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The Importance of Being Earnest

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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allude
3 uses
Do you allude to me, Miss Cardew, as an entanglement?
allude = to make an indirect reference
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 2
Web Links
arduous
1 use
My dear guardian, with the assistance of Miss Prism, has the arduous task of looking after me.
arduous = difficult
DefinitionGenerally arduous means:
difficult  — especially requiring great effort over an extended period of time
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
candid
5 uses
Personally, darling, to speak quite candidly, I don't much care about the name of Ernest.
candidly = with honesty and directness
DefinitionGenerally candid means:
honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
credulous
1 use
His voice alone inspires one with absolute credulity.
credulity = willingness to believe
DefinitionGenerally credulous means:
gullible (being too willing to believe)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 3
Web Links
domestic
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
domestic happiness
neglect his domestic duties
domestic = relating to the home or family
DefinitionGenerally this sense of domestic means:
relating to a home or family
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
eccentric
1 use
He was eccentric, I admit.
eccentric = unconventional or strange
DefinitionGenerally eccentric means:
unconventional or strange; or a person with such traits
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useAct 3
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
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 1
Web Links
however
1 use
1  —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
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
impetuous
1 use
What an impetuous boy he is!
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
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
induce
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
induce her to
Algernon.  Nothing will induce me to part with Bunbury, and if you ever get married, which seems to me extremely problematic, you will be very glad to know Bunbury.
induce = persuade (convince)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of induce means:
to persuade somebody to do something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 1
Web Links
metaphor
3 uses
I spoke metaphorically.
metaphorically = using a figure of speech
DefinitionGenerally metaphor means:
a figure of speech in which a similarity between two things is highlighted by using a word to refer to something that it does not literally denote — as when Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage."

For example, Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players." Shakespeare is not saying the world is really a stage and all people are actors, but there are similarities he wants us to recognize.
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
philanthropy
2 uses
I don't quite like women who are interested in philanthropic work.
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 useAct 2
Web Links
reconcile
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
reconciled their differences
It's pleasant, is it not, to see so perfect a reconciliation?
reconciliation = two people making up (to bring into agreement)

(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 this sense of reconcile means:
to bring into agreement
The exact meaning of reconcile can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "We reconciled our differences and are on friendly terms now." — settled or found a way to accept
  • "They did break up, but they reconciled since then." — made up
  • "I need to reconcile my goals with my abilities." — make compatible
  • "I need to reconcile my checkbook." — get the checkbook numbers and the bank statement to agree
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 2
Web Links
refute
1 use
They savour ... views that I have completely refuted in four of my unpublished sermons.
refuted = disproved or argued against
DefinitionGenerally refute means:
to disprove or argue against
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 3
Web Links
reproach
2 uses
Whatever unfortunate entanglement my dear boy may have got into, I will never reproach him with it after we are married.
reproach = criticize
DefinitionGenerally reproach means:
a criticism; or to express criticism
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 2
Web Links
resignation
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
accepted it with resignation
After we had all been resigned to his loss, his sudden return seems to me peculiarly distressing.
resigned = forced to accustom ourselves (having accepted the loss as unavoidable)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resignation means:
acceptance of something undesired as unavoidable or the lesser of evils
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 2
Web Links
speculate
4 uses
there is no use speculating on that subject.
speculating = thinking or guessing
DefinitionGenerally this sense of speculate means:
to guess without certainty

or:

to think about or consider something

or (more rarely):

to risk money in a financial venture
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
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
tedious
3 uses
A man who marries without knowing Bunbury has a very tedious time of it.
tedious = boring
DefinitionGenerally tedious means:
boring — especially because something goes on too long or without variation
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
vulgar
4 uses
It is very vulgar to talk about one's business.
vulgar = in bad taste (unsophisticated or crude)
DefinitionGenerally vulgar means:
of bad taste — often crude or offensive

or:

unsophisticated (or common) — especially of taste
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 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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