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Six Characters in Search of an Author

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
allude
3 uses
I should like to know who they are... [Alludes to CHARACTERS].†
alludes = makes an indirect reference
DefinitionGenerally allude means:
to make an indirect reference
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 2
Web Links
alternative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an alternative plan
He is alternatively mellifluous and violent in his manner.†
alternatively = as another possibility
DefinitionGenerally this sense of alternative means:
something available as another possibility
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 1
Web Links
atrocious
1 use
Then we perceive that all of us was not in that act, and that it would be an atrocious injustice to judge us by that action alone, as if all our existence were summed up in that one deed.†
atrocious = exceptionally bad, cruel, or ugly
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
consternation
3 uses
The Manager [in consternation].†
consternation = dismay (unhappiness, worry, and often confusion) — typically over something unexpected
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
contempt
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
feels contempt towards her
She shows contempt for the timid half-frightened manner of the wretched BOY
contempt = disrespect and dislike
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect for someone or something thought inferior — often accompanied by a feeling of dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
contradict
4 uses
This seeming contradiction, gentlemen, is the strongest proof that I stand here a live man before you.†
contradiction = something (typically a statement) that disagrees with itself; or (more rarely) the act of disagreeing

(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 contradict means:
disagree
in various senses, including:
  • to say something is not true — as in "She contradicted his testimony."
  • to say something else is true when both can't be true — as in "I don't believe her. She contradicted herself as she told us what happened."
  • to be in conflict with — as in "Her assertions contradict accepted scientific principles."
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 1
Web Links
disdain
2 uses
The Step-Daughter [disdainful, alluring, treacherous, full of impudence].†
disdainful = full of disrespect
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 useAct 1
Web Links
establish
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
establish a positive tone
One gives way to the temptation, only to rise from it again, afterwards, with a great eagerness to re-establish one's dignity, as if it were a tombstone to place on the grave of one's shame, and a monument to hide and sign the memory of our weaknesses.†
re-establish = restore

(Editor's note:  The prefix "re-" in re-establish means again. This is the same pattern you see in words like reconsider, rearrange, and regenerate.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 1
Web Links
grave
1 use
] The Step-Daughter [as soon as the MOTHER becomes a little quieter, adds resolutely and gravely].†
gravely = in a serious and solemn manner
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
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 2
Web Links
impudent
3 uses
The Step-Daughter [disdainful, alluring, treacherous, full of impudence].†
impudence = improperly bold or disrespectful — especially toward someone who is older or considered to be of higher status
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
indifferent
2 uses
THE SON (22) tall, severe in his attitude of contempt for THE FATHER, supercilious and indifferent to THE MOTHER.†
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
irony
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
verbal irony
The Father. ...I did it so that he should grow up healthy and strong...
The Step-Daughter [pointing to him ironically]. As one can see.
ironically = 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 useAct 1
Web Links
malicious
1 use
[The STEP-DAUGHTER coquettishly and with a touch of malice makes a sign of disagreement two or three times with her finger.†
malice = the desire to hurt others or see them suffer
DefinitionGenerally malicious means:
wanting to see others suffer; or threatening evil
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 2
Web Links
perplex
5 uses
The Manager [perplexed, half smiling].†
perplexed = confused or puzzled
DefinitionGenerally perplex means:
to confuse
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
plausible
1 use
Oh sir, you know well that life is full of infinite absurdities, which, strangely enough, do not even need to appear plausible, since they are true.†
plausible = apparently reasonable, but unproven
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
pretense
5 uses
It's all pretence you know.†
pretence = a false appearance or action to help one pretend

(editor's note:  This is a British spelling. Americans use pretense.)
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
remorse
7 uses
Even in the case of remorse.†
remorse = deep regret for doing something that was wrong
DefinitionGenerally remorse means:
a feeling of deep regret for doing something that was wrong
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
scorn
3 uses
You may have noticed, Mr. Manager, that I fix him now and again with a look of scorn while he lowers his eyes — for he knows the evil he has done me.†
scorn = disrespect or reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
temperament
3 uses
Temperament, soul, be hanged!†
temperament = usual mood and tendencies
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useAct 2
Web Links
vary
1 use
] [The MOTHER, who watches the progress of the scene with The SON and the other two children who cling to her, is on thorns; and follows with varying expressions of sorrow, indignation, anxiety, and horror the words and actions of the other two.†
varying = differing; or changing
DefinitionGenerally vary means:
to be different, or to change
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
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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