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The Merchant of Venice
Vocabulary

Extra Credit Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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assume
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
She assumed a false identity
There is no vice so simple but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward parts.
assumes = takes on
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assume means:
to take on (adopt, wear, strike a pose or appearance of) — often while pretending or disguising
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library18 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useScene 3.2
Web Links
attribute
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
It is an attribute of...
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
attribute = characteristic

(editor's note:  This is part of Portia's famous monologue that begins, "The quality of mercy is not strained." Here Portia is explaining that a king's sceptre (stick decorated with precious metal and gems) represents his earthly power of which others are in awe. Portia goes on in the monologue to say that mercy is even greater than such kingly power because it is like Godly power. He finished by telling Shylock that people with early power can exhibit Godly power by mixing mercy with justice.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of attribute means:
a characteristic (of something or someone)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
consequence
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a direct consequence of
Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I: joy be the consequence!†
consequence = result
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
a result of something (often an undesired side effect)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useScene 3.2
Web Links
eloquent
1 use
Thy plainness moves me more than eloquence
eloquence = elegant and powerful use of language
DefinitionGenerally eloquent means:
powerful use of language
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3.2
Web Links
establish
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
establish a positive tone
It must not be; there is no power in Venice Can alter a decree established; 'Twill be recorded for a precedent, And many an error by the same example Will rush into the state.†
established = created
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
exeunt
26 uses
[Exeunt JESSICA and LORENZO.]
exeunt = stage direction:  characters exit from stage
Word Statistics
Book26 uses
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 1.1
Web Links
grave
1 use
With purpose to be dress'd in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
gravity = importance (weightiness)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of grave means:
serious and/or solemn
The exact meaning of this sense of grave can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "This is a grave problem," or "a situation of the utmost gravity." — important, dangerous, or causing worry
  • "She was in a grave mood upon returning from the funeral." — sad or solemn
  • "She looked me in the eye and gravely promised." — in a sincere and serious manner
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useScene 1.1
Web Links
guile
1 use
Thus ornament is but the guiled shore
To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,
The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest.
guiled = treacherous or deceiving
DefinitionGenerally guile means:
cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceitful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3.2
Web Links
heresy
1 use
The ancient saying is no heresy:
heresy = opinions or actions most people consider immoral
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.9
Web Links
inevitable
1 use
Must yield to such inevitable shame
inevitable = certain to happen
DefinitionGenerally inevitable means:
certain to happen (even if one tried to prevent it)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library21 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
interpret
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
her interpretation of the data
Fie, what a question's that, If thou wert near a lewd interpreter!†
interpreter = person who sees things in the way stated
DefinitionGenerally this sense of interpret means:
to understand or explain something in a particular way — often the meaning or significance of something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useScene 3.4
Web Links
mitigate
1 use
I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea,
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
mitigate = make less harmful
DefinitionGenerally mitigate means:
make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
obscure   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
it obscured my view
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt
But, being season'd with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil?
obscures = hides
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
to block from view or make less visible or understandable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useScene 3.2
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
was obscure, but now bright
...in the obscure grave.
obscure = dark
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
dark or dingy; or inconspicuous (not very noticeable)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.7
Web Links
peruse
1 use
Come, go with me, peruse this as thou goest;
Fair Jessica shall be my torch-bearer.
peruse = examine or consider with attention and in detail
DefinitionGenerally peruse means:
to read or examine
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.4
Web Links
ratify
1 use
Like one of two contending in a prize,
That thinks he hath done well in people's eyes,
Hearing applause and universal shout,
Giddy in spirit, still gazing in a doubt
Whether those peals of praise be his or no;
So, thrice-fair lady, stand I, even so,
As doubtful whether what I see be true,
Until confirm'd, sign'd, ratified by you.
ratified = approved
DefinitionGenerally ratify means:
to approve — typically the formal approval of an agreement by an organization
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3.2
Web Links
slander
1 use
In such a night
Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,
Slander her love, and he forgave it her.
slander = tell lies that damaged
DefinitionGenerally slander means:
words falsely spoken that damage the reputation of another
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 5.1
Web Links
tedious
3 uses
Our house is hell, and thou, a merry devil,
Didst rob it of some taste of tediousness.
tediousness = dullness (boredom)
DefinitionGenerally tedious means:
boring — especially because something goes on too long or without variation
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.3
Web Links
yield
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
yield to pressure
You press me far, and therefore I will yield.
yield = give in
DefinitionGenerally this sense of yield means:
to give in, give way, or give up
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.1
Web Links
zeal
1 use
If you had pleas'd to have defended it with any terms of zeal...
zeal = active interest and enthusiasm
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 5.1
Web Links
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Sample usage followed by this mark was not checked by an editor. Please let us know if you spot a problem.
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