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The Idiot

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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amiable
20 uses
Varia did not try to look amiable, and kept her gloomy expression.
amiable = friendly, agreeable, and likable
Word Statistics
Book20 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.2
Web Links
candid
11 uses
1  —11 uses as in:
your candid opinion
with the most childlike candour
candour = honesty and directness

(editor's note:  This is a British spelling. Americans use candor.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of candid means:
honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1.4
Web Links
capricious
8 uses
she grew yearly more capricious and impatient;
capricious = impulsive or unpredictable
DefinitionGenerally capricious means:
impulsive or unpredictable or tending to make sudden changes — especially impulsive behavior
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.4
Web Links
contempt
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
feels contempt towards her
Gania was silent and merely looked contemptuously at him.
contemptuously = with dislike and disrespect
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect for someone or something thought inferior — often accompanied by a feeling of dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.6
Web Links
contrary   (4 meanings)
4 meanings, 33 uses
1  —1 use as in:
a contrary personality
Lizabetha Prokofievna, who disliked Varvara, although she had a great respect for her mother, was much annoyed by this sudden intimacy, and put it down to the general "contrariness" of her daughters, who were "always on the lookout for some new way of opposing her."
contrariness = disagreeableness

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means the quality of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrary means:
disagreeable — typically in reference to someone's personality
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2.1
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
contrary to
We sometimes have strange, impossible dreams, contrary to all the laws of nature.
contrary to = in opposition to
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.3
Web Links
3  —27 uses as in:
on the contrary
Then she took to helping him without leave; and he saw how valuable her assistance was to him, and did not drive her away again; on the contrary, he occasionally gave her the remnants of his dinner, bread and cheese.
on the contrary = an expression used to intensify denial of an idea
Word Statistics
Book27 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.3
Web Links
4  —2 uses as in:
to the contrary
—we both love you very sincerely, and esteem you, in spite of any appearances to the contrary.
to the contrary = with an opposite or different effect
DefinitionGenerally this sense of to the contrary means:
with an opposite or different effect; or something with an opposite or different effect
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3.3
Web Links
descend
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
descend the mountain
Such a tile was about to descend upon the elegant and decorous public now assembled to hear the music.†
descend = fall downward
DefinitionGenerally this sense of descend means:
move or slope downward
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3.2
Web Links
disdain
9 uses
The general gazed at his host disdainfully.
disdainfully = with a lack of respect
DefinitionGenerally disdain means:
a lack of respect — often suggesting distaste and an undeserved sense of superiority

or:

to reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
dispose
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
disposed the troops along...
If you will accept me as champion of the fair sex, I am at your disposal.†
disposal = command

(editor's note:  When something is "at someone's disposal" it is "at their command," or "available for their use." They can use it as they please.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispose means:
the arrangement, positioning, or use of things
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1.3
Web Links
eccentric
16 uses
Doubtless Lizabetha Prokofievna was considered "eccentric" in society, but she was none the less esteemed:
eccentric = unconventional or strange
DefinitionGenerally eccentric means:
unconventional or strange; or a person with such traits
Word Statistics
Book16 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 3.2
Web Links
haughty
20 uses
Aglaya raised her head haughtily.
haughtily = condescendingly (in a superior or self-important manner)
DefinitionGenerally haughty means:
arrogant or condescending (acting superior or self-important)
Word Statistics
Book20 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4.8
Web Links
impetuous
4 uses
She too, had passionate desires, but they were persistent rather than impetuous.
impetuous = impulsive (acting suddenly without much thought)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of impetuous means:
impulsive (acting suddenly without much thought) — often with an unfortunate consequence
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4.8
Web Links
irony
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
verbal irony
...he spoke on a serious subject in a frivolous manner, pretending to be in earnest, but with an under-current of irony.
irony = saying one thing while meaning something else
DefinitionGenerally this sense of irony means:
saying one thing, while meaning the opposite or something else — usually as humor or sarcasm
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3.1
Web Links
malicious
20 uses
And Rogojin burst out laughing, this time with unconcealed malice, as though he were glad that he had been able to find an opportunity for giving vent to it.
malice = wanting to see others suffer
DefinitionGenerally malicious means:
wanting to see others suffer; or threatening evil
Word Statistics
Book20 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1.4
Web Links
recollect
49 uses
A painful recollection flashed into his mind.
recollection = memory

(editor's note:  The suffix "-tion", converts a verb into a noun that denotes the action or result of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in action, education, and observation.)
DefinitionGenerally recollect means:
to remember — especially experiences from long ago
Word Statistics
Book49 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2.6
Web Links
reproach
40 uses
I reproach myself bitterly for it sometimes.
reproach = criticize
DefinitionGenerally reproach means:
a criticism; or to express criticism — especially where a relationship makes the disapproval result in disappointment or shame
Word Statistics
Book40 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 2.9
Web Links
strata
3 uses
Then came a few guests belonging to a lower stratum of society—people who, like the Epanchins themselves, moved only occasionally in this exalted sphere.
stratum = social class

(editor's note:  Strata, the plural form of this word is used much more commonly than the singular form. Many Latin words that end in "um" are made plural by changing the "um" to "a"—such as stratum to strata, bacterium to bacteria, and millennium to millennia. In modern writing, changing the "um" to "ums" is also accepted for many Latin words ending in um, but not for any of those listed above.)
DefinitionGenerally strata means:
layers

or:

levels, classes, or groups into which people or other things are divided
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4.6
Web Links
wretch
16 uses
I remember being told of a poor wretch I once knew, who had died of hunger.
wretch = someone  you feel sorry for
DefinitionGenerally wretch means:
someone  you feel sorry for

or:

a person of bad character
Word Statistics
Book16 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.2
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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