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The Call of the Wild

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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accommodate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
moved to accommodate her
He was fit, that was all, and unconsciously he accommodated himself to the new mode of life.
accommodated = adjusted to fit
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accommodate means:
adjust something to provide for a need; or help
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
belligerent
1 use
But no matter how Spitz circled, Joe whirled around on his heels to face him ... —the incarnation of belligerent fear.
belligerent = ready to fight
DefinitionGenerally belligerent means:
hostile (the attitude of one eager to fight); or one already engaged in a fight or war
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
compel
6 uses
Deep in the forest a call was sounding, and as often as he heard this call, mysteriously thrilling and luring, he felt compelled to turn his back upon the fire ... and to plunge into the forest
compelled = forced
DefinitionGenerally compel means:
to force someone to do something

or more rarely:

to convince someone to do something
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
cunning
1 use
His newborn cunning gave him poise and control.
cunning = cleverness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of cunning means:
being good at achieving goals through cleverness — and typically through deception as well (tricking others)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
deliberate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a deliberate thinker
"Well," Matthewson said, slowly and deliberately, so that all could hear, "I've got a thousand dollars that says he can't..."
deliberately = done with great care
DefinitionGenerally this sense of deliberate means:
done with great care — often slowly
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
direct   (4 meanings)
4 meanings, 5 uses
1  —1 use as in:
depart directly
Directly his back was turned they were at it again.†
directly = as soon as
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
without delay, or in the quickest manner, or without going somewhere else first
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
This dog was thrashing about in a death-struggle, directly on the trail, and Buck passed around him without stopping.†
directly = exactly
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straight (exactly where stated); or without involvement of anything in between
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "The road runs directly to Las Vegas." — straight (without varying from a straight line)
  • "It was a direct hit." — exact
  • "The plant is in direct sunlight." — unobstructed (without anything in between)
  • "She wants a direct meeting with him." — personal (without other people in between)
  • "She paid direct attention to what he was reading." — close
  • "a direct gaze" — straight, steady, or focused—not a brief glance taken while generally looking at other things; not a sideways look
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library62 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
was direct in my instructions
"I've got a sled standing outside now, with twenty fifty-pound sacks of flour on it," Matthewson went on with brutal directness; "so don't let that hinder you."†
directness = the quality of being straightforward or clear (without adjusting what is said to spare others' feelings)

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means the quality of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straightforward (uncomplicated or simple — perhaps also indicating openness and honesty)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
4  —1 use as in:
directed her question to
...and long-furred; but behind him were the shades of all manner of dogs, half-wolves and wild wolves, urgent and prompting, tasting the savor of the meat he ate, thirsting for the water he drank, scenting the wind with him, listening with him and telling him the sounds made by the wild life in the forest, dictating his moods, directing his actions, lying down to sleep with him when he lay down, and dreaming with him and beyond him and becoming themselves the stuff of his dreams.†
directing = guiding
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
Book1 use
Library36 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
dubious
1 use
The courier shook his head dubiously.
dubiously = doubtfully or suspiciously
DefinitionGenerally dubious means:
doubtful
in various senses, including:
  • doubtful that something should be relied upon — as in "The argument relies on a dubious assumption."
  • doubtful that something is morally proper — as in "The company is accused of using dubious sales practices to influence minors."
  • bad or of questionable value — as in "The state has the dubious distinction of the highest taxes."
  • doubtful or uncertain — as in "She is dubious about making the change."
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
forbearance
2 uses
It was the cherished belief of each that he did more than his share of the work, and neither forbore to speak this belief at every opportunity.
forbore = refrained (held back) from acting
DefinitionGenerally forbearance means:
refraining (holding back) from acting

or:

patience, tolerance, or self-control
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
latent
2 uses
Even so, it was a hard fight, and it aroused the last latent remnants of Buck's ferocity.
latent = potentially existing but not presently evident or active
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
moccasin
4 uses
Also, the dog-driver rubbed Buck's feet for half an hour each night after supper, and sacrificed the tops of his own moccasins to make four moccasins for Buck.
moccasins = soft leather shoes traditionally worn by Native Americans
DefinitionGenerally moccasin means:
a soft leather shoe traditionally worn by Native Americans.
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
pervasive
1 use
At last, one morning, the propeller was quiet, and the Narwhal was pervaded with an atmosphere of excitement.
pervaded = filled
DefinitionGenerally pervasive means:
existing throughout something; or generally widespread
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
primordial
6 uses
Guided by that instinct which came from the old hunting days of the primordial world, Buck proceeded to cut the bull out from the herd.
primordial = having existed from the beginning

or:

an early and essential aspect of something
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
ration
8 uses
It is a saying of the country that an Outside dog starves to death on the ration of the husky
ration = a fixed portion of food given as a share
DefinitionGenerally ration means:
verb:  to restrict the amount of something each person can have — such as food or gasoline when there is a shortage, or when more is wanted than is available

or:

noun:  a fixed portion of something that is given as a person's share — such as goods of which there is a shortage, or food for soldiers in the field
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
rigorous
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a rigorous math class
...the moose appeared in greater abundance, moving slowly down to meet the winter in the lower and less rigorous valleys.
rigorous = difficult and demanding
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
simulate
1 use
At such moments he charged Buck, who retreated craftily, luring him on by a simulated inability to escape.
simulated = pretended (not real)
DefinitionGenerally simulate means:
make an imitation or representation of
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
succession
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
a succession of events
Then the sled lurched ahead in what appeared a rapid succession of jerks, though it never really came to a dead stop again.... half an inch.... an inch.... two inches....
succession = series (one after another)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of succession means:
series or sequence (one after another)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
superfluous
2 uses
He was in perfect condition, without an ounce of superfluous flesh
superfluous = more than is desired
DefinitionGenerally superfluous means:
more than is needed, desired, or required
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
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Sample usage followed by this mark was not checked by an editor. Please let us know if you spot a problem.
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