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A Passage to India

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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acquit
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she was acquitted
"You mean he's more frightened of acquitting than convicting, because if he acquits he'll lose his job," said Lesley with a clever little laugh.†
acquitting = officially finding "not guilty"
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acquit means:
to officially find "not guilty" of criminal charges; or (informally) to find someone innocent of a charge of having done wrong
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
apathy
2 uses
...the elder lady accepted her own apathy, while the younger resented hers.
apathy = lack of interest and enthusiasm
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
benevolent
2 uses
a man of benevolence
benevolence = kindness and goodwill
DefinitionGenerally benevolent means:
kind, generous, or charitable
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
capricious
2 uses
They came at irregular intervals and moved capriciously.
capriciously = unpredictably
DefinitionGenerally capricious means:
impulsive or unpredictable or tending to make sudden changes — especially impulsive behavior
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
censure
6 uses
It was the first interruption, and the Magistrate felt bound to censure it.
censure = criticize
DefinitionGenerally censure means:
harsh criticism; or formal criticism from an organization — such as the U.S. Senate
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
complacent
3 uses
His words without his voice might have impressed her, but when she heard the self-satisfied lilt of them, when she saw the mouth moving so complacently and ... she felt, quite illogically, that this was not the last word on India.
complacently = with contentment  (satisfied and unworried — perhaps to a fault)
DefinitionGenerally complacent means:
contented (unworried and satisfied) — often to a fault
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
conciliatory
3 uses
The educated Indians will be no good to us if there's a row, it's simply not worth while conciliating them, that's why they don't matter.
conciliating = actions intended to end bad feelings or build trust
DefinitionGenerally conciliatory means:
intended to end bad feelings or build trust
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
deference
5 uses
With all deference, sir, I am not here to answer questions, but to make a personal statement, and I have concluded it.
deference = polite respect
DefinitionGenerally deference means:
polite respect — often when submitting to another's wishes
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
denounce
3 uses
While they denounced him, Miss Quested lay back with her hands on the arms of her chair and her eyes closed, reserving her strength.
denounced = accused him publicly
DefinitionGenerally denounce means:
to strongly criticize or accuse publicly

or more rarely:  to inform against someone (turn someone into the authorities)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
deprecate
5 uses
Fielding deprecated confidences, but Sir Gilbert insisted on imparting them;
deprecated = disapproved of
DefinitionGenerally deprecate means:
to diminish or treat something as unimportant or of low quality; or to express disapproval
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 36
Web Links
deride
3 uses
In the applause that greeted them some derision mingled.
derision = critical disrespect — typically while laughing at or making fun of

(editor's note:  The suffix "-sion", 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 admission from admit, discussion from discuss, and invasion from invade.)
DefinitionGenerally deride means:
to criticize with strong disrespect — often
with humor
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
diffident
1 use
Aziz was full of civilization this evening, complete, dignified, rather hard, and it was with diffidence that the other said: "Yes, certainly you must let off Miss Quested easily."
diffidence = hesitancy and unassertiveness
DefinitionGenerally diffident means:
hesitant and unassertive — often due to a lack of self-confidence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 27
Web Links
disdain
2 uses
...he had disdained to enquire, he really could not waste his time over such trivialities.
disdained = to reject as not of value
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
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 22
Web Links
dispose
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
disposed the troops along...
He had a new little car, and wished to place it at their disposal; the City Magistrate would decide whether the offer was acceptable.†
disposal = command

(editor's note:  When something is "at someone's disposal" it is "at their command," or "available for their use." They can use it as they please.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispose means:
the arrangement, positioning, or use of things
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
doleful
1 use
Each held a large earthenware jar, containing pebbles, and jerked it up and down in time to a doleful chant.
doleful = expressing sadness
DefinitionGenerally doleful means:
expressing or causing sadness
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 21
Web Links
dubious
2 uses
This aspect of the case had always seemed dubious to Miss Quested, and she had asked the police not to develop it.
dubious = doubtful or suspicious
DefinitionGenerally dubious means:
doubtful
in various senses, including:
  • doubtful that something should be relied upon — as in "The argument relies on a dubious assumption."
  • doubtful that something is morally proper — as in "The company is accused of using dubious sales practices to influence minors."
  • bad or of questionable value — as in "The state has the dubious distinction of the highest taxes."
  • doubtful or uncertain — as in "She is dubious about making the change."
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
inclined
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
I'm inclined to
The host was inclined to change the subject, but Aziz took it up warmly,
inclined = desirous (had an attitude favoring)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of inclined means:
a tendency, mood, desire, or attitude that favors something; or making someone favor something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
irony
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
verbal irony
"Excellent, a hyena," said the Indian with an angry irony and a gesture at the night.
irony = saying one thing while meaning the opposite
DefinitionGenerally this sense of irony means:
saying one thing, while meaning the opposite or something else — usually as humor or sarcasm
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
magistrate
37 uses
But the case has to come before a magistrate now;
magistrate = judge
DefinitionGenerally magistrate means:
a judge or judicial official
The exact meaning of magistrate varies widely depending upon the context. For example:
  • in the U.S. federal court:  assists district court judges by handling minor offenses or administrative tasks such as preliminary hearings (often referred to as a magistrate judge rather than just a magistrate)
  • in some U.S. states:  a judge in the state court
  • in France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and other civil law countries:  a sitting magistrate is a judge and a standing magistrate is a prosecutor
  • in England:  may be a volunteer without formal legal training who performs a judicial role with regard to minor matters
  • in ancient Rome:  a powerful officer with both judicial and executive power
Word Statistics
Book37 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
relevant
2 uses
Sometimes, to the exasperation of Major Callendar, he would pass over the one relevant fact in a position, to dwell on the hundred irrelevant.
relevant = relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
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