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Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
adjacent
3 uses
Please join us in a few minutes, at one o'clock, when Jenny will perform her newest single, 'Becalmed,' in the Kopf's Cafe, located adjacent to the men's department.
adjacent = near (probably right beside)
DefinitionGenerally adjacent means:
very near — often directly beside
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
aesthetic
1 use
"I'm not much for car upkeep simply for aesthetics' sake," he said.
aesthetics = beauty or good taste
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 12
Web Links
approach
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
use the best approach
"Dr. Hammond," my mom said, and this time, Whitney rolled her eyes at his name, "says that this woman, Moira Bell, has had great success with many of his patients because she takes a different approach."
approach = route (way to achieving 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 4
Web Links
attribute
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
I attribute it to...
If I'd been paying more attention, maybe I would have seen what was happening. As it was, though, I just attributed it to us all getting used to one another, and figured everything would work out eventually-at least until that night in early July.
attributed = credited (pointed to as the cause of)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of attribute means:
to credit (a source for something)
in two typical senses:
  • "I attribute it to her work." — to say who or what made something happen
  • "Remember to attribute any quotations in your paper." — indicate the source of a quotation or idea
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
belittle
1 use
You just knew, by the expression on her face, the steely narrowing of her eyes, the heavy, enunciated sighs that could be so belittling that words, any words, seemed preferable to them.
belittling = making someone or something seem less important
DefinitionGenerally belittle means:
to make someone or something seem less important
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
capitulate
1 use
Usually he capitulated, allowing himself to be outvoted,
capitulated = stopped resisting
DefinitionGenerally capitulate means:
to stop resisting something — such as surrendering to someone else's decision or accepting a military defeat
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
dubious
2 uses
"Just give him some," my mom said. "He'll like it."
My dad looked dubious, though, as Whitney picked up a spoon, putting some onto his plate.
dubious = doubtful
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
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
enlightened
8 uses
"I'm playing music for people who are-"
"Enlightened, we know," Mallory said, rolling her eyes.
enlightened = having important knowledge or understanding
DefinitionGenerally enlightened means:
having or receiving important knowledge or understanding — (sometimes a spiritual belief)

or:

free of false beliefs based on superstition or prejudice
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
extricate
1 use
It took us twenty minutes to extricate ourselves, at which point I left Emily with some girls she knew and finally went looking for Sophie.
extricate = free
DefinitionGenerally extricate means:
free or remove from constraint or difficulty
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
grave
1 use
Mallory looked at me then, her expression grave.
grave = serious and solemn
DefinitionGenerally this sense of grave means:
serious and/or solemn
The exact meaning of this sense of grave can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "This is a grave problem," or "a situation of the utmost gravity." — important, dangerous, or causing worry
  • "She was in a grave mood upon returning from the funeral." — sad or solemn
  • "She looked me in the eye and gravely promised." — in a sincere and serious manner
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
impede
1 use
She was smiling big and coming toward me at a fast clip, her progress impeded somewhat by the poster, CD, and camera she was carrying.
impeded = slowed (made more difficult)
DefinitionGenerally impede means:
create difficulty so as to slow or prevent (something)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
innovate
2 uses
"Melisma," Owen said after a moment, "is innovative and textured."
innovative = new and different

(editor's note:  Wikipedia describes melisma as "the singing of a single syllable of text while moving between several different notes in succession. Music sung in this style is referred to as melismatic, as opposed to syllabic, where each syllable of text is matched to a single note.")
DefinitionGenerally innovate means:
bring something new to an environment
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
lithe
2 uses
I remembered how we'd followed the photographer, a tall, lithe man whose name I forgot, out across the sand to the jetty.
lithe = thin with flexibility and grace of movement
DefinitionGenerally lithe means:
a graceful, flexible body — often implying thinness

or:

graceful, flexible body movement
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
orthodox
2 uses
Her methods are really unorthodox.
unorthodox = unusual (describing thinking or behavior as uncommon or nontraditional)

(editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in unorthodox means not and reverses the meaning of orthodox. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
DefinitionGenerally orthodox means:
normal (describing thinking or behavior as commonly or traditionally accepted)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
petulant
2 uses
I knew I was being difficult, not to mention petulant.
petulant = unreasonably annoyed or upset
DefinitionGenerally petulant means:
unreasonably annoyed or upset

or:

easily annoyed or upset
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
profound
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
profound idea
Here I'd thought this gesture was so deep, so profound, and it was just... a mistake.
profound = deep or far-reaching in intellect or consequence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
reciprocate
1 use
She was also in full-on flirt mode with Michael, who seemed more than happy to reciprocate.
reciprocate = do the same in response
DefinitionGenerally reciprocate means:
to give in return — such as invitations, gifts, actions, or feelings
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
scrutiny
3 uses
I'd endured a lot of scrutiny since the beginning of the school year.
scrutiny = careful looks or inspection
DefinitionGenerally scrutiny means:
careful examination of something
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
somber
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a somber mood
He nodded somberly, just as he had earlier in the car.
somberly = solemnly (in a manner that is serious—not cheerful or lighthearted)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of somber means:
serious and without humor or fun — perhaps sad
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
tentative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
said it tentatively
He waved at me, and I waved back, tentatively,
tentatively = uncertainly — indicating a lack of confidence
DefinitionGenerally this sense of tentative means:
done in a careful or unsure way (indicating a lack of confidence in exactly what will happen)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
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