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The Merchant of Venice
Vocabulary

Extra Credit Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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abject
1 use
You have among you many a purchas'd slave,
Which, like your asses and your dogs and mules,
You use in abject and in slavish parts,
abject = the worst (extremely bad)
DefinitionGenerally abject means:
extreme (in a negative sense such as misery, hopelessness, submissiveness, cruelty, or cowardice)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 4.1
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
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
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
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
fulsome
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a fulsome fund for emergencies
He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes,
fulsome = abundant

(editor's note:  this sense of fulsome is frequently used in historic literature, but today the word is more commonly used to describe compliments or praise as excessive—often implying insincerity.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of fulsome means:
abundant

(editor's note:  this sense of the word is frequently used in historic literature, but today the word is more commonly used to describe compliments or praise as excessive—often implying insincerity.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 1.3
Web Links
heinous
1 use
Alack, what heinous sin is it in me
To be asham'd to be my father's child!
heinous = shockingly brutal or cruel
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.3
Web Links
impugn
1 use
the Venetian law cannot impugn you as you do proceed
impugn = attack as false or wrong
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
impute
1 use
Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?
imputation = attribution or belief
DefinitionGenerally this sense of impute means:
attribute (to say one thing is the cause of another—often to blame and often wrongly)

or:

believe something to have a characteristic; or assign a value to something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 1.3
Web Links
knell
1 use
Let us all ring fancy's knell:
knell = death bell
DefinitionGenerally knell means:
the sound of a bell rung slowly — especially to announce death or a funeral

or:

announcing the demise or end of something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3.2
Web Links
mercenary
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a mercenary attitude
My mind was never yet more mercenary.
mercenary = concerned with money
DefinitionGenerally this sense of mercenary means:
marked by materialism or a profit orientation
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 4.1
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mirth
2 uses
No, that were pity;
I would entreat you rather to put on
Your boldest suit of mirth, for we have friends
That purpose merriment.
mirth = fun
DefinitionGenerally mirth means:
fun and laughter
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 1.1
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
obdurate
1 use
since he stands obdurate,
obdurate = stubbornly persistent; or showing unfeeling resistance to tender feelings
DefinitionGenerally obdurate means:
stubbornly persistent — especially in wrongdoing

or more rarely (except in classic literature):

showing unfeeling resistance to tender feelings
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
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
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
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
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
temporal
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
temporal world
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
temporal = earthly (concerned with the material rather than the spiritual world)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of temporal means:
concerned with the material (in contrast to the spiritual) world
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 4.1
Web Links
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