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Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
assuage
1 use
A grown man can also be energized by hunger, and any weakness in his knees or irregularity in his heartbeat will disappear if he thinks his hunger is about to be assuaged.
assuaged = soothed (made less unpleasant)
DefinitionGenerally assuage means:
to soothe (make something less unpleasant or frightening)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
consequence   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 7 uses
1  —6 uses as in:
a direct consequence of
Just as the consequences of Milkman's own stupidity would remain, and regret would always outweigh the things he was proud of having done.
consequences = results
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
a result of something (often an undesired side effect)
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library28 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
of little consequence
Like the street he lived on, recorded as Mains Avenue, but called Not Doctor Street by the Negroes in memory of his grandfather, who was the first colored man of consequence in that city.
consequence = importance
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
importance or relevance
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
contrast   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
contrast their writing styles
More unsettling than the darkness, however, was the fact that in contrast to the heat outside ..., it was as cold as ice in Pilate's house.
in contrast = in a comparison that shows differences
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
point to differences between; or compare to show differences
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
there is a contrast
Freddie looked the boy up and down, taking in the steady but secretive eyes and the startling contrast between Ruth's lemony skin and the boy's black skin.
contrast = difference
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
a difference — especially a notable difference; or the side-x-side arrangement of things that draws attention to an unmissable difference
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
convey
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
convey her thoughts
Guitar laughed, but his eyes were too shiny to convey much humor.†
convey = communicate or express
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
depravity
2 uses
It's just depravity that they try to make glorious, natural.
depravity = complete immorality or evilness
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
devious
2 uses
Ruth was a pale but complicated woman given to deviousness and ultra-fine manners.
deviousness = deceit (not honest and straightforward) — often in a complicated, clever manner

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means the quality of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of devious means:
deceitful (not honest and straightforward) — often in a complicated, clever manner
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
direct   (5 meanings)
5 meanings, 13 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
At sixteen now, she took a lover from one of the island families and managed to keep direct light from ever hitting her stomach.†
direct = unobstructed (with nothing in between)
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 5
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
was direct in my instructions
She was too direct, and to keep up with her he had to pay careful attention to his language.†
direct = straightforward (specific and to the point)
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 2
Web Links
3  —6 uses as in:
directed her question to
Looking about at the faces of the people seated in the pews, she fastened on the first pair of eyes that were directed toward her.†
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
Book6 uses
Library36 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
4  —2 uses as in:
directed the jury to...
But Guitar might be— "I can't let him direct and determine what I do, where I go or when."†
direct = command
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
give instructions or commands
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
5  —1 use as in:
directed the movie
He was his own director—relieving himself when he wanted to, stopping for cold beer when he was thirsty, and even in a seventy-five-dollar car the sense of power was strong.†
director = supervisor (person in charge)

(editor's note:  The suffix "-or" often converts a verb to a noun that means "a person who."  This is the pattern you see in words like actor, editor, and visitor.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
supervise, control, or to be in charge of
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library29 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
guile
2 uses
So Ruth rose up and out of her guileless inefficiency to claim her bit of balm right after the preparation of dinner and just before the return of her husband from his office.
guileless = innocent — without cunning or deceit

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-less" in guileless means without. This is the same pattern you see in words like fearless, homeless, and endless.)
DefinitionGenerally guile means:
cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceitful
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
indifferent
11 uses
They are as indifferent as rain.
indifferent = unsympathetic or unconcerned
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
Book11 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
interpret
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
her interpretation of the data
His denials, accompanied by a wistful smile which she interpreted as a sly one, only aggravated her suspicions.†
interpreted = understood (in a particular way)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of interpret means:
to understand or explain something in a particular way — often the meaning or significance of something
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useFrwd.
Web Links
lilt
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
an Irish lilt
He had a slight country lilt, like that of the white man at the counter.†
lilt = accent
DefinitionGenerally this sense of lilt means:
a way of speaking, singing, or making music — typically cheerful, lively or pleasing — sometimes with the pitch of the voice rising and falling
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
midwife
10 uses
I tried to get a midwife for her, but the doctor said midwives were dirty.
midwives = a woman skilled in aiding the delivery of babies
DefinitionGenerally midwife means:
a non-doctor who practices the profession of assisting women in childbirth; or to assist in childbirth

or:

someone who helps bring something into existence; or the act of helping to bring something into existence
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
phenomenon
1 use
She toyed, sometimes, with her unsucked breasts, but at some point her lethargy dissipated of its own accord and in its place was wilderness, the focused meanness of a flood or an avalanche of snow which only observers, flying in a rescue helicopter, believed to be an indifferent natural phenomenon, but which the victims, in their last gulp of breath, knew was both directed and personal.†
phenomenon = thing that exists
DefinitionGenerally phenomenon means:
something that exists or happened — especially something of special interest — sometimes someone or something that is extraordinary
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
whimsical
2 uses
He would be whimsical, generous, mysterious with his money.
whimsical = playful
DefinitionGenerally whimsical means:
playful, amusing, or impulsive rather than seriously rational
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
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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