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approach   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 6 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
approached the city
The VOR is a beacon that sends out a signal that allows pilots to calculate their altitude as they approach an airport.†
approach = get near
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
to get closer to (near in space, time, quantity, or quality)
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library104 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
use the best approach
As the plane came in on its final approach, the pilots encountered severe wind shear.†
approach = route (way to get somewhere)
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 7
Web Links
consequence   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 8 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
a direct consequence of
The long summer vacation, a peculiar and distinctive American legacy that has had profound consequences for the learning patterns of the students of the present day.
consequences = effects (results)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
a result of something (often an undesired side effect)
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library28 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
of little consequence
But these exact same biases also show up in areas of much more consequence, like education.
consequence = importance
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
importance or relevance
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
contrast
11 uses
1  —11 uses as in:
contrast their writing styles
In fact, by the age of twenty, the elite performers had each totaled ten thousand hours of practice. By contrast, the merely good students had totaled eight thousand hours, and the future music teachers had totaled just over four thousand hours.
by contrast = in a comparison that shows differences
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
point to differences between; or compare to show differences
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
cultivate
16 uses
A mind must be cultivated.
cultivated = helped to develop (grow)
DefinitionGenerally cultivate means:
enhance growth or development
in various senses, including:
  • to grow crops or prepare land for them
  • enhance a relationship — especially for a purpose
  • develop discernment (better recognition of differences) in taste or judgment
  • to grow a culture in a petri dish
Word Statistics
Book16 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
direct   (5 meanings)
5 meanings, 9 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
Instead, Lakeside installed what was called an ASR-33 Teletype, which was a time-sharing terminal with a direct link to a mainframe computer in downtown Seattle.†
direct = straight (without anything in between)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straight (exactly where stated); or without involvement of anything in between
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "The road runs directly to Las Vegas." — straight (without varying from a straight line)
  • "It was a direct hit." — exact
  • "The plant is in direct sunlight." — unobstructed (without anything in between)
  • "She wants a direct meeting with him." — personal (without other people in between)
  • "She paid direct attention to what he was reading." — close
  • "a direct gaze" — straight, steady, or focused—not a brief glance taken while generally looking at other things; not a sideways look
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library62 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
was direct in my instructions
That's the most direct and explicit way of making a point imaginable.†
direct = straightforward (specific and clear)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straightforward (uncomplicated or simple — perhaps also indicating openness and honesty)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
directed her question to
They persist, generation after generation, virtually intact, even as the economic and social and demographic conditions that spawned them have vanished, and they play such a role in directing attitudes and behavior that we cannot make sense of our world without them.†
directing = guiding
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
to indicate direction; or to cause movement or focus in a direction or towards an object
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "intentionally directed fire at unarmed civilians" — aimed a gun
  • "directed the question to her" — aimed a question
  • "directed her north" — pointed in a particular direction
  • "directed attention to the 3rd paragraph" — focused attention on a particular object
  • "The sound of her voice directed him to the kitchen." — guided or gave directions to someone to help them move to a particular place
  • "She directed him to the airport." — gave directions to send someone to a particular place
  • "She directed the boat north." — steered it
  • "directed the letter to" — send a letter to a particular person by putting a name and address on it
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library36 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
4  —1 use as in:
directed the jury to...
They don't wait for someone to direct them.†
direct = instruct
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
give instructions or commands
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
5  —2 uses as in:
directed the movie
We sue for mismanagement by the directors, for unpaid dividends, for violation of the bylaws, for improper issuance of stock.†
directors = members of a board that oversees the affairs of a corporation or other institution
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
supervise, control, or to be in charge of
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library29 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
illustrate
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
as illustrated by this example
But the Renee tape is one of his favorites because of how beautifully it illustrates what he considers to be the secret to learning mathematics.†
illustrates = helps make clear
DefinitionGenerally this sense of illustrate means:
to help make clear — typically by example
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
mitigate
16 uses
The term used by linguists to describe what Klotz was engaging in in that moment is "mitigated speech," which refers to any attempt to downplay or sugarcoat the meaning of what is being said.
mitigated = reduced in harm or unpleasantness
DefinitionGenerally mitigate means:
make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Book16 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
pauper
1 use
One year later 1,500 lawyers were prepared to take the pauper's oath to qualify for work relief.
pauper = someone who is very poor
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
pernicious
1 use
Similarly, the pioneer of public education in Massachusetts, Horace Mann, believed that working students too hard would create a "most pernicious influence upon character and habits. Not infrequently is health itself destroyed by over-stimulating the mind."
pernicious = harmful
DefinitionGenerally pernicious means:
harmful or something spreading harm — especially in a gradual or subtle way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
refute
1 use
Lynn's claim that Asians have higher IQs has been refuted, convincingly, by a number of other experts, who showed that he based his argument on IQ samples drawn disproportionately from urban, upper-income homes.
refuted = argued as wrong
DefinitionGenerally refute means:
to disprove or argue against
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
remedial
1 use
She was a horrible math student in fifth grade. She cried every Saturday when we did remedial stuff.
remedial = intended to fix a deficiency in education

(editor's note:  In this case, the deficiency was in math; though Gladwell goes on to explain that she overcame the weakness by devoting much more time to her education. She was an accounting major in college when the book was written.)
DefinitionGenerally remedial means:
intended to remedy (fix) — especially a deficiency in education or health
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
ubiquitous
1 use
A physically immature basketball player in an American city can probably play as many hours of basketball in a given year
as a relatively older child because there are so many basketball courts and so many people willing to play.
It's not like ice hockey, where you need a rink. Basketball is saved by its accessibility and ubiquity.
ubiquity = being present everywhere
DefinitionGenerally ubiquitous means:
being present everywhere or all the time
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
virulent
1 use
...the consensus appears to be that that region was plagued by a particularly virulent strain of what sociologists call a "culture of honor."
virulent = very bad
DefinitionGenerally virulent means:
of disease:  very bad — perhaps very contagious

or

harsh or hateful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
yield
6 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
will yield valuable data
Getting it close to level but not quite right makes a big difference in terms of your yield.†
yield = amount produced
DefinitionGenerally this sense of yield means:
to produce (usually something wanted); or the thing or amount produced
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
unquizzed meaning  —1 use
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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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