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Uncle Vanya

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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agitate
3 uses
[In great agitation] Do you hear me?†
agitation = the act of stirring up (emotionally or physically); or a state of emotional unrest

(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 agitate means:
to stir up or shake — emotionally (as when people are angered or upset) or physically (as when a washing machine cleans clothes)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 3
Web Links
appalling
3 uses
There is nothing appalling about it.†
appalling = shockingly terrible or horrible
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
attain
1 use
He is the son of a common deacon and has attained the professor's chair, become the son-in-law of a senator, is called "your Excellency," and so on.†
attained = gained or reached something with effort
DefinitionGenerally attain means:
to gain or reach something with effort
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
compassion
3 uses
You all abuse my husband and look on me with compassion; you think, "Poor woman, she is married to an old man."†
compassion = sympathy for another's suffering and wanting to help
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
contemptible
1 use
...we have become as contemptible and petty as the rest.
contemptible = deserving no respect (worthless or of bad quality)
DefinitionGenerally contemptible means:
very bad (deserving no respect)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 4
Web Links
contradict
1 use
Jean, don't contradict Alexander.†
contradict = disagree
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
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 3
Web Links
deceive
5 uses
Those who marry old men and then deceive them under the noses of all, are sane!†
deceive = lie or mislead
DefinitionGenerally deceive means:
to lie to or mislead someone — occasionally to lie to oneself by denying reality
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
despise
3 uses
I like life as life, but I hate and despise it in a little Russian country village, and as far as my own personal life goes, by heaven! there is absolutely no redeeming feature about it.†
despise = dislike strongly and look down upon
DefinitionGenerally despise means:
to dislike strongly and to look down upon with disrespect
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
dispute
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
She disputes his claim.
No one is disputing your rights.†
disputing = challenging, arguing about, or fighting over
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
challenge, argue about, or fight over
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 2
Web Links
endure
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
endured the pain
I endure my sorrow,
endure = suffer through
DefinitionGenerally this sense of endure means:
to suffer through (or put up with something difficult or unpleasant)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library18 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 2
Web Links
futile
3 uses
Now I suddenly find myself plunged in this wilderness, condemned to see the same stupid people from morning till night and listen to their futile conversation.†
futile = effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
indulgent
1 use
I crave your indulgence, ladies and gentlemen; hang your ears, if I may say so, on the peg of attention.
indulgence = treatment with extra kindness or tolerance (in this case, asking them to listen to something she wants to say)
DefinitionGenerally indulgent means:
to treat with extra kindness or tolerance
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
malicious
2 uses
You are cultured and intelligent, Ivan, and you surely understand that the world is not destroyed by villains and conflagrations, but by hate and malice and all this spiteful tattling.†
malice = the desire to hurt others or see them suffer
DefinitionGenerally malicious means:
wanting to see others suffer; or threatening evil
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 2
Web Links
peasant
8 uses
The peasants were all lying side by side in their huts, and the calves and pigs were running about the floor among the sick.†
peasants = used historically or possibly in relation to a very poor country:  people of low income, education, and social standing — especially those who raise crops or livestock
DefinitionGenerally peasant means:
used historically or possibly in relation to a very poor country:  a person of low income, education, and social standing — especially one who raises crops or livestock
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
perish
1 use
Millions of trees have perished.†
perished = died, was destroyed, or ceased to exist
DefinitionGenerally perish means:
to die — especially in an unnatural way

or:

to be destroyed or cease to exist
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
refute
1 use
He refutes the very theories which he defended seven years ago.†
refutes = proves or argues that something is false
DefinitionGenerally refute means:
to disprove or argue against
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
rhetoric
1 use
I hate all that rhetoric of hers, that morality of indolence, that absurd talk about the destruction of the world——[A pause] Oh, how I have been deceived!†
rhetoric = the use of (or study of using) words to make a point
DefinitionGenerally rhetoric means:
the use of (or study of using) words to make a point — typically implying skillful use
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 2
Web Links
scorn
1 use
[She glances about her] For once in my life, I shall! and scorn the consequences!†
scorn = disrespect or reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 4
Web Links
vulgar
2 uses
Yes, I must confess I am getting vulgar, but then, you see, I am drunk.
vulgar = showing bad taste (crude, offensive, or unsophisticated)
DefinitionGenerally vulgar means:
of bad taste — often crude or offensive

or:

unsophisticated (or common) — especially of taste
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
wily
2 uses
[He searches her face with his eyes, and shakes his finger at her] Oho, you are wily!†
wily = clever
DefinitionGenerally wily means:
clever and good at tricking others to achieve a goal
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
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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