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Six Characters in Search of an Author
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Typical Sample Sentences

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acquire
3 uses
Children acquire language at an amazing rate.
acquire = obtain (come into the possession of something)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
agitate
1 use
Our goal is to agitate public unrest, so there will be a cry for change.
agitate = stir up (create or increase emotional unrest)
DefinitionGenerally agitate means:
to stir up — emotionally (such as anxiety) or physically (such as shaking)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 3
Web Links
allude
3 uses
He alluded to Susan without mentioning her name.
alluded = indirectly referenced
DefinitionGenerally allude means:
to make an indirect reference
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 2
Web Links
alternative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an alternative plan
Let's think of at least three alternatives before we decide what to do.
alternatives = possibilities
DefinitionGenerally this sense of alternative means:
something available as another possibility
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 1
Web Links
atrocious
1 use
She was alarmed by his atrocious behavior.
atrocious = exceptionally bad or cruel
DefinitionGenerally atrocious means:
exceptionally bad, cruel, or ugly
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
contempt
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
feels contempt towards her
Familiarity breeds contempt.
contempt = lack of respect
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect — often accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
contradict
4 uses
Does the sentence contradict the main claim of the essay?
contradict = disagree with
DefinitionGenerally contradict means:
disagree as in:
  • to say something is not true
  • to say something else is true when both can't be true
  • to be in conflict with
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 1
Web Links
disdain
2 uses
She tries to be polite, but cannot hide her disdain for authority.
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
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
diverse
1 use
The college wants a diverse student body.
diverse = varied — in this case consisting of a population of different kinds of people — such as different ethnic groups and genders
DefinitionGenerally diverse means:
varied (having variety amongst things of the same kind) — especially with regard to ideas or members of a population group
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 1
Web Links
establish
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
establish a positive tone
Which word choice best maintains the tone established in the first paragraph?
established = created
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useAct 1
Web Links
grave
1 use
Her smile disappeared as she suddenly realized the gravity of her situation.
gravity = seriousness or importance (weightiness)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of grave means:
serious and/or solemn

The exact meaning of this sense of grave is often subject to its context. For example:
  • "This is a grave problem," or "a situation of the utmost gravity." — important, dangerous, or causing worry
  • "She was in a grave mood upon returning from the funeral." — sad (with a heavy heart)
  • "She looked me in the eye and gravely promised." — sincere and dignified without humor
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 2
Web Links
indignant
8 uses
She was indignant, but agreed to be searched when they accused her of shoplifting.
indignant = angered or annoyed at something unjust or wrong
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 3
Web Links
irony
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
verbal irony
She was being ironic when she said she couldn't wait to see you again.
ironic = saying one thing, while meaning the opposite or something else — usually as humor or sarcasm
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
perplex
5 uses
Scientists are perplexed by the mystery.
perplexed = confused or puzzled
DefinitionGenerally perplex means:
to confuse
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
pretense
5 uses
The country maintains a pretense of a free press.
pretense = an appearance to help pretend
DefinitionGenerally pretense means:
an appearance or action to help one pretend
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
remorse
5 uses
There was no sign of remorse until the police caught her.
remorse = deep regret for doing something that was wrong
DefinitionGenerally remorse means:
a feeling of deep regret for doing something that was wrong
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
scorn
3 uses
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
scorned = treated with disrespect or disdain
DefinitionGenerally scorn means:
treat with a strong disrespect or disdain — sometimes accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAct 1
Web Links
treacherous
2 uses
The road through Afghanistan's Kabul gorge is even more treacherous than the Road of Death in Bolivia.
treacherous = dangerous
DefinitionGenerally treacherous means:
dangerous

or:

likely to betray; or guilty of betrayal
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAct 1
Web Links
vary
1 use
Your mileage may vary.
vary = be different
DefinitionGenerally vary means:
to be different, or to change
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAct 2
Web Links
wretch
3 uses
Pity the poor wretch.
wretch = someone  you feel sorry for
DefinitionGenerally wretch means:
someone  you feel sorry for

or:

a person of bad character
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAct 1
Web Links
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