This is a context from an English translation of "Crime And Punishment" by Dostoevsky

"In the passage the idea had occurred to him to keep on his overcoat and walk away, and so give the two ladies a sharp and emphatic lesson and make them feel the gravity of the position."

Merriam Webster definition for the word "emphatic" : uttered with or marked by emphasis an emphatic refusal

Is this definition applicable in this context? What does an emphatic lesson mean?

  • 3
    If you are reading Crime and Punishment, do yourself a favour and get hold of one of the more recent translations. The public domain translation by Constance Garrnett is good in many ways, it is also date, old fashioned English, and contains a few errors. You can buy a modern translation for not very much money, and it will be more enjoyable, understandable, and better for learning than the Garnett translation.
    – James K
    Dec 3, 2021 at 23:38

1 Answer 1


An emphatic lesson is a lesson that is taught with greater emphasis than other lessons--that the teacher is stressing the importance of that particular lesson. I would assume that passage is playing with the idea of "lessons" in that all of life, each day is filled with many such "lessons" of a sort, but this one was unusually emphasized.

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