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Into Thin Air

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
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
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
ambivalent
2 uses
Although she expressed some ambivalence about the invitation in a letter to Fischer in January, Hunt ultimately accepted the unpaid job and arrived in Nepal at the end of March, eager to contribute to the expedition's success.
ambivalence = mixed feelings
DefinitionGenerally ambivalent means:
having mixed feelings about something — such as when part of you wants to do something and part of you does not
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 8
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
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
ascend
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
ascend the mountain
I dreamed of ascending Everest myself one day;
ascending = climbing up
DefinitionGenerally this sense of ascend means:
to move or slope upward — sometimes figuratively as when climbing the corporate ladder
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
candid
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
your candid opinion
He candidly explained that it wasn't me he was actually interested in
candidly = with honesty and directness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of candid means:
honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 6
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
Library7 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
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
descend
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
descend the mountain
...to get there I would have to descend the most exposed terrain on the entire route without the benefit of supplemental oxygen.
descend = climb down
DefinitionGenerally this sense of descend means:
move or slope downward
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
establish   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 7 uses
1  —6 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
Book6 uses
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
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
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
immutable
2 uses
Mountaineering, she understood, was an essential expression of some odd immutable aspect of my personality that I could no sooner alter than change the color of my eyes.
immutable = unchangeable
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
lilt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an Irish lilt
Andy was a large man, over six feet tall and 200 pounds, who spoke with a sharp Kiwi lilt;†
lilt = accent
DefinitionGenerally this sense of lilt means:
a way of speaking, singing, or making music — typically cheerful, lively or pleasing — sometimes with the pitch of the voice rising and falling
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 16
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
Library9 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 — deserving severe criticism
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
speculate
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
don't know, but I'll speculate
Speculation was rampant that Messner and Habeler had sucked oxygen from miniature cylinders hidden in their clothing.
speculation = guesses or theories

(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 speculate means:
to think about, wonder, guess or theorize with much uncertainty
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
strata
2 uses
Late in the day on their summit push, the two Americans climbed a stratum of steep, crumbly rock-the infamous Yellow Band.
stratum = layer

(editor's note:  Strata, the plural form of this word is used much more commonly than the singular form. Many Latin words that end in "um" are made plural by changing the "um" to "a"—such as stratum to strata, bacterium to bacteria, and millennium to millennia. In modern writing, changing the "um" to "ums" is also accepted for many Latin words ending in um, but not for any of those listed above.)
DefinitionGenerally strata means:
layers

or:

levels, classes, or groups into which people or other things are divided
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
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
venerate
2 uses
Rob wanted to make a public statement to defend himself, but he realized that going up against such a venerated figure in the media was a no-win situation.
venerated = respected and revered
DefinitionGenerally venerate means:
regard with feelings of respect and reverence
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
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