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The Shack

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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alleviate
3 uses
There had been a great deal of concern that he might lapse into a long-term coma, but his wakening had alleviated all the worry.
alleviated = lessened (reduced)
DefinitionGenerally alleviate means:
to lessen something that is bad — especially to lessen pain
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.
Web Links
approach   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 7 uses
1  —6 uses as in:
approached the city
When Nan noticed that his eyes had opened, she quietly approached so as not to wake their daughter and kissed him.†
approached = moved nearer
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 5.
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
approached her with the proposal
Somehow, the way she had approached him had skirted his resistance to her love.†
approached = begun talking with
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
to begin communication with someone about something — often a proposal or a delicate topic
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6.
Web Links
assuage
1 use
What about the fathers who beat their sons for no reason but to assuage their own suffering?
assuage = soothe (lessen)
DefinitionGenerally assuage means:
to soothe (make something less unpleasant or frightening)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 11.
Web Links
despair
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she felt despair
Maybe this was a hallucination being brought on by all his grief and despair.
despair = hopelessness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of despair means:
hopelessness; or distress (such as extreme worry or sadness from feeling powerless to change a bad situation)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 7.
Web Links
direct   (5 meanings)
5 meanings, 31 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
depart directly
The path took him directly to a rock face, the faint outline of a door barely visible on the surface.†
directly = immediately
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
without delay, or in the quickest manner, or without going somewhere else first
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4.
Web Links
2  —21 uses as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
Without hesitation Mack turned directly into the maze of rocks and mountain walls.†
directly = straight (exactly where stated; used for emphasis)
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
Book21 uses
Library62 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4.
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
was direct in my instructions
"They know one another very well, most of them, but they are here for a celebration that is not about them, nor about their relationships with one another, at least not directly," Sarayu explained.†
directly = in a straightforward manner (an uncomplicated manner before including secondary effects)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straightforward (uncomplicated or simple — perhaps also indicating openness and honesty)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 15.
Web Links
4  —3 uses as in:
directed her question to
He directed his words to Mack.†
directed = aimed
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
to indicate direction; or to cause movement or focus in a direction or towards an object
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "intentionally directed fire at unarmed civilians" — aimed a gun
  • "directed the question to her" — aimed a question
  • "directed her north" — pointed in a particular direction
  • "directed attention to the 3rd paragraph" — focused attention on a particular object
  • "The sound of her voice directed him to the kitchen." — guided or gave directions to someone to help them move to a particular place
  • "She directed him to the airport." — gave directions to send someone to a particular place
  • "She directed the boat north." — steered it
  • "directed the letter to" — send a letter to a particular person by putting a name and address on it
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library36 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 7.
Web Links
5  —3 uses as in:
directed the jury to...
Our earth is like a child who has grown up without parents, having no one to guide and direct her.†
direct = instruct
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
give instructions or commands
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4.
Web Links
focus   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 20 uses
1  —18 uses as in:
Turn your focus to question #2.
Nan made it clear that he had a lot of explaining to do, but was for the time being focused more on his recovery than her need for answers.†
focused = concentrating
DefinitionGenerally this sense of focus means:
verb: to concentrate, look at, or pay attention to

noun: the act of concentration, or the ability to concentrate

(to concentrate is to direct attention or effort towards a single thing)
Word Statistics
Book18 uses
Library75 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 11.
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
The focus of our study is...
His primary focus was Josh.†
focus = place where attention is directed
DefinitionGenerally this sense of focus means:
where attention is concentrated or directed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3.
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
The camera focuses automatically
But strangely, he still had a difficult time focusing on her; she seemed almost to shimmer in the light and her hair blew in all directions even though there was hardly a breeze.†
focusing = adjusting vision (to see something clearly)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of focus means:
to adjust a lens to make an image clear
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5.
Web Links
illustrate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
as illustrated by this example
Sarayu continued, "Perhaps the best way you can understand is for me to give you a quick illustration."†
illustration = example (to help clarify or demonstrate)

(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 illustrate means:
to help make clear — typically by example
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 15.
Web Links
paradigm
4 uses
Paradigms power perception and perceptions power emotions.
paradigms = conceptual models (of how things work and relate to each other)
DefinitionGenerally paradigm means:
a conceptual model; or a standard example
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 6.
Web Links
perturb
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she was perturbed
"I am afraid of emotions," Mack admitted, a bit perturbed that she seemed to make light of it.
perturbed = disturbed or made uneasy
DefinitionGenerally this sense of perturb means:
to disturb in mind or make uneasy
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14.
Web Links
reconcile
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
reconciled their differences
...reach out and begin to build between you a bridge of reconciliation.
reconciliation = to end the conflict (bring into agreement)

(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 reconcile means:
to bring into agreement
The exact meaning of reconcile can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "We reconciled our differences and are on friendly terms now." — settled or found a way to accept
  • "They did break up, but they reconciled since then." — made up
  • "I need to reconcile my goals with my abilities." — make compatible
  • "I need to reconcile my checkbook." — get the checkbook numbers and the bank statement to agree
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 16.
Web Links
relevant
2 uses
... the resulting description was flashed out to all relevant agencies.
relevant = relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 4.
Web Links
ubiquitous
1 use
The 'will to power and independence' has become so ubiquitous that it is now considered normal.
ubiquitous = to notice or understand something that is not obvious
DefinitionGenerally ubiquitous means:
being present everywhere or all the time
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 8.
Web Links
vestige
2 uses
... a darkness sucking any last vestiges of hope from his heart.
vestiges = traces
DefinitionGenerally vestige means:
a remaining trace (little bit of something) that was previously abundant
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5.
Web Links
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