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The Devils Arithmetic

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
abrupt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an abrupt change
She began to clap madly in rhythm until the tune came to an abrupt end.
abrupt = sudden and unexpected
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
arbitrary
1 use
After the meal, the zugangi were lined up again in what seemed to Hannah to be a totally arbitrary order, orchestrated by the same three-fingered woman.
arbitrary = based on chance or impulse
DefinitionGenerally arbitrary means:
based on chance or impulse (rather than upon reasoning, consistent rules, or a proper sense of fairness)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
demonstrate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
It demonstrates my point.
  "Maybe there's something everyone is afraid of. With you it's getting married. With me it's shots."
  "Shots?"
  "Shots. You know. Needles?" She jabbed her right finger into her left arm to demonstrate.†
demonstrate = show or exhibit (how something works)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of demonstrate means:
to show
The exact meaning of this sense of demonstrate can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "I will demonstrate how to throw a Frisbee." — show how to do something
  • "I will demonstrate how much quicker the new computer is than the old one." — show how something works
  • "Her questioned demonstrated that she was listening and thinking deeply about what was said." — showed to be true or proved
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
desecrate
1 use
At my request, the soldiers will pay special attention to the shul to make sure the peasants do not desecrate it.
desecrate = violate the sacred character of

(editor's note:  Shul is a synonym for synagogue—a building where Jews meet to worship.)
DefinitionGenerally desecrate means:
violate the sacred nature of something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
direct   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 6 uses
1  —1 use as in:
depart directly
They were herded directly into another room and made to line up single file.†
directly = immediately
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
without delay, or in the quickest manner, or without going somewhere else first
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
2  —5 uses as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
The newcomers had been shipped directly to processing, a change in routine that frightened even the long-termers.†
directly = straight (without anything in between)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straight (exactly where stated); or without involvement of anything in between
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "The road runs directly to Las Vegas." — straight (without varying from a straight line)
  • "It was a direct hit." — exact
  • "The plant is in direct sunlight." — unobstructed (without anything in between)
  • "She wants a direct meeting with him." — personal (without other people in between)
  • "She paid direct attention to what he was reading." — close
  • "a direct gaze" — straight, steady, or focused—not a brief glance taken while generally looking at other things; not a sideways look
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library62 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
dominate
1 use
The dominant color was brown:
dominant = most conspicuous or influential
DefinitionGenerally dominate means:
to control; or to be most influential, powerful, abundant, important, or conspicuous
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library17 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
elaborate
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
an elaborate design
Whether it was a dream or an elaborate game, she'd show them all she was a good sport.
elaborate = detailed and complicated
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elaborate means:
having details and complexity — sometimes fancy or ornate
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
grave
1 use
But this grave little whimpering bird is out of a sorrowing nest. ... She has been through a lot, Gitl.
grave = sad ("with a heavy heart")
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 4
Web Links
impudent
1 use
Do not be impudent.
impudent = improperly bold or disrespectful
DefinitionGenerally impudent means:
improperly bold or disrespectful — especially toward someone who is older or considered to be of higher status
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
irony
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
situational irony
His name was Wolfe. Wolfe! And the irony of it was that he was as gentle as a lamb.
irony = when things are together that seem like they don't belong together
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 19
Web Links
ominous
2 uses
The smokestack and the ominous black curl emerging from it, dissipating against the bright blue sky,
ominous = threatening; or suggestive of bad things to come
DefinitionGenerally ominous means:
threatening (suggestive of, or foreshadowing bad things to come)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
parody
1 use
The Kommandos lifted their heads at the sound and in mocking parody of the soldiers marched over to the wall.
parody = imitation of somebody's style in a humorous way
DefinitionGenerally parody means:
imitation of somebody's style in a humorous way

or:

a very poor imitation of somebody's style
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
partisan
1 use
Yitzchak, who had indeed escaped, had lived in the forest with the partisans, fighting the Germans.
partisans = members of an armed resistance group

(editor's note:  This is a less common sense of partisans. Both senses describes people who strongly support a person, group, or idea. But only this less common sense assumes they are fighting a deadly battle with weapons.)
DefinitionGenerally partisan means:
someone or an adjective describing someone who strongly supports a person, group, or idea
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useEpil.
Web Links
periphery
1 use
There were armed guards standing in front of the station house door and scattered around the periphery.
periphery = the outside boundary of something
DefinitionGenerally periphery means:
the outside boundary or surface of something;

or more rarely:  outside the area of main activity
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
pervasive
1 use
Though she'd already gotten used to the pervasive camp smell, a cloudy musk that seemed to hang over everything, a mix of sweat and fear and sickness and the ever-present smoke that stained the sky,
pervasive = existing throughout
DefinitionGenerally pervasive means:
existing throughout something; or generally widespread
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
recite
5 uses
It was obvious she had recited these same words to each group of newcomers, yet her voice held a sweetness and a patience quite out of keeping with the information she delivered.
recited = said aloud
DefinitionGenerally recite means:
to say or read something aloud — especially something previously memorized such as a poem

or:

to say in detail — especially a list of things
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library23 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
resolve
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
I resolved to stop drinking.
She wondered if Gitl would know what it was, and resolved to ask her.
resolved = definitely decided
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolve means:
to decide — typically a firm or formal decision
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
solemn
3 uses
"I hear Reb Boruch is a solemn man," Gitl said carefully.
solemn = very serious
DefinitionGenerally solemn means:
in a very serious (and often dignified) manner
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library20 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
tentative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
said it tentatively
"Being married might be scary," Hannah agreed tentatively.
tentatively = in a careful way
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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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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