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vocabulary
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Heart of Darkness
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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allude
5 uses
What we afterwards alluded to as an attack was really an attempt at repulse.
alluded = indirectly referenced
DefinitionGenerally allude means:
to make an indirect reference
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
appalling
8 uses
One, with his chin propped on his knees, stared at nothing, in an intolerable and appalling manner:
appalling = causing strong feelings of disapproval or horror
DefinitionGenerally appalling means:
shockingly terrible or horrible
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
ascetic
1 use
He had sunken cheeks, a yellow complexion, a straight back, an ascetic aspect, and, with his arms dropped, the palms of hands outwards, resembled an idol.
ascetic = like someone who practices self-denial (especially to encourage spiritual growth)
DefinitionGenerally ascetic means:
someone who practices self-denial (often to encourage spiritual growth); or relating to such self-denial

or:

severely plain (without decoration)
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
confound
8 uses
He appeared confounded for a moment.
confounded = confused
DefinitionGenerally confound means:
to confuse or cause to be unable to think clearly

or:

to refute or frustrate
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
contempt
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
feels contempt towards him
said in a tone of scathing contempt
contempt = disrespect and dislike
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect — often accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
defer
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
deferred to her wishes
I must defer to your judgment.
defer = submit (or yield)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
submit or yield (typically to another person's opinion because of respect for that person or their knowledge)
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
digress
1 use
One of them ... informed me with ...  and many digressions ... that my steamer was at the bottom of the river.
digressions = wanderings off the main topic
DefinitionGenerally digress means:
wander from a direct or straight course — especially verbally
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
disparage
1 use
the manager had remarked disparagingly.
disparagingly = in a criticizing manner
DefinitionGenerally disparage means:
to criticize or make seem less important — especially in a disrespectful or contemptuous manner
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
eloquent
9 uses
This was the unbounded power of eloquence—of words—of burning noble words.
eloquence = the powerful use of language
DefinitionGenerally eloquent means:
powerful use of language
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
exalt
5 uses
Or you may be such a thunderingly exalted creature as to be altogether deaf and blind to anything but heavenly sights and sounds.
exalted = elevated (or lofty or above others)
DefinitionGenerally exalt means:
elevate with praise, glorify, or honor

or:

fill with sublime emotion
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
futile
4 uses
All this talk seemed to me so futile.
futile = effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
guile
1 use
Their glance was guileless, profound, confident, and trustful.
guileless = without cunning (shrewdness, cleverness) or deceit
DefinitionGenerally guile means:
cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceitful
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
languid
6 uses
the languid beat of the stern-wheel came plainly to my ears.
languid = slowly moving
DefinitionGenerally languid means:
lacking energy or relaxed or moving slowly
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
luminous
5 uses
It was difficult to realize his work was not out there in the luminous estuary, but behind him, within the brooding gloom.
luminous = glowing or shining

(also used metaphorically to describe beauty or intelligence)
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
ominous
8 uses
It was the same kind of ominous voice; but these men could by no stretch of imagination be called enemies.
ominous = threatening of bad things to come
DefinitionGenerally ominous means:
threatening (suggestive of, or foreshadowing bad things to come)
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
philanthropy
2 uses
It might have been connected with the philanthropic desire of giving the criminals something to do.
philanthropic = helping others
DefinitionGenerally philanthropy means:
helping others — especially donating money to worthy causes; or an organization that does so
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
pretense
4 uses
I became in an instant as much of a pretense as the rest of the bewitched pilgrims.
pretense = an appearance or action to help one pretend
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
profound
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
profound sadness
...to the hidden evil, to the profound darkness of its heart.
profound = intense
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
serene
4 uses
like a flash of lightning in a serene sky
serene = calm
DefinitionGenerally serene means:
calm and untroubled
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
somber
11 uses
The background was somber—almost black.
somber = lacking brightness
DefinitionGenerally somber means:
serious and without cheer — perhaps even gloomy

or:

lacking brightness or color
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
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