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The Scarlet Letter
Vocabulary

Extra Credit Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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detrimental
3 uses
Most persons, owing to causes which I may not have space to hint at, suffer moral detriment from this peculiar mode of life.
detriment = harm
DefinitionGenerally detrimental means:
causing harm or damage
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr.
Web Links
diversify
1 use
Cluster all these individuals together, as they sometimes were, with other miscellaneous ones to diversify the group, and, for the time being, it made the Custom-House a stirring scene.
diversify = make more varied
DefinitionGenerally diversify means:
to make more varied
Diversify is used to describe variation in some things so frequently that they can be implied by the general context without a need to state them explicitly — such as:
  • with regard to people — varying races, ethnicities, and genders
  • with regard to investments — varying types of investments
  • with regard to a company — varying sources of business
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useIntr.
Web Links
efficacy
4 uses
Man had marked this woman's sin by a scarlet letter, which had such potent and disastrous efficacy that no human sympathy could reach her, save it were sinful like herself.
efficacy = effectiveness
DefinitionGenerally efficacy means:
effectiveness (the ability to produce a desired result)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
endowment
5 uses
This vocal organ was in itself a rich endowment, insomuch that a listener, comprehending nothing of the language in which the preacher spoke, might still have been swayed to and fro by the mere tone and cadence.
endowment = gift (or natural ability)
DefinitionGenerally endowment means:
the invested money that provides income for an institution; or an instance of giving such money

or:

abilities or qualities — especially those that are nature-given
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 22
Web Links
enjoin
4 uses
The frown, the harsh rebuke, the frequent application of the rod, enjoined by Scriptural authority, were used, not merely in the way of punishment for actual offences, but as a wholesome regimen for the growth and promotion of all childish virtues.
enjoined = demanded
DefinitionGenerally enjoin means:
to command someone to do (or not do) something
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
forthwith
6 uses
A lane was forthwith opened through the crowd of spectators.
forthwith = immediately
DefinitionGenerally forthwith means:
immediately — (most typically seen in legal documents, formal use, or classic literature)
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
imbibe
4 uses
She grew to have a dread of children; for they had imbibed from their parents a vague idea of something horrible in this dreary woman gliding silently through the town, with never any companion but one only child.
imbibed = taken in (learned)
DefinitionGenerally imbibe means:
to take in — especially to drink alcohol or be influenced by ideas
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
imbue
6 uses
Thus, therefore, the floor of our familiar room has become a neutral territory, somewhere between the real world and fairy-land, where the Actual and the Imaginary may meet, and each imbue itself with the nature of the other.
imbue = fill
DefinitionGenerally imbue means:
to fill with or diffuse throughout — especially an emotional quality
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
implicit
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
I trust her implicitly.
His gestures, his gait, his grizzled beard, his slightest and most indifferent acts, the very fashion of his garments, were odious in the clergyman's sight; a token implicitly to be relied on of a deeper antipathy in the breast of the latter than he was willing to acknowledge to himself.
implicitly = without doubt

(editor's note:  The narrator knows with certainty that Dimmesdale's distaste for Chillingworth is based upon a well-founded antipathy, but Dimmesdale does not know it.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of implicit means:
without question or doubt
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
iniquity
5 uses
A blessing on the righteous colony of the Massachusetts, where iniquity is dragged out into the sunshine!
iniquity = immorality
DefinitionGenerally iniquity means:
immorality; or an immoral act
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
opportune
3 uses
It perplexed, as well as shocked her, by the irreverent inopportuneness of the occasions that brought it into vivid action.
inopportuneness = inappropriateness (bad circumstances)
DefinitionGenerally opportune means:
favorable circumstances for a particular purpose — especially the circumstance of good timing
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
purport
11 uses
1  —11 uses as in:
The purport of the letter was...
The men of rank and dignity, who stood more immediately around the clergyman, were so taken by surprise, and so perplexed as to the purport of what they saw—unable to receive the explanation which most readily presented itself, or to imagine any other—that they remained silent and inactive spectators of the judgement which Providence seemed about to work.
purport = meaning
DefinitionGenerally this sense of purport means:
the general meaning, purpose, intent, or significance of something
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
tempered   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 6 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
bad news tempered by kindness
...speaking in an authoritative voice, although tempered with respect towards the youthful clergyman whom he addressed:
tempered = made less extreme
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
tempered steel
Conscious of his own infirmity—that his tempered steel and elasticity are lost—he for ever afterwards looks wistfully about him in quest of support external to himself.
tempered = strong
DefinitionGenerally this sense of tempered means:
made stronger or more flexible by heat treatment — often of steel or glass
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr.
Web Links
3  —3 uses as in:
short-tempered
And that ugly tempered lady, old Mistress Hibbins, was one.
tempered = typical mood
DefinitionGenerally this sense of tempered means:
having a typical mood or temperament — often in reference to how easily one is angered
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
tempestuous
5 uses
They had fortitude and self-reliance, and in time of difficulty or peril stood up for the welfare of the state like a line of cliffs against a tempestuous tide.
tempestuous = violently turbulent
DefinitionGenerally tempestuous means:
strongly turbulent — as of a storm or unstable emotions
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
torpid
4 uses
The moment that he did so, there came what seemed a tumultuous rush of new life, other life than his own pouring like a torrent into his heart, and hurrying through all his veins, as if the mother and the child were communicating their vital warmth to his half-torpid system.
torpid = dormant or lifeless
DefinitionGenerally torpid means:
of people:  slow or inactive — usually resulting from a lack of energy and interest

or:

of animals:  a condition of biological rest or suspended animation — (could be in the evening, during the cold, or as in a hibernated or dormant state all winter)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
trifle with   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 8 uses
1  —1 use as in:
trifle with her affections
A mockery, indeed, but in which his soul trifled with itself!
trifled with = treated thoughtlessly
DefinitionGenerally this sense of trifle with means:
to treat somebody or something thoughtlessly or without respect
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
2  —7 uses as in:
a trifling matter
Nothing is too small or too trifling to undergo this change, and acquire dignity thereby.
trifling = of small importance
DefinitionGenerally this sense of trifling means:
something of small importance; or a small quantity
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
typify
4 uses
So it ever is, whether thus typified or no, that an evil deed invests itself with the character of doom.
typified = represented (with an outward symbol)
DefinitionGenerally typify means:
to be a typical example of; or to represent or be characteristic of
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
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