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Bartleby, the Scrivener: a Story of Wall Street

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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abridge
1 use
I took upon me, one Saturday noon (he was always worse on Saturdays), to hint to him, very kindly, that perhaps now that he was growing old, it might be well to abridge his labors;
abridge = shorten or reduce
DefinitionGenerally abridge means:
reduce in scope while retaining essential elements — especially to a book
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
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alacrity
1 use
Not the least among the employments of Ginger Nut, as well as one which he discharged with the most alacrity, was his duty as cake and apple purveyor for Turkey and Nippers.
alacrity = quickness; and/or cheerful eagerness
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
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austere
1 use
...an austere reserve about him, which had positively awed me into my tame compliance with his eccentricities,
austere = stern in manner
DefinitionGenerally austere means:
a notable absence of luxury, comfort, or decoration

or:

of a person:  stern in manner; or practicing great self-denial
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
benevolent
1 use
At any rate, upon the occasion in question, I strove to drown my exasperated feelings towards the scrivener by benevolently construing his conduct.
benevolently = with kindness or a generous spirit
DefinitionGenerally benevolent means:
kind, generous, or charitable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
countenance
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a pleasant countenance
...after waiting a considerable time for a reply, during which his countenance remained immovable, only there was the faintest conceivable tremor of the white attenuated mouth.
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
Web Links
deference
3 uses
As Nippers, looking very sour and sulky, was departing, Turkey blandly and deferentially approached.
deferentially = with polite respect
DefinitionGenerally deference means:
polite respect — often when submitting to another's wishes
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
disdain
1 use
Not only did there seem to lurk in it a certain calm disdain, but his...
disdain = 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
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
dubious
1 use
But upon second thoughts the success of the plan seemed rather dubious.
dubious = doubtful (full of uncertainty)
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
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
eccentric
7 uses
I then assured the functionary that Bartleby was a perfectly honest man, and greatly to be compassionated, however unaccountably eccentric.
eccentric = unconventional or strange
DefinitionGenerally eccentric means:
unconventional or strange; or a person with such traits
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
florid
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
florid color
In the morning, one might say, his face was of a fine florid hue,
florid = a reddish color
DefinitionGenerally this sense of florid means:
a reddish color — (especially about someone's complexion or in various medical contexts)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
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gesticulate
1 use
...he oratorically assured me—gesticulating with a long ruler at the other end of the room—that if his services in the morning were useful, how indispensable, then, in the afternoon?
gesticulating = making gestures (hand or body movements) while speaking or to express something
DefinitionGenerally gesticulate means:
to make gestures (hand or body movements) while speaking or to express something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
indulgent
4 uses
If I turn him away, the chances are he will fall in with some less indulgent employer, and then he will be rudely treated, and perhaps driven forth miserably to starve.
indulgent = having a tendency to treat with extra kindness or tolerance
DefinitionGenerally indulgent means:
to treat with extra kindness or tolerance
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
melancholy
5 uses
For the first time in my life a feeling of overpowering stinging melancholy seized me.
melancholy = sadness or depression
DefinitionGenerally melancholy means:
a sad feeling or manner — sometimes thoughtfully sad
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
perplex
4 uses
I pondered a moment in sore perplexity.
perplexity = confusion due to complexity
DefinitionGenerally perplex means:
to confuse
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
premise
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
located on the premises
He refuses to do any copying; he refuses to do any thing; he says he prefers not to; and he refuses to quit the premises.
premises = property

(editor's note:  In this context, quit is a synonym for leave.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of premises means:
land and/or buildings — especially of a business or organization
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
profound
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
profound sadness
I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best.
profound = of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
prudent
5 uses
I was now in such a state of nervous resentment that I thought it but prudent to check myself at present from further demonstrations.
prudent = sensible and careful
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
resolve   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 8 uses
1  —7 uses as in:
I resolved to stop drinking.
I resolved to argue the matter over with him again.
resolved = decided
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolve means:
to decide — typically a firm or formal decision
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
Her resolve weakened.
Mortified as I was at his behavior, and resolved as I had been to dismiss him when I entered my offices, nevertheless I strangely felt something superstitious knocking at my heart, and forbidding me to carry out my purpose, and denouncing me for a villain if I dared to breathe one bitter word against this forlornest of mankind.
resolved = determined (having had firm purpose)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolve means:
firmness of purpose (strong determination to do something)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
tranquil
7 uses
...it being morning, Turkey's answer is couched in polite and tranquil terms, but Nippers replies in ill-tempered ones.
tranquil = calm and undisturbed
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
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