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To Kill a Mockingbird
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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acquit
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
she was acquitted
"You think they'll acquit him that fast?" asked Jem.
acquit = officially declare "not guilty"
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acquit means:
officially find "not guilty" of criminal charges
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 23, p.294.18
Web Links
assume   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 9 uses
1  —8 uses as in:
I assume it's true
When Halloween came, I assumed that the whole family would be present to watch me perform, but I was disappointed.
assumed = accepted as true (without proof)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assume means:
to accept something as true without proof
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library18 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 18, p.243.30
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
She assumed a false identity
Mrs. Merriweather was one of those childless adults who find it necessary to assume a different tone of voice when speaking to children.
assume = take on or adopt
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assume means:
to take on (adopt, wear, strike a pose or appearance of) — often while pretending or disguising
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library18 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 24, p.310.47
Web Links
compensate
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
she compensates with extra effort
The fact that I had a permanent fiancé was little compensation for his absence:
compensation = something that makes up for something else
DefinitionGenerally this sense of compensate means:
make up for; or adjust for
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 9, p.103.16
Web Links
congregation
9 uses
One by one, the congregation came forward and dropped nickels and dimes into a black enameled coffee can.
congregation = people who worship together in the same building
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12, p.159.78
Web Links
contrast   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
contrast their writing styles
...he had thought that up to make me understand he wasn't afraid of Radleys in any shape or form, to contrast his own fearless heroism with my cowardice.
contrast = point to the difference between
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
point to differences between; or compare to show differences
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 4, p.51.46
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
there is a contrast
As Atticus's fists went to his hips, so did Jem's, and as they faced each other I could see little resemblance between them: Jem's soft brown hair and eyes, his oval face and snug-fitting ears were our mother's, contrasting oddly with Atticus's graying black hair and square-cut features, but they were somehow alike.
contrasting = drawing attention to an unmissable difference when seen side-by-side
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
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 15, p.203.80
Web Links
correspond
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
corresponding time period
He drew in his breath suddenly. Glancing below, I saw no corresponding reaction, and wondered if Jem was trying to be dramatic.
corresponding = fitting (appropriate for the circumstances)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspond means:
connect or fit together by being equivalent, proportionate, or matched

(Two things are equivalent if they have the same or very similar value, purpose, or result.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 17, p.224.62
Web Links
cross-examination
6 uses
Never, never, never, on cross-examination ask a witness a question you don't already know the answer to, was a tenet I absorbed with my baby-food.
cross-examination = re-questioning a witness who has already been questionied by the other side in court
DefinitionGenerally cross-examination means:
the re-questioning of a witness who has already been questioned by the other side in court
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6, p.68.75
Web Links
defendant
15 uses
The defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is.
defendant = a person legally accused in court
DefinitionGenerally defendant means:
a person or institution legally accused or sued in court
Word Statistics
Book15 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15, p.193.6
Web Links
direct
4 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
directed her question to
Reverend Sykes then called on the Lord to bless the sick and the suffering, a procedure no different from our church practice, except Reverend Sykes directed the Deity's attention to several specific cases.
directed = pointed
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
to indicate direction; or to cause movement or focus in a direction or towards an object
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "intentionally directed fire at unarmed civilians" — aimed a gun
  • "directed the question to her" — aimed a question
  • "directed her north" — pointed in a particular direction
  • "directed attention to the 3rd paragraph" — focused attention on a particular object
  • "The sound of her voice directed him to the kitchen." — guided or gave directions to someone to help them move to a particular place
  • "She directed him to the airport." — gave directions to send someone to a particular place
  • "She directed the boat north." — steered it
  • "directed the letter to" — send a letter to a particular person by putting a name and address on it
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library31 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 12, p.161.96
Web Links
unquizzed meaning  —2 uses
evaluate
1 use
I sometimes think Atticus subjected every crisis of his life to tranquil evaluation behind The Mobile Register, The Birmingham News and The Montgomery Advertiser.
evaluation = careful thought and judgment
DefinitionGenerally evaluate means:
to think carefully and make a judgment about something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 15, p.195.98
Web Links
Hitler
16 uses
But it's okay to hate Hitler?
Hitler = German Nazi dictator during World War II who murdered millions of Jews and others
DefinitionGenerally this sense of Hitler means:
German Nazi dictator during World War II; murdered millions of Jews and others who were not of the Aryan race (1889-1945)
Word Statistics
Book16 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 26, p.327.79
Web Links
immaterial
3 uses
"Can't see what witness's literacy has to do with the case, irrelevant'n'immaterial."
immaterial = not important
DefinitionGenerally this sense of immaterial means:
not important, or not relevant
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 17, p.236.48
Web Links
impair
2 uses
His speech was miraculously unimpaired by his cigar.
unimpaired = not made worse

(editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in unimpaired means not and reverses the meaning of impaired. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
DefinitionGenerally impair means:
make worse or less effective
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 19, p.261.75
Web Links
narrator
1 use
Our only duties, as far as I could gather from our two rehearsals, were to enter from stage left as Mrs. Merriweather (not only the author, but the narrator) identified us.
narrator = a character in a story who talks directly to the audience
DefinitionGenerally narrator means:
someone who tells a story—especially the main voice in a documentary, or a character who talks directly to the audience in a movie, play or other performance
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 27, p.338.95
Web Links
obscure   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
the view or directions are obscure
  "I'll just call up the principal and tell him!"  She put her hands on the wheels of her chair and executed a perfect right face.
  "Aw, it's Saturday, Mrs. Dubose," said Jem.
  "Makes no difference if it's Saturday," she said obscurely.
obscurely = In a manner that is not easily understood (in this case because it doesn't seem to make sense)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
not clearly seen, understood, or expressed
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 11, p.134.93
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
knows the famous and the obscure
Mr. Ewell was a veteran of an obscure war;
obscure = not known to many people
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
not known to many people; or unimportant or undistinguished
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 23, p.291.52
Web Links
reflect   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 6 uses
1  —1 use as in:
reflect American Values
Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty. When Jem and I asked him why he was so old, he said he got started late, which we felt reflected upon his abilities and manliness.
reflected = showed or demonstrated
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflect means:
to show something — such as to demonstrate, express, or represent
The exact meaning of this sense of reflect depends upon its context. For example:
  • "She says the immorality in the movie reflects American values." — expresses or represents
  • "It reflects the selfishness she had seen growing for years." — demonstrates
  • "She did not reflect the panic that surrounded her." — demonstrate or show indication of
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 10, p.118.12
Web Links
2  —4 uses as in:
I want to reflect on it.
I was wearing my pink Sunday dress, shoes, and a petticoat, and reflected that if I spilled anything Calpurnia would have to wash my dress again for tomorrow.
reflected = thought
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reflect means:
think carefully — possibly aloud or in writing
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 9, p.113.2
Web Links
unquizzed meaning  —1 use
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