toggle menu
menu
vocabulary
1000+ books
Book Menu

Native Son

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
abstract
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
abstract thought
Does not the life of a Negro girl mean as much in the eyes of the law as the life of a white girl? "Yes" perhaps, in the abstract.
abstract = conceptual idea (but not in specific instances in the real world)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abstract means:
of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useBook 1
Web Links
contrite
2 uses
he was standing up strongly with contrite heart,
contrite = feeling sorrow or regret for a fault or offense
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 2
Web Links
deference
3 uses
doffed his cap, bowed low and spoke with mock deference: "Yessuh."
deference = polite respect
DefinitionGenerally deference means:
polite respect — often when submitting to another's wishes
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useBook 1
Web Links
dispose
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
disposed the troops along...
I do not say that if we understand this man's life we shall solve all our problems, or that when we have all the facts at our disposal we shall automatically know how to act.†
disposal = command

(editor's note:  When something is "at someone's disposal" it is "at their command," or "available for their use." They can use it as they please.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispose means:
the arrangement, positioning, or use of things
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useBook 3
Web Links
dubious
1 use
the man called; his voice sounded tentative, dubious.
dubious = doubtful or suspicious
DefinitionGenerally dubious means:
doubtful
in various senses, including:
  • doubtful that something should be relied upon — as in "The argument relies on a dubious assumption."
  • doubtful that something is morally proper — as in "The company is accused of using dubious sales practices to influence minors."
  • bad or of questionable value — as in "The state has the dubious distinction of the highest taxes."
  • doubtful or uncertain — as in "She is dubious about making the change."
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useBook 2
Web Links
elated
9 uses
He walked over the snow, feeling giddy and elated.
elated = had a feeling of happiness and excitement
DefinitionGenerally elated means:
full of happiness and excitement
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 1
Web Links
engender
3 uses
And we must deal here with the hot blasts of hate engendered in others by that first wrong, and then the monstrous and horrible crimes flowing from that hate,
engendered = caused
DefinitionGenerally engender means:
cause — usually a feeling (possibly a situation)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 3
Web Links
establish
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
establish that there is a need
The Mary Dalton kidnapping case was dramatically cracked wide open when a group of local newspaper reporters accidentally discovered several bones, later positively established as those of the missing heiress, in the furnace of the Dalton home late today".†
established = proven
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 useBook 2
Web Links
futile
5 uses
It seemed to sound a warning that no one could hide from it; that action to escape was futile; that soon the men with guns and gas would come and penetrate where the siren sound had penetrated.
futile = effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 3
Web Links
incredulous
2 uses
"Yessuh," Bigger whispered, struggling to control his feelings, hating Jan violently because he knew he was hurting him; wanting to strike Jan with something because Jan's wide, incredulous stare made him feel hot guilt to the very core of him.
incredulous = unbelieving; or having difficulty accepting something so unexpected
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useBook 2
Web Links
indifferent
4 uses
All that morning he had lurked behind his curtain of indifference and looked at things, snapping and glaring at whatever had tried to make him come out into the open.
indifference = not caring (without interest)
DefinitionGenerally indifferent means:
without interest
in various senses, including:
  • unconcerned — as in "She is indifferent to what is served to eat."
  • unsympathetic — as in "She is indifferent to his needs."
  • not of good quality (which may imply average or poor quality depending upon context) — as in "an indifferent performance"
  • impartial — as in "We need a judge who is indifferent."
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useBook 1
Web Links
latent
2 uses
Who, then, fanned this latent hate into fury?
latent = potentially existing but not presently evident or active
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 2
Web Links
mitigate
9 uses
And, also, the law permits the offering of evidence toward the mitigation of punishment.
mitigation = reduction (of something bad)

(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 mitigate means:
make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useBook 3
Web Links
objective
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an objective viewpoint
...as he saw himself for a split second in a lurid objective light:
objective = fact-based and not influenced by personal feelings or preferences
DefinitionGenerally this sense of objective means:
fact-based without the influence of personal feelings or preferences
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useBook 2
Web Links
obscure
5 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
the view or directions are obscure
It was as though he had an obscure but deep debt to fulfill to himself.
obscure = not clearly understood
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
not clearly seen, understood, or expressed
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useBook 2
Web Links
pious
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a good, pious woman
...the guard said, piously touching his fingers to his forehead, his chest, his left shoulder, and then his right—making the sign of the cross.
piously = religiously
DefinitionGenerally this sense of pious means:
religious or highly moral
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useBook 3
Web Links
profound
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
profound sadness
He was alone, profoundly, inescapably.
profoundly = intensely
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useBook 3
Web Links
reproach
2 uses
"But sometimes I wish you hadn't asked me them questions," Bigger said in a voice that had as much reproach in it for Max as it had for himself.
reproach = criticism
DefinitionGenerally reproach means:
a criticism; or to express criticism — especially where a relationship makes the disapproval result in disappointment or shame
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useBook 2
Web Links
resignation   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
submitted her resignation
I shall resign my office...
resign = quit from
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resignation means:
to quit — especially a job or position; or a document expressing such an act
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useBook 3
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
accepted it with resignation
...a sigh of resignation, a giving up, a surrender of something more than her body.
resignation = acceptance of something undesired as unavoidable
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resignation means:
acceptance of something undesired as unavoidable or the lesser of evils
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useBook 2
Web Links
Go to Book Menu
Take Pre-Reading Quiz
† 
Sample usage followed by this mark was not checked by an editor. Please let us know if you spot a problem.
SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board, which is not affiliated with verbalworkout.com™, and does not endorse this site.