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Heart of Darkness

Extra Credit Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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ascetic
1 use
He had sunken cheeks, a yellow complexion, a straight back, an ascetic aspect, and, with his arms dropped, the palms of hands outwards, resembled an idol.
ascetic = like someone who practices self-denial (especially to encourage spiritual growth)
DefinitionGenerally ascetic means:
someone who practices self-denial (often to encourage spiritual growth); or relating to such self-denial

or:

severely plain (without decoration)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
audacious
2 uses
there he was gallantly, thoughtlessly alive, to all appearance indestructible solely by the virtue of his few years and of his unreflecting audacity.
audacity = boldness and daring
DefinitionGenerally audacious means:
bold and daring (inclined to take risks) — especially in violating social convention in a manner that could offend others
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
bronze   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —1 use as in:
bronze won't corrode in salt water
It was as though an animated image of death carved out of old ivory had been shaking its hand with menaces at a motionless crowd of men made of dark and glittering bronze.
bronze = a brownish metal
DefinitionGenerally this sense of bronze means:
a brownish-colored metal with red or yellow hues that is made of copper and (usually) tin
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
a bronze tan
When next day we left at noon, the crowd, of whose presence behind the curtain of trees I had been acutely conscious all the time, flowed out of the woods again, filled the clearing, covered the slope with a mass of naked, breathing, quivering, bronze bodies.†
bronze = suntanned
DefinitionGenerally this sense of bronze means:
a reddish-brown or yellowish-brown color like that of one of the metals with the same name — often used to refer to a suntan or a dark glowing complexion
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
confound
9 uses
He appeared confounded for a moment.
confounded = confused
DefinitionGenerally confound means:
to confuse, prove wrong, frustrate, or express frustration
in various senses, including:
confuse or surprise — sometimes specifically to confuse one thing with another
  • "confounded by the puzzle" — confused or perplexed
  • "Test results confounded the experts." — surprised and confused
  • "Do not confound confidence with correctness." — mistake one thing for another
prove wrong, defeat, or frustrate
  • "The test results confounded my theory." — proved wrong
  • "Their defense confounded our offense." — defeated or frustrated
make worse
  • "She confounded the problem by painting without sanding." — made worse
  • "The task is complicated by other confounding factors." — making worse
an exclamation expressing anger or frustration
  • "Confound it! Will I ever get this thing to work?"
  • "I don't understand the confounded directions!"
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
despondent
2 uses
was in the uttermost depths of despondency.
despondency = depression
DefinitionGenerally despondent means:
emotionally depressed — especially a feeling of grief and hopelessness after a loss
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
disclaim
1 use
But even at these times the rest of his person seemed to disclaim the intention.
disclaim = deny
DefinitionGenerally disclaim means:
to deny (responsibility for, knowledge of, or ownership of)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
dubious
1 use
He looked very dubious;
dubious = doubtful or suspicious
DefinitionGenerally dubious means:
doubtful
in various senses, including:
  • doubtful that something should be relied upon — as in "The argument relies on a dubious assumption."
  • doubtful that something is morally proper — as in "The company is accused of using dubious sales practices to influence minors."
  • bad or of questionable value — as in "The state has the dubious distinction of the highest taxes."
  • doubtful or uncertain — as in "She is dubious about making the change."
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
enigma
1 use
like a ripple on an unfathomable enigma, a mystery...
enigma = something mysterious that seems unexplainable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
guile
1 use
Their glance was guileless, profound, confident, and trustful.
guileless = without cunning (shrewdness, cleverness) or deceit

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-less" in guileless means without. This is the same pattern you see in words like fearless, homeless, and endless.)
DefinitionGenerally guile means:
cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceitful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
immutable
1 use
In the immutability of their surroundings the foreign shores, the foreign faces, the changing immensity of life, glide past, veiled not by a sense of mystery but by a slightly disdainful ignorance; for there is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as Destiny.
immutability = quality of being unchangeable
DefinitionGenerally immutable means:
unchangeable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
innate
1 use
When they are gone you must fall back upon your own innate strength, upon your own capacity for faithfulness.
innate = of a quality:  present at birth or existing as an inseparable part of something greater
DefinitionGenerally innate means:
of a quality:  present at birth; or arising from within rather than having been learned or acquired
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
insidious
1 use
How insidious he could be, too, I was only to find out several months later and a thousand miles farther.
insidious = not appearing dangerous, but actually harmful
DefinitionGenerally insidious means:
not appearing dangerous, but actually very harmful over time

or:

treacherous  (dangerous due to trickery or from hidden or unpredictable risks)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
obscure   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
it obscured my view
A dark figure obscured the lighted doorway of the manager's hut, vanished, then, a second or so after, the doorway itself vanished too.
obscured = blocked the view of
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
to block from view or make less visible or understandable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
knows the famous and the obscure
your power of devotion, not to yourself, but to an obscure, back-breaking business.
obscure = undistinguished
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
not known to many people; or unimportant or undistinguished
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
ostentatious
2 uses
He carried his fat paunch with ostentation on his short legs,
ostentation = (in a manner that) attracted notice

(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 ostentatious means:
intended to attract notice and impress others — especially with wealth in a vulgar way
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
precipitate
1 use
1  —1 use
(adj) as in: a precipitate decision
He talked precipitately, and I did not try to stop him.
precipitately = with great haste — perhaps implying that he doesn't think enough about the ramifications of what he says
DefinitionGenerally this sense of precipitate means:
acting with great haste — often without adequate thought
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
pretense
4 uses
I became in an instant as much of a pretense as the rest of the bewitched pilgrims.
pretense = a false appearance or action to help one pretend
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
prudent
2 uses
This was simple prudence, white men being so much alike at a distance that he could not tell who I might be.
prudence = good sense and caution
DefinitionGenerally prudent means:
sensible and careful
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
sagacious
1 use
his sagacious relative lifted his head.
sagacious = wise
DefinitionGenerally sagacious means:
wise — especially through long experience and thoughtfulness
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 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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