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The Catcher in the Rye
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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alternative
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
an alternative plan
[referring to the exam paper]  Bring it here, please. It was a very dirty trick, but I went over and brought it over to him—I didn't have any alternative or anything.
alternative = other possibility
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
She's waiting in the annex.
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
atheist
3 uses
my parents are different religions, and all the children in our family are atheists.
atheists = someone who does not believe in the existence of god
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
bourgeois
5 uses
...my suitcases, for instance. He kept saying they were too new and bourgeois.
bourgeois = represented middle class values
DefinitionGenerally bourgeois means:
typical of the middle class or their values and habits — typically used to show disapproval

or:

in Marxist theory: the property-owning class
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
conceit
10 uses
...the reason she thought he was conceited was because he happened to mention to her that he was captain of the debating team.
conceited = too proud
DefinitionGenerally this sense of conceit means:
feelings of excessive pride
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
digress
8 uses
The trouble with me is, I like it when somebody digresses. It's more interesting and all.
digresses = wanders off topic while talking
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
disciple
7 uses
He said that because Jesus picked the Disciples, you were supposed to like them.
disciples = the 12 men Jesus chose to spread his teachings
DefinitionGenerally disciple means:
someone who believes and helps to spread the teachings of another
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
falsetto
1 use
He started laughing in this very high falsetto voice.
falsetto = a male singing voice with artificially high tones (in an upper register)
DefinitionGenerally falsetto means:
a male voice that is artificially high — usually while singing
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
incognito
3 uses
I'm traveling incognito,
incognito = with identity hidden
DefinitionGenerally incognito means:
with identity hidden — such as via a disguise or false name
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
infirmary
2 uses
Old Mr. Antolini felt his pulse and all, and then he took off his coat and put it over James Castle and carried him all the way over to the infirmary.
infirmary = a small facility where patients receive treatment
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
matinée
4 uses
I'd made that date to go to a matinee with old Sally Hayes, and I needed to keep some dough for the tickets and stuff.
matinee = daytime performance
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
He started talking in this very monotonous voice,
monotonous = boring
DefinitionGenerally monotonous means:
lacking in variety — typically boring
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
nominate
2 uses
Mrs. Morrow'll keep thinking of him now as this very shy, modest guy that wouldn't let us nominate him for president.
nominate = propose that someone be a candidate
DefinitionGenerally nominate means:
propose that someone be offered a position, be a candidate, or receive an honor
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
nonchalant
2 uses
I just got very cool and 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
ostracize
2 uses
The whole team ostracized me the whole way back on the train.
ostracized = excluded
DefinitionGenerally ostracize means:
exclude someone from a community or group
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 22
Web Links
pneumonia
6 uses
I thought probably I'd get pneumonia and die.
pneumonia = fluid in the lungs
DefinitionGenerally pneumonia means:
respiratory disease characterized by inflammation and accumulation of fluid in the lungs; caused by infectious agents (e.g., viruses or bacteria) or by inhalation of certain irritants
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
putrid
2 uses
The band was putrid.
putrid = rotten or disgusting
DefinitionGenerally putrid means:
rotting (an advanced state of decomposition) with a foul odor; or anything that is disgusting
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
qualms
2 uses
Do you have any particular qualms about leaving Pencey?
qualms = uneasiness
DefinitionGenerally qualms means:
uneasiness — especially about whether it is right to do something
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
Romeo and Juliet
7 uses
To tell you the truth, it was sort of embarrassing, in a way, to be talking about Romeo and Juliet with her.
Romeo and Juliet = Shakespeare's best known work
DefinitionGenerally Romeo and Juliet means:
Shakespeare's best known work; a tragedy of forbidden love (c. 1596)
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
spontaneous
1 use
It's this course where each boy in class has to get up in class and make a speech. You know. spontaneous and all.
spontaneous = without planning
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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