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I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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accord   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 7 uses
1  —6 uses as in:
according to, or in accord with
But it was a shared if seldom voiced knowledge that all movements fitted, and worked according to a larger plan.
according to = in keeping with
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
in keeping with; or in agreement/harmony/unity with
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library46 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
done of her own accord
It was always possible that the teeth would quiet down and maybe drop out of their own accord.
own accord = own mind (i.e., on their own)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
mind — voluntarily (without anyone asking)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
affectation
1 use
If Dolores knew, she would crawl up in her blanket of affectations and die circumspectly.
affectations = things done in an artificial way to make an impression
DefinitionGenerally affectation means:
behaving in an artificial way to make an impression
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 30
Web Links
afflict
7 uses
I slept with Grandmother Baxter, who was afflicted with chronic bronchitis and smoked heavily.
afflicted = stricken (suffered from)
DefinitionGenerally afflict means:
cause suffering — such as illness, pain, or unhappiness
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
approach   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
approached the city
Through the cloth film, I saw the shadow approach.†
approach = coming near
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
to get closer to
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library88 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
use the best approach
He continued speaking directly to the dead woman, and I half wished she would rise up and answer him, offended by the coarseness of his approach.†
approach = technique (way of doing something)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
a way of doing something; or a route that leads to a particular place
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 22
Web Links
attribute
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
I attribute it to...
I find it interesting that the meanest life, the poorest existence, is attributed to God's will, but as human beings become more affluent, as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God descends the scale of responsibility at a commensurate speed.
attributed = credited (pointed to as the cause of something)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of attribute means:
to credit (a source for something) — such as:
  • to say that something happened because of someone or something else
  • to indicate the source of an idea or quotation
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
contempt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
feels contempt towards her
He must have tired of being crippled ... and the looks he suffered of either contempt or pity had simply worn him out,
contempt = disrespect and disgust
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect — often accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
contend
6 uses
1  —6 uses as in:
She contended for the gold medal
Another right to the body, it looks like it was low ... Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the referee is signaling but the contender keeps raining the blows on Louis.
contender = competitor
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contend means:
to compete
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
convey   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
convey her thoughts
Just the gentle pressure of her rough hand conveyed her own concern and assurance to me.†
conveyed = communicated or expressed
DefinitionGenerally this sense of convey means:
communicate or express
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
convey her safely to
Her awareness of life's perils convinced her that while I would be safe on the public conveyances, she "wasn't about to trust a taxi driver with her baby."†
conveyances = means of transport
DefinitionGenerally this sense of convey means:
transport
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 34
Web Links
explicit
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
explicit instructions
I distinctly remember being explicit in the choice of pronoun.†
explicit = clear and detailed
DefinitionGenerally this sense of explicit means:
clear and with enough detail so there is no confusion
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 23
Web Links
impudent
7 uses
When I refused to be the child they knew and accepted me to be, I was called impudent...
impudent = improperly bold or disrespectful towards elders
DefinitionGenerally impudent means:
improperly bold or disrespectful — especially toward someone who is older or considered to be of higher status
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 31
Web Links
indulge
7 uses
she spent no time in indulging the frivolous.
indulging = enjoying (to excess)
DefinitionGenerally indulge means:
to give into a desire or enjoy something — especially in excess of what is thought good—such as a desire to eat too much cake, or be too lazy

or:

to allow or help someone to get their way or enjoy something — especially something that (probably because of excess) is not considered to be good or proper
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 28
Web Links
magnanimous
1 use
...when she was given a chance to be magnanimous she agreed.
magnanimous = kind and generous in spirit
DefinitionGenerally magnanimous means:
kind and generous in spirit — especially toward those defeated in battle
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 32
Web Links
negative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
had a negative effect
High spots in Stamps were usually negative: droughts, floods, lynchings and deaths.†
negative = bad
DefinitionGenerally this sense of negative means:
bad or harmful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
opulent
1 use
Many women who worked in their kitchens traded at our Store, and when they carried their finished laundry back to town they often set the big baskets down on our front porch to pull a singular piece from the starched collection and show either how graceful was their ironing hand or how rich and opulent was the property of their employers.
opulent = magnificent and luxurious — usually expensive
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
ostracize
1 use
They were, according to the book, disowned by their families, snubbed by their friends and ostracized from every society.
ostracized = excluded from a community or group
DefinitionGenerally ostracize means:
exclude someone from a community or group
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 35
Web Links
refute
1 use
On the surface it appeared to be totally peaceful and almost a refutation of the term "revolution."
refutation = evidence that something is false
DefinitionGenerally refute means:
to prove or argue that something is false
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 27
Web Links
soliloquy
3 uses
I had chosen drama simply because I liked Hamlet's soliloquy beginning, "To be, or not to be."
soliloquy = a speech you make to yourself or as a long uninterrupted part of a conversation
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 23
Web Links
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