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In Cold Blood

Top-Ranked Words with Typical Sample Sentences

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approach   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
approached the city
Winter is approaching.
approaching = getting nearer
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
to get closer to (near in space, time, quantity, or quality)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library104 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
use the best approach
Perhaps I just need to work harder, but I may need an entirely different approach to the problem.
approach = method (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
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
attribute
4 uses
1  —1 use as in:
It is an attribute of...
The spreadsheet has a column to describe the breed of dog and then ten additional columns to indicate attributes of the breeds. For example the second column has the average full-grown weight.
attributes = characteristics
DefinitionGenerally this sense of attribute means:
a characteristic (of something or someone)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
unquizzed meaning  —3 uses
austere
2 uses
He took a vow of silence and leads an austere life at the monastery.
austere = lacking luxury (and stern)
DefinitionGenerally austere means:
a notable absence of luxury, comfort, or decoration

or:

of a person:  stern in manner; or practicing great self-denial
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
contrast
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
it is a contrast
College is quite a contrast to high school.
contrast = something notably different compared to
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
something noticeably different (compared to something else or to other things)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
defendant
32 uses
The defendant is confident she will be found innocent.
defendant = a person (or institution) legally accused or sued in court
DefinitionGenerally defendant means:
a person or institution legally accused or sued in court
Word Statistics
Book32 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
direct   (5 meanings)
5 meanings, 14 uses
1  —7 uses as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
This flower does best in direct sunlight.
direct = without intervention from anything (in this case, not sun that is partially blocked or reflected)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straight (exactly where stated); or without involvement of anything in between
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "The road runs directly to Las Vegas." — straight (without varying from a straight line)
  • "It was a direct hit." — exact
  • "The plant is in direct sunlight." — unobstructed (without anything in between)
  • "She wants a direct meeting with him." — personal (without other people in between)
  • "She paid direct attention to what he was reading." — close
  • "a direct gaze" — straight, steady, or focused—not a brief glance taken while generally looking at other things; not a sideways look
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library62 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
was direct in my instructions
I left them with direct instructions.
direct = straightforward
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straightforward (uncomplicated or simple — perhaps also indicating openness and honesty)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
directed her question to
The sprinkler head needs to be fixed so it directs water away from the house.
directs = aims
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
to indicate direction; or to cause movement or focus in a direction or towards an object
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "intentionally directed fire at unarmed civilians" — aimed a gun
  • "directed the question to her" — aimed a question
  • "directed her north" — pointed in a particular direction
  • "directed attention to the 3rd paragraph" — focused attention on a particular object
  • "The sound of her voice directed him to the kitchen." — guided or gave directions to someone to help them move to a particular place
  • "She directed him to the airport." — gave directions to send someone to a particular place
  • "She directed the boat north." — steered it
  • "directed the letter to" — send a letter to a particular person by putting a name and address on it
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library36 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
4  —2 uses as in:
directed the jury to...
On the SAT test, some questions direct you to look at an underlined or numbered portion of a passage.
direct = instruct
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
give instructions or commands
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
5  —2 uses as in:
directed the movie
She directed the move.
directed = supervised the making of
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
supervise, control, or to be in charge of
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library29 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
establish   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 8 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
establish a positive tone
Which word choice best maintains the tone established in the first paragraph?
established = created
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —6 uses as in:
establish that there is a need
The passage is primarily about establishing the relationship between the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and global temperature.
establishing = showing or demonstrating
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
show or determine (cause to be recognized or figure out)
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
hypothesis
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
a study to test her hypothesis
The study will test the hypothesis that a good marriage is more important than a higher income when measuring happiness.
hypothesis = a seemingly reasonable, but unproven, idea
DefinitionGenerally this sense of hypothesis means:
a seemingly reasonable, but unproven idea or explanation based upon known facts
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
inhibit
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she is shy and inhibited
She's personable and funny with her friends, but tends to be inhibited with strangers.
inhibited = 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 4
Web Links
parole
39 uses
Being home by 10 pm is one of the conditions of my parole.
parole = conditional early release from imprisonment
DefinitionGenerally this sense of parole means:
conditional early release from imprisonment in which a person is required to comply with special conditions
Word Statistics
Book39 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
pious
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
a good, pious woman
The cartoon with a drawing of Muhammad outraged many pious Muslims.
pious = highly religious
DefinitionGenerally this sense of pious means:
religious or highly moral
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
relevant
3 uses
Shannon tells an interesting story, but it's not relevant to the decision we have to make.
relevant = important (related in a meaningful way)
DefinitionGenerally relevant means:
relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
reticent
2 uses
She was reticent initially, but eventually she opened up.
reticent = reluctant to speak
DefinitionGenerally reticent means:
reluctant — especially to speak freely
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
testify
15 uses
She testified against the robber.
testified = provided oral evidence in court
DefinitionGenerally testify means:
provide evidence of something — especially to say something under oath in a court of law
Word Statistics
Book15 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
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