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Into Thin Air
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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aesthetic
4 uses
Like most veteran Everest guides, Groom believed that although it was acceptable—and, indeed, aesthetically preferable—to do without bottled oxygen when climbing on one's own, it would be extremely irresponsible to guide the peak without using it.
aesthetically = in consideration of beauty
DefinitionGenerally aesthetic means:
related to beauty or good taste — often referring to one's appreciation of beauty or one's sense of what is beautiful

or:

beautiful or tasteful
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
altitude
62 uses
many of those who died had been far stronger and possessed vastly more high-altitude experience than I.
altitude = elevation
DefinitionGenerally altitude means:
elevation (height) — typically above sea level or above the earth's surface

or:

(metaphorically) a desirable height
Word Statistics
Book62 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
approximate
9 uses
Everest had killed more than 130 people since the British first visited the mountain in 1921—approximately one death for every four climbers who'd reached the summit—and that many of those who died had been far stronger and possessed vastly more high-altitude experience than I.
approximately = about (but not exactly)
DefinitionGenerally approximate means:
almost, but not exact; or similar
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
atrophy
1 use
Over the weeks that followed he languished in the hospital, staring blankly at the ceiling, arms curled tightly at his sides, muscles atrophying, his weight dropping below eighty pounds.
atrophying = withered or weakened
DefinitionGenerally atrophy means:
to wither or weaken — especially from lack of use
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
correspond   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 7 uses
1  —1 use as in:
corresponding time period
Over the past half decade, the traffic on all of the Seven Summits, especially Everest, has multiplied at an astonishing rate. And to meet the demand, the number of commercial enterprises peddling guided ascents of the Seven Summits, especially Everest, has multiplied correspondingly.
correspondingly = proportionately
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspond means:
connect or fit together by being equivalent, proportionate, or matched

(Two things are equivalent if they have the same or very similar value, purpose, or result.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
corresponding by email
Much of the correspondence offered support and sympathy for those of us who had returned, but there was also an abundance of scathingly critical letters.
correspondence = written letters
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspond means:
communicate by writing letters or email
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useEpil.
Web Links
3  —4 uses as in:
foreign correspondent of the paper
The other Internet correspondent on Fischer's expedition, however, was a client who intended to go all the way to the summit and file daily dispatches for NBC Interactive Media enroute.
correspondent = reporter
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspondent means:
a reporter — typically from a foreign country or with a particular expertise
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
disdain
1 use
Given the disdain I'd expressed for Everest over the years, one might reasonably assume that I declined to go on principle.
disdain = lack of respect
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
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
disparate
1 use
We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the "ideas" with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.
disparate = very different
DefinitionGenerally disparate means:
very different — often referring to a collection of very different elements such as a group of very different people
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
engender
1 use
The crowds of novices being escorted to the top for a fee, huffed Sir Edmund, were engendering disrespect for the mountain.
engendering = causing
DefinitionGenerally engender means:
cause — usually a feeling (possibly a situation)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
establish   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 8 uses
1  —7 uses as in:
establish a positive tone
It had been established in 1973 after four members of a single Japanese trekking group succumbed to the altitude and died in the vicinity.†
established = created
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
establish that there is a need
Their best hope for getting off the mountain alive, they concluded, was to go over the top and down the well-established Southeast Ridge route, an extremely audacious plan, given the late hour, the unknown terrain, and their rapidly diminishing supply of bottled oxygen.†
established = known
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 2
Web Links
glacier
59 uses
...every now and then the trail would cross a patch of bare glacier-a translucent, frozen medium that glistened like polished onyx.
glacier = a large mass of ice that moves over land like an exceedingly slow river

(editor's note:  To see pictures, click on the Google Images link that is shown after clicking on the word link.)

Glaciers are thought of as moving very slowly and slow ones may move as little as a foot or two  a year, but there are also fast-moving glaciers that can move as much as ninety feet per day.
DefinitionGenerally glacier means:
a large mass of ice that moves over land like an exceedingly slow river
Word Statistics
Book59 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
meticulous
4 uses
To ensure success, he paid meticulous attention to detail:
meticulous = treating details with great care
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
Nepal
59 uses
Straddling the top of the world, one foot in China and the other in Nepal, I ... stared absently down at the vastness of Tibet.
Nepal = a small country high in the Himalayas between India and China
Word Statistics
Book59 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
notorious
6 uses
After leaving the summit, fifteen minutes of cautious shuffling over a 7,000-foot abyss brought me to the notorious Hillary Step,
notorious = well known for something bad (in this case being difficult to climb)
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
reprehensible
2 uses
Fairly or unfairly, to her derogators Pittman epitomized all that was reprehensible about Dick Bass's Popularization of the Seven Summits
reprehensible = bad and unacceptable
DefinitionGenerally reprehensible means:
bad and unacceptable — deserving severe criticism
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
Tibet
28 uses
The flood of Everesters therefore shifted from Nepal to Tibet, leaving hundreds of Sherpas out of work.
Tibet = an autonomous region of China; located in the Himalayas
DefinitionGenerally Tibet means:
an autonomous region of China; located in the Himalayas

or (when the Government of Tibet in Exile and the Tibetan refugee community abroad refer to Tibet):  a much larger area consisting of three traditional provinces
Word Statistics
Book28 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
transpire
4 uses
I say "probably" because of what transpired four days after Norton's summit assault.
transpired = happened
DefinitionGenerally transpire means:
to happen; or to become known
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
vertical
28 uses
At 20,500 feet, the altitude was deemed too high for safe evacuation by helicopter ... so he would have to be carried 3,000 vertical feet to Base Camp down the Khumbu Icefall,
vertical = up and down (in this case referring to the change in altitude)

(editor's note:  The distance traveled to descend 3,000 vertical feet depends upon the angle of the ground. If it is a 90 degree cliff, then the distance is 3,000 feet, but if the ground averages a 45 degree slope, then it is 6,000 feet.)
DefinitionGenerally vertical means:
oriented straight up and down (90 degrees relative to the floor)
Word Statistics
Book28 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
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