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Nine Stories

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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acute   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
acute pain
The impact of this feat on the Dufarges was so acute that their hearts literally burst, and they dropped dead at the Laughing Man's feet.
acute = severely negative (sharp)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acute means:
sharp (severe or strong) — usually negative
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 4
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
acute sense of smell
She looked at me with a kind of fresh acuteness.
acuteness = sharpness (perceptiveness and/or intelligence)

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means the quality of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acute means:
sharp (highly perceptive in some area or mentally sharp)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 6
Web Links
advocate
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
to advocate
I advocate no doctrine; it is not my nature to do so.
advocate = recommend or publicly support
DefinitionGenerally this sense of advocate means:
to recommend or publicly support (someone or something)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useStory 8
Web Links
aesthetic
1 use
His hands were large. They looked neither strong nor competent nor sensitive. Yet he used them as if they had some not easily controllable aesthetic drive of their own.
aesthetic = sense 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
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useStory 3
Web Links
ascetic
1 use
Most of it he contributed anonymously to the monks of a local monastery—humble ascetics who had dedicated their lives to raising German police dogs.
ascetics = someone who practices self-denial (often to encourage spiritual growth)
DefinitionGenerally ascetic means:
someone who practices self-denial (often to encourage spiritual growth); or relating to such self-denial

or:

severely plain (without decoration)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 4
Web Links
candid
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
your candid opinion
To be quite candid, Father really needed more of an intellectual companion than Mother was.
candid = honest and straightforward
DefinitionGenerally this sense of candid means:
honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useStory 6
Web Links
capricious
1 use
Sometimes, however, possibly when my Muse was being capricious, I set aside my paints and drew cartoons.
capricious = impulsive
DefinitionGenerally capricious means:
impulsive or unpredictable or tending to make sudden changes — especially impulsive behavior
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 8
Web Links
censure
1 use
...and I was convinced that every passer-by was giving me a second, basically censorious look.
censorious = highly critical
DefinitionGenerally censure means:
harsh criticism; or formal criticism from an organization — such as the U.S. Senate
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 8
Web Links
decorum
1 use
decorously tucked in his shirt
decorously = with manners and conduct considered to be proper and in good taste
DefinitionGenerally decorum means:
manners and conduct considered to be proper and in good taste
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 5
Web Links
deference
1 use
When the phone rang, the gray-haired man asked the girl, with quite some little deference, if she would rather for any reason he didn't answer it.
deference = polite respect
DefinitionGenerally deference means:
polite respect — often when submitting to another's wishes
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useStory 7
Web Links
depravity
1 use
Her eyes sparkled with depravity.
depravity = immorality or evilness
DefinitionGenerally depravity means:
complete immorality or evilness
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 8
Web Links
dispassionate
1 use
"I know your sister," he said dispassionately.
dispassionately = without emotion
DefinitionGenerally dispassionate means:
unaffected by strong emotion or bias
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 3
Web Links
dispose
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
disposed the troops along...
I hope you will consider me entirely at your disposal as long as you are a student at Les Amis Des Vieux Maitres.†
disposal = command

(editor's note:  When something is "at someone's disposal" it is "at their command," or "available for their use." They can use it as they please.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispose means:
the arrangement, positioning, or use of things
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useStory 8
Web Links
forbearance
1 use
The gray-haired man turned his head again toward the girl, perhaps to show her how forbearing, even stoic, his countenance was.
forbearing = tolerant and self-controlled
DefinitionGenerally forbearance means:
refraining (holding back) from acting

or:

patience, tolerance, or self-control
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 7
Web Links
incessant
3 uses
Either in spite, or because, of his silence, I talked incessantly,
incessantly = continuously
DefinitionGenerally incessant means:
continuous — often in an annoying way
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 6
Web Links
laconic
1 use
I was hostile and laconic throughout dinner.
laconic = used few words
DefinitionGenerally laconic means:
using few words
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 8
Web Links
perfunctory
2 uses
Teddy perfunctorily gave his mother a kiss on the cheek.
perfunctorily = without much interest or effort
DefinitionGenerally perfunctory means:
done without much interest or effort — especially as when dispensing with a formality
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 9
Web Links
superficial
1 use
My mother was quite a passionate woman. She was an extrovert. Father was an introvert. They were quite well mated, though, in a superficial way. To be quite candid, Father really needed more of an intellectual companion than Mother was. He was an extremely gifted genius.
superficial = relating to a surface rather than to anything deep or penetrating
DefinitionGenerally superficial means:
relating to a surface rather than to anything deep or penetrating (often of injuries or thinking)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useStory 6
Web Links
trifle
13 uses
1  —13 uses as in:
a trifling matter
The substance of it seemed to me a trifle thin,
trifle = just a little (a small quantity)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of trifle means:
something of small importance; or a small quantity
Word Statistics
Book13 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 3
Web Links
vivacious
2 uses
We began to exchange vivacious smiles when we bumped into each other on the threshold of the bathroom.
vivacious = lively and engaging
DefinitionGenerally vivacious means:
having an engaging liveliness — when said of a person, typically said of a female
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useStory 8
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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