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This Lullaby

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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analytical
1 use
It seemed surreal to be discussing the previous night in such analytical terms, as if it had happened to someone else and we were just off to the side, doing the play-by-play.†
analytical = relating to logical examination to improve understanding
DefinitionGenerally analytical means:
relating to logical and systematic examination of something to better understand it — often implying some kind of quantitative analysis
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
commotion
5 uses
That was Adrian, the bouncer, too late as usual for the real commotion but always up for a chance to throw his little bit of power around.†
commotion = noisy disturbance
DefinitionGenerally commotion means:
a disturbance — typically noisy
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
context
1 use
All around me the crowd was singing along to the song, one they'd heard all their lives too, but never quite in the context that I had.†
context = the setting or situation in which something occurs
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
defer
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
deferred the decision
I might not even go to school anyway. I might defer and join the Peace Corps and...
defer = postpone (in this case, going to school)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
delay or postpone (hold off until a later time)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
dispute
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
She disputes his claim.
I am new to this, I'm not disputing that.
disputing = disagreeing with (or arguing about)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
challenge, argue about, or fight over
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 16
Web Links
dubious
1 use
Brock Dobbin seemed to have disappeared entirely, but I found him on page374, in a Mexican prison, where he was facing dubious charges of trafficking drugs and falling for the charms of a local beggar girl named Carmelita.†
dubious = doubtful; or suspicious; or full of uncertainty — sometimes to indicate that something described as good is actually 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 13
Web Links
duplicity
1 use
I was so mad at Dexter for showing me the picture, and as I drove I wondered why I'd never seen this duplicitous, petty, evil side of him.
duplicitous = deceptive (lying to or misleading others)
DefinitionGenerally duplicity means:
deception (lying to or misleading others) — usually over an extended period
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
enable
1 use
"Do you think I enjoy repeated phone calls from Chloe telling how if you're dead or something it's my fault because, obviously, I was supposed to have some kind of psychic connection that would enable me to know I was supposed to pick you up without the benefit of a phone call?"†
enable = make possible
DefinitionGenerally enable means:
to make possible
in various senses, including:
  • to give someone the ability, knowledge, or authority to do something — as in "The study will enable an informed discussion."
  • to activate a computer system for use — as in "You can enable the feature in the Settings Page."
  • to permit someone to repeat bad behavior, so they reinforce the bad pattern — as in "I don't want to enable her drug addiction."
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
grave
1 use
She nodded gravely, putting the Ensure down on the counter.†
gravely = in a serious and solemn manner
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 14
Web Links
incredulous
5 uses
I looked up at him, still incredulous.†
incredulous = unbelieving; or having difficulty accepting something so unexpected
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
irony
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
situational irony
When I got home later that night I realized, irony of ironies, that I was locked out.
ironies = things that are very different than what might be expected
DefinitionGenerally this sense of irony means:
when what happens is very different than what might be expected; or when things are together that seem like they don't belong together — especially when amusing or an entertaining coincidence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
motivation
2 uses
Her true motivation, however, was that my mother owed her publisher a novel, and everyone was starting to get a little antsy about it.†
motivation = the reason for doing something; or the level of desire to do something
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 3
nostalgia
4 uses
To them it was just old and sappy enough now to be nostalgic, a song their parents might have listened to.†
nostalgic = with a longing for something past
DefinitionGenerally nostalgia means:
happiness that come with the memory of good times combined with a hint of sadness that those times are over
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
optimistic
1 use
He'd always had that fearless optimism that made cynics like me squirm.†
optimism = a tendency to expect and see the best in all things
DefinitionGenerally optimistic means:
expecting the best; or focusing on the good part of things
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 16
Web Links
precede
1 use
"I bet," Dexter said suddenly, in the voice I later would come to recognize as the one that always preceded a challenge, deep and game show host-like, "that you can't eat ten bananas."†
preceded = went or was before
DefinitionGenerally precede means:
to go or do before
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
rebuttal
1 use
As if he was beating me to the punch, his words living forever, while I was left speechless, no rebuttal, no words left to say.
rebuttal = argument in opposition
DefinitionGenerally rebuttal means:
a statement arguing against something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
subsequent
1 use
Don's marrying my mother, however, was a catalyst for her subsequent separation, and while they'd tried to stay apart, they couldn't, in Don's words, "fight the feeling."†
subsequent = following something else
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 16
Web Links
tact
1 use
"Come on," she murmured, tactfully dropping the bread onto a nearby table.†
tactfully = in a manner that makes others feel good
DefinitionGenerally tact means:
the ability or act of saying or handling things in such a way that others feel good about them
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
technique
4 uses
He studied it, then the rock, readying his technique while the dog sat down beside him, licking his ear.†
technique = way of doing something
DefinitionGenerally technique means:
a way of doing something
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
vary
1 use
They didn't vary much.†
vary = differ; or change
DefinitionGenerally vary means:
to be different, or to change
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
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