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Six Characters in Search of an Author
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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acquire
3 uses
And the drama, you will see, acquires a tremendous value from this point.†
acquires = obtains (comes into possession of)
DefinitionGenerally acquire means:
obtain (come into the possession of something)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
agitate
1 use
And for God's sake stop it, or else...[General agitation.†
agitation = the act of stirring up (emotionally or physically); or emotional unrest
DefinitionGenerally agitate means:
to stir up — emotionally (such as anxiety) or physically (such as shaking)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 3
Web Links
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
Library5 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
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 — often accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library11 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
DefinitionGenerally contradict means:
disagree as in:
  • to say something is not true
  • to say something else is true when both can't be true
  • to be in conflict with
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library14 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
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
diverse
1 use
Diverse consciences.†
diverse = varied (having variety with differences)
DefinitionGenerally diverse means:
varied (having variety amongst things of the same kind) — especially with regard to ideas or members of a population group
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
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
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
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 is often subject to 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 (with a heavy heart)
  • "She looked me in the eye and gravely promised." — sincere and dignified without humor
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 2
Web Links
indignant
8 uses
The Manager [losing patience at last and almost indignant].†
indignant = angered or annoyed at something unjust or wrong
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 3
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
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
perplex
5 uses
The Manager [perplexed, half smiling].†
perplexed = confused or puzzled
DefinitionGenerally perplex means:
to confuse
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
pretense
5 uses
It's all pretence you know.†
pretence = an appearance or action to help one pretend
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
remorse
5 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
Book5 uses
Library7 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 = treat with strong disrespect or disdain
DefinitionGenerally scorn means:
treat with a strong disrespect or disdain — sometimes accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
treacherous
2 uses
She, the Mother arrived just then... The Step-Daughter [treacherously].†
treacherously = dangerous

or:

likely to betray; or guilty of betrayal
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 1
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
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 2
Web Links
wretch
3 uses
Wretch!†
wretch = someone  you feel sorry for

or:

a person of bad character
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
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