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The Canterbury Tales

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
abridge
4 uses
And, for he would his longe tale abridge,
abridge = shorten; or reduce in scope while retaining essential elements
DefinitionGenerally abridge means:
reduce in scope while retaining essential elements — especially to a book
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
assuage
4 uses
But at the last, after a month or tway,
His sorrow gan assuage, soothe to say.
assuage = soothe
DefinitionGenerally assuage means:
to soothe (make something less unpleasant or frightening)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4.9
Web Links
beseech
27 uses
Beseeching him to do her that honour,
beseeching = asking (or begging)
DefinitionGenerally beseech means:
to ask strongly or beg for something
Word Statistics
Book27 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.5
Web Links
contrite
17 uses
Contrition is the heavy and grievous sorrow that a man receiveth in his heart for his sins,
contrition = sorrow or regret for a fault or offense

(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 contrite means:
feeling sorrow or regret for a fault or offense
Word Statistics
Book17 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7.18
Web Links
countenance
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a pleasant countenance
And eke when I say Yea, ye say not Nay,
Neither by word, nor frowning countenance?
countenance = facial expression
DefinitionGenerally this sense of countenance means:
facial expression; or face; or composure or manner
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4.9
Web Links
diligent
5 uses
Meliboeus should proceed with great diligence and deliberation,
diligence = hard work and care
DefinitionGenerally this sense of diligent means:
hard work and care in tasks — often continuing when others might quit because of difficulties
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 7.18
Web Links
discretion
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
Parental discretion advised.
The lord hath of his high discretion
Considered that it were destruction
discretion = good judgment
DefinitionGenerally this sense of discretion means:
good judgment or good taste
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
disdain
6 uses
...now hearken for the best;
But take it not, I pray you, in disdain;
disdain = with a lack of respect
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
Book6 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1.0
Web Links
diverse
17 uses
There as they sounded diverse instruments,
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
Book17 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1.3
Web Links
dwell
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
It dwells in the forest.
dwelling in a poor cottage
dwelling = living
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dwell means:
make one's home in; or to live in; or to stay (in a place)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 7.20
Web Links
engender
12 uses
so sure as cold engenders hail,
engenders = causes
DefinitionGenerally engender means:
cause — usually a feeling (possibly a situation)
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.0
Web Links
forbearance
9 uses
And I pray you, that ye will now forbear to do vengeance,
forbear = refrain (hold back from taking the action)
DefinitionGenerally forbearance means:
refraining (holding back) from acting

or:

patience, tolerance, or self-control
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10.24
Web Links
heed
29 uses
Of study took he most care and heed.
heed = paid attention to
DefinitionGenerally heed means:
pay close attention to; or to do what is suggested — especially with regard to a warning or other advice
Word Statistics
Book29 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.0
Web Links
penitent
25 uses
Penitence is described ... as the bewailing of sin that has been wrought, with the purpose never again to do that thing, or any other thing which a man should bewail;
penitence = feeling or expressing sorrow for having done wrong
DefinitionGenerally penitent means:
feeling or expressing sorrow for having done wrong; or a person who does such
Word Statistics
Book25 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10.24
Web Links
prudent
7 uses
he was a man of high prudence,
prudence = good sense and caution
DefinitionGenerally prudent means:
sensible and careful
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
repentance
31 uses
the man was repentant.
repentant = felt regret for having done something wrong
DefinitionGenerally repentance means:
the feeling or expression of regret for having done something wrong with a firm decision to be a better person in the future
Word Statistics
Book31 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
subtle
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a subtle difference or thinker
Many a subtle reason forth they laid;
subtle = dependent upon fine distinctions (or possibly cunning)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
not obvious, but understandable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps depending upon fine distinctions)

or:

capable of understanding things that require sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps understanding fine distinctions)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2.5
Web Links
vengeance
34 uses
1  —34 uses as in:
vengeance is mine
Meliboeus answers, that he should do vengeance on his enemies, who had done him wrong.
vengeance = take revenge
DefinitionGenerally this sense of vengeance means:
the act of taking revenge

(Revenge means to harm someone to get them back for something harmful that they have done.)
Word Statistics
Book34 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
wrought   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —1 use as in:
wrought iron
with silver wrought full clean and well
wrought = worked
DefinitionGenerally this sense of wrought means:
worked — as when iron is shaped to fit by bending or beating
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.0
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
the damage she has wrought
Together met and wrought each other woe:
wrought = brought (caused to happen)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of wrought means:
caused to happen or occurred as a consequence
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
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