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Franny and Zooey

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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aesthetic
2 uses
The aesthetic evil of a footnote seems in order just here,
aesthetic = related to the guiding principles of what is attractive or desirable
DefinitionGenerally aesthetic means:
related to beauty or good taste — often referring to one's appreciation of beauty or one's sense of what is beautiful

or:

beautiful or tasteful
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2.2
Web Links
affectation
3 uses
Zooey gave a genuine roar of laughter, as if he clearly relished seeing any affectation brought to light, his own included.
affectation = artificial behavior to make an impression
DefinitionGenerally affectation means:
behaving in an artificial way to make an impression
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.3
Web Links
aversion
2 uses
"Good morning, Bloomberg dear!" she said, and kissed him fervently between the eyes. He blinked with aversion. "Good morning, old fat smelly cat."
aversion = dislike that leads to avoidance
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
benign
2 uses
The speaker's hands were folded benignly on his chest.
benignly = mildly or harmlessly
DefinitionGenerally benign means:
kindly, mild, or harmless
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.3
Web Links
censure
2 uses
Her tone couldn't have held more wonder and censure if...
censure = harsh criticism
DefinitionGenerally censure means:
harsh criticism; or formal criticism from an organization — such as the U.S. Senate
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.3
Web Links
disparage
1 use
There's an unwritten law that people in a certain social or financial bracket can name-drop as much as they like just as long as they say something terribly disparaging about the person as soon as they've dropped his name...
disparaging = critical
DefinitionGenerally disparage means:
to criticize or make seem less important — especially in a disrespectful or contemptuous manner
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1.2
Web Links
dubious
1 use
There was a short pause, and a dubious one.
dubious = doubtful or suspicious
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 2.2
Web Links
incessant
6 uses
...the old monk explains to him what will happen if the prayer is said incessantly.
incessantly = continuously
DefinitionGenerally incessant means:
continuous — often in an annoying way
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.2
Web Links
inhibit
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she is shy and inhibited
It was a station-platform kiss—spontaneous enough to begin with, but rather inhibited in the follow-through, and with somewhat of a forehead-bumping aspect.†
inhibited = limited
DefinitionGenerally this sense of inhibited means:
unable to act naturally due to being overly self-conscious
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
invariably
8 uses
When Zooey appeared to have difficulty in remembering something, his hesitation invariably interested all his brothers and sisters,
invariably = always
DefinitionGenerally invariably means:
never changing; or always the same
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.1
Web Links
mitigate
1 use
She smiled at Lane—in a sense, genuinely—and at that moment a smile in return might at least have mitigated to some small extent certain events that were to follow, but...
mitigated = made less harmful
DefinitionGenerally mitigate means:
make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
morose
3 uses
He reflected, looking a trifle morose.
morose = unhappy
DefinitionGenerally morose means:
unhappy — often with a withdrawn personality
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.2
Web Links
nuance
3 uses
...with stunning battlefield scenes, and all the nuances of characterization left out
nuances = a subtle characteristics
DefinitionGenerally nuance means:
a subtle difference  (a minor difference not obvious or important to most people)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 2.1
Web Links
pedantic
3 uses
I'm just so sick of pedants and conceited little tearer-downers I could scream.
pedants = people too concerned with formal rules, details, or book learning
DefinitionGenerally pedantic means:
too concerned with formal rules, details, or book learning
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.1
Web Links
pious
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
a pious hypocrite
...you're beginning to give off a little stink of piousness.
piousness = self-righteousness or a holier-than-thou attitude

(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 pious means:
self-righteous (acting as though one is, or believing one is highly moral when it is not true)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.3
Web Links
poignant
1 use
And I know, sir, that next to scripts that are Tender and Poignant, you love scripts that have Courage and Integrity.
poignant = arouse deep sadness
DefinitionGenerally poignant means:
sharp or intense — typically arousing deep emotion such as sadness, but possibly having or creating a sharp smell, taste, or insight
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 2.3
Web Links
precocious
2 uses
professional educator who takes a special interest in extra-precocious children.
precocious = showing early development in ability
DefinitionGenerally precocious means:
early development — especially ability or maturity in a child

or more rarely:

disapproving description of a child who takes liberties usually afforded to people who are older
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.1
Web Links
relevant
1 use
All this data, I think, is to some degree relevant.
relevant = relates meaningfully
DefinitionGenerally relevant means:
relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 2.1
Web Links
sanguine
1 use
[Zooey in describing himself:] Sanguine, perhaps, to a fault.
sanguine = confidently optimistic and cheerful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.3
Web Links
trifle
18 uses
1  —18 uses as in:
a trifling matter
a trifle dizzy
trifle = little bit
DefinitionGenerally this sense of trifle means:
something of small importance; or a small quantity
Word Statistics
Book18 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.1
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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