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The Call of the Wild
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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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
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
conciliatory
2 uses
Also he saw one dog, that would neither conciliate nor obey, finally killed in the struggle for mastery.
conciliate = attempted to end bad feelings or build trust
DefinitionGenerally conciliatory means:
intended to end bad feelings or build trust
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
cunning
13 uses
His newborn cunning gave him poise and control.
cunning = cleverly tricky
DefinitionGenerally cunning means:
being good at achieving goals through cleverness and trickery
Word Statistics
Book13 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
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
Library11 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
Library14 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
Library53 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)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straightforward (uncomplicated or simple — perhaps also indicating openness and honesty)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library12 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
Library31 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
dominate
3 uses
Buck stood and looked on, the successful champion, the dominant primordial beast who had made his kill and found it good.
dominant = most powerful
DefinitionGenerally dominate means:
to control; or to be most influential, powerful, or conspicuous
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
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
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
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
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
formidable
4 uses
This accomplished, the outfit, though cut in half, was still a formidable bulk.
formidable = intimidating or impressive
DefinitionGenerally formidable means:
intimidating or impressive — arousing fear or admiration due to impressiveness or challenge
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
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
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
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
precipitate   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use
adj as in: a precipitate decision
He was not prone to rashness and precipitate action;
precipitate = acting with great haste
DefinitionGenerally this sense of precipitate means:
acting with great haste — often without adequate thought
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
2  —1 use
verb, as in: action will precipitate
it was a greater delight slyly to precipitate a fight amongst his mates
precipitate = make something happen abruptly (suddenly)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
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:
to restrict the amount of something people can have — such as food or gasoline when there is a shortage

or:

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
Library11 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 1000
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
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 7
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
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
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