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Flowers for Algernon -- Short Story

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
acquire
2 uses
What's wrong with a man becoming intelligent and wanting to acquire knowledge and understanding of the world around him?
acquire = come into possession of
From page 13.1  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally acquire means:
obtain (come into the possession of something)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library17 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useSection 3, p.17.1
Web Links
amnesia
2 uses
There are also strong indications of progressive amnesia.
amnesia = loss of memory
From page 17.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally amnesia means:
loss of memory (partial or total)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 4, p.17.9
Web Links
conscious
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
the conscious mind
I just looked up the word in the dictionary Dr Strauss gave me. The word is subconscious. adj. of the nature of mental operations yet not present in consciousness; as, subconscious conflict of desires.
consciousness = mental activity of which one is aware

(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.)
From page 6.3  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of conscious means:
mental activity of which one is self-aware
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 2, p.6.3
Web Links
contrary
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
contrary to
Contrary to my earlier impressions of him, I realize that Dr. Nemur is not at all a genius.
contrary to = in opposition to
From page 13.7  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 3, p.13.7
Web Links
despise
1 use
Before, they laughed at me and despised me for my ignorance and dullness; now, they hate me for my knowledge and understanding.
despised = strongly disliked and looked down upon
From page 13.3  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally despise means:
to dislike strongly and to look down upon with disrespect
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 2, p.13.3
Web Links
deteriorate
5 uses
Now my mind is deteriorating rapidly.
deteriorating = getting worse
From page 19  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally deteriorate means:
become worse
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 4, p.19
Web Links
function
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
Its main function is to...
Yet for the sake of science, I am grateful for the little bit that I here add to the knowledge of the function of the human mind and of the laws governing the artificial increase of human intelligence.
function = natural activity
From page 17.5  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of function means:
purpose, job, or natural activity
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useSection 4, p.17.3
Web Links
illiterate
1 use
I have often reread my progress reports and seen the illiteracy, the childish naïveté, the mind of low intelligence peering from a dark room, through the keyhole, at the dazzling light outside.
illiteracy = inability to write well

(editor's note:  In this case, he could put some words in writing, but he was not able to write well.)
From page 15.8  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally illiterate means:
unable to read or write (not literate)

or:

uninformed in a particular field or general subject area
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 3, p.15.8
Web Links
impair
2 uses
Motor activity is impaired; there is a general reduction of glandular activity; there is an accelerated loss of co-ordination.
impaired = less effective
From page 17.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally impair means:
make worse or less effective
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 4, p.17.9
Web Links
indicate
2 uses
However, by all indications, my own mental deterioration will be very rapid.
indications = things that suggest or demonstrate

(editor's note:  The suffix "-tions", converts a verb into a plural noun that denotes results of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in actions, illustrations, and observations.)
From page 18.3  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally indicate means:
to show (point out, demonstrate, express, or suggest)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library40 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useSection 4, p.17.9
Web Links
laboratory
7 uses
I have been given a lab of my own and permission to go ahead with the research.
lab = workplace for scientific or medical research
From page 16.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally laboratory means:
a workplace where people do scientific or medical research, or produce drugs or chemicals

or (as an adjective): related to such a place
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library33 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 2, p.7.2
motivation
1 use
...Algernon is changing. He is less co-operative; he refuses to run the maze any more; general motivation has decreased. And he hasn't been eating.
motivation = desire to do things

(editor's note:  Motivation is also used a few times in a misspelled form, motor-vation, in Charlie's progress reports. He records the doctors liking his strong motivation, and he records Algernon having cheese as a motivation.)
From page 16.5  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally motivation means:
the reason for doing something; or the level of desire to do something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useSection 3, p.16.5
obscure
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
it obscured my view
...and the more sensational aspects of my own rapid climb cannot obscure the fact that the tripling of intelligence by the surgical technique developed by Drs. Strauss and Nemur must be viewed as having little or no practical applicability (at the present time) to the increase of human intelligence.
obscure = hide
From page 17.8  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
to block from view or make less visible or understandable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useSection 4, p.17.8
Web Links
plateau
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
reached a plateau in our growth
She said I reached a plateau.
plateau = a time of little change after more rapid change
From page 8.5  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of plateau means:
a time of little change after more rapid change — typically to stop increasing
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 2, p.8.5
Web Links
postscript
2 uses
And P.S. please tell Dr Nemur not to be such a grouch when pepul Iaff at him and he woud have more frends.
P.S. = an abbreviation for "postscript" that is placed at the end of a letter (after the signature) to indicate that an additional note follows
From page 22.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally postscript means:
a note added to the end of a letter after the signature — usually preceded with "PS:" or "P.S."

or:

any written or spoken addition added after the end of something
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 5, p.22.7
Web Links
regress
2 uses
As I review the records and data on Algernon, I see that although he is still in his physical infancy, he has regressed mentally.
regressed = returned to a former (less advanced) state
From page 17.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally regress means:
returning to a former (less advanced) state
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 3, p.17.2
Web Links
subconscious
3 uses
He says its the same thing and I have two minds. Theres the subconscious and the conscious (thats how you spell it) and one dont tell the other one what its doing. They dont even talk to each other.
subconscious = mental activity of which we are not aware, but which can influence feelings and behavior

(editor's note:  Many people use this as a synonym for unconscious; though experts in the mind may distinguish a difference.)
From page 6.1  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally subconscious means:
mental activity of which one is not aware, but which can influence feelings and behavior; or the part of the mind that engages in such activity
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useSection 2, p.6.1
Web Links
tangible
1 use
I suspect that Dr. Nemur, who is sixty—ten years older than Dr. Strauss—finds it necessary to see tangible results of his work.
tangible = easily understood
From page 13.7  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally tangible means:
capable of being touched, or easily understood so there is no question of its value or reality
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useSection 3, p.13.7
Web Links
technique
5 uses
Dr. Strauss said that someday thousands of neurosurgeons might be using his technique all over the world.
technique = way of doing something
From page 11.6  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally technique means:
a way of doing something
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useSection 2, p.11.6
therefore
1 use
He wants people to take him for a genius. Therefore, it is important for him to feel that his work is accepted by the world.
therefore = for that reason
From page 13.8  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally therefore means:
for that reason (what follows is so because of what was just said)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library24 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useSection 3, p.13.8
Web Links
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