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The Tipping Point

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
abstract
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
abstract thought
We throw up our hands at a problem phrased in an abstract way, but have no difficulty at all solving the same problem rephrased as a social dilemma.
abstract = of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
acute   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
acute pain
It used to be an acute infection, something that most people could get treated fairly quickly before they had a chance to infect many others.
acute = severely negative
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acute means:
sharp (severe or strong) — usually negative
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
acute sense of smell
The people who didn't get a buzz from their first cigarette and who found the whole experience so awful that they never smoked again are probably people whose bodies are acutely sensitive to nicotine, incapable of handling it in even the smallest doses.
acutely = sharply (highly)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acute means:
sharp (highly perceptive in some area or mentally sharp)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
bias
4 uses
Instinctively, I think, most of us would probably assume that the causation runs in the opposite direction, that Reagan supporters are drawn to ABC because of Jennings's bias, not the other way around.
bias = a personal preference — especially a prejudice that prevents objective consideration
DefinitionGenerally bias means:
a personal preference — especially a prejudice that prevents objective consideration

or:

any tendency to move in a particular direction — such as a car that tends to want to swerve toward the right
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
candid
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
your candid opinion
It deals candidly with emotion, and, unlike other children's shows, tells children that it's okay not to be happy all of the time.
candidly = with honesty and directness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of candid means:
honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
context
47 uses
The Power of Context says that human beings are a lot more sensitive to their environment than they may seem.
context = situation or setting
DefinitionGenerally context means:
the setting or situation in which something occurs
Word Statistics
Book47 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
discord
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
discord amongst the group
...to make that new interpretation work, discordant details were leveled out,
discordant = conflicting
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 6
Web Links
disdain
1 use
The Band-Aid solution is actually the best kind of solution because it involves solving a problem with the minimum amount of effort and time and cost. We have, of course, an instinctive disdain for this kind of solution because there is something in all of us that feels that true answers to problems have to be comprehensive, that...
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
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
disparage
1 use
A critic looking at these tightly focused, targeted interventions might dismiss them as Band-Aid solutions. But that phrase should not be considered a term of disparagement. The Band-Aid is an inexpensive, convenient, and remarkably versatile solution to an astonishing array of problems.
disparagement = criticism or belittlement
DefinitionGenerally disparage means:
to criticize or make seem less important — especially in a disrespectful or contemptuous manner
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
dubious
1 use
"It's my understanding that I'm the only social scientist to have the dubious distinction of being called a 'jackass' by Peter Jennings," says Mullen.
dubious = doubtful (describing this particular distinction as bad)
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
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
empirical
1 use
"Attempted Suicide as Language: An Empirical Study," British Journal of Psychiatry
empirical = based on experience or observation rather than theory
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useE.Notes
Web Links
epidemic
178 uses
This idea of crime as an epidemic, it must be said, is a little strange.
epidemic = a widespread outbreak of a disease that is passed from one person (or other organism) to another

or more rarely:  anything that spreads quickly — especially something bad
Word Statistics
Book178 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr.
Web Links
innovate
26 uses
In the manufacturing realm, they had a hundred and fifty people, and they worked closely together and there was peer pressure about how to be the best and how to be the most innovative.
innovative = able to develop good, new ideas

(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 innovate means:
bring something new to an environment
Word Statistics
Book26 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
novel
3 uses
If you think about the world of a preschooler, they are surrounded by stuff they don't understand — things that are novel.
novel = new and original
DefinitionGenerally this sense of novel means:
new and original — typically something considered good
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
precipitate
1 use
1  —1 use
(verb) as in: it could precipitate war
The precipitating event is invariably domestic: a dispute with girlfriends or parents.
precipitating = triggering (thing that causes something else to suddenly happen)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of precipitate means:
make something happen or to fall or move — typically suddenly and often of something undesired
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
precocious
5 uses
...the most independent, precocious, rebellious teens are hardly likely to be the most susceptible to rational health advice.
precocious = behaving in a manner considered more appropriate for someone who is older
DefinitionGenerally precocious means:
early development — especially ability or maturity in a child

or more rarely:

disapproving description of a child who takes liberties usually afforded to people who are older
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
refute
1 use
All of these things are ... a refutation of the notion that the way we function and communicate and process information is straightforward and transparent.
refutation = evidence or argument that something is false

(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 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
relevant
4 uses
That's why the epidemic of suicide in Micronesia is so interesting and potentially relevant to the smoking problem.
relevant = relates in a meaningful way
DefinitionGenerally relevant means:
relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
scrutiny
3 uses
Virtually every time the show's educational value has been tested — and Sesame Street has been subject to more academic scrutiny than any television show in history — it has been proved to increase the reading and learning skills of its viewers.
scrutiny = careful look or inspection
DefinitionGenerally scrutiny means:
careful examination of something
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
ubiquitous
2 uses
The drug trade ran so rampant and gang warfare was so ubiquitous in that part of Brooklyn that most people would take to the safety of their apartment at nightfall.
ubiquitous = being present everywhere or all the time
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useIntr.
Web Links
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