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Spot the author: identifying famous authors with just a small list of words

July 23th, 2018 nlp and oscar wilde

In this post, I'm going to post five lists of 50 or so words obtained using natural language processing. These lists are words from select works by famous novelists.

Sometimes the list came from one seminal work, and other times the list was generated from multiple popular works from the mystery authors in question. I was particularly interested in words that the author used in more than one novel.

The challenge is whether you can tell which author is which just from a list of words. If you know who the man to the left is, you will already know Oscar Wilde, and "The Picture of Dorian Gray" are one of the answers. The other authors are Jane Austen, Hunter S. Thompson, and David Foster Wallace.

I would like to point out that, by no means, am I attempting to boil down these masters of their craft into a list of words. In fact I believe it is the exact opposite: the very fact that you can tell which author belongs to the list only shows their ingenuity and mastery of language. So, let's get to the list. To reiterate, the options are Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Hunter S. Thompson, and David Foster Wallace.

Mystery Author One:

  • ablated
  • ablutions
  • abortive
  • academese
  • acromegalic
  • actaeonizing
  • acumen
  • agoraphobia
  • befogged
  • benighted
  • bilirubin
  • blue-jawed
  • bogart
  • byzantine
  • campy
  • carno-spiritual
  • chapeau
  • chuff
  • cirrhotic
  • concupiscence
  • confabulation
  • constabulary
  • decoct
  • derisive
  • denuded
  • extramural
  • fau-teuils
  • fractious
  • fridgelette
  • fuguelike
  • garish
  • gauche
  • goatish
  • idiosyncratic
  • inscrutable
  • inveterate
  • itinerant
  • jest
  • judicious
  • kibitzing
  • laissez-faire
  • languor
  • microcephalic
  • nebulizer
  • oedipal
  • picayune
  • puerile
  • quorum
  • reverie
  • ruddled
  • scopophilia
  • supplicant
  • tantamount
  • tumescence
Show Author

Mystery Author Two:

  • abominable
  • abhorred
  • acquiescence
  • academese
  • affront
  • alacrity
  • ardour
  • barouche
  • beaux
  • benevolence
  • coxcomb
  • conjectural
  • candour
  • caprice
  • commendation
  • complaisance
  • condole
  • countenance
  • decorum
  • dejection
  • diffidence
  • dispirited
  • draught
  • droll
  • dilatory
  • entreat
  • effectual
  • estimable
  • expedient
  • exultation
  • feigned
  • felicity
  • fickle
  • fortnight
  • frivolous
  • gaieties
  • genteel
  • grandeur
  • hauteur
  • hitherto
  • impropriety
  • impetuous
  • indolence
  • irreproachable
  • libertine
  • malice
  • melancholy
  • obstinacy
  • parasol
  • pretensions
  • prudence
  • quarrel
  • rapture
  • wretched
Show Author

Mystery Author Three:

  • angina
  • adrenochrome
  • atavistic
  • benevolent
  • careened
  • croaked
  • degenerate
  • ecclesiastical
  • fiendish
  • formica
  • frantic
  • conjectural
  • garbled
  • gonzo
  • gimp
  • godforsaken
  • hunker
  • jabbering
  • leary
  • loathing
  • mescaline
  • narc
  • ominous
  • scag
  • saigon-mirror
  • swine
  • trifle
  • vagrancy
  • whacked
Show Author

Mystery Author Four:

  • adoration
  • aeon
  • amethyst
  • ascent
  • bequeathed
  • bestial
  • brocade
  • caprice
  • censure
  • capulet
  • chaste
  • coronation
  • damask
  • dainty
  • doublet
  • elaborate
  • ennui
  • extravagant
  • fanciful
  • feigned
  • flitted
  • gaunt
  • grotesque
  • hedonism
  • Imogen
  • insolent
  • jerkin
  • languid
  • listless
  • malady
  • monotonous
  • oblige
  • pallid
  • quarrel
  • ragged
  • sauntered
  • sensuous
  • tasselled
  • tawdry
  • unbecoming
  • vile
  • winced
Show Author

How did you do?

As you can see, these authors all had their own unique word choice. Leave a comment and let me know how you did. The works involved are "Infinite Jest", "Pride and Prejudice", "Sense and Sensibility", "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", and "The Picture of Dorian Gray".

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