toggle menu
menu
vocabulary
1000+ books
Book Menu

The Mayor of Casterbridge

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
alacrity
2 uses
The old woman ... responded to Mrs. Henchard-Newson's request for a pennyworth with more alacrity than she had shown in selling six-pennyworths in her younger days.
alacrity = quickness; and/or cheerful eagerness
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
apathy
1 use
When she plodded on in the shade of the hedge, silently thinking, she had the hard, half-apathetic expression of one who deems anything possible at the hands of Time and Chance except, perhaps, fair play.
apathetic = without interest or enthusiasm
DefinitionGenerally apathy means:
lack of interest and enthusiasm
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
bequeath
1 use
My good Aunt Templeman, the banker's widow, whose very existence you used to doubt, much more her affluence, has lately died, and bequeathed some of her property to me.
bequeathed = left upon death
DefinitionGenerally bequeath means:
give or pass down — often upon death in a will
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 22
Web Links
capricious
2 uses
The harvest had been so delayed by the capricious weather that...
capricious = unpredictable
DefinitionGenerally capricious means:
impulsive or unpredictable or tending to make sudden changes — especially impulsive behavior
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 27
Web Links
conjecture
9 uses
The door was ajar; Farfrae knocked; and he who stood before them was Whittle, as they had conjectured.
conjectured = guessed (formed an opinion based on inconclusive evidence)
DefinitionGenerally conjecture means:
a conclusion or opinion based on inconclusive evidence; or the act of forming of such a conclusion or opinion
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
contrite
1 use
Henchard, in a state of bitter anxiety and contrition, determined to seek Farfrae himself.
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
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 40
Web Links
countenance   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —1 use as in:
a pleasant countenance
Lucetta's countenance lost its sparkle.
countenance = face
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 30
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
giving countenance
...there was room for wonder why she had countenanced deception at all,
countenanced = approved
DefinitionGenerally this sense of countenance means:
to tolerate, approve, or show favor or support
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
discern
13 uses
In a few moments he could discern a female figure creeping in by the great north gap, or public gateway.
discern = see something that is not obvious
DefinitionGenerally discern means:
to notice or understand something — often something that is not obvious
Word Statistics
Book13 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
disdain
2 uses
He was not only a journeyman, unable to appear as he formerly had appeared, but he disdained to appear as well as he might.
disdained = rejected as not worthy of his effort
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
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 37
Web Links
engender
3 uses
For the sufferings of that night, engendered by his bitter disappointment, he might well have been pitied.
engendered = caused
DefinitionGenerally engender means:
cause — usually a feeling (possibly a situation)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
ephemeral
1 use
Her companion, also in black, appeared as a well-formed young woman about eighteen, completely possessed of that ephemeral precious essence youth, which is itself beauty, irrespective of complexion or contour.
ephemeral = existing only for a short time
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
impetuous
2 uses
She looked from the window and saw Henchard and Farfrae in the hay-yard talking, with that impetuous cordiality on the Mayor's part, and genial modesty on the younger man's,
impetuous = forceful

(editor's note:  Though frequently used in this sense historically, today impetuous is more commonly used as a synonym for impulsive.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of impetuous means:
impulsive (acting suddenly without much thought) — often with an unfortunate consequence
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 23
Web Links
innate
5 uses
This unsophisticated girl did it by an innate perceptiveness that was almost genius.
innate = present at birth; or arising from within rather than having been learned or acquired
DefinitionGenerally innate means:
of a quality:  present at birth; or arising from within rather than having been learned or acquired
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
inquiry
23 uses
At the interview, when she offered him tea, he made it a point to launch a cautious inquiry if she knew Mr. Farfrae.
inquiry = question
DefinitionGenerally inquiry means:
the act of asking a question or performing an investigation
Word Statistics
Book23 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
minute
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
minute size
...the finer movements of her nature found scope in discovering to the narrow-lived ones around her the secret (as she had once learnt it) of making limited opportunities endurable; which she deemed to consist in the cunning enlargement, by a species of microscopic treatment, of those minute forms of satisfaction that offer themselves to everybody not in positive pain; which, thus handled, have much of the same inspiring effect upon life as wider interests cursorily embraced.†
minute = small
DefinitionGenerally this sense of minute means:
small, exceptionally small, or insignificant
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 45
Web Links
resolve
12 uses
1  —12 uses as in:
I resolved to stop drinking.
For the first time he felt a little hurt by what he thought her extravagance, and resolved to say a word to her about it.
resolved = decided
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolve means:
to decide — typically a firm or formal decision
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
reticent
1 use
Reasoning on the cause of their reticence he concluded that ... [they] were afraid to broach the subject,
reticence = reluctance to speak freely
DefinitionGenerally reticent means:
reluctant — especially to speak freely
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 43
Web Links
sagacious
2 uses
The town was small, but the corn and hay-trade was proportionately large, and with his native sagacity he saw opportunity for a share of it.
sagacity = wisdom
DefinitionGenerally sagacious means:
wise — especially through long experience and thoughtfulness
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
scrupulous
5 uses
Newson would have rewarded the old woman as far as her small means afforded had she not discreetly borne in mind that it was by that unscrupulous person's liquor her husband had been degraded.
unscrupulous = unethical

(editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in unscrupulous means not and reverses the meaning of scrupulous. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
DefinitionGenerally scrupulous means:
careful to behave ethically and/or diligently (with great care and attention to detail)
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 33
Web Links
Go to Book Menu
Take Pre-Reading Quiz
† 
Sample usage followed by this mark was not checked by an editor. Please let us know if you spot a problem.
SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board, which is not affiliated with verbalworkout.com™, and does not endorse this site.