toggle menu
menu
vocabulary
1000+ books
Book Menu

The House on Mango Street

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
anemic
1 use
They like to stand out in the cold especially if it's raining. They think suffering is good for you ever since they saw that movie 300 Spartans. I'm no Spartan and hold up an anemic wrist to prove it.
anemic = weak

(editor's note:  Spartans were people of ancient Greece who were noted for living life with few material comforts. The movie she references tells of a famous battle in which 300 Spartans were all killed, but not until they had strategically delayed and killed many more of the enemy.)
DefinitionGenerally anemic means:
suffering from too few red blood cells

or metaphorically:  lacking vitality
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
anthology
1 use
She thinks people who are busy working for a living deserve beautiful little stories, because they don't have much time and are often tired.
...
Together we publish an anthology-
anthology = a collection of literary works or music
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr
Web Links
baptism
3 uses
I would like to baptize myself under a new name, a name more like the real me, the one nobody sees.
baptize = "spiritually renew" 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
Book3 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
Big Brother
1 use
But after a few months, when the big  brother upstairs turned out to be Big Brother, she got on her bicycle and rode through the neighborhood of her high school days until she spotted an apartment with fresh-painted walls and masking tape on the windows.
Big Brother = (of an) organization that attempts to exercise total control over people and that invades their privacy to do so
DefinitionGenerally Big Brother means:
a person or organization that attempts to exercise total control over people and that invades their privacy to do so
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr
Web Links
bushel
1 use
Lucy hides the lemon shoes and the red shoes and the shoes that used to be white but are now pale blue under a powerful bushel basket on the back porch, until one Tuesday her mother, who is very clean, throws them away.
bushel = capable of holding a lot (officially 8 gallons)
DefinitionGenerally bushel means:
a unit of measure used for dry goods (filling an 8 gallon container)

or:

a large amount — as in "bushels of fun"
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
capital
1 use
We do this with no capital except our valuable time.
capital = money or other things of material value that could be used to create something else of value
DefinitionGenerally this sense of capital means:
material wealth — especially assets available for use in the production of further assets
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr
Web Links
colleague
1 use
I shared them with colleagues like poet Joy Harjo, who was also having a hard time in the poetry workshops, and fiction writer Dennis Mathis, a small-town Illinois native, but whose paperback library was from the world.
colleagues = fellow workers — especially in a respected profession such as teaching, medicine, law (in this case, the profession of writing)
DefinitionGenerally colleague means:
fellow worker — especially in a respected profession such as teaching, medicine, or law
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library21 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useIntr
Web Links
descend
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
descend the mountain
I plop yoga mats on the rooftop, and we sit cross-legged to watch the sun descend.
descend = set (move downward)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of descend means:
move or slope downward
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr
Web Links
essential
1 use
Affordable housing is essential to an artist.
essential = necessary or important
DefinitionGenerally essential means:
necessary or important or relating to the basic nature of something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library24 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useIntr
Web Links
flexible
1 use
She experiments, creating a text that is as succinct and flexible as poetry, snapping sentences into fragments so that the reader pauses, making each sentence serve her and not the other way round, abandoning quotation marks to streamline the typography and make the page as simple and readable as possible.
flexible = adaptable in the sense that the rules are adjusted for different conditions
DefinitionGenerally flexible means:
bendable or adaptable
in various senses, including:
  • easily bent without physical damage or injury — as of a hose or gymnast
  • able to adjust readily to different conditions — as of a plan
  • willing to make concessions — as of a negotiator or a boss
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useIntr
Web Links
genre
1 use
She wants to write stories that ignore borders between genres, between written and spoken, between highbrow literature and children's nursery rhymes, between New York and the imaginary village of Macondo, between the U.S. and Mexico.
genres = styles or kinds - especially in the arts
DefinitionGenerally genre means:
a style or kind - especially in the arts
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr
Web Links
hippie
1 use
Inside, he looks at her books arranged in milk crates, at the futon on the floor in a bedroom with no door, and whispers, "Hippie," in the same way he looks at boys hanging out in his neighborhood and says, "Drogas."
hippie = member of the counterculture that first became prevalent in the early 1960's in San Francisco — associated with disdaining material wealth, illegal drugs, long hair, casual sex, and opposition to violence.
DefinitionGenerally hippie means:
member of the counterculture that first became prevalent in the early 1960's in San Francisco — associated with long hair, illegal drugs, casual sex, and opposition to violence.
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr
Web Links
Malcolm X
1 use
Should she be teaching these students to write poetry when they need to know how to defend themselves from someone beating them up? Can a memoir by Malcolm X or a novel by Garcia Marquez save them from the daily blows?
Malcolm X = militant civil rights leader (1925-1965)

(editor's note:  Garcia Marquez aka Gabo, magical realism writer best known for Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr
Web Links
monogram
1 use
It was just a jar of buttons, like the mismatched embroidered pillowcases and monogrammed napkins I tugged from the bins at the Goodwill.
monogrammed = with initials embroidered on them
DefinitionGenerally monogram means:
a design based on alphabetic letters (usually a person's initials) — often printed on stationery or embroidered (made with sewing stiches) on clothing
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr
Web Links
opera
2 uses
She has lived in this city her whole life. She can speak two languages. She can sing an opera.
opera = a classical music play in which most of the dialogue is sung
DefinitionGenerally opera means:
a musical play with orchestra in which most dialogue is sung — (typically associated with classical music and often in a language foreign to the audience)

or:

the art form (or describing something as related to it) that consists of musical plays with orchestra in which most dialogue is sung
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 36
Web Links
pliant
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a pliant material
So that the sentences are pliant as branches and can be read in more ways than one.
pliant = capable of being bent (or perhaps shaped) without breaking
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr
Web Links
savor
1 use
When she's alone, she savors her apartment of high ceilings and windows that let in the sky, the new carpeting and walls white as typing paper, the walk-in pantry with empty shelves, her bedroom without a door, her office with its typewriter, and the big front-room windows with their view of a street, rooftops, trees, and the dizzy traffic of the Kennedy Expressway.
savors = takes great pleasure from
DefinitionGenerally savor means:
to take great pleasure from; or the pleasure or flavor enjoyed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr
Web Links
summon
1 use
Now she summoned her courage and told her father she wanted to live alone again, like she did when she was away at school.
summoned = called forth; or called to come
DefinitionGenerally summon means:
to call forth
The exact meaning of summon can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "summon to court" — officially demand that someone appear in court (call them to court)
  • "summon the team to a meeting" — call upon the team members to attend a meeting
  • "summon help" — call others to come and help
  • "summon her courage" — call forth her courage from within
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library35 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr
Web Links
The Beatles
1 use
You had to think of someone everybody knew. Someone you could imitate and everyone else would have to guess who it was. It started out with famous people: Wonder Woman, the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe...
The Beatles = arguably the greatest pop band of all time (1962-1970)

(editor's note:  Wonder Woman is a fictional superhero. Marilyn Monroe is the best known actress of the "dumb blonde" sex icons (1926-1962).)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 23
Web Links
thesis
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
her Master's thesis
...they wouldn't count toward my MFA thesis.
thesis = research paper
DefinitionGenerally this sense of thesis means:
a formal and lengthy research paper advancing a new point of view — usually a requirement for an advanced academic degree
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useIntr
Web Links
Go to Book Menu
Take Pre-Reading Quiz
SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board, which is not affiliated with verbalworkout.com™, and does not endorse this site.