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The Fountainhead
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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abstract
6 uses
1  —6 uses as in:
abstract thought
Peter Keating had never felt the need to formulate abstract convictions.
abstract = a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abstract means:
of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance

or more rarely:

describing someone as distracted — thinking about something outside of the immediate conversation or circumstances
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 500
1st useChapter 1.8
Web Links
aesthetic
15 uses
I am not in the habit of asking for the esthetic opinions of my draftsmen.
esthetic = opinions of what is beautiful
DefinitionGenerally aesthetic means:
related to beauty or good taste — often referring to one's appreciation of beauty or one's sense of what is beautiful

or:

beautiful or tasteful
Word Statistics
Book15 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 2000
1st useChapter 4.7
Web Links
altruism
32 uses
Suppose I had never wished to take any money at all, but had set out in pure altruism to serve the people.
altruism = unselfish concern for others
DefinitionGenerally altruism means:
unselfish concern for the welfare of others
Word Statistics
Book32 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.15
Web Links
ascetic
3 uses
Then she did not want him to stop or glance at her, because she wanted to watch the ascetic purity of his person, the absence of all sensuality; to watch that—and to think of what she remembered.
ascetic = characteristic of someone who practices self-denial
DefinitionGenerally ascetic means:
someone who practices self-denial (often to encourage spiritual growth); or relating to such self-denial

or:

severely plain (without decoration)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.2
Web Links
contract   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —1 use as in:
legal contract
...he signed the contract...
contract = legal agreement
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contract means:
an agreement - typically written and enforceable by law
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
1st useChapter 1.11
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
the metal contracted
It had merely become distasteful; not enough to force a decision; not enough to make him clench his fists; just enough to contract his nostrils.
contract = make smaller (in this case tightening the nostril muscles)

(editor's note: This is a less common sense of contract; though not uncommon generally and very common in engineering or physiology.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contract means:
when something gets shorter or smaller
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
1st useChapter 1.8
Web Links
contrast   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 11 uses
1  —8 uses as in:
there is a contrast
Keating thought with relief that there was nothing frightening about her; there was only a disquieting contrast between her words and the candid innocence of the manner she used to utter them; he did not know which to trust.
contrast = difference
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
a difference — especially a notable difference; or the side-x-side arrangement of things that draws attention to an unmissable difference
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 100
1st useChapter 1.9
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
it is a contrast
But he felt a tremendous respect for Ellsworth Toohey, because Toohey represented the exact opposite of his own life; Toohey had no concern whatever for worldly wealth; by the mere fact of this contrast, he considered Toohey the personification of virtue; what this estimate implied in regard to his own life never quite occurred to him.
contrast = something noticeably different
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
something noticeably different (compared to something else or to other things)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 100
1st useChapter 2.7
Web Links
?  —1 use
exact meaning not specified
or not quizzed
correspond   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —1 use as in:
corresponding by email
He came to his office every two or three days; he read the copies of correspondence left in his letter basket according to custom; he sat at his desk and drew flowers on a clean pad; then he went home.
correspondence = written letters
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspond means:
communicate by writing letters or email
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.14
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
foreign correspondent of the paper
Lancelot Clokey, the foreign correspondent, reached for his highball glass and finished it off.
correspondent = reporter
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspondent means:
a reporter — typically from a foreign country or with a particular expertise
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3.6
Web Links
denounce
12 uses
I picked the one architect you spent all your time denouncing when you were on the Banner.
denouncing = strongly criticizing
DefinitionGenerally denounce means:
to strongly criticize or accuse publicly

or more rarely:  to inform against someone (turn someone into the authorities)
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.12
Web Links
fastidious
12 uses
He looked like a drawing from a men's magazine, fastidiously groomed, a white handkerchief in the breast pocket of his dark suit.
fastidiously = with careful attention to detail
DefinitionGenerally fastidious means:
giving careful attention to detail

or:

excessively concerned with cleanliness or matters of taste
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4.7
Web Links
incredulous
16 uses
She stared at him incredulously.
incredulously = in disbelief
DefinitionGenerally incredulous means:
unbelieving; or having difficulty accepting something so unexpected
Word Statistics
Book16 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
insolent
26 uses
You'd better not be insolent. I can have you fired at a moment's notice, you know.
insolent = rudely disrespectful
Word Statistics
Book26 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.14
Web Links
integrity
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a person of high integrity
he took it as an insult to his journalistic integrity
integrity = honesty and other moral principles
DefinitionGenerally this sense of integrity means:
having strong moral principles — especially honesty
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
1st useChapter 3.1
Web Links
philanthropy
5 uses
EARLY IN May, Peter Keating departed for Washington, to supervise the construction of a museum donated to the city by a great philanthropist easing his conscience.
philanthropist = someone who helps others — especially by donating money to worthy causes
DefinitionGenerally philanthropy means:
helping others — especially donating money to worthy causes; or an organization that does so
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.8
Web Links
reproach
22 uses
"I don't want you to make excuses for me." He said it simply, without reproach.
reproach = criticism
DefinitionGenerally reproach means:
a criticism; or to express criticism
Word Statistics
Book22 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.9
Web Links
resignation   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
submitted her resignation
He hoped she would resign. He could not face the thought of having to fire her.
resign = quit (from her job)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resignation means:
to quit — especially a job or position; or a document expressing such an act
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
1st useChapter 2.13
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
accepted it with resignation
Then he stood straight, but with a kind of quiet resignation,
resignation = look of having accepted the need to endure (suffer through) something undesired
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resignation means:
acceptance of something undesired as unavoidable or the lesser of evils
Word Statistics
Book1 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SATtop 1000
1st useChapter 4.3
Web Links
servile
2 uses
I find myself liking only those who are servile.
servile = submissive and eager to serve and please
DefinitionGenerally servile means:
submissive — typically excessively so (so submissive or eager to serve and please that one seems to have no self-respect)

or:

relating to the work that requires obeying demeaning commands

or:

slave-like or relating to slaves
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4.18
Web Links
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