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The Purloined Letter

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
accord
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
according to, or in accord with
...I fashion the expression of my face, as accurately as possible, in accordance with the expression of his,
accordance = keeping with; or agreement with
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
in keeping with; or in agreement/harmony/unity with
This sense of accord is often seen in the form according to or accordingly where it can take on more specific meanings. For example:
  • "According to Kim, ..." — as stated by
  • "To each according to her ability." — based upon
  • "Points are scored according to how well they perform." — depending upon
  • "The dose is calculated according to body weight." — in proportion to
  • "We got a flat tire. Accordingly, I pulled to the side of the road." — because of what was just said; or as a result
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library53 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
allude
2 uses
The boy to whom I allude won all the marbles of the school.
allude = indirectly reference
DefinitionGenerally allude means:
to make an indirect reference
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
Web Links
clandestine
1 use
I never yet encountered the mere mathematician ... who did not clandestinely hold it as a point of his faith that...
clandestinely = secretly
DefinitionGenerally clandestine means:
secret; or conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
contempt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
feels contempt towards her
It was thrust carelessly, and even, as it seemed, contemptuously, into one of the uppermost divisions of the rack.
contemptuously = with disrespect
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
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
contemptible
1 use
...there was nearly half as much of the entertaining as of the contemptible about the man,
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
Web Links
corroborate
1 use
...were strongly corroborative of suspicion,
corroborative = supporting (of an opinion or theory)

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ive" converts a word into an adjective; though over time, what was originally an adjective often comes to be used as a noun. The adjective pattern means tending to and is seen in words like attractive, impressive, and supportive. Examples of the noun include narrative, alternative, and detective.)
DefinitionGenerally corroborate means:
to support an opinion — typically with additional evidence or testimony
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
embellish
1 use
"The material world," continued Dupin, "abounds with very strict analogies to the immaterial; and thus some color of truth has been given to the rhetorical dogma, that metaphor, or simile, may be made to strengthen an argument, as well as to embellish a description."
embellish = make something more attractive or interesting by adding to it
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
expedient
1 use
...to conceal this letter, the Minister had resorted to the comprehensive and sagacious expedient of not attempting to conceal it at all.
expedient = an action that is speedy or practical

(editor's note:  Sagacious is a synonym for wise.)
DefinitionGenerally expedient means:
a practical action — especially one that accepts negative tradeoffs due to circumstances

or:

convenient, speedy, or practical
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
incredulous
1 use
For some minutes he remained speechless and motionless, looking incredulously at my friend with open mouth, and...
incredulously = with disbelief; or with difficulty accepting something so unexpected
DefinitionGenerally incredulous means:
unbelieving; or having difficulty accepting something so unexpected
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
infer
4 uses
"It is clearly inferred," replied the Prefect,
inferred = concluded by reasoning
DefinitionGenerally infer means:
to figure out or guess by reasoning
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
Web Links
ingenious
3 uses
The method of the theft was not less ingenious than bold.
ingenious = showing cleverness and originality
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
ingenuity
4 uses
...I reflected upon the daring, dashing, and discriminating ingenuity of D—
ingenuity = ability to solve problems in smart creative ways
DefinitionGenerally ingenuity means:
the ability to solve problems in smart creative ways
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
Monsieur
1 use
I looked upon it, therefore, as something of a coincidence, when the door of our apartment was thrown open and admitted our old acquaintance, Monsieur G—, the Prefect of the Parisian police.
Monsieur = Mr. (in French)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of Monsieur means:
French equivalent to the English Mr.

or:

French equivalent to saying sir in English (a polite way to address a male)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
premise
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
located on the premises
"Then," I said, "you have been making a miscalculation, and the letter is not upon the premises, as you suppose."
premises = place (land and buildings together)
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
presumption
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
presumption of innocence
D—, I presume, is not altogether a fool, and, if not, must have anticipated...
presume = assume
DefinitionGenerally this sense of presumption means:
to think of something as true or likely, even though it is not known with certainty
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
probe
5 uses
The cushions we probed with the fine long needles you have seen me employ.
probed = investigated (in this case by sticking the needles into the cushion)
DefinitionGenerally probe means:
to investigate; or an investigation

or:

any of various instrument used for investigation
instruments such as:
  • an instrument to measure electronic voltage
  • a surgical tool used for examination
  • an unmanned spacecraft used for exploration
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
prodigious
1 use
...the reward offered is prodigious!
prodigious = enormous; or far beyond what is usual in magnitude or degree
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
profound
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
profound sadness
"Ha! ha! ha—ha! ha! ha!—ho! ho! ho!"  roared our visiter, profoundly amused, "oh, Dupin, you will be the death of me yet!"
profoundly = with greatest intensity or emotional depth
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
scrutiny
5 uses
...then we scrutinized each individual square inch throughout the premises,
scrutinized = looked at very carefully

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ive" converts a word to a verb. This is the same pattern you see in words like apologize, theorize, and dramatize.)
DefinitionGenerally scrutiny means:
careful examination of something
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
supposition
1 use
This functionary, however, has been thoroughly mystified; and the remote source of his defeat lies in the supposition that the Minister is a fool, because he has acquired renown as a poet.
supposition = something supposed (rather than something known to be so)
DefinitionGenerally supposition means:
something supposed (rather than something known to be so) — especially when others doubt that reality
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
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