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Dreamland

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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anecdote
1 use
We traded stupid family anecdotes, like the time when Cass almost burned down the house with her Easy-Bake Oven, or when my father drank a huge glass of clam juice, thinking it was lemonade.
anecdotes = short, true stories
DefinitionGenerally anecdote means:
a short story that is true — often told for amusement or to make a point
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
corroborate
1 use
Mike looked around the room, as if he might see something to corroborate this, like icicles or penguins.
corroborate = support with additional evidence
DefinitionGenerally corroborate means:
to support an opinion — typically with additional evidence or testimony
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
eccentric
1 use
It captured the closeness and eccentricity about them that I loved—two people, so alike, caught in a crazy moment of their own making.
eccentricity = unconventional behavior
DefinitionGenerally eccentric means:
unconventional or strange; or a person with such traits
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
ecstatic
3 uses
My parents were ecstatic and threw a party to celebrate.
ecstatic = feeling intense happiness and excitement
DefinitionGenerally ecstatic means:
feeling intense happiness and excitement (as when in a state of ecstasy)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
elaborate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
elaborate on your plan
He didn't elaborate.
elaborate = add details
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elaborate means:
add details or explain in detail
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
embellish
1 use
We had just heard the story recounted so many times over the years that it was easy to take the details and fold them into our own sparse memories, embellishing here or there to fill in the blanks.
embellishing = making something more attractive or interesting by adding to it
DefinitionGenerally embellish means:
make something more attractive or interesting by adding to it
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
exasperated
3 uses
"The check bounced last week."
 "I thought we had it covered."
 "We would have if you hadn't taken the money out," she said, exasperated.
exasperated = greatly annoyed
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
hierarchy
1 use
...she still had to divide her food into tiny little piles-a hierarchy I didn't quite understand involving color and consistency
hierarchy = a ranking — typically by importance; or something with such a ranking — such as an organization of people
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
incredulous
1 use
"That was him you were talking about?" Kelly said incredulously.
incredulously = with difficulty accepting something so unexpected
DefinitionGenerally incredulous means:
unbelieving; or having difficulty accepting something so unexpected
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
intervene
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
intervened in the war
"There was a vote today, and everyone but me was in favor of a confrontation about your level of serious commitment to the school and the squad."
... A cheerleading intervention. Just what I needed.
intervention = unwelcome involvement

(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 intervene means:
get involved; or come between
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
mosaic
3 uses
Then again, and again, tearing the pieces down until they grew smaller and smaller, tiny bits like the stones of a crazy mosaic.
mosaic = art consisting of a design made of many pieces of colored material such as stone or tile
DefinitionGenerally mosaic means:
art consisting of a design made of many pieces of colored material such as stone or tile

or more rarely:

anything made of many differing parts of equal importance, but varying appearance
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
nuance
1 use
I learned them carefully, aware of every nuance in their expressions.
nuance = subtle difference
DefinitionGenerally nuance means:
a subtle difference  (a minor difference not obvious or important to most people)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
oblivious
3 uses
I hated the girl I saw there, and she didn't even care, didn't know, just staring out, oblivious.
oblivious = unaware
DefinitionGenerally oblivious means:
unaware of
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
rancid
1 use
To the college guys in the dorm room with ... and the couch that smelled like rancid beer.
rancid = a state of decomposition that smells bad
DefinitionGenerally rancid means:
bad — most directly referring to the smell of oils or fats that have decomposed because they are not fresh enough, but metaphorically the word can refer to anything considered bad
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
rectify
1 use
She never talked about it again, instead just focusing on the next season, when she rectified the loss by scoring the only two goals of the championship game.
rectified = made up for
DefinitionGenerally this sense of rectify means:
correct, fix, or make right
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
speculate
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
don't know, but I'll speculate
And there's been some speculation that you may ... have some kind of problem.
speculation = thought and guesses (without certainty)

(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 speculate means:
to think about, wonder, guess or theorize with much uncertainty
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
spontaneous
1 use
Outside, Wade was directing everyone to breathe and do a personal movement, something spontaneous.
spontaneous = instinctive (arising from within without a lot of planning)
DefinitionGenerally spontaneous means:
behaving in an instinctive, uninhibited manner

or:

happening naturally (without planning or external force)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
subtle   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
a subtle shade of blue
"Ouch," I said, trying to be subtle in taking a glance at my watch:  five minutes had passed.
subtle = understated (not obvious so it wouldn't be noticed)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
understated so as not to draw attention to itself
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
a subtle difference or thinker
I'd only known Rogerson for three months, but I could recognize instantly the subtle signs of him growing irritated:
subtle = slightly noticeable
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
not obvious, but understandable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps depending upon fine distinctions)

or:

capable of understanding things that require sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps understanding fine distinctions)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
tentative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
said it tentatively
I'd finally loaded my camera and tentatively taken a few pictures, just objects and still lifes, no faces yet.
tentatively = in an unsure or hesitant manner
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 14
Web Links
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