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The Merchant of Venice
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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allay
2 uses
be moderate; allay thy ecstasy; In measure rain thy joy; scant this excess; I feel too much thy blessing; make it less, For fear I surfeit!
allay = reduce the intensity of or calm
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.2
Web Links
beseech
7 uses
I beseech you, sir, go:
beseech = ask strongly or beg
DefinitionGenerally beseech means:
to ask strongly or beg for something
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.2
Web Links
bestow
4 uses
Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.
bestows = gives
DefinitionGenerally bestow means:
to give — typically to present as an honor or give as a gift
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.2
Web Links
bound   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
bound together
This is the man, this is Antonio,
To whom I am so infinitely bound.†
bound = connected or tied
DefinitionGenerally this sense of bound means:
held together (connected or united) or wrapped
The exact meaning of this sense of bound is subject to its context. For example:
  • "The pages of the book are bound with glue." — held together physically
  • "The book is bound in leather." — wrapped or covered
  • "The United States and England are bound together by a common language." — connected or united (tied together metaphorically)
  • "She cleaned the wound and bound it with fresh bandages." — wrapped
  • "She is wheelchair-bound." — connected (moves with a wheelchair because she is unable to walk)
  • "The jacket has bound buttonholes." — edges wrapped by fabric or trim rather than stitches
  • "She's the one in the bound-edge hat." — where the edge of the hat is wrapped in a decorative material.
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 5.1
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
I can't/must. I'm bound by...
I am not bound to please thee with my answer.†
bound = required
DefinitionGenerally this sense of bound means:
to be constrained in some way — such as tied up, prevented, required, or obligated
The exact meaning of this sense of bound is subject to its context. For example:
  • "Her wrists were bound." — tied up
  • "I am bound by my word." — required or obligated (in this case to keep a promise)
  • "It is a binding contract." — must be obeyed (The people who signed the contract are legally required to do what it says or suffer legal penalties.)
  • "He is muscle bound." — prevented from moving easily (due to having such large, tight muscles)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
direct   (4 meanings)
4 meanings, 8 uses
1  —1 use as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
...at the very next turning, turn of no hand, but turn down indirectly to the Jew's house.†
indirectly = going around (not in a straight line)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straight (exactly where stated); or without involvement of anything in between
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "The road runs directly to Las Vegas." — straight (without varying from a straight line)
  • "It was a direct hit." — exact
  • "The plant is in direct sunlight." — unobstructed (without anything in between)
  • "She wants a direct meeting with him." — personal (without other people in between)
  • "She paid direct attention to what he was reading." — close
  • "a direct gaze" — straight, steady, or focused—not a brief glance taken while generally looking at other things; not a sideways look
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library53 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.2
Web Links
2  —4 uses as in:
was direct in my instructions
For it appears by manifest proceeding
That indirectly, and directly too,
Thou hast contrived against the very life
Of the defendant; and thou hast incurr'd
The danger formerly by me rehears'd.†
indirectly = in a complicated, non-obvious manner
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straightforward (uncomplicated or simple — perhaps also indicating openness and honesty)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
directed her question to
Some god direct my judgment!†
direct = guide
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
to indicate direction; or to cause movement or focus in a direction or towards an object
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "intentionally directed fire at unarmed civilians" — aimed a gun
  • "directed the question to her" — aimed a question
  • "directed her north" — pointed in a particular direction
  • "directed attention to the 3rd paragraph" — focused attention on a particular object
  • "The sound of her voice directed him to the kitchen." — guided or gave directions to someone to help them move to a particular place
  • "She directed him to the airport." — gave directions to send someone to a particular place
  • "She directed the boat north." — steered it
  • "directed the letter to" — send a letter to a particular person by putting a name and address on it
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library31 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useScene 2.7
Web Links
4  —2 uses as in:
directed the jury to...
Happiest of all is that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.†
directed = commanded
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
give instructions or commands
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useScene 2.4
Web Links
dwell
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
It dwells in the forest.
You shall not seal to such a bond for me; I'll rather dwell in my necessity.
dwell = live
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dwell means:
make one's home in; or to live in; or to stay (in a place)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useScene 1.3
Web Links
entreat
5 uses
Sir, I entreat you home with me to dinner.
entreat = ask
DefinitionGenerally entreat means:
to ask or attempt to persuade — especially while trying hard to overcome resistance
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.2
Web Links
flourish
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
dismissed them with a flourish
Flourish of cornets.
flourish = a showy gesture (in this case fanfare played by the musical instrument)

(editor's note:  In Shakespeare's plays, flourish is often used as a stage direction indicating a specific type of showy gesture:  fanfare played by trumpets or cornets to announce the entry or exit of royalty.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of flourish means:
a showy gesture

or:

the act of waving — a hand or an item
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.1
Web Links
forbearance
1 use
I lose your company; therefore forbear a while.
forbear = refrain (hold back) from acting
DefinitionGenerally forbearance means:
refraining (holding back) from acting

or:

patience, tolerance, or self-control
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3.2
Web Links
malicious
2 uses
Shylock, the world thinks, and I think so too,
That thou but leadest this fashion of thy malice
To the last hour of act; and then, 'tis thought,
Thou'lt show thy mercy and remorse, more strange
Than is thy strange apparent cruelty;
malice = wanting to see others suffer
DefinitionGenerally malicious means:
wanting to see others suffer; or threatening evil
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
notwithstanding
3 uses
ANTONIO: I am the unhappy subject of these quarrels.
PORTIA: Sir, grieve not you; you are welcome notwithstanding.
notwithstanding = despite what was just said (in this case, even though he is the subject of the quarrels, he is still welcome.)
DefinitionGenerally notwithstanding means:
in spite of; or in spite of the thing mentioned
(Used to connect contrasting ideas. Other synonyms could include words and phrases such as nevertheless, nonetheless, all the same, still,  and however.)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useScene 1.3
Web Links
perjury
1 use
Shall I lay perjury upon my soul?
perjury = the criminal offense of telling lies after formally promising to tell the truth
DefinitionGenerally perjury means:
the criminal offense of telling lies after formally promising to tell the truth — such as when testifying in a court trial
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
render
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
rendered service or a verdict
we do pray for mercy, and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.
render = give
DefinitionGenerally this sense of render means:
to give or supply something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
repentance
4 uses
Then I'll repent, and wish for all that, that I had not kill'd them.
repent = feel regret for having done something wrong
DefinitionGenerally repentance means:
the feeling or expression of regret for having done something wrong with a firm decision to be a better person in the future
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
revere
3 uses
do them reverence
reverence = respect and admiration
DefinitionGenerally revere means:
regard with feelings of deep respect and admiration — sometimes with a mixture of wonder and awe or fear
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useScene 1.1
Web Links
rigorous
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a rigorous math class
His rigorous course
rigorous = difficult and demanding
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
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