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The Scarlet Letter
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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accord   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 23 uses
1  —18 uses as in:
according to, or in accord with
[the letter A] was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that it had all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore, and which was of a splendour in accordance with the taste of the age, but greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony.
accordance = keeping

(editor's note: Sumptuary is a rarely used word that is used a couple times in this novel to refer to regulations that limit using resources for personal luxuries.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
in keeping with; or in agreement/harmony/unity with
This sense of accord is often seen in the form according to where it can take on more specific meanings. For example:
  • "According to Kim, ..." — as stated by
  • "To each according to her ability." — based upon
  • "Points are scored according to how well they perform." — depending upon
  • "The dose is calculated according to body weight." — in proportion to
Word Statistics
Book18 uses
Library46 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
done of her own accord
...and still better, it may be, to leave the mystery as we find it, unless Providence reveal it of its own accord.
own accord = own mind (free will)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
mind — voluntarily (without anyone asking)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
3  —2 uses as in:
accord her the respect deserved
...won him warmer affection than was accorded to any of his professional contemporaries.
accorded = given
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
to give someone special treatment — especially respect
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
adapted
8 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
adapted to the new rules
The edifice—originally projected on a scale adapted to the old commercial enterprise of the port, and with an idea of subsequent prosperity destined never to be realized—contains far more space than its occupants know what to do with.
adapted = made suitable
DefinitionGenerally this sense of adapted means:
changed to fit a different situation; or made suitable
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
unquizzed meaning  —3 uses
attribute   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 14 uses
1  —12 uses as in:
It is an attribute of...
There was no other attribute that so much impressed her with a sense of new and untransmitted vigour in Pearl's nature, as this never failing vivacity of spirits:
attribute = characteristic
DefinitionGenerally this sense of attribute means:
a characteristic (of something or someone)
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
I attribute it to...
Much of the marble coldness of Hester's impression was to be attributed to the circumstance that her life had turned, in a great measure, from passion and feeling to thought.
attributed = credited (pointed to as the cause of something) (in this case, she would not have been so cold had the circumstances of her life not turned from feelings to thought)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of attribute means:
to credit (a source for something)
in two typical senses:
  • "I attribute it to her work." — to say who or what made something happen
  • "Remember to attribute any quotations in your paper." — indicate the source of a quotation or idea
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
dwell   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 21 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
Don't dwell on it.
So forcibly did he dwell upon this symbol ... that it assumed new terrors in their imagination, and seemed to derive its scarlet hue from the flames of the infernal pit.
dwell = keep talking about
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dwell means:
to think, communicate, or let attention stay on (or return to) something for a prolonged period
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
2  —13 uses as in:
It dwells in the forest.
...the woman has been a dweller here in Boston.
dweller = one who lives in a place
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dwell means:
make one's home in; or to live in; or to stay (in a place)
Word Statistics
Book13 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
3  —5 uses as in:
a modest dwelling
...they reached the dwelling of Governor Bellingham.
dwelling = home
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dwelling means:
a house or shelter in which someone lives
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
establish   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 12 uses
1  —11 uses as in:
establish a positive tone
The thought occurred to Hester, that the child might really be seeking to approach her with childlike confidence, and doing what she could, and as intelligently as she knew how, to establish a meeting-point of sympathy.
establish = create
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library21 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
establish that there is a need
Without disputing a truth so momentous, we must be allowed to consider this version of Mr. Dimmesdale's story as only an instance of that stubborn fidelity with which a man's friends—and especially a clergyman's—will sometimes uphold his character, when proofs, clear as the mid-day sunshine on the scarlet letter, establish him a false and sin-stained creature of the dust.
establish = show
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
show or determine (cause to be recognized or figure out)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
ignominious
24 uses
Thus she will be a living sermon against sin, until the ignominious letter be engraved upon her tombstone.
ignominious = shameful
DefinitionGenerally ignominious means:
deserving or bringing disgrace or shame — typically in reference to behavior or character
Word Statistics
Book24 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
infamy
12 uses
On the other hand, a penalty which, in our days, would infer a degree of mocking infamy and ridicule, might then be invested with almost as stern a dignity as the punishment of death itself.
infamy = fame for something bad
DefinitionGenerally infamy means:
famous for something that is bad; or an extremely bad event
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
magistrate
31 uses
undergoing stern question before a magistrate
magistrate = judge
DefinitionGenerally magistrate means:
a judge or judicial official
The exact meaning of magistrate varies widely depending upon the context. For example:
  • in the U.S. federal court:  assists district court judges by handling minor offenses or administrative tasks such as preliminary hearings (often referred to as a magistrate judge rather than just a magistrate)
  • in some U.S. states:  a judge in the state court
  • in France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and other civil law countries:  a sitting magistrate is a judge and a standing magistrate is a prosecutor
  • in England:  may be a volunteer without formal legal training who performs a judicial role with regard to minor matters
  • in ancient Rome:  a powerful officer with both judicial and executive power
Word Statistics
Book31 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
moreover
20 uses
Now, good Sir, our Massachusetts magistracy, bethinking themselves that this woman is youthful and fair, and doubtless was strongly tempted to her fall, and that, moreover, as is most likely, her husband may be at the bottom of the sea, they have not been bold to put in force the extremity of our righteous law against her.
moreover = in addition to what has just been said
Word Statistics
Book20 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
reflection   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 7 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
is a reflection of American values
It appalled her, nevertheless, to discern here, again, a shadowy reflection of the evil that had existed in herself.
reflection = representation or expression
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflection means:
something that indirectly shows something else — such as an indication, demonstration, expression, or representation of something
The exact meaning of this sense of reflection depends upon its context. For example:
  • "The students' behavior is a reflection on the school." — indication of quality
  • "She says the immorality in the movie is a reflection of American values." — expression or representation
  • "It was a reflection of the selfishness she had seen growing for years." — demonstration
  • "The surrounding panic found no reflection in her." — expression or demonstration
  • "I saw no reflection of jealousy in her action." — indication or sign
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
share my reflections about it
While occupied with these reflections, a knock came at the door of the study, and the minister said, "Come in!"
reflections = thoughts
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflections means:
thoughts or memories
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
unquizzed meaning  —2 uses
sustain   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 14 uses
1  —7 uses as in:
sustained by her faith
The unhappy culprit sustained herself as best a woman might, under the heavy weight of a thousand unrelenting eyes, all fastened upon her, and concentrated at her bosom.
sustained = supported
DefinitionGenerally this sense of sustain means:
provide support or necessities
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 21
Web Links
2  —4 uses as in:
sustained through the ages
Thus the minister felt no apprehension that Roger Chillingworth would touch, in express words, upon the real position which they sustained towards one another.
sustained = continued to hold
DefinitionGenerally this sense of sustain means:
to continue through time
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
3  —3 uses as in:
sustained wounds
...had stood as eye-witnesses while Hester Prynne sustained her punishment...
sustained = suffered from
DefinitionGenerally this sense of sustain means:
to suffer (as of injury, damage, or loss)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 21
Web Links
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