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The Iceman Cometh

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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apathy
3 uses
Rocky pushes the bottle toward him apathetically.
apathetically = with a lack of enthusiasm
DefinitionGenerally apathy means:
lack of interest and enthusiasm
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 4
Web Links
bourgeois
9 uses
I remember her putting on her high-and-mighty free-woman stuff, saying you were still a slave to bourgeois morality and jealousy and you thought a woman you loved was a piece of private property you owned.
bourgeois = typical of the middle class values
DefinitionGenerally bourgeois means:
typical of the middle class or their values and habits - typically used disapprovingly

or (in Marxist theory):

typical of the property-owning class
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
complacent
1 use
Rocky beams complacently and takes the glasses back to the bar.
complacently = with satisfaction
DefinitionGenerally complacent means:
contented (unworried and satisfied) — often to a fault
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 1
Web Links
condescending
3 uses
HOPE—(again with condescending pity) Bejees, Jimmy's started them off smoking the same hop.
condescending = a manner that treats others as inferiors
DefinitionGenerally condescending means:
treating others as inferior; or doing something considered beneath one's position or dignity
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
contempt
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
feels contempt towards her
A bitter mocking contempt creeps into his tone.
contempt = disrespect
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect for someone or something thought inferior — often accompanied by a feeling of dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
contrite
3 uses
All at once he becomes miserably contrite.
contrite = feeling sorrow or regret for a fault or offense
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
denounce
6 uses
She wrote to denounce me and...
denounce = strongly criticize
DefinitionGenerally denounce means:
to strongly criticize or accuse publicly

or more rarely:  to inform against someone (turn someone into the authorities)
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
deride
9 uses
Pearl and Margie exchange a derisive look.
derisive = mocking and disrespectful

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ive" converts a word into an adjective; though over time, what was originally an adjective often comes to be used as a noun. The adjective pattern means tending to and is seen in words like attractive, impressive, and supportive. Examples of the noun include narrative, alternative, and detective.)
DefinitionGenerally deride means:
to criticize with strong disrespect — often
with humor
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
disdain
1 use
(...takes a greedy gulp—then sets it back on the table with a grimace of distaste—in a strange, arrogantly disdainful tone, as if he were rebuking a butler) 'Dis vine is unfit to trink.'
disdainful = full of disrespect
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
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 2
Web Links
disparage
1 use
with a disparaging glance around
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 useAct 1
Web Links
exonerate
2 uses
He has the terrible grotesque air, in confessing his sordid baseness, of one who gives an excuse which exonerates him from any real guilt.
exonerates = frees (of blame)
DefinitionGenerally exonerate means:
to free someone from blame

or more rarely:

to free someone from an obligation
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
fastidious
4 uses
He is dressed in threadbare black clothes and his white shirt is frayed at collar and cuffs, but everything about him is fastidiously clean.
fastidiously = showing an excessive concern for cleanliness
DefinitionGenerally fastidious means:
giving careful attention to detail

or:

excessively concerned with cleanliness or matters of taste
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
furtive
4 uses
He slinks in furtively, as if he were escaping from someone.
furtively = while taking pains to avoid being observed
DefinitionGenerally furtive means:
taking pains to avoid being observed

or:

in a manner indicating nervousness (being cautious or appearing suspicious)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
guile
1 use
Jimmy has a face like an old well-bred, gentle bloodhound's, with folds of flesh hanging from each side of his mouth, and big brown friendly guileless eyes, more bloodshot than any bloodhound's ever were.
guileless = innocent — without cunning or deceit

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-less" in guileless means without. This is the same pattern you see in words like fearless, homeless, and endless.)
DefinitionGenerally guile means:
cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceitful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
incredulous
2 uses
They stare at him in bewildered, incredulous confusion.
incredulous = having difficulty accepting something so unexpected
DefinitionGenerally incredulous means:
unbelieving; or having difficulty accepting something so unexpected
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 1
Web Links
indolent
1 use
He looks like an enlarged, elderly, bald edition of the village fat boy—a sly fat boy, congenitally indolent, a practical joker, a born grafter and con merchant.
indolent = lazy
DefinitionGenerally this sense of indolent means:
lazy; disinclined to work
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
oblivious
9 uses
They advance, their heads together, so interested in a discussion they are oblivious to everyone.
oblivious = unaware of
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 4
Web Links
sullen
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a sullen mood
His manner is sullen, his face set in gloom.
sullen = unhappy and withdrawn
DefinitionGenerally this sense of sullen means:
being unhappy and withdrawn
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 3
Web Links
taunt
11 uses
LARRY—(stung—furiously) Look out how you try to taunt me back into life, I warn you!
taunt = anger
DefinitionGenerally taunt means:
to intentionally anger, challenge, or upset someone — especially by mocking them or hurling insults

or (as a noun): an insult or other action intended to anger, challenge, or upset someone
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 2
Web Links
vindictive
9 uses
(While he is speaking the faces of the gang have lighted up vindictively, as if all at once they saw a chance to revenge themselves.)
vindictively = with revenge or malice (desire to harm)
DefinitionGenerally vindictive means:
desirous of seeking revenge or wanting to hurt someone
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
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