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Light in August

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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abject
14 uses
Then it seemed to him that he could see her— something, prone, abject; her eyes perhaps.†
abject = extreme
DefinitionGenerally abject means:
extreme (in a negative sense such as misery, hopelessness, submissiveness, cruelty, or cowardice)
Word Statistics
Book14 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
abominable
15 uses
For I will have you learn soon that the two abominations are sloth and idle thinking, the two virtues are work and the fear of God.†
abominations = things that are exceptionally bad or detestable

(editor's note:  The suffix "-tions", converts a verb into a plural noun that denotes results of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in actions, illustrations, and observations.)
DefinitionGenerally abominable means:
exceptionally bad or detestable
Word Statistics
Book15 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
approach
6 uses
1  —6 uses as in:
approached the city
It has seemed to him always that at that hour man approaches nearest of all to God, nearer than at any other hour of all the seven days.†
approaches = comes
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
to get closer to (near in space, time, quantity, or quality)
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library104 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 16
Web Links
austere
10 uses
He fell in love contrary to all the tradition of his austere and jealous country raising which demands in the object physical inviolability.†
austere = a notable absence of luxury, comfort, or decoration; or stern in manner
DefinitionGenerally austere means:
a notable absence of luxury, comfort, or decoration

or:

of a person:  stern in manner; or practicing great self-denial
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
catholic
1 use
Some of the other workers were family men and some were bachelors and they were of different ages and they led a catholic variety of lives, yet on Monday morning they all came to work with a kind of gravity, almost decorum.†
catholic = universal or inclusive of a wide range of people or interests
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
cease
82 uses
The sound of music from the distant church has long since ceased.
ceased = stopped
DefinitionGenerally cease means:
to stop or discontinue
Word Statistics
Book82 uses
Library26 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
compulsion
2 uses
that spontaneous compulsion of the male to fight with or because of or over the partner with which he has recently or is about to copulate.
compulsion = a strong (possibly uncontrollable) urge to do something; or a force or a requirement that forces an action
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
contempt
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
feels contempt towards her
And Byron watched him standing there and looking at the men in sweatstained overalls, with a cigarette in one side of his mouth and his face darkly and contemptuously still, drawn down a little on one side because of the smoke.†
contemptuously = with disrespect
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect for someone or something thought inferior — often accompanied by a feeling of dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
contrast
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
contrast their writing styles
It was very much like it had been in the school house: someone holding her as she struggled and shrieked, her hair wild with the jerking and tossing of her head; her face, even her mouth, in contrast to the hair as still as a dead mouth in a dead face.†
in contrast = in a comparison that shows differences
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
point to differences between; or compare to show differences
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
correspond
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
corresponding by email
I would have thought to talk with Miss Atkins (this was the dietitian's name) since it was with her I have been in correspondence.
correspondence = communication by writing letters
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspond means:
communicate by writing letters or email
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
decorum
9 uses
Lena ate heartily again, with that grave and hearty decorum, almost going to sleep in her plate before she had finished.†
decorum = proper manners and conduct
DefinitionGenerally decorum means:
manners and conduct considered to be proper and in good taste
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
defer
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
deferred the decision
...he deferred doing it deliberately in order to make her suffer more.
deferred = postponed
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 6
Web Links
descend
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
thieves descended upon us
The gainer, the inheritor of rewards, since it will now descend upon the morganatic wife of— Shall I say that too?†
descend = come
DefinitionGenerally this sense of descend means:
to come or arrive — especially suddenly or from above or as an attack
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 16
Web Links
establish
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
establish a positive tone
It had entered his mind too quickly and was too firmly established there when he became aware of it; his feet were already obeying it.†
established = settled
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
evoke
8 uses
But now there was nothing evocative of unspoken promise, of rich and unmentionable delights, in them.†
evocative = bringing strong feelings or memories to mind

(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 evoke means:
to call forth or cause — typically to arouse an emotion or bring a memory to mind
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
grave
4 uses
Then he looked at her, at her grave face which had either nothing in it, or everything, all knowledge.†
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
Book4 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
irrevocable
7 uses
He seems to have already a foreknowledge of something now irrevocable, not to be recalled, who had believed that out here at the mill alone on Saturday afternoon he would be where the chance to do hurt or harm could not have found him.†
irrevocable = incapable of being undone
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
monotonous
13 uses
Now there is no sound in the room save the steady shrilling of insects and the monotonous sound of Byron's voice.†
monotonous = lacking in variety and/or boring
DefinitionGenerally monotonous means:
lacking in variety — typically boring
Word Statistics
Book13 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
tranquil
15 uses
Its doggedness has a soft quality, an inwardlighted quality of tranquil and calm unreason and detachment.†
tranquil = calm and undisturbed
Word Statistics
Book15 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
trivial
14 uses
His voice sounds light, trivial, like a thistle bloom falling into silence without a sound, without any weight.†
trivial = unimportant
DefinitionGenerally trivial means:
of little importance — sometimes more specifically describing a challenge as easy and uninteresting
Word Statistics
Book14 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
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