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The Old Man and the Sea
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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accord
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
done of her own accord
Let it open by itself and come back of its own accord.
own accord = own mind (i.e., voluntarily)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
mind — voluntarily (without anyone asking)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
attain
2 uses
He was too simple to wonder when he had attained humility.
attained = achieved (gained with effort)
DefinitionGenerally attain means:
to gain or reach something with effort
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
burnish
1 use
the old man leaned over the stern and lifted the burnished gold fish with its purple spots over the stem.
burnished = shiny and smooth looking
DefinitionGenerally burnish means:
polish and make shiny — especially metal

or more generally:  to improve something — especially the impression that something makes
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
congregate
1 use
there was a sudden deep of seven hundred fathoms where all sorts of fish congregated
congregated = came together
DefinitionGenerally congregate means:
come together as a group
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
conscientious
1 use
Slowly and conscientiously he ate all of the wedge-shaped strips of fish.
conscientiously = with care
DefinitionGenerally conscientious means:
careful to do what is right—especially to perform duties in a thorough manner (as when guided by conscience)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
contempt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
feels contempt towards her
he had a friendly contempt for the huge, stupid loggerheads,
contempt = lack of respect
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
Web Links
devise
2 uses
You must devise a way so that you sleep a little if he is quiet and steady.
devise = come up with (invent)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of devise means:
to come up with a way of doing something — typically a creative idea or plan
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
humiliate
2 uses
It is humiliating before others to have a diarrhoea
humiliating = extremely embarrassing (decreasing dignity)
DefinitionGenerally humiliate means:
extremely embarrass (decrease dignity, self-respect, or pride — especially in front of others)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
mutilate
2 uses
He did not like to look at the fish anymore since he had been mutilated. When the fish had been hit it was as though he himself were hit.
mutilated = disfigured (severely damaged)
DefinitionGenerally mutilate means:
severely damage — for example by cutting up
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
perceptible
2 uses
But watching the movement of the water against his hand he noted that it was perceptibly slower.
perceptibly = noticeably
DefinitionGenerally perceptible means:
capable of being noticed — typically because it is different enough or large enough
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
phosphorescence
6 uses
They came in a pack and he could only see the lines in the water that their fins made and their phosphorescence as they threw themselves on the fish.
phosphorescence = dim glowing light (in this case caused by microorganisms that react to movement in the water)
DefinitionGenerally phosphorescence means:
a dim glowing light

or more technically:  a fluorescence (dim light)  created by a chemical reaction within a living organism; or a dim light that continues to shine from something after the bombarding radiation (stronger light that fell upon it) has ceased
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
precede
1 use
...he said, and leaned back on the line to see if it was possible to gain any on his fish. But he could not and it stayed at  the hardness and water-drop shivering that preceded breaking.
preceded = came before
DefinitionGenerally precede means:
to go or do before
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
proprietor
2 uses
The proprietor said "There has never been such a fish."
proprietor = owner of the business
DefinitionGenerally proprietor means:
the owner of a business
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
resolution
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
Her resolution weakened.
But I know many tricks and I have resolution.
resolution = determination
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
scythe
3 uses
the old man was afraid he would cut the line with his tail which was sharp as a scythe
scythe = a tool for cutting grass that has a curved blade and a long handle
DefinitionGenerally scythe means:
a tool for cutting grass that has a curved blade and a long handle that is held with both hands
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
sever
2 uses
...and he drove the blade between the vertebrae and the brain. It was an easy shot now and he felt the cartilage sever.
sever = split in two
DefinitionGenerally sever means:
to split something into two unconnected parts — usually by cutting

or:

to break up a relationship; or separate from something
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
species
1 use
the fishermen called all the fish of that species tuna and only distinguished among them by their proper names when they came to sell them
species = a similar group of animals or plants identified as separate from others because they can interbreed with each other
DefinitionGenerally species means:
a similar group of animals or plants identified as separate from others because they can interbreed (create baby animals)  with each other
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
tentative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a tentative plan
This time it was a tentative pull, not solid nor heavy,
tentative = careful (indicating a lack of confidence)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of tentative means:
with an expectation that there may be changes
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
treachery
3 uses
I hate a cramp, he thought. It is a treachery of one's own body.
treachery = an act of betrayal
DefinitionGenerally treachery means:
the behavior of someone who pretends to be a friend and then tricks, cheats, or betrays
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
wallow
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a wagon wallowed through the mud
But the fish did not come. Instead he lay there wallowing now in the seas and the old man pulled the skiff up onto him.
wallowing = moving with difficulty (perhaps rolling with the waves, unable to move itself)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of wallow means:
to move with difficulty; or perhaps just to move through water or in a rolling/wave-like manner
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
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