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In Cold Blood

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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approach   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
approached the city
Perhaps, having heard all she had, Bonnie welcomed their swift approach.†
approach = getting near
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
Of course, Dick was very literal-minded, very— he had no understanding of music, poetry-and yet when you got right down toot, Dick's literalness, his pragmatic approach to every subject, was the primary reason Perry had been attracted to him, for it made Dick seem, compared to himself, so authentically tough, invulnerable, "totally masculine.†
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
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...
And yet this was at least a partially inaccurate impression, for now and again the prisoner glimpsed him as he paused to talk to other men, joke with them and laugh, and then he seemed carefree, jovial, generous: "The kind of person who might see the human side"-an important attribute, for the man was Roland H. Tate, Judge of the 32nd Judicial District, the jurist who would preside at the trial of the State of Kansas versus Smith and Hickock.†
attribute = characteristic
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
The room she so seldom left was austere; had the bed been made, a visitor might have thought it permanently unoccupied.
austere = lacking luxury, comfort, or decoration
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
The pioneers who founded Garden City were necessarily a Spartan people, but when the time came to establish a formal cemetery, they were determined, despite arid soil and the troubles of transporting water, to create a rich contrast to the dusty streets, the austere plains.†
contrast = something notably different compared (to something)
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
In the weeks preceding that date the defense attorneys frequently consulted the defendants.
defendants = people legally accused of a crime
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
One of our beds was directly under my mother and father's room.†
directly = straight (in a straight line)
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
The Reverend Post survived somewhat longer, for he made no direct attempt to compliment the prisoner, but described sympathetically an encounter with him at Lansing.†
direct = clear
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
For the most part, his rages in the, past have been directed at authority figures-father, brother, Army sergeant, state parole officer-and have led to violent assaultive behavior on several occasions.†
directed = focused
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...
Judge Tate did not entirely deny the motion; rather, he did exactly all the law demanded by appointing a commission of three Garden City doctors and directing them to pronounce a verdict upon the mental capacities of the prisoners.†
directing = instructing
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
Kenyon was in my sophomore English class, and I'd directed Nancy in the 'Tom Sawyer' play.†
directed = supervised (been in charge of a performance)
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
Though dusk had established itself, Dick, doing a steady sixty miles an hour, was still driving without headlights, but then the road was straight, the country was as level as a lake, and other cars were seldom sighted.†
established = settled
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
Having established premeditation of great degree, Green left the witness to the ministrations of the defense.†
established = proven
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 hypothesis of unconscious motivation explains why the murderers perceived innocuous and relatively unknown victims as provocative and thereby suitable targets for aggression.†
hypothesis = a seemingly reasonable, but unproven, explanation
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
The histories revealed in each a severe degree of sexual inhibition.
inhibition = limitation of activity

(editor's note:  The suffix "-tion", converts a verb into a noun that denotes the action or result of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in action, education, and observation.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of inhibited means:
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
Dick had received his parole on the condition that he reside with his parents;
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
a timid, pious, delicate girl named Bonnie Fox,
pious = behaving in a highly moral or religious manner
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
he had but one contribution to make that was relevant to a claim of temporary insanity.
relevant = 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
a sensitive and reticent boy
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
All I can hope is that some day we'll get a new trial, and Perry will testify and tell the truth.
testify = provide 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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Sample usage followed by this mark was not checked by an editor. Please let us know if you spot a problem.
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