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Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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abrupt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an abrupt change
Abruptly he looked like someone she'd want to link hands with, laugh with.
abruptly = suddenly and unexpectedly
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abrupt means:
sudden and unexpected
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.2
Web Links
alleviate
2 uses
Sarah served, carrying on a babbling conversation which alleviated the need for either adult to speak to the other.
alleviated = to lessen something that is bad — especially pain
DefinitionGenerally alleviate means:
to lessen something that is bad — especially to lessen pain
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.12
Web Links
approach
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
use the best approach
Tipping back her glass, Lee decided to try a more direct approach.†
approach = technique (way of doing something)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
a way of doing something; or a route that leads to a particular place
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1.3
Web Links
arrogant
6 uses
As she watched him walk to the desk, she felt an aura of cool confidence from him and traces, very subtle traces, of arrogance.
arrogance = a sense of superiority
DefinitionGenerally arrogant means:
having an excessive sense of superiority
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
auspicious
1 use
It wasn't an auspicious way to begin a war.
auspicious = favorable; or suggestive of good things to come
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.6
Web Links
candid   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
your candid opinion
He'd learned long ago that candor can jump back on you with teeth.
candor = direct honesty
DefinitionGenerally this sense of candid means:
honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2.6
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
a candid photograph
Because they were so involved with each other, Bryan was able to take some candid shots before the paperwork on the rental was completed.†
candid = unposed
DefinitionGenerally this sense of candid means:
unposed — typically said of a photograph
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2.4
Web Links
deliberate   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
deliberate insult
She stretched out on her back again, deliberately kicking water up and over him.
deliberately = intentionally
DefinitionGenerally this sense of deliberate means:
to do something intentionally (do it on purpose)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.4
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
a deliberate thinker
Lee looked over the prints in her precise, deliberate way.
deliberate = careful and slow
DefinitionGenerally this sense of deliberate means:
done with great care — often slowly
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.5
Web Links
dogged
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
dogged by problems
I won't have her childhood disturbed by photographers dogging her at soccer games or hanging from trees at school picnics.
dogging = following; or persistently annoying
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dogged means:
followed; or persistently annoyed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.10
Web Links
evade
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
evade the question
Though he was cannily evasive on personal details, she was gathering information.
evasive = tending to avoid answering questions candidly (with direct answers)

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ive" converts a word into an adjective; though over time, what was originally an adjective often comes to be used as a noun. The adjective pattern means tending to and is seen in words like attractive, impressive, and supportive. Examples of the noun include narrative, alternative, and detective.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of evade means:
to avoid or try to avoid either a responsibility or telling the whole truth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.7
Web Links
fastidious
2 uses
No one ever saw her without the defensive shield of grooming, but she knew what was beneath the fastidiousness and gloss.
fastidiousness = excessively concerned with cleanliness or matters of taste

(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 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 1.4
Web Links
guile
1 use
She slanted her father a guileless smile.
guileless = sincere — without cunning (shrewdness, cleverness) or deceit

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-less" in guileless means without. This is the same pattern you see in words like fearless, homeless, and endless.)
DefinitionGenerally guile means:
cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceitful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.11
Web Links
meticulous
11 uses
Her makeup had been meticulously applied that morning, down to the dusky blue shadow that matched her eyes.
meticulously = in a manner treating details with great care
DefinitionGenerally meticulous means:
treating details with great care
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
muse
33 uses
1  —33 uses as in:
her musings
Not Shade's usual style, she mused...
mused = thought
DefinitionGenerally this sense of muse means:
reflect (think) deeply on a subject — perhaps aloud
Word Statistics
Book33 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.1
Web Links
ostentatious
1 use
She made her living recording the elite, the glamorous, the ostentatious, yet she seemed to have no pretensions.
ostentatious = (those who) try to attract notice and impress others
DefinitionGenerally ostentatious means:
intended to attract notice and impress others — especially with wealth in a vulgar way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.2
Web Links
resignation   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
submitted her resignation
Since resigning from the staff of Celebrity, Bryan found her work load hadn't eased.
resigning = quitting
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resignation means:
to quit — especially a job or position; or a document expressing such an act
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 2.2
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
accepted it with resignation
She stuck a hand in one boot and found the inside damp. resigned, she hunted for her sneakers.
resigned = having accepted something undesirable as the lesser of evils
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resignation means:
acceptance of something undesired as unavoidable or the lesser of evils
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 1.8
Web Links
subtle
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a subtle difference or thinker
That he has a sense of humor that's often so subtle it takes you hours to catch up.
subtle = understated so it is hard to notice or understand (perhaps requiring an understanding of find distinctions)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
not obvious, but understandable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps depending upon fine distinctions)

or:

capable of understanding things that require sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps understanding fine distinctions)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1.10
Web Links
tangible
6 uses
Hunter explored the darkest nightmares of the human mind and, with cool precision, made them tangible.
tangible = easily understood
DefinitionGenerally tangible means:
capable of being touched, or easily understood so there is no question of its value or reality
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st usePro.
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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