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The Importance of Being Earnest

Extra Credit Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
capacious
1 use
I had also with me a somewhat old, but capacious hand-bag in which I had intended to place the manuscript of a work of fiction that I had written during my few unoccupied hours.
capacious = large in capacity
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
consternation
1 use
Lady Bracknell.  [In a severe, judicial voice.]  Prism!  [Miss Prism bows her head in shame.]  Come here, Prism!  [Miss Prism approaches in a humble manner.]  Prism!  Where is that baby?  [General consternation...]
consternation = dismay (unhappiness, worry, and often confusion) — typically over something unexpected
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
effrontery
1 use
What effrontery!
effrontery = impolite boldness
DefinitionGenerally effrontery means:
rude and disrespectful behavior — often made by someone who does not realize they are being rude — as when someone is presumptuous or impolitely bold
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
equanimity
1 use
The absence of old friends one can endure with equanimity.
equanimity = steadiness of mind under stress
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
essential
1 use
The General was essentially a man of peace, except in his domestic life.
essentially = basically (relating to the basic nature of something)
DefinitionGenerally essential means:
necessary or important or relating to the basic nature of something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library24 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 3
Web Links
forte
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
it is her forte
As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte.
forte = strength (a personal asset of special worth or utility)

(editor's note:  This is also a pun of sorts since forte has a second meaning as an instruction that can accompany written music. The instruction means "to be played relatively loudly".)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of forte means:
strengths (strong abilities)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
grave
5 uses
But have you any grave doubts on the subject?
grave = serious (important)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of grave means:
serious and/or solemn
The exact meaning of this sense of grave can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "This is a grave problem," or "a situation of the utmost gravity." — important, dangerous, or causing worry
  • "She was in a grave mood upon returning from the funeral." — sad or solemn
  • "She looked me in the eye and gravely promised." — in a sincere and serious manner
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 1
Web Links
heresy
1 use
They savour of the heretical views of the Anabaptists,
heretical = characterized by opinions or actions most people consider immoral
DefinitionGenerally heresy means:
opinions or actions most people consider immoral
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
however   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 12 uses
1  —11 uses as in:
However, complications may...
I did my best, however, though I was out of practice.†
however = a word used to connect contrasting ideas as when using though, in spite of that, in contrast, nevertheless, etc.
DefinitionGenerally this sense of however means:
though (or another expression that connects contrasting ideas)

(Based on idea 1 we might not expect idea 2, but this is a way of saying that even though idea 1 exists, we still have idea 2.  Synonyms include in spite of that, , nevertheless, nonetheless, on the other hand, in contrastand but.)
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library61 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 1
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
However much she tried...
However badly he may have behaved to you in the past he is still your brother.†
however = regardless of how
DefinitionGenerally this sense of however means:
to whatever degree (regardless of how much; or whatever unspecified amount)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
indifferent
2 uses
Even before I met you I was far from indifferent to you.
indifferent = without interest
DefinitionGenerally indifferent means:
without interest
in various senses, including:
  • unconcerned — as in "She is indifferent to what is served to eat."
  • unsympathetic — as in "She is indifferent to his needs."
  • not of good quality (which may imply average or poor quality depending upon context) — as in "an indifferent performance"
  • impartial — as in "We need a judge who is indifferent."
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 1
Web Links
indignant
8 uses
[Jack looks indignantly at him, and leaves the room.]
indignantly = angered at something unjust or wrong
DefinitionGenerally indignant means:
angered or annoyed at something unjust or wrong
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
misanthrope
1 use
A misanthrope I can understand—a womanthrope, never!
misanthrope = someone who dislikes people
DefinitionGenerally misanthrope means:
someone who dislikes people — and often distrusts them
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
ostentatious
1 use
Algernon is an extremely, I may almost say an ostentatiously, eligible young man.
ostentatiously = in a manner intended to attract notice and impress others
DefinitionGenerally ostentatious means:
intended to attract notice and impress others — especially with wealth in a vulgar way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
positive
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
I'm absolutely positive!
My dear Mr. Worthing, as Miss Cardew states positively that she cannot wait till she is thirty-five—a remark which I am bound to say seems to me to show a somewhat impatient nature—I would beg of you to reconsider your decision.†
positively = with certainty; or absolutely (used for emphasis)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of positive means:
certain (having no doubt; or used for emphasis)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
pretense
1 use
This afternoon during my temporary absence in London on an important question of romance, he obtained admission to my house by means of the false pretence of being my brother.
pretence = pretending

(editor's note:  This is a British spelling. Americans use pretense.)
DefinitionGenerally pretense means:
a false appearance or action to help one pretend
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
recumbent
1 use
Rise, sir, from this semi-recumbent posture.
recumbent = lying down; or horizontal
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
sententious
2 uses
Algernon.  Then your wife will.  You don't seem to realise, that in married life three is company and two is none.

Jack.  [Sententiously.]  That, my dear young friend, is the theory that the corrupt French Drama has been propounding for the last fifty years.
sententiously = pompously moralizing
DefinitionGenerally sententious means:
annoying attempt to sound smart or important

or more rarely (and typically in classic literature):

expressing wisdom or knowledge concisely
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
supercilious
1 use
Gwendolen.  [Superciliously.]  No, thank you.  Sugar is not fashionable any more.
superciliously = arrogant disdain of those one views as unworthy
DefinitionGenerally supercilious means:
arrogant (acting as if better, more important, and superior in ideas than others)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
vacillate
1 use
I do not think that even I could produce any effect on a character that according to his own brother's admission is irretrievably weak and vacillating.
vacillating = changing one's mind back and forth between conflicting ideas
DefinitionGenerally vacillate means:
to change one's mind back and forth between conflicting ideas

or:

to sway back and forth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 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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