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A Room of One's Own
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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acquisition
1 use
True, they had money and power, but only at the cost of harbouring in their breasts an eagle, a vulture, forever tearing the liver out and plucking at the lungs—the instinct for possession, the rage for acquisition which drives them to desire other people's fields and goods perpetually; to make frontiers and flags; battleships and poison gas; to offer up their own lives and their children's lives.
acquisition = getting (obtaining) things
DefinitionGenerally acquisition means:
obtaining possession of something; or the thing possessed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
assiduous
1 use
The student by my side, for instance, who was copying assiduously from a scientific manual, was, I felt sure, extracting pure nuggets of the essential ore every ten minutes or so.
assiduously = marked by care and persistent effort
DefinitionGenerally assiduous means:
diligent (showing care and persistent effort)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
candid
1 use
I think it but candid to acknowledge that, in a subsequent conversation, he told me that he was serious in what he said.
candid = honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
complacent
1 use
it sleeps complacently and will, so far as I am concerned, so sleep forever.
complacently = in a contented manner (unworried and satisfied)
DefinitionGenerally complacent means:
contented (unworried and satisfied) — often to a fault
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
deference
3 uses
She had altered her values in deference to the opinion of others.
deference = polite respect
DefinitionGenerally deference means:
polite respect — often when submitting to another's wishes
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
depravity
2 uses
her alternations between heavenly goodness and hellish depravity
depravity = evilness
DefinitionGenerally depravity means:
complete immorality or evilness
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
dubious
4 uses
But this is all 'dubious gossip'
dubious = doubtful (not to be relied upon)
DefinitionGenerally dubious means:
doubtful — such as:
  • uncertain that something can be relied upon
  • uncertain about the quality or wisdom of something
  • a relatively gentle way of saying that the quality of something described as good is in such doubt that it is considered bad
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
frivolous
3 uses
so I pondered until all such frivolous thoughts were ended by an avalanche of books sliding down on to the desk in front of me.
frivolous = not serious
DefinitionGenerally frivolous means:
not serious (in 1 or both of these ways):
  • in behavior or attitude — as when acting silly or without appropriate seriousness
  • in content — as when describing something as trivial or unimportant
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
futile
2 uses
the futility of what is written in that spirit
futility = pointlessness (uselessness)
DefinitionGenerally futile means:
effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
mitigate
3 uses
whatever the value of unmitigated masculinity upon the state, one may question the effect of it upon the art of poetry.
unmitigated = complete (not diminished)
DefinitionGenerally mitigate means:
make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
obscure   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 5 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
the view or directions are obscure
For here again we come within range of that very interesting and obscure masculine complex which has had so much influence upon the woman's movement; that deep-seated desire, not so much that SHE shall be inferior as that HE shall be superior, which plants him wherever one looks, not only in front of the arts, but barring the way to politics too, even when the risk to himself seems infinitesimal and the suppliant humble and devoted.
obscure = little understood
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
not clearly seen, understood, or expressed
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
knows the famous and the obscure
...thanks to the toils of those obscure women in the past, of whom I wish we knew more,
obscure = not known to many people
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
not known to many people; or unimportant or undistinguished
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
pervasive
2 uses
Jane Austen pervades every word that she wrote, and so does Shakespeare.
pervades = exists throughout
DefinitionGenerally pervasive means:
existing throughout something; or generally widespread
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
prodigious
3 uses
to write a work of genius is almost always a feat of prodigious difficulty.
prodigious = far beyond what is usual in magnitude or degree
DefinitionGenerally prodigious means:
enormous; or far beyond what is usual in magnitude or degree
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
profound
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
profound sadness
must have lowered her vitality, and told profoundly upon her work.
profoundly = intensely
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
prosaic
3 uses
I find myself saying briefly and prosaically that it is much more important to be oneself than anything else.
prosaically = lacking anything unusual
DefinitionGenerally prosaic means:
lacking anything unusual, interesting, or challenging
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
relevant
1 use
Save for the possibly relevant fact that not one of them had a child, four more incongruous characters could not have met together in a room
relevant = relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
Shakespeare
51 uses
If ever a mind was incandescent, unimpeded, I thought, turning again to the bookcase, it was Shakespeare's mind.
Shakespeare = English poet and dramatist frequently cited as the greatest writer in the English language (1564-1616)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of Shakespeare means:
English dramatist and poet frequently cited as the greatest writer in the English language (1564-1616)
Word Statistics
Book51 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
stagnate
2 uses
but women ... suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.
stagnation = lack of development or movement
DefinitionGenerally stagnate means:
staying still or not developing
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
whimsical
2 uses
whimsical despotism
whimsical = determined impulsively

(editor's note:  Despotism refers to a system of government where a ruler has absolute power, so in this case, the power is wielded in an impulsive rather than a predictable manner.)
DefinitionGenerally whimsical means:
playful or amusing

or:

determined by chance or impulse rather than by necessity or reason
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
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