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The House of the Seven Gables

Extra Credit Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
abstruse
2 uses
Besides, in our day, the very ABC has become a science greatly too abstruse to be any longer taught by pointing a pin from letter to letter.
abstruse = difficult to understand
DefinitionGenerally abstruse means:
difficult to understand; or not known by the great majority of people
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
apathy
1 use
Subsiding from it, he did not sink into his former intellectual apathy.
apathy = lack of interest and enthusiasm
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 21
Web Links
contrite
1 use
...the tender sadness of a contrite heart, broken, at last, beneath its own weight of sin?
contrite = feeling sorrow or regret for a fault or offense
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
diffuse
11 uses
Looking back at the grotesque peaks and shadowy angles of the old mansion, they fancied a gloom diffused about it which no brightness of the sunshine could dispel.
diffused = spread
DefinitionGenerally diffuse means:
to spread; or to soften or calm

or:

to be spread out (not concentrated) — sometimes implying a lack or organization or the use of too many words
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
dilatory
1 use
...a merchant or two, at the door of the post-office, together with an editor and a miscellaneous politician, awaiting a dilatory mail;
dilatory = late (delayed)
DefinitionGenerally dilatory means:
slow; or causing or tending to delay things
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
disparage
1 use
And as for her cousin's testimony in disparagement of it, she concluded that Hepzibah's judgment was embittered by one of those family feuds...
disparagement = the act of criticizing or making seem less important
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 500
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
earnest
21 uses
How strangely in earnest you are!
in earnest = serious
DefinitionGenerally earnest means:
characterized by sincere belief

or:

intensely or excessively serious
Word Statistics
Book21 uses
Library19 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
establish
10 uses
1  —10 uses as in:
establish a positive tone
It was this, indeed, that gave him the control which he had at once, and so irresistibly, established over his movements.†
established = created and maintained
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
expedient
2 uses
Not improbably he was the best workman of his time; or, perhaps, the Colonel thought it expedient, or was impelled by some better feeling, thus openly to cast aside all animosity against the race of his fallen antagonist.
expedient = convenient, speedy, or practical
DefinitionGenerally expedient means:
a practical action — especially one that accepts negative tradeoffs due to circumstances

or:

convenient, speedy, or practical
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
fastidious
3 uses
All the antique fashions of the street were dear to him; even such as were characterized by a rudeness that would naturally have annoyed his fastidious senses.
fastidious = excessive concern with matters of taste
DefinitionGenerally fastidious means:
giving careful attention to detail

or:

excessively concerned with cleanliness or matters of taste
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
inevitable
23 uses
The inevitable moment was not much longer to be delayed.
inevitable = certain to happen
DefinitionGenerally inevitable means:
certain to happen (even if one tried to prevent it)
Word Statistics
Book23 uses
Library23 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
lethargic
1 use
...shake off the unaccountable lethargy which (for the ten intervening minutes, and five to boot, are already past) has made him such a laggard at this momentous dinner.
lethargy = lack of energy
DefinitionGenerally lethargic means:
lacking energy
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
mitigate
8 uses
His dark, square countenance ... would, perhaps, have been rather stern, had not the gentleman considerately taken upon himself to mitigate the harsh effect by a look of exceeding good-humor and benevolence.
mitigate = make less unpleasant
DefinitionGenerally mitigate means:
make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
ostentatious
3 uses
Hidden from mankind,—forgotten by himself, or buried so deeply under a sculptured and ornamented pile of ostentatious deeds that his daily life could take no note of it,—there may have lurked some evil and unsightly thing.
ostentatious = 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
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
recluse
8 uses
A recluse, like Hepzibah, usually displays remarkable frankness,
recluse = someone who avoids contact with others

(editor's note:  frankness is a synonym for candor — to be direct and honest)
DefinitionGenerally recluse means:
someone withdrawn from society (living alone and avoiding contact)
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
recollect
19 uses
I am at home here, Phoebe, you must recollect, and you are the stranger.
recollect = remember
DefinitionGenerally recollect means:
to remember — especially experiences from long ago
Word Statistics
Book19 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
remonstrate
2 uses
"But I'll either start her ladyship, or break the door down!" She shook it accordingly, and the bell, having a spiteful little temper of its own, rang obstreperously, making its remonstrances heard,—not, indeed, by the ears for which they were intended,—but by a good lady on the opposite side of the street.
remonstrances = protests or arguments
DefinitionGenerally remonstrate means:
argue, complain, or criticize
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
scrupulous
8 uses
his unscrupulous pursuit of selfish ends through evil means.
unscrupulous = unethical

(editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in unscrupulous means not and reverses the meaning of scrupulous. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
DefinitionGenerally scrupulous means:
careful to behave ethically and/or diligently (with great care and attention to detail)
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
taint
1 use
He taints the whole house, as I remember it.
taints = contaminates or spoils (so it is less desirable)
DefinitionGenerally taint means:
to spoil something so it is not desirable — as when bacteria contaminates a food; or as when a rumor makes people distrust a person
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
zeal
5 uses
his remarkable zeal as president of a Bible society
zeal = active interest and enthusiasm
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 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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