The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence
The Age of Innocence 1
Into the narrow social world of New York in the 1870s comes Countess Ellen Olenska, surrounded by shocked whispers about her failed marriage to a rich Polish Count. A woman who leaves her husband can never be accepted in polite society.

Newland Archer is engaged to young May Welland, but the beautiful and mysterious Countess needs his help. He becomes her friend and defender, but friendship with an unhappy, lonely woman is a dangerous path for a young man to follow – especially a young man who is soon to be married.


  1. admire to have a very good opinion of someone or something; admiration (n)
  2. affair (in this story) a sexual relationship outside marriage
  3. announce to tell people something officially; announcement (n)
  4. atmosphere the feeling or mood that a person has in a particular place or situation
  5. ball a formal party for dancing
  6. bear (v) to suffer pain or unhappiness; bearable (adj)
  7. best man a male friend or relative of the bridegroom who assists him at his wedding
  8. blush (v) to become red in the face, especially when embarrassed
  9. box a small seating area in a theatre separated off from where other people sit
  10. bridegroom a man on his wedding day
  11. bridesmaid a young woman or girl who helps a bride before and during the wedding ceremony
  12. brilliant very bright; clever; successful
  13. brilliantly brightly; extremely
  14. bunch (of flowers) a number of flowers fastened together
  15. carriage a vehicle, pulled by horses, for carrying people
  16. court-case a criminal or legal matter which involves a trial
  17. Count a title for a man of noble family
  18. Countess a title for the wife of a Count
  19. daughter-in-law your son’s wife; son-in-law your daughter’s husband
  20. debt money that is owed to someone; a feeling of owing something to someone
  21. despair (n) a feeling of hopelessness
  22. disapprove to think that someone or something is bad or wrong
  23. dishonour a loss of honour or respect because someone has done something bad or unacceptable
  24. Duke a title for a man of the highest social position
  25. embarrass to put people in a difficult situation, to make people feel uncomfortable
  26. exotic seeming exciting or unusual because it is connected with foreign countries
  27. familiar (with) knowing something very well
  28. fiancée the woman whom a man is going to marry
  29. financial connected with money and finance
  30. firm (n) a company or business
  31. fur the skin of an animal with the hair still on it
  32. gentleman a man of good family who always behaves well
  33. give up to allow someone else to have someone or something
  34. good taste (in this story) the ability to behave in a way that society considers correct
  35. heaven a place or situation in which people are very happy
  36. honeymoon a holiday for a man and woman who have just got married
  37. honour the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right
  38. mistress a woman who is having a sexual relationship with a man she is not married to
  39. Monsieur the French word for ‘Mr’ or ‘sir’
  40. mourn to feel and show sadness because someone has died
  41. noble being courageous and honest, thinking about other people; nobility (n)
  42. old-fashioned not modern, no longer fashionable
  43. opera a dramatic work in which most of the words are sung to music
  44. pure morally good; purity (n)
  45. respect (v) to admire or have a high opinion of someone because of their good qualities
  46. ribbons thin pieces of material worn on a woman’s dress or hair
  47. right (n) a thing that people are allowed to do or have
  48. rule (n) a fixed instruction that must be obeyed
  49. scandal behaviour or events that people think are shocking or wicked; talk or reports about someone’s shocking behaviour
  50. scene a part of a play in which the action happens in one place
  51. shutters metal or wooden covers for windows, to keep out the heat and light
  52. sleeve the part of a shirt, coat, etc. that covers the arm
  53. stroke (n) a sudden serious illness when a blood vessel in the brain bursts
  54. telegram a short urgent message sent by electric current along wires, and then printed and delivered
  55. tempt to attract someone, or to make someone want to do something
  56. temptation the desire to do something that you know is wrong
  57. trust (v) to have confidence in someone
  58. victory winning or achieving something
  59. virgin a person who has never had sex
  60. vulgar low, common, coarse, lacking in manners
  61. wicked evil, of bad character
  62. worthwhile important, valuable, useful


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