
incessant
9 uses
I have hinted that I would often jerk poor Queequeg from between the whale and the ship—where he would occasionally fall, from the incessant rolling and swaying of both.
incessant = continuous
DefinitionGenerally incessant means:
continuous — often in an annoying way
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 46-48
Web Links
indolent
9 uses
Indolence and idleness perished before him.
indolence = laziness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of indolent means:
lazy; disinclined to work
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 34-36
Web Links
leviathan
113 uses
For not by hook or by net could this vast leviathan be caught,
leviathan = something exceedingly large (in this case, a whale)
DefinitionGenerally leviathan means:
something that is exceedingly large — absolutely or relative to its kind

or:

older usage:  a sea monster or whale
Word Statistics
Book113 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 25-27
Web Links
obscure   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 9 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
it obscured my view
...yet the peculiar horror with which he seemed to inspire the rest of the herd, was owing to a cause which at first the intervening distance obscured from us.
obscured = hid (made less visible)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
to block from view or make less visible or understandable
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 2000
1st useChapter 67-69
Web Links
2  —4 uses as in:
the view or directions are obscure
...that the full terror of the voyage must be kept withdrawn into the obscure background (for few men's courage is proof against protracted meditation unrelieved by action); that when they stood their long night watches, his officers and men must have some nearer things to think of than Moby Dick.
obscure = not clearly seen (in this case, because it is not thought about)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
not clearly seen, understood, or expressed
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 2000
1st useChapter 52-54
Web Links
ostentatious
6 uses
they would ostentatiously sharpen their knives
ostentatiously = in a manner intended to attract notice and impress others
DefinitionGenerally ostentatious means:
intended to attract notice and impress others — especially with wealth in a vulgar way
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 34-36
Web Links
pious
13 uses
For a pious man, especially for a Quaker, he was certainly rather hard-hearted, to say the least.
pious = behaving in a highly moral or religious manner
DefinitionGenerally pious means:
behaving in a highly moral or religious manner

or less commonly:  behaving highly moral in a self-righteous or holier-than-thou manner
Word Statistics
Book13 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 67-69
Web Links
prodigious
19 uses
I was ushered into a small room ... with a prodigious bed, almost big enough indeed for any four harpooneers to sleep abreast.
prodigious = far beyond what is usual in magnitude or degree
DefinitionGenerally prodigious means:
enormous; or far beyond what is usual in magnitude or degree
Word Statistics
Book19 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 16-18
Web Links
prudent
11 uses
Nor is it at all prudent for the hunter to be over curious touching the precise nature of the whale spout.
prudent = sensible and careful
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 46-48
Web Links
sagacious
9 uses
But if these suspicions were really his, he sagaciously refrained from verbally expressing them,
sagaciously = wisely
DefinitionGenerally sagacious means:
wise — especially through long experience and thoughtfulness
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 76-78
Web Links
yield   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 5 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
will yield valuable data
How many barrels will thy vengeance yield thee even if thou gettest it, Captain Ahab? it will not fetch thee much in our Nantucket market.
yield = provide or give
DefinitionGenerally this sense of yield means:
to produce something wanted; or the thing or amount produced
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 100
1st useChapter 19-21
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
yield to pressure
...his two comrades would not yield, the one to the other, in the matter; and both of them could not be first, for the ladder would but admit one man at a time.
yield = give in
DefinitionGenerally this sense of yield means:
to give in, give way, or give up
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 100
1st useChapter 52-54
Web Links
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