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Snow Falling on Cedars

Top-Ranked Words with Typical Sample Sentences

instructions
capricious
1 use
Nothing seems more capricious than a tornado.
capricious = unpredictable
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 useChapter 15
Web Links
condensation
1 use
She slipped on a sidewalk made wet by condensation from an air conditioner.
condensation = the process or result of becoming more dense — especially a liquid formed from a gas as when water collects on the side of a cold glass
DefinitionGenerally condensation means:
water that forms from warm air that comes in contact with a cold surface — such as the outside of a glass of ice water; or the process of the liquid forming

or:

an abridgement (shortened version of writing)

or:

anything made smaller, more compressed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
defendant
102 uses
The defendant is confident she will be found innocent.
defendant = a person (or institution) legally accused or sued in court
DefinitionGenerally defendant means:
a person or institution legally accused or sued in court
Word Statistics
Book102 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
digress
1 use
She always digresses when telling a story.
digresses = wanders from a direct course
DefinitionGenerally digress means:
wander from a direct or straight course — typically verbally
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 29
Web Links
discern
6 uses
The second picture has more pixels, but the human eye can't discern the difference.
discern = notice or see (something that is not obvious)
DefinitionGenerally discern means:
to notice or understand something — often something that is not obvious
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 22
Web Links
discord   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
discord amongst the group
There is too much discord in the team.
discord = conflict
DefinitionGenerally this sense of discord means:
conflict or disagreement — especially among those expected to cooperate

or (especially in the form discordant):

seeming different  or wrong along with everything else
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
discordant music
She described the loud discordant music as a form of torture.
discordant = unpleasant sounding
DefinitionGenerally this sense of discord means:
unpleasant sound — especially a combination of sounds that sound wrong together (though sometimes done intentionally in music)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 32
Web Links
disdain
3 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
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
dubious
2 uses
She was dubious, but agreed to come with us anyway.
dubious = doubtful; or suspicious; or full of uncertainty
DefinitionGenerally dubious means:
doubtful
in various senses, including:
  • doubtful that something should be relied upon — as in "The argument relies on a dubious assumption."
  • doubtful that something is morally proper — as in "The company is accused of using dubious sales practices to influence minors."
  • bad or of questionable value — as in "The state has the dubious distinction of the highest taxes."
  • doubtful or uncertain — as in "She is dubious about making the change."
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
eccentric
5 uses
She's a little eccentric, but we don't mind because she's the best player on the team.
eccentric = unconventional or strange
DefinitionGenerally eccentric means:
unconventional or strange; or a person with such traits
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 29
Web Links
fastidious
2 uses
She is fastidious in her work.
fastidious = careful and attentive to detail
DefinitionGenerally fastidious means:
giving careful attention to detail

or:

excessively concerned with cleanliness or matters of taste
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
incessant
3 uses
She grew annoyed by the child's incessant questions.
incessant = continuous
DefinitionGenerally incessant means:
continuous — often in an annoying way
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 16
Web Links
meticulous
4 uses
She is a meticulous researcher who takes pride in a thorough job.
meticulous = treating details with great care
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
morose
5 uses
She drank alone in the corner, looking morose.
morose = unhappy
DefinitionGenerally morose means:
unhappy — often with a withdrawn personality
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
obscure
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
it obscured my view
The stars are obscured by the clouds.
obscured = hidden or made less visible
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
to block from view or make less visible or understandable
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 26
Web Links
relevant
5 uses
Shannon tells an interesting story, but it's not relevant to the decision we have to make.
relevant = important (related in a meaningful way)
DefinitionGenerally relevant means:
relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
scrutiny
2 uses
She scrutinized her reflection in the mirror.
scrutinized = looked very carefully at

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ive" converts a word to a verb. This is the same pattern you see in words like apologize, theorize, and dramatize.)
DefinitionGenerally scrutiny means:
careful examination of something
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
vestige
4 uses
The House of Lords is a vestige of the British system of aristocracy.
vestige = remaining trace
DefinitionGenerally vestige means:
a remaining trace (little bit of something) that was previously abundant
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
yield   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —1 use as in:
will yield valuable data
The discovery could yield a more effective treatment for diabetes.
yield = produce (lead to)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of yield means:
to produce (usually something wanted); or the thing or amount produced
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
yield to pressure
The country vowed not to yield to pressure from its larger neighbors.
yield = give in
DefinitionGenerally this sense of yield means:
to give in, give way, or give up
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 22
Web Links
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