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Dune
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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defer
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
deferred to her wishes
And the Fremen defer to him.
defer = submit or yield
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
submit or yield (typically to another person's opinion because of respect for that person or their knowledge)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useBook 1
Web Links
discord
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
discordant music
...laughed with just the right tone of appreciation, but the sound carried a note of discord as it collided with...
discord = unpleasant sounding together
DefinitionGenerally this sense of discord means:
unpleasant sound — especially a combination of sounds that sound wrong together (though sometimes done intentionally in music)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 2
Web Links
disdain
7 uses
"You think now to teach me my trade?" he asked, and he did not try to hide the disdain in his voice.
disdain = lack of respect
DefinitionGenerally disdain means:
a lack of respect — often suggesting distaste and an undeserved sense of superiority

or:

to reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useBook 1
Web Links
elated
10 uses
Paul felt a kind of elation.
elation = excited happiness
DefinitionGenerally elated means:
full of happiness and excitement
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 1
Web Links
fanatic
16 uses
A leader such as that would command fanatic loyalty.
fanatic = extremely enthusiastic
DefinitionGenerally fanatic means:
a person motivated by extreme enthusiasm (as for a cause) — sometimes to a fault

or:

extremely enthusiastic — sometimes to a fault
Word Statistics
Book16 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 2
Web Links
futile
6 uses
They say they need only sit inside their defenses while you wear yourselves out in futile attack.
futile = effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 2
Web Links
jihad
33 uses
Through it all, the wild jihad still loomed ahead of him, the violence and the slaughter.
jihad = a relentless battle for a belief
DefinitionGenerally jihad means:
a holy war waged by Muslims against infidels; or any relentless battle for a belief

or more rarely:  a holy struggle or striving by a Muslim for a moral, spiritual, or political goal
Word Statistics
Book33 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 1
Web Links
obscure   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
it obscured my view
Where the two groups had met at the dune crest, a dust cloud partly obscured violent motion.
obscured = hid or made less visible
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
to block from view or make less visible or understandable
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useBook 2
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
the view or directions are obscure
The Bene Gesserit role is more obscure.
obscure = The Bene Gesserit role is more obscure.
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
not clearly seen, understood, or expressed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useA2 -
Web Links
?  —1 use
exact meaning not specified
or not quizzed
poise
26 uses
But the young body carried a sense of command, a poised assurance,
poised = coolness and composure
DefinitionGenerally poise means:
in control or prepared

(see word notes for more detailed definitions based on context)
Word Statistics
Book26 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 1
Web Links
prescient
40 uses
He knew what this essence could do to him—the spice change that pushed his mind into prescient awareness.
prescient = knowing what will happen before it happens
DefinitionGenerally prescient means:
knowing (or at least expecting) what will happen before it happens
Word Statistics
Book40 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 2
Web Links
probe
20 uses
She probed the farther darkness with her trained senses.
probed = investigated
DefinitionGenerally probe means:
to investigate; or an investigation

or:

any of various instrument used for investigation — such as:
  • an instrument to measure electronic voltage
  • a surgical tool used for examination
  • an unmanned spacecraft used for exploration
Word Statistics
Book20 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 2
Web Links
profound   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
profound idea
This is profound thinking if you understand how unstable "the truth" can be.
profound = deep or far-reaching in intellect or insight
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
deep or far-reaching in intellect or consequence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 2
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
profound sadness
I am profoundly stirred!
profoundly = intensely
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useTerm
Web Links
prophecy
22 uses
Yet the boy fitted the ancient prophecy so precisely.
prophecy = prediction
DefinitionGenerally prophecy means:
a prediction of the future (usually said to be obtained in a supernatural way)
Word Statistics
Book22 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 1
Web Links
stagnate
3 uses
they'd chosen always the clear, safe course that leads ever downward into stagnation.
stagnation = not developing or improving
DefinitionGenerally stagnate means:
staying still or not developing
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 1
Web Links
subtle   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —1 use as in:
a subtle poison
A poison—so subtle, so insidious . . . so irreversible. It won't even kill you unless you stop taking it.
subtle = working in a hidden way
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
working in an indirect or hidden way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useBook 1
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
a subtle difference or thinker
...hawk features, blue-ink eyes that suggested he was a native of Arrakis, but subtleties of movement and stance told her he was not.
subtleties = things that are slightly noticeable
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
not obvious, but understandable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps depending upon fine distinctions)

or:

capable of understanding things that require sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps understanding fine distinctions)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useBook 1
Web Links
transitory
1 use
Greatness is a transitory experience.
transitory = lasting a short time
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 1
Web Links
treachery
23 uses
I suspect her of treachery
treachery = deliberate betrayal
DefinitionGenerally treachery means:
the behavior of someone who pretends to be a friend and then tricks, cheats, or betrays
Word Statistics
Book23 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 3
Web Links
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