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The House of Spirits

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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accord   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 21 uses
1  —20 uses as in:
according to, or in accord with
On the day of the election everything went according to plan, in perfect order.†
according to = as stated by; or in agreement 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
Word Statistics
Book20 uses
Library53 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
done of her own accord
But Esteban Trueba was not the kind of man to let himself be scared away by tales of ghosts in hallways, objects that move of their own accord, or prognostications of bad luck, much less by Clara's prolonged silence, which he considered a virtue.†
own accord = own mind — voluntarily (without anyone asking)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
mind
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
attribute   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 11 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
It is an attribute of...
Clara's strangeness was simply an attribute of their youngest daughter, like Luis's limp or Rosa's beauty.†
attribute = characteristic (of something or someone)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of attribute means:
a characteristic (of something or someone)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
2  —9 uses as in:
I attribute it to...
This they attributed to Clara.
attributed = credited (pointed to as the cause of something)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of attribute means:
to credit (a source for something)
in two typical senses:
  • "I attribute it to her work." — to say who or what made something happen
  • "Remember to attribute any quotations in your paper." — indicate the source of a quotation or idea
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
banish
1 use
She knew that if she went with Pedro Tercero she would be banished from her social circle and from the position she had always had, and she also realized that she would never be accepted by Pedro Tercero's friends or be able to adjust to the modest life of a working-class quarter.
banished = expelled (kicked out)
DefinitionGenerally banish means:
to expel or get rid of
in various senses, including:
  • to force someone to leave a country as punishment
  • to push an idea from the mind
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
constraint
2 uses
She insisted on her unequivocal determination for them to remain together only so long as they were friends, without constraints or promises for the future, just like Sartre and Beauvoir.
constraints = limitations (in this case, agreements that would limit freedom to do as they please in the future)
DefinitionGenerally constraint means:
limitation (something that limits something else)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
dispose
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
disposed the troops along...
He spent several months devoting himself to his campaign, drawing on the support of the Conservative Party, as well as his own fortune, which he placed at the disposal of the cause.†
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 useChapter 7
Web Links
ephemeral
1 use
Nicolas was also close to the little girl's heart, but there was something ephemeral and volatile about him.
ephemeral = existing only for a short time
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
establish
5 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
establish a positive tone
He established a network of mysterious contacts that enabled him to buy antiques, particularly baroque French porcelain, for which he had a weakness.†
established = created
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
hygiene
2 uses
On this point, however, Blanca was inflexible, forcing her daughter to observe a strict schedule and the usual rules of hygiene.
hygiene = practices promoting the prevention of illness and maintenance of health — such as cleanliness
DefinitionGenerally hygiene means:
practices promoting the prevention of illness and maintenance of health — such as cleanliness or promoting sanitary conditions
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
illustrate   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
as illustrated by this example
The Jesuit's index finger, which was already raised to illustrate additional tortures, remained suspended like a lightning rod above his head.†
illustrate = help make clear
DefinitionGenerally this sense of illustrate means:
to help make clear — typically by example
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
an illustrated children's book
Nana dressed up as a headless pirate, as the executioner of the Tower of London, as a werewolf or a horned devil, depending on her inspiration of the moment and on the ideas she got while flipping through the pages of certain horror magazines, which she bought for this purpose and from which, although she was unable to read, she copied the illustrations.†
illustrations = drawings or photographs

(editor's note:  The suffix "-tions", converts a verb into a plural noun that denotes results of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in actions, illustrations, and observations.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of illustrate means:
to draw pictures (or provide photographs) to accompany a book or other writing
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
inert
1 use
He pulled himself along the hot sand on his knees for a time, but in the end he lay stretched out in the vastness of those pale dunes as birds of prey circled over his inert body.
inert = unmoving or unable to move
DefinitionGenerally inert means:
unmoving, inactive, or unable to move

or:

slow, lethargic, or without interest

or (in chemistry/medicine):

chemically inactive (not having an effect)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
innumerable
5 uses
I became her official suitor without having to perform any superhuman tasks because, despite her awesome beauty and her innumerable virtues, Rosa had no other wooers.
innumerable = too numerous to be counted
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
migrate
1 use
She thought she saw him ten minutes later, but it was only a migrating sparrow.†
migrating = moving from one place to another
DefinitionGenerally migrate means:
move from one place to another — sometimes seasonally
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
novel
2 uses
Clara grew like a wild plant, despite the recommendations of Dr. Cuevas, who had brought from Europe the novel idea of cold baths and electric shocks for the treatment of the insane.†
novel = new and original
DefinitionGenerally this sense of novel means:
new and original — typically something considered good
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
onslaught
1 use
The house was on the very edge of the city, and was ringed by a few rickety trees that had managed to withstand the onslaught of the desert.
onslaught = powerful attack
DefinitionGenerally onslaught means:
a powerful attack

or:

a sudden and enormous amount of something that must be handled — such as trouble, people or communications
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
peasant
60 uses
Because when it comes right down to it, those poor peasants are a lot worse off today than they were fifty years ago.†
peasants = used historically or possibly in relation to a very poor country:  people of low income, education, and social standing — especially those who raise crops or livestock
DefinitionGenerally peasant means:
used historically or possibly in relation to a very poor country:  a person of low income, education, and social standing — especially one who raises crops or livestock
Word Statistics
Book60 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
precede
11 uses
I suppose I blew my stack from all the pressure I'd been under the preceding months.†
preceding = prior (in time or space)
DefinitionGenerally precede means:
to go or do before
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
socialism
28 uses
"The Socialists are going to win," Jaime had said.†
socialists = people who want an economic system based on government ownership or control of all important companies — with the ideal of equal benefits to all people
DefinitionGenerally socialism means:
an economic system based on government ownership or control of all important companies — with the ideal of equal benefits to all people
Word Statistics
Book28 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
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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