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Look Homeward, Angel

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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bequeath
1 use
So, with this legacy, we leave this Englishman and are concerned hereafter with the heir to whom he bequeathed it, his second son, a boy named Oliver.
bequeathed = left upon death
DefinitionGenerally bequeath means:
give or pass down — often upon death in a will
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
complacent
13 uses
And that voice, flat, drawling, complacent, touched with sudden light a picture that had lain dead in him for twenty years.†
complacent = unworried and satisfied
DefinitionGenerally complacent means:
contented (unworried and satisfied) — often to a fault
Word Statistics
Book13 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
dwell
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
a modest dwelling
There were a few frame houses by the roadside: the dwellings of negroes and poor white people, but these became sparser as they mounted.†
dwellings = houses or shelters in which people live
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dwelling means:
a house or shelter in which someone lives
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
eloquent
12 uses
And men, fascinated somehow by this strange eloquence from a little boy, bought.†
eloquence = powerful use of language
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
establish
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
establish a positive tone
In five years it would do away with divorce and re-establish the prestige of the home.†
re-establish = restore

(Editor's note:  The prefix "re-" in re-establish means again. This is the same pattern you see in words like reconsider, rearrange, and regenerate.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
grave
31 uses
(She is alone, it said, and so are you.) And when she purses up her mouth and stares, so grave and thoughtful, she is like a little child.†
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
Book31 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
illustrate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an illustrated children's book
The perfect and unblemished heroes of his childhood now seemed cheap to him— fit only to illustrate advertisements for collars and toothpaste.†
illustrate = act as pictures to accompany
DefinitionGenerally this sense of illustrate means:
to draw pictures (or provide photographs) to accompany a book or other writing
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
incessant
21 uses
Two little boys, twins, with straight very blond heads, and thin, mean faces, raced up and down the sidewalk before the house incessantly on tricycles.†
incessantly = continuously
DefinitionGenerally incessant means:
continuous — often in an annoying way
Word Statistics
Book21 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
interminable
17 uses
There was a droning interminable wait at a junction-town near the foot-hills.†
interminable = seemingly endless; or long and unpleasant (often boring or annoying)
Word Statistics
Book17 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
irony
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
situational irony
So, to Ben dead was given more care, more time, more money than had ever been given to Ben living. His burial was a final gesture of irony and futility:
irony = when what happened was very different than what might have been expected
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 3
Web Links
malicious
12 uses
"Would you like some cold pork, son?" said Coker, with his yellow malicious grin.†
malicious = wanting to see others suffer; or threatening evil
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
moreover
10 uses
Moreover, his own feeling for order was so great that he had a passionate aversion for what was slovenly, disorderly, diffuse.†
moreover = in addition to what has just been said
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
passage
2 uses
He committed to memory the entire passage in the Anabasis, the mounting and triumphal Greek which described the moment when the starving remnant of the Ten Thousand had come at length to the sea, and sent up their great cry, calling it by name.†
passage = a short part of a longer written work
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
rhetoric
12 uses
At this moment Gant strode in out of the dusk, carrying a mottled package of pork chops, and muttering rhetorically to himself.†
rhetorically = in a manner that uses words to make a point
DefinitionGenerally rhetoric means:
the use of (or study of using) words to make a point — typically implying skillful use
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
subtle
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a subtle difference or thinker
The class roared its appreciation of these subtleties.†
subtleties = things that are not obvious, but noticeable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
not obvious, but understandable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps depending upon fine distinctions)

or:

capable of understanding things that require sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps understanding fine distinctions)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
tranquil
17 uses
This starched and well brushed world of Sunday morning Presbyterianism, with its sober decency, its sense of restraint, its suggestion of quiet wealth, solid position, ordered ritual, seclusive establishment, moved him deeply with its tranquillity.†
tranquillity = peace and quiet; or calmness

(editor's note:  This is a British spelling. Americans use tranquility.)
DefinitionGenerally tranquil means:
calm and undisturbed
Word Statistics
Book17 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
tremulous
18 uses
Eliza waved to him and smiled tremulously; she turned back into the house sniffling, with wet eyes.†
tremulously = with quivering (shakiness)
DefinitionGenerally tremulous means:
quivering (shaky) — usually from weakness or fear — especially of the voice
Word Statistics
Book18 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
wane
15 uses
The child sat in the big chair by the waning sitting-room fire: she read until the flames had died to coals—then quietly she shovelled ashes on them.†
waning = declining or diminishing
DefinitionGenerally wane means:
a gradual decline (in size or strength or power or number) — especially the part of the moon that is visible
Word Statistics
Book15 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
yield   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 9 uses
1  —1 use as in:
will yield valuable data
And in this pillage of the loaded shelves, he found himself wedged firmly into the grotesque pattern of Protestant fiction which yields the rewards of Dionysus to the loyal disciples of John Calvin, panting and praying in a breath, guarding the plumtree with the altar fires, outdoing the pagan harlot with the sanctified hussy.†
yields = gives or produces
DefinitionGenerally this sense of yield means:
to produce (usually something wanted); or the thing or amount produced
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —8 uses as in:
yield to pressure
He yielded weakly to invalidism, he became tyrannous of attention, jealous of service.†
yielded = gave in, gave way, or gave up
DefinitionGenerally this sense of yield means:
to give in, give way, or give up
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
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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