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Sula

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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coincide
1 use
Someone was speaking softly just outside the door... Shadrack's earlier violence had coincided with a memorandum from the hospital executive staff in reference to the distribution of patients in high-risk areas.†
coincided = to be similar — especially to happen at the same time or place
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1919
Web Links
compassion
5 uses
She saw their closed faces, their locked eyes, and turned for compassion to the gray eyes of the conductor.†
compassion = sympathy for another's suffering and wanting to help
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1920
Web Links
contempt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
feels contempt towards her
a measure of contempt in their indifference
contempt = disrespect
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect for someone or something thought inferior — often accompanied by a feeling of dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1921
Web Links
contrast
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
there is a contrast
Maybe the sun; maybe the clots of green showing in the hills promising so much; maybe the contrast between Shadrack's doomy, gloomy bell glinting in all that sweet sunshine.†
contrast = notable 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 1941
Web Links
convention
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
conventional behavior
Conventional wisdom agrees that political fiction is not art;
conventional = typical
DefinitionGenerally this sense of convention means:
something regarded as normal or typical
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useFrwd.
Web Links
establish
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
establish a positive tone
Her elusiveness and indifference to established habits of behavior reminded him of his mother, who was as stubborn in her pursuits of the occult as the women of Greater Saint Matthew's were in the search for redeeming grace.†
established = generally accepted
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1939
Web Links
evaluate
2 uses
The people either accepted his own evaluation of his life, or were indifferent to it.†
evaluation = the process of thinking carefully and making a judgment about something

(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 evaluate means:
to think carefully and make a judgment about something
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useFrwd.
Web Links
grave
1 use
There in the toilet water he saw a grave black face.†
grave = serious and solemn
DefinitionGenerally this sense of grave means:
serious and/or solemn
The exact meaning of this sense of grave can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "This is a grave problem," or "a situation of the utmost gravity." — important, dangerous, or causing worry
  • "She was in a grave mood upon returning from the funeral." — sad or solemn
  • "She looked me in the eye and gravely promised." — in a sincere and serious manner
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1919
Web Links
indifferent
8 uses
The two black soldiers, who had been watching the scene with what appeared to be indifference, now looked stricken.†
indifference = 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
Book8 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1920
Web Links
irony
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
situational irony
And there was utmost irony and outrage in lying under someone, in a position of surrender, feeling her own abiding strength and limitless power.
irony = when things are together that seem like they don't belong together
DefinitionGenerally this sense of irony means:
when what happens is very different than what might be expected; or when things are together that seem like they don't belong together — especially when amusing or an entertaining coincidence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1939
Web Links
malevolent
3 uses
Other mothers who had defended their children from Sula's malevolence...
malevolence = the desire to do evil or to hurt others
DefinitionGenerally malevolent means:
evil
  • of a person — wishing or appearing to wish evil to others
  • of a thing — exerting an evil or harmful influence
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1937
Web Links
moreover
1 use
Moreover, she would be doing it with the taste of Jude's exit in her mouth, with the resentment and shame that even yet pressed for release in her stomach.†
moreover = in addition to what has just been said
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1940
Web Links
nevertheless
1 use
Nevertheless, the sun splashed on a larger and larger crowd that strutted, skipped, marched, and shuffled down the road.†
nevertheless = in spite of that (used to connect contrasting ideas)
DefinitionGenerally nevertheless means:
in spite of that (Used to connect contrasting ideas. Other synonyms could include words and phrases such as nonetheless, all the same, still,  and however.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1941
Web Links
phenomenon
1 use
Although most of the people remembered the time when the sky was black for two hours with clouds and clouds of pigeons, and although they were accustomed to excesses in nature—too much heat, too much cold, too little rain, rain to flooding—they still dreaded the way a relatively trivial phenomenon could become sovereign in their lives and bend their minds to its will.†
phenomenon = something that exists or happened — often of special interest
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 1937
Web Links
precede
1 use
In the silence that preceded the train's heave, she looked deeply at the folds of her mother's dress.†
preceded = went or was before
DefinitionGenerally precede means:
to go or do before
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1920
Web Links
profound
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
profound sadness
...solitary little girls whose loneliness was so profound...
profound = intense
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1922
Web Links
recollect
4 uses
He trotted quickly to it and left, at last, a haven of more than a year, only eight days of which he fully recollected.†
recollected = remembered
DefinitionGenerally recollect means:
to remember — especially experiences from long ago
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1923
Web Links
revise
1 use
In the revised opening I tried to represent discriminatory, prosecutorial racial oppression as well as the community's efforts to remain stable and healthy: the neighborhood has been almost completely swept away by commercial interests (a golf course), but the remains of what sustained it (music, dancing, craft, religion, irony, wit) are what the "valley man," the stranger, sees—or could have seen.†
revised = changed
DefinitionGenerally revise means:
to change (and hopefully improve) — most frequently to improve a written document, but it can be any intentional change such as a change in an estimated amount, a plan, or a series of procedures
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useFrwd.
Web Links
scorn
4 uses
When Sula first visited the Wright house, Helene's curdled scorn turned to butter.†
scorn = disrespect or reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1922
Web Links
subsequent
1 use
Then, on subsequent National Suicide Days, the grown people looked out from behind curtains as he rang his bell; a few stragglers increased their speed, and little children screamed and ran.†
subsequent = following something else
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1919
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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