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Into the Wild
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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ambivalent
3 uses
he had always been ambivalent about killing animals.
ambivalent = uncertain

(editor's note:  In this case, McCandless was uncertain of how hard to try to avoid killing animals even when it would be convenient to do so.)
DefinitionGenerally ambivalent means:
uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
consequence   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 5 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
a direct consequence of
From all the available evidence, there seemed to be little doubt that McCandless, rash and incautious by nature, had committed a careless blunder, confusing one plant for another, and died as a consequence.
consequence = result
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
a result of something (often an undesired side effect)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library24 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
of little consequence
It was an uncharacteristic break from his cover that might easily have alerted his parents to his whereabouts, although the lapse proved to be of no consequence because the private investigator hired by Walt and Billie never caught the slip.
consequence = importance
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
importance or relevance
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
contrast
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
there is a contrast
The chill Westerberg sensed between Alex and his parents stood in marked contrast to the warmth McCandless exhibited in Carthage.
contrast = difference
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
a difference — especially a notable difference; or the side-x-side arrangement of things that draws attention to an unmissable difference
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
correspond   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 6 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
corresponding by email
Everett Ruess's correspondence reveals uncanny parallels between Ruess and Chris McCandless.†
correspondence = written letters
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspond means:
communicate by writing letters or email
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useA.N.
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
foreign correspondent of the paper
"Personally I see nothing positive at all about Chris McCandless's lifestyle or wilderness doctrine," scolded another correspondent.†
correspondent = reporter
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspondent means:
a reporter — typically from a foreign country or with a particular expertise
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
establish   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
establish a positive tone
Contrary to common belief, however, the bus doesn't lie beneath any established flight path, and very few planes fly over it.†
established = standard (set in place)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
establish that there is a need
Evidence unearthed by the forty-odd expeditions sent to search for them eventually established that all had perished, the victims of scurvy, starvation, and unspeakable suffering.†
established = showed
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
show or determine (cause to be recognized or figure out)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
glacier
36 uses
...from which the long blue tongues of numerous glaciers inch down toward the sea under the weight of the ages.
glaciers = masses of ice that move over land like exceedingly slow rivers

(editor's notes:  Most glaciers move about a meter a day; though they range from half a meter a year to thirty meters a day. To see pictures, click on the Google Images link available when browsing words.)
DefinitionGenerally glacier means:
a large mass of ice that moves over land like an exceedingly slow river
Word Statistics
Book36 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
highlight
7 uses
1  —7 uses as in:
highlights with a yellow marker
Several such passages are starred and highlighted in the dog-eared text, the margins filled with cryptic notes printed in McCandless's distinctive hand.
highlighted = marked as important
DefinitionGenerally this sense of highlight means:
to mark important text; or the text that is marked — typically marked using a felt-tip pen with a bright, transparent ink in order to reinforce memory and assist later review
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
hypothesis
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
a study to test her hypothesis
["short man's complex" or "unresolved Oedipal conflict"]  Although there may be some truth in both hypotheses, this sort of posthumous off-the-rack psychoanalysis is a dubious, highly speculative enterprise that inevitably demeans and trivializes the absent analysand.
hypotheses = ideas that are seemingly reasonable, but unproven

(editor's notes:  An analysand is a person being psychoanalyzed. Posthumous means after death and in this context dubious means doubtful in the sense of "doubting that they are completely true in this instance.")
DefinitionGenerally this sense of hypothesis means:
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 17
Web Links
passage
10 uses
Chastity and moral purity were qualities McCandless mulled over long and often. Indeed, one of the books found in the bus with his remains was a collection of stories that included Tolstoy's "The Kreutzer Sonata," in which the nobleman-turned-ascetic denounces "the demands of the flesh." Several such passages are starred and highlighted in the dog-eared text, the margins filled with cryptic notes printed in McCandless's distinctive hand.
passages = selected sentences or paragraphs
DefinitionGenerally this sense of passage means:
a short part of a longer written work
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
perspective   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
Look at it from her perspective
And now he'd slipped painlessly out of Ron Franz's life as well. Painlessly, that is, from McCandless's perspective, although not from the old man's.
perspective = way of seeing and thinking about things
DefinitionGenerally this sense of perspective means:
a particular way of seeing or thinking about things
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
Keep it in perspective
Although he castigated himself severely for this waste of a life he'd taken, a day later McCandless appeared to regain some perspective, for his journal notes, "henceforth will learn to accept my errors, however great they be."
perspective = a sensible view
DefinitionGenerally this sense of perspective means:
a sensible view of a situation that considers its different parts in a balanced way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 16
Web Links
relevant
1 use
Attempting to learn who owned the car, the rangers sent out a bulletin over the Teletype to relevant law-enforcement agencies and...
relevant = related in a meaningful way to the issue in question
DefinitionGenerally relevant means:
relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
subsist
6 uses
A year earlier he'd subsisted for more than a month beside the Gulf of California on five pounds of rice and a bounty of fish caught with a cheap rod and reel, an experience that made him confident he could harvest enough food to survive an extended stay in the Alaska wilderness, too.
subsisted = survived
DefinitionGenerally subsist means:
to survive — especially without being able to manage comforts or luxuries
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
toxic
10 uses
The plant that poisoned him was not known to be toxic, indeed, he'd been safely eating its roots for weeks.
toxic = poisonous
DefinitionGenerally toxic means:
poisonous or harmful
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
tundra
5 uses
Froze to death up on the tundra.
tundra = a vast treeless plain in the northern arctic regions where the subsoil is always frozen (between the ice cap and the tree line)
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
yield   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
will yield valuable data
It may, after all, be the bad habit of creative talents to invest themselves in pathological extremes that yield remarkable insights but no durable way of life for those who cannot translate their psychic wounds into significant art or thought.
yield = produce
DefinitionGenerally this sense of yield means:
to produce (usually something wanted); or the thing or amount produced
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
yield to pressure
I aimed for another spot, and once again it glanced off unyielding diorite with a dull clank.†
unyielding = hard
DefinitionGenerally this sense of yield means:
to give in, give way, or give up
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
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