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The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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aesthetic
1 use
It looked directly onto the gray backs of three stone warehouses, the windows of which were drawn, for aesthetic reasons, in creosote.
aesthetic = attractiveness

(editor's note: In this context, creosote can be thought of as a type of paint.)
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 useChapter 3
Web Links
austere
1 use
Austerity pleased her—it gave her the comfort of sacrifice.
austerity = a notable absence of luxury, comfort, or decoration
DefinitionGenerally austere means:
a notable absence of luxury, comfort, or decoration

or:

of a person:  stern in manner; or practicing great self-denial
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
benevolent
3 uses
I mean you can't be less ruthless than the opposition simply because your government's "policy" is benevolent
benevolent = kind
DefinitionGenerally benevolent means:
kind, generous, or charitable
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
clandestine
3 uses
Comrade Mundt made a clandestine journey to Finland—once more allegedly in the interests of the Abteilung.
clandestine = done with hidden aims
DefinitionGenerally clandestine means:
secret; or conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
collaborate
8 uses
The People's Prosecutor, in collaboration with Comrade Mundt, will no doubt consider what action is to be taken against...
collaboration = the act of working together

(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 collaborate means:
work together on a common enterprise or project

or more rarely and especially in the form collaborator:  cooperate with the enemy as a traitor
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 23
Web Links
complacent
3 uses
"The workers are starving in England," she declared complacently.
complacently = without concern (contented)
DefinitionGenerally complacent means:
contented (unworried and satisfied) — often to a fault
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
conciliatory
2 uses
Ashe attempted some conciliatory remark and he just shrugged irritably.
conciliatory = intended to end bad feelings
DefinitionGenerally conciliatory means:
intended to end bad feelings or build trust
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
contempt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
feels contempt towards her
marked his file for review at the end of every year—stubborn, willful, contemptuous of instruction,
contemptuous = disrespectful
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect for someone or something thought inferior — often accompanied by a feeling of dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
cursory
1 use
As they walked side by side, Peters and he, along the interminable corridors, through the cursory customs and immigration check,
cursory = quick (without attention to detail)
DefinitionGenerally cursory means:
quick—not thorough (without attention to detail)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
diffident
2 uses
He talked quietly and easily, with a diffidence which Leamas had never seen in him before.
diffidence = hesitancy and unassertiveness — apparently due to a lack of self-confidence
DefinitionGenerally diffident means:
hesitant and unassertive — often due to a lack of self-confidence
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
diligent
2 uses
He performed this task well, and there is no reason to suppose that at that time he was other than a diligent member of his Department.
diligent = hard working
DefinitionGenerally this sense of diligent means:
hard work and care in tasks — often continuing when others might quit because of difficulties
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
discern
7 uses
Vainly he tried to discern the figure that must be standing in the doorway, but there was no light
discern = see (something that is hard to see)
DefinitionGenerally discern means:
to notice or understand something — often something that is not obvious
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
expedient
2 uses
it is expedient that one man should die for the benefit of many
expedient = an action that is practical
DefinitionGenerally expedient means:
a practical action — especially one that accepts negative tradeoffs due to circumstances

or:

convenient, speedy, or practical
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 25
Web Links
Holland
11 uses
I knew Holland well ... I'd lived there for nine years.
Holland = Informal reference to The Netherlands (confusion arises because important provinces in The Netherlands are North Holland and South Holland).
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
mitigate
1 use
On the other hand, there could be mitigation in your case.
mitigation = reduction in harm or unpleasantness

(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 mitigate means:
make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
perfunctory
4 uses
The young Dutch officer gave a perfunctory glance at their luggage and passports and announced in awkward, throaty English, "I hope you have a pleasant stay in the Netherlands."
perfunctory = done without much interest or effort
DefinitionGenerally perfunctory means:
done without much interest or effort — especially as when dispensing with a formality
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
persist
12 uses
But the rumors persisted.
persisted = continued
DefinitionGenerally persist means:
to continue — often despite difficulty
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
refute
1 use
...would go down in the record and it would be a brave man who set himself to refute it.
refute = argue against
DefinitionGenerally refute means:
to disprove or argue against
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
sentry
14 uses
There was still the lonely sentry on the bridge, and he had turned and was watching Karl.
sentry = someone who stands guard
Word Statistics
Book14 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
socialism
9 uses
This is a grand opportunity for our comrades to profit from the experiences of a young socialist system.
socialist = a person who wants an economic system based on government ownership or control of all important companies — with the ideal of equal benefits to all people
DefinitionGenerally socialism means:
an economic system based on government ownership or control of all important companies — with the ideal of equal benefits to all people
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
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