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Twelfth Night
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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austere
1 use
I extend my hand to him thus, quenching my familiar smile with an austere regard of control:
austere = stern (serious)
DefinitionGenerally austere means:
a notable absence of luxury, comfort, or decoration

or:

of a person:  stern in manner; or practicing great self-denial
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useScene 2.5
Web Links
bestow
5 uses
I saw your niece do more favours to the count's servingman than ever she bestowed upon me;
bestowed = gave (as a gift)
DefinitionGenerally bestow means:
to give — typically to present as an honor or give as a gift
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.4
Web Links
cunning
5 uses
his false cunning
cunning = skillful in achieving goals by outmaneuvering others through deception and cleverness
DefinitionGenerally cunning means:
being good at achieving goals through cleverness and trickery
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 1.5
Web Links
dissemble
3 uses
Well, I'll put it on, and I will dissemble myself in it;
dissemble = disguise
DefinitionGenerally dissemble means:
to deceive (hide or disguise the truth without outright lying)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 5.1
Web Links
entreat
3 uses
entreat him to a peace
entreat = ask or attempt to persuade
DefinitionGenerally entreat means:
to ask or attempt to persuade — especially while trying hard to overcome resistance
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3.4
Web Links
forbearance
1 use
I can hardly forbear hurling things at him.
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
impetuous
1 use
his rage, skill, fury, and impetuosity.
impetuosity = impulsiveness (the trait of acting suddenly without much thought)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of impetuous means:
impulsive (acting suddenly without much thought) — often with an unfortunate consequence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3.4
Web Links
laudable
1 use
and you are now sailed into the north of my lady's opinion; where you will hang like an icicle on Dutchman's beard, unless you do redeem it by some laudable attempt either of valour or policy.
laudable = worthy of high praise
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3.2
Web Links
malicious
2 uses
and yet, by the very fangs of malice I swear, I am not that I play.
malice = the desire to hurt others or see them suffer
DefinitionGenerally malicious means:
wanting to see others suffer; or threatening evil
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useScene 1.5
Web Links
melancholy
4 uses
he will smile upon her, which will now be so unsuitable to her disposition, being addicted to a melancholy as she is
melancholy = sadness
DefinitionGenerally melancholy means:
a sad feeling or manner — sometimes thoughtfully sad
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2.4
Web Links
mitigate
1 use
...without any mitigation or remorse of voice?
mitigation = reduction in harm or unpleasantness
DefinitionGenerally mitigate means:
make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useScene 2.3
Web Links
notorious
4 uses
Madam, you have done me wrong, Notorious wrong.
notorious = well known and bad
DefinitionGenerally notorious means:
well known for something bad
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 4.2
Web Links
passage
1 use
If you desire the spleen, and will laugh yourselves into stitches, follow me: yond gull Malvolio is turned heathen, a very renegado; for there is no Christian, that means to be saved by believing rightly, can ever believe such impossible passages of grossness.†
passages = short parts of longer written works
DefinitionGenerally this sense of passage means:
a short part of a longer written work
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useScene 3.2
Web Links
perspective
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a perspective of the entire block
  One face, one voice, one habit, and two persons;
  A natural perspective, that is, and is not.†
perspective = view

(editor's note:  No Fear Shakespeare translates this as: "One face, one voice, one way of dressing, but two people! It's like an optical illusion. It is and isn't the same person.")
DefinitionGenerally this sense of perspective means:
a view — often stressing that the view is different from a view from another location
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 5.1
Web Links
prodigal
1 use
Ay, but he'll have but a year in all these ducats; he's a very fool, and a prodigal.
prodigal = someone who is recklessly wasteful

(editor's note:  a ducat is a type of gold coin once used as currency)
DefinitionGenerally prodigal means:
recklessly wasteful

or more rarely:

abundant (extravagant in amount)

or more rarely still:

long absent (someone who has been away a long time)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 1.3
Web Links
reprove
3 uses
There's something in me that reproves my fault;
reproves = criticizes
DefinitionGenerally reprove means:
to express disapproval of one's actions to them
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3.4
Web Links
rogue
7 uses
Thou kill'st me like a rogue and a villain.
rogue = a deceitful, unprincipled person
DefinitionGenerally rogue means:
not normal and dangerous

(see word notes for more detailed definitions based on context)
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 1.5
Web Links
usurp
3 uses
you do usurp yourself, for what is yours to bestow is not yours to reserve.
usurp = steal from (seize from)
DefinitionGenerally usurp means:
seize or take control without authority
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 5.1
Web Links
valor
8 uses
I have heard of some kind of men that put quarrels purposely on others to taste their valour.
valour = courage when facing danger — especially in battle
DefinitionGenerally valor means:
exceptional or heroic courage when facing danger — especially in battle
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3.2
Web Links
yield
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
will yield valuable data
You must needs yield your reason, Sir Andrew.†
yield = provide or give
DefinitionGenerally this sense of yield means:
to produce (usually something wanted); or the thing or amount produced
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useScene 3.1
Web Links
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† 
Sample usage followed by this mark was not checked by an editor. Please let us know if you spot a problem.
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