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The Catcher in the Rye
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Typical Sample Sentences

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acquaint
1 use
You should acquaint yourself with the new computer program.
acquaint = cause to know better
DefinitionGenerally acquaint means:
to cause to know; or to cause to be familiar with
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
aggravate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she aggravates me
She is the most aggravating person I know.
aggravating = annoying or irritating
DefinitionGenerally this sense of aggravate means:
annoy or irritate
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
alternative
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
an alternative plan
Let's think of at least three alternatives before we decide what to do.
alternatives = possibilities
DefinitionGenerally this sense of alternative means:
something available as another possibility
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
annex
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
annex of the main building
The YMCA added an annex where younger children can play.
annex = an addition that extends a main building
DefinitionGenerally this sense of annex means:
an addition that extends a main building

or:

to attach something — especially to something larger or more important
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
bourgeois
5 uses
Our lifestyle upsets their bourgeois sensibilities.
bourgeois = typical middle class
DefinitionGenerally bourgeois means:
typical of the middle class or their values and habits - typically used disapprovingly

or (in Marxist theory):

typical of the property-owning class
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
conscientious
1 use
She is conscientious in the lab.
conscientious = careful and thorough
DefinitionGenerally conscientious means:
careful to do what is right—especially to perform duties in a thorough manner (as when guided by conscience)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
digress
8 uses
She always digresses when telling a story.
digresses = wanders from a direct course
DefinitionGenerally digress means:
wander from a direct or straight course — especially verbally
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
harrowing
1 use
It was a harrowing journey through war-torn Afghanistan.
harrowing = frightening
DefinitionGenerally this sense of harrowing means:
frightening or unsettling
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
immaterial
1 use
For political reasons, most senators had to vote for the bill. The fine print was immaterial to the final vote.
immaterial = not important, or not relevant
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
infirmary
2 uses
She felt ill and went to the infirmary.
infirmary = small facility where patients receive treatment
DefinitionGenerally infirmary means:
a small facility where patients receive treatment — such as a room or two at a school as contrasted to a busy hospital or medical clinic
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
innumerable
1 use
She has been the target of innumerable investigations.
innumerable = too numerous to be counted
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
matinée
4 uses
We can still make the half-price matinée.
matinée = daytime performance (of something like a movie or play)
DefinitionGenerally matinée means:
a daytime performance (of something like a movie or play)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
monotonous
2 uses
The cafeteria food is good, but it gets monotonous after a while.
monotonous = lacking in variety — typically boring
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
nonchalant
2 uses
I could tell she was nervous, but she was trying to look nonchalant.
nonchalant = calm and unconcerned
DefinitionGenerally nonchalant means:
calm in manner — appearing unconcerned
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
repulsive
1 use
The tribe elders find American culture as shown in Hollywood films to be immoral and repulsive.
repulsive = very unpleasant or causing disgust
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 22
Web Links
sacrilege
1 use
They consider it sacrilege to depict Muhammad in a drawing.
sacrilege = disrespect of something others consider important or sacred
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
scrupulous
1 use
You can count on her. She is scrupulous in her work.
scrupulous = careful to behave ethically and/or diligently
DefinitionGenerally scrupulous means:
careful to behave ethically and/or diligently (with great care and attention to detail)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
sheer
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
sheer fun
She got the job through sheer persistence.
sheer = pure (completely by)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of sheer means:
complete or pure — without restriction,  qualification, or other elements (used for emphasis)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
sober
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
Talk to me when your sober.
She was still sober enough to know the situation was dangerous.
sober = not under the influence of alcohol
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
spontaneous
1 use
The group broke into spontaneous laughter.
spontaneous = happening or arising without plan
DefinitionGenerally spontaneous means:
happening or arising without plan (naturally)

or:

behaving in an instinctive, uninhibited manner (unplanned)

or:

happening without apparent external cause
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
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