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A Rose for Emily

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
acrid
2 uses
One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of irongray hair.†
acrid = harsh or caustic
DefinitionGenerally acrid means:
harsh or caustic — physically as when smoke from burning rubber might irritate the throat; or metaphorically as when someone says something that is especially sarcastic
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
apparent
1 use
The body had apparently once lain in the attitude of an embrace, but now the long sleep that outlasts love, that conquers even the grimace of love, had cuckolded him.†
apparently = obviously or clearly; or seemingly so (appearing clear or obvious—though not necessarily so)
DefinitionGenerally apparent means:
clear or obvious; or appearing as such but not necessarily so
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library66 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
archaic
1 use
A week later the mayor wrote her himself, offering to call or to send his car for her, and received in reply a note on paper of an archaic shape, in a thin, flowing calligraphy in faded ink, to the effect that she no longer went out at all.†
archaic = so extremely old as to seem to belong to an earlier period; or obsolete
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
attain
1 use
During the next few years it grew grayer and grayer until it attained an even pepper-and-salt iron-gray, when it ceased turning.†
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
Web Links
cabal
1 use
By that time it was a cabal, and we were all Miss Emily's allies to help circumvent the cousins.†
cabal = a small group of people who plot in secret and exercise power
DefinitionGenerally cabal means:
a small group of people who plot in secret and exercise power — especially political power

or (more rarely):  a plot by such a group
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
condolence
1 use
The day after his death all the ladies prepared to call at the house and offer condolence and aid, as is our custom Miss Emily met them at the door, dressed as usual and with no trace of grief on her face.†
condolence = expression of sympathy
DefinitionGenerally condolence means:
an expression of sympathy to another who is in sorrow — typically in grief over a death in the family
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
contemporary
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
they are contemporaries
She fitted up a studio in one of the downstairs rooms, where the daughters and granddaughters of Colonel Sartoris' contemporaries were sent to her with the same regularity and in the same spirit that they were sent to church on Sundays with a twenty-five-cent piece for the collection plate.†
contemporaries = people who live or lived at the same time
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contemporary means:
living at the same time

or:

something occurring in the same period of time as something else
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
diffident
1 use
The next day he received two more complaints, one from a man who came in diffident deprecation.†
diffident = hesitant and unassertive
DefinitionGenerally diffident means:
hesitant and unassertive — often due to a lack of self-confidence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
divulge
1 use
He would never divulge what happened during that interview, but he refused to go back again.†
divulge = make known (secret of private information)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
encroach
1 use
But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily's house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps-an eyesore among eyesores.
encroached = gradually taken property once used for other purposes
DefinitionGenerally encroach means:
to gradually take another's rights or property
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
haughty
1 use
She was over thirty then, still a slight woman, though thinner than usual, with cold, haughty black eyes in a face the flesh of which was strained across the temples and about the eyesockets as you imagine a lighthouse-keeper's face ought to look.†
haughty = arrogant
DefinitionGenerally haughty means:
arrogant or condescending (acting superior or self-important)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
impervious
2 uses
It was as if she demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last Grierson; as if it had wanted that touch of earthiness to reaffirm her imperviousness.†
imperviousness = not admitting passage through; or not capable of being affected

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means the quality of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
inextricable
1 use
What was left of him, rotted beneath what was left of the nightshirt, had become inextricable from the bed in which he lay; and upon him and upon the pillow beside him lay that even coating of the patient and biding dust.†
inextricable = impossible to extract, disentangle, or avoid; or hopelessly intricate
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
monogram
1 use
A thin, acrid pall as of the tomb seemed to lie everywhere upon this room decked and furnished as for a bridal: upon the valance curtains of faded rose color, upon the rose-shaded lights, upon the dressing table, upon the delicate array of crystal and the man's toilet things backed with tarnished silver, silver so tarnished that the monogram was obscured.†
monogram = design based on alphabetic letters; or adding such a design to something
DefinitionGenerally monogram means:
a design based on alphabetic letters (usually a person's initials) — often printed on stationery or embroidered (made with sewing stiches) on clothing
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
pallid
1 use
She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water, and of that pallid hue.
pallid = abnormally pale (lacking healthy skin color)
DefinitionGenerally pallid means:
abnormally pale (lacking healthy skin color); or anything that lacks energy or liveliness
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
pauper
1 use
Being left alone, and a pauper, she had become humanized.†
pauper = someone who is very poor
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
pervasive
1 use
The violence of breaking down the door seemed to fill this room with pervading dust.†
pervading = spreading or filling
DefinitionGenerally pervasive means:
existing throughout something; or generally widespread
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
serene
1 use
When we saw her again, her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows—sort of tragic and serene.†
serene = calm and untroubled
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
tranquil
1 use
Thus she passed from generation to generation—dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse.†
tranquil = calm and undisturbed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
vindicate
1 use
So when she got to be thirty and was still single, we were not pleased exactly, but vindicated; even with insanity in the family she wouldn't have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized.†
vindicated = shown to be right or justified
DefinitionGenerally vindicate means:
show to be right or justified
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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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