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The Bill of Rights (of the US Constitution)

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
abridge
1 use
Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.†
abridging = shortening; or reducing in scope while retaining essential elements
DefinitionGenerally abridge means:
reduce in scope while retaining essential elements — especially to a book
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accord
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
according to, or in accord with
no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
according to = in keeping with
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
in keeping with; or in agreement/harmony/unity with
This sense of accord is often seen in the form according to or accordingly where it can take on more specific meanings. For example:
  • "According to Kim, ..." — as stated by
  • "To each according to her ability." — based upon
  • "Points are scored according to how well they perform." — depending upon
  • "The dose is calculated according to body weight." — in proportion to
  • "We got a flat tire. Accordingly, I pulled to the side of the road." — because of what was just said; or as a result
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ascertain
1 use
Amendment VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his...†
ascertained = find out, learn, or determine with certainty (usually by making an effort)
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compel
1 use
...or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.†
compelled = forced; or (more rarely) convinced
DefinitionGenerally compel means:
to force someone to do something

or more rarely:

to convince someone to do something
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compensate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she is generously compensated
...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
compensation = payment

(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 compensate means:
to make payment to someone
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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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compulsory
1 use
...VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.†
compulsory = required by rule
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construe
1 use
Amendment IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.†
construed = understood something to have a specific meaning
DefinitionGenerally construe means:
to interpret (understand) something as have a specific meaning
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controversy
1 use
Amendment VII In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.†
controversy = disagreement
DefinitionGenerally controversy means:
disagreement — especially regarding a public issue that arouses strong feelings
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delegate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
delegate the job
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
delegated = assigned
DefinitionGenerally this sense of delegate means:
assign tasks to other people (rather than doing them personally)
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disparage
1 use
Amendment IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.†
disparage = criticizing or making seem less important
DefinitionGenerally disparage means:
to criticize or make seem less important — especially in a disrespectful or contemptuous manner
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enumerate
1 use
Amendment IX The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.†
enumeration = to name items individually (as though making a list); or to count

(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.)
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impartial
1 use
Amendment VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his...†
impartial = without favoritism or bias
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indict
1 use
Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or...†
indictment = accuse formally of a crime
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infamous
1 use
Amendment V No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or...†
infamous = having an exceedingly bad reputation
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infringe
1 use
Amendment II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.†
infringed = went against a law, rule, or usual limit
DefinitionGenerally infringe means:
go against a law, rule, or usual limit
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militia
2 uses
Amendment II A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.†
militia = civilians trained as soldiers but not part of the regular army
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probable cause
1 use
Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.†
probable cause = law:  evidence sufficient to warrant an arrest or search and seizure
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redress
1 use
Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.†
redress = fix a problem; or make up for a wrong
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respective
1 use
Amendment X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.†
respectively = separately in the specified order
DefinitionGenerally respective means:
relating separately to the people or things just mentioned
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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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