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Heart of Darkness
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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allude
5 uses
What we afterwards alluded to as an attack was really an attempt at repulse.
alluded = indirectly referenced
DefinitionGenerally allude means:
to make an indirect reference
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
appalling
8 uses
One, with his chin propped on his knees, stared at nothing, in an intolerable and appalling manner:
appalling = causing strong feelings of disapproval or horror
DefinitionGenerally appalling means:
shockingly terrible or horrible
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
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
candid
1 use
After all, this was the expression of some sort of belief; it had candor, it had conviction,
candor = honesty and directness
DefinitionGenerally candid means:
honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
contempt
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
feels contempt towards her
said in a tone of scathing contempt
contempt = disrespect and dislike
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect — often accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
defer
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
deferred to her wishes
I must defer to your judgment.
defer = submit (or yield)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
submit or yield (typically to another person's opinion because of respect for that person or their knowledge)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
desolate   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 9 uses
1  —8 uses as in:
felt desolate
the sound of her low voice seemed to have the accompaniment of all the other sounds, full of mystery, desolation, and sorrow, I had ever heard
desolation = extreme sorrow and loneliness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of desolate means:
sad or miserable—and often lonely
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
a desolate place
It was a distinct glimpse: the dug-out, four paddling savages, and the lone white man turning his back suddenly on the headquarters, on relief, on thoughts of home—perhaps; setting his face towards the depths of the wilderness, towards his empty and desolate station.
desolate = empty, lonely, providing no support
DefinitionGenerally this sense of desolate means:
empty, providing no shelter or sustenance
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
digress
1 use
One of them ... informed me with ...  and many digressions ... that my steamer was at the bottom of the river.
digressions = wanderings off the main topic
DefinitionGenerally digress means:
wander from a direct or straight course — especially verbally
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
disdain
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.
disdainful = full of disrespect
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
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
disparage
1 use
the manager had remarked disparagingly.
disparagingly = in a criticizing manner
DefinitionGenerally disparage means:
to criticize or make seem less important — especially in a disrespectful or contemptuous manner
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
eloquent
9 uses
This was the unbounded power of eloquence—of words—of burning noble words.
eloquence = the powerful use of language
DefinitionGenerally eloquent means:
powerful use of language
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
futile
4 uses
All this talk seemed to me so futile.
futile = effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library8 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
DefinitionGenerally guile means:
cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceitful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
luminous
5 uses
It was difficult to realize his work was not out there in the luminous estuary, but behind him, within the brooding gloom.
luminous = glowing or shining

(also used metaphorically to describe beauty or intelligence)
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
ominous
8 uses
It was the same kind of ominous voice; but these men could by no stretch of imagination be called enemies.
ominous = threatening of bad things to come
DefinitionGenerally ominous means:
threatening (suggestive of, or foreshadowing bad things to come)
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
philanthropy
2 uses
It might have been connected with the philanthropic desire of giving the criminals something to do.
philanthropic = helping others
DefinitionGenerally philanthropy means:
helping others — especially donating money to worthy causes; or an organization that does so
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
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 = an appearance or action to help one pretend
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
profound
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
profound sadness
...to the hidden evil, to the profound darkness of its heart.
profound = intense
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
serene
4 uses
like a flash of lightning in a serene sky
serene = calm
DefinitionGenerally serene means:
calm and untroubled
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
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