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Tuesdays with Morrie

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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ambivalent
1 use
He studied my face, and perhaps he saw an ambivalence about my own choices.
ambivalence = uncertainty
DefinitionGenerally ambivalent means:
having mixed feelings about something — such as when part of you wants to do something and part of you does not
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
approach   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —1 use as in:
approached the city
When his breathing approached normal again, I cleared my throat and said I knew he was tired, so I would be back next Tuesday, and I expected him to be a little more alert, thank you.†
approached = got near
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
to get closer to (near in space, time, quantity, or quality)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library104 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 25
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
use the best approach
Morrie's approach was exactly the opposite.†
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
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
defer
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
deferred to her wishes
Often he defers to their words,
defers = submits
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
submit or yield (typically to another person's opinion because of respect for that person or their knowledge)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
demonstrate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
demonstrate to protest
Back in Detroit, the newspaper strikers were gearing up for a huge holiday demonstration, to show the solidarity of unions against management.†
demonstration = public protest or display of support

(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 this sense of demonstrate means:
a public display supporting a cause — usually joining with others in a political protest
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
detach
9 uses
Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.
detach = separate
DefinitionGenerally detach means:
to separate something from something else (physically or emotionally)
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
engender
1 use
Every birth must therefore engender a death, and every death bring forth another birth.
engender = cause
DefinitionGenerally engender means:
cause — usually a feeling (possibly a situation)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
insidious
2 uses
What ... did Morrie dread the most about his slow, insidious decay?
insidious = harmful over time
DefinitionGenerally insidious means:
not appearing dangerous, but actually very harmful over time

or:

treacherous  (dangerous due to trickery or from hidden or unpredictable risks)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
interpret
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
her interpretation of the data
You know how I always interpreted that?†
interpreted = understood (in a particular way)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of interpret means:
to understand or explain something in a particular way — often the meaning or significance of something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
lament
3 uses
In a strange way, I envied the quality of Morrie's time even as I lamented its diminishing supply.
lamented = mourned (express grief)
DefinitionGenerally lament means:
to express grief or regret
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
negative
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
had a negative effect
... I would raise my hand, as if I was going to make a negative gesture, and then I would wave and smile.†
negative = bad
DefinitionGenerally this sense of negative means:
bad or harmful
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
passage
1 use
He quoted a passage from Marcus Aurelius, something he felt strongly about.†
passage = a short part of a longer written work
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
perish
4 uses
Love each other or perish.
perish = cease to exist
DefinitionGenerally perish means:
to die — especially in an unnatural way

or:

to be destroyed or cease to exist
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
perspective
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
Keep it in perspective
The average person is so fogged up by all this, he has no perspective on what's really important anymore.
perspective = sensible view
DefinitionGenerally this sense of perspective means:
a sensible view of a situation that considers its different parts in a balanced way
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
positive   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
had a positive effect
It's more than the negative that you're going to die, it's also the positive that you understand you're going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.†
positive = good or beneficial
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
a positive attitude
I asked Morrie how he managed to stay positive through that.†
positive = optimistic
DefinitionGenerally this sense of positive means:
optimistic (expecting or focusing good things); or agreeable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
serene
5 uses
I want to die serenely.
serenely = in a manner that is calm and untroubled
DefinitionGenerally serene means:
calm and untroubled
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
syllabus
2 uses
Only a dozen or so students are there, fumbling with notebooks and syllabi.
syllabi = outlines of the topics to be studied in an academic course
DefinitionGenerally syllabus means:
an outline of the topics to be studied in an academic course

or:

in law:  a summary of findings at the beginning of the report of a decided court case
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
whimsical
1 use
Even in bronze, he had a whimsical look, and I thought this friend had sculpted a little spirit as well.
whimsical = playful
DefinitionGenerally whimsical means:
playful, amusing, or impulsive rather than seriously rational
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 23
Web Links
wither
11 uses
Because Morrie sat in the wheelchair, the camera never caught his withered legs.
withered = shriveled and weak
DefinitionGenerally wither means:
to shrivel (wrinkle and contract — usually from lack of water)

or:

to become weaker; or feel humiliated
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
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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