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The Bean Trees

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
alternative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an alternative plan
But you're right, there are legal alternatives.
alternatives = other possibilities
DefinitionGenerally this sense of alternative means:
something available as another possibility
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 13.
Web Links
baptism
9 uses
It's water from Tug Fork, the crick at home that I was baptized in.
baptized = "spiritually renewed" in a Christian ceremony

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ive" converts a word to a verb. This is the same pattern you see in words like apologize, theorize, and dramatize.)
DefinitionGenerally baptism means:
a Christian ceremony signifying spiritual cleansing and rebirth

or:

a challenging experience that initiates or purifies
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4.
Web Links
convention
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
conventional behavior
Cynthia always called Turtle by her more conventional name.
conventional = normal or typical
DefinitionGenerally this sense of convention means:
something regarded as normal or typical
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 13.
Web Links
dehydrated
3 uses
It's so dry out here kids will dehydrate real fast,
dehydrate = suffer from excessive loss of water from the body
DefinitionGenerally dehydrated means:
suffering from excessive loss of water from the body

or:

dried and/or preserved by removing natural moisture
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13.
Web Links
direct   (4 meanings)
4 meanings, 6 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
Her eyes were clear and she spoke to Estevan and me directly, looking at our eyes.†
directly = personally (person-to-person)
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
Book3 uses
Library62 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
was direct in my instructions
Mattie, more inclined to the direct approach, was throwing rocks the size of potatoes.†
direct = straightforward (uncomplicated)
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 7.
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
directed her question to
Esperanza directed our attention to Turtle, who was hard at work burying Shirley Poppy in the soft dirt at the base of a pine tree.†
directed = pointed
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
Book1 use
Library36 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 15.
Web Links
4  —1 use as in:
directed the jury to...
The muscular woman directed me to a pay phone out in the hall.†
directed = gave directions to
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
give instructions or commands
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 17.
Web Links
establish
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
establish that there is a need
We had already established that our hometowns in Kentucky were separated by only two counties, and that we had both been to the exact same Bob Seger concert at the Kentucky State Fair my senior year.†
established = learned
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
show or determine (cause to be recognized or figure out)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5.
Web Links
focus
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
The focus of our study is...
And there was the same postcard rack too, although it seemed to have changed its focus, placing more emphasis on scenic lakes and less on Oral Roberts University.†
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 14.
Web Links
inclined
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
I'm inclined to
This was all she was inclined to say on the subject.
inclined = in the mood (with a tendency)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of inclined means:
a tendency, mood, desire, or attitude that favors something; or making someone favor something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 6.
Web Links
Mayan Civilization
8 uses
Mayans lived here in the so-called New World before the Europeans discovered it.
Mayans = an American Indian civilization of Yucatan and Belize and Guatemala that reached its peak between AD 300 and 900; characterized by outstanding architecture, pottery, and astronomy
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14.
Web Links
meteor
8 uses
There wasn't any meteor shower.
meteor = a streak of light in the night sky that results from small extraterrestrial bodies burning in the earth's atmosphere
DefinitionGenerally meteor means:
a streak of light in the night sky that results from a space rock burning in the earth's atmosphere

or:

a meteoroid:  a small space rock that hit the earth's atmosphere

or:

a meteorite:  a stony or metallic object that is the remains of a meteoroid that reached the earth's surface
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 17.
Web Links
persist
3 uses
But Mattie persisted.
persisted = continued
DefinitionGenerally persist means:
to continue — often despite difficulty
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 6.
Web Links
positive   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 10 uses
1  —7 uses as in:
I'm absolutely positive!
I was positive I wouldn't recognize the place, if it was even still there, but as soon as I laid eyes on it I knew.†
positive = certain
DefinitionGenerally this sense of positive means:
certain (having no doubt; or used for emphasis)
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
positive feedback from my boss
I always tried to be positive with her, although I'd learned that even compliments were a kind of insult to Lou Ann, causing her to wrinkle her face and advise me to make an appointment with an eye doctor.†
positive = indicating approval or agreement
DefinitionGenerally this sense of positive means:
approval or agreement
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 7.
Web Links
3  —2 uses as in:
a positive attitude
Damn it, Lou Ann, you've been telling me till you were blue in the face to do something, take action, think positive, blah, blah, blah.†
positive = optimistically
DefinitionGenerally this sense of positive means:
optimistic (expecting or focusing good things); or agreeable
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13.
Web Links
refugee
6 uses
Mattie used to talk about the Underground Railroad, by which she meant these churches and the people who carried refugees between them,
refugees = people fleeing their homeland (in this case, fleeing slavery in the South) (in this case African Americans)
DefinitionGenerally refugee means:
someone who has fled their homeland to getaway from a dangerous or difficult situation; or related to such people
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14.
Web Links
resilient
2 uses
I think you'll find that your daughter can be a surprisingly resilient little person.
resilient = able to withstand strain and/or quickly recover from it
DefinitionGenerally resilient means:
able to withstand strain and/or quickly recover from it — such as a person retaining a positive attitude, or a material returning to its shape after being bent, stretched, or pressed
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12.
Web Links
transient
3 uses
There must be transients in the bird world too, rumple-feathered outcasts that naturally seek out each other's company in inferior and dying trees.
transients = people who stay for only a short time
DefinitionGenerally transient means:
lasting a short time

or:  

one who stays for only a short time
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.
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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