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The Secret Hour

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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agitate
1 use
The slithers were stirring at the edges of Bixby, more agitated every night these days.†
agitated = not calm; or stirred up (often emotionally)
DefinitionGenerally agitate means:
to stir up or shake — emotionally (as when people are angered or upset) or physically (as when a washing machine cleans clothes)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
anxiety
6 uses
It was so beautiful, so still and wondrous, that her anxiety was instantly gone.†
anxiety = nervousness or worry
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library23 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
belligerent
1 use
He could feel Melissa's mind rushing into his, belligerent and angry but at the same time feverishly hungry, consuming his thoughts and memories, pushing into every corner of his mind.†
belligerent = hostile (the attitude of one eager to fight); or one already engaged in a fight or war
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 27
Web Links
cacophony
1 use
School grew nearer, the early morning collision of struggle and apprehension building from taste to clamor, the bitterness on her tongue expanding to a cacophony that assaulted her entire mind.†
cacophony = loud confusing disagreeable sounds
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
collide
7 uses
The drops kissed her face coolly, turning into water as she collided with them.†
collided = crashed together with violent impact; or came into conflict
DefinitionGenerally collide means:
crash together with violent impact; or come into conflict
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 25
Web Links
conflict
2 uses
He and I have this... personality conflict.†
conflict = struggle or disagreement
DefinitionGenerally conflict means:
a struggle or disagreement
in various senses, including:
  • a serious disagreement — as in "political conflict"
  • the tension from two opposing ideas or feelings — as in "I'm conflicted about where I should go to college."
  • a violent fight or war — as in "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict"
  • an idiom that refers to tension between responsibilities to different entities — "conflict of interest"
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library21 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
contingency
1 use
They had made plans for this situation, backup plans for every contingency.†
contingency = something that might happen; or something available in case an event occurs
DefinitionGenerally contingency means:
something that might happen — especially something that it is hoped will not happen

or more rarely:

something available in case of an event — especially an event that it is hoped will not occur
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 31
Web Links
contradict
2 uses
Although 'flying slither' kind of sounds like a contradiction to me.†
contradiction = something (typically a statement) that disagrees with itself; or (more rarely) the act of disagreeing

(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 contradict means:
disagree
in various senses, including:
  • to say something is not true — as in "She contradicted his testimony."
  • to say something else is true when both can't be true — as in "I don't believe her. She contradicted herself as she told us what happened."
  • to be in conflict with — as in "Her assertions contradict accepted scientific principles."
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
cuisine
1 use
My dad's getting into southwestern cuisine in a big way.†
cuisine = a style of cooking or preparing food
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
disdain
1 use
Melissa looked disdainfully around Jessica's room.†
disdainfully = with a lack of respect; or with a sense of superiority
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 19
Web Links
earnest
1 use
Then the change began in earnest.†
in earnest = serious; or in a serious manner
DefinitionGenerally earnest means:
characterized by sincere belief

or:

intensely or excessively serious
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library19 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
exhalation
1 use
The beast hardly reacted at all, just shivered and twitched, emitting a slow, liquid sigh, the exhalation of huge and infected lungs.
exhalation = the act of breathing air out of the lungs
DefinitionGenerally exhalation means:
the act of breathing air out of the lungs; or the air breathed out
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 26
Web Links
hideous
8 uses
8:11 A.M. REX The halls ofBixbyHigh School were always hideously bright on the first day of school.†
hideously = in an extremely ugly, offensive, and/or frightening manner
DefinitionGenerally hideous means:
extremely ugly, offensive, and/or frightening
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
obstruct
6 uses
And if that one decides to, I've got all thirty-nine links of Obstructively to protect us.†
obstructively = in a manner that creates a blockage or hindrance
DefinitionGenerally obstruct means:
to block or hinder
The exact meaning of obstruct can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "obstruct the path" — block passage through
  • "obstruct justice" — hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of
  • "obstruct her view" — get in the way so as to hide from sight
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
paralysis
5 uses
It blinked its cat eyes at her and hissed, and Jess was finally released from her paralyzing terror.†
paralyzing = making unable to move or make a decision
DefinitionGenerally paralysis means:
loss of the ability to move the body or a part of it

or:

inability to act or make a decision
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
proportion
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
respond in proportion
It was almost eight inches long, wafer thin and proportioned like a narrow leaf.†
proportioned = made appropriate in size, amount, or degree
DefinitionGenerally this sense of proportion means:
appropriate in size, amount, or degree
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
ratio
3 uses
The long trip from factory to junkyard had weathered some pieces to certain proportions, small rods with elegant ratios of length and width, scarred old bolts with harmonious spacings between their dents.†
ratios = relative quantities
DefinitionGenerally ratio means:
the relative magnitudes of two quantities — often expressed as a:b (which could also be expressed as the fraction a/b)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
taut
3 uses
Their hands jerked taut against each other, and she felt her fingers slipping.†
taut = pulled or drawn tight;
or: subjected to great tension
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
vary
1 use
A low growl came from one of them, long and full of varied sounds, as if it were trying to make words and meaning.†
varied = differed; or changed
DefinitionGenerally vary means:
to be different, or to change
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
wary
6 uses
Like the cat, they were wary of her.†
wary = nervous or distrustful
DefinitionGenerally wary means:
nervous about (or distrustful of) someone or something
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
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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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