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The Rainbow Trail

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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agitate
9 uses
Then a strange, slow-coming cold agitation possessed Shefford.†
agitation = the act of stirring up (emotionally or physically); or a state of emotional unrest

(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 agitate means:
to stir up or shake — emotionally (as when people are angered or upset) or physically (as when a washing machine cleans clothes)
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
agony
10 uses
But, more likely, it was her agony that bound the court into silence which grew painful.†
agony = intense suffering
DefinitionGenerally agony means:
intense feelings of suffering — can be from mental or physical pain
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
approach   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
approached the city
The mule showed his cunning and always appeared to present his heels to Withers, who tried to approach him with a pack-saddle.†
approach = get near
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
to get closer to (near in space, time, quantity, or quality)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library104 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
approached her with the proposal
Remembering Withers's revelation about the Navajo, Shefford scarcely knew how to approach him now.†
approach = begin communication with
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
to begin communication with someone about something — often a proposal or a delicate topic
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
austere
6 uses
Why was the very mention of Mormons attended by something austere and secret?†
austere = a notable absence of luxury, comfort, or decoration; or stern in manner
DefinitionGenerally austere means:
a notable absence of luxury, comfort, or decoration

or:

of a person:  stern in manner; or practicing great self-denial
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
chasm
10 uses
They wind down into this great purple chasm—'way over here to the left—and that's the Grand Canyon.†
chasm = a large gap or divide
DefinitionGenerally chasm means:
a large and deep and steep-sided opening on the earth's surface; or (more rarely) any large gap

or:

a very large difference — often of opinion
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
cleave
5 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
cleave through
The color low down was red, dark blue, and purple in the clefts, yellow upon the heights, and in the distance rainbow-hued.†
clefts = splits or cracks
DefinitionGenerally this sense of cleave means:
to split something — especially with violent force

or:

to cut through something
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
deceive
12 uses
Had he embarked yet on the river—did that blue line, so faint, so deceiving, hold him and the boat?†
deceiving = lying or misleading
DefinitionGenerally deceive means:
to lie to or mislead someone — occasionally to lie to oneself by denying reality
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
despair
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
do not despair
The hopes of all, except the Indian, seemed mounting; and if he ever hoped or despaired it was never manifest.†
despaired = lost hope
DefinitionGenerally this sense of despair means:
to lose hope
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
grave
2 uses
"Young man, are you open to faith?" he questioned gravely.†
gravely = in a serious and solemn manner
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
Book2 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
imply
1 use
His tone held faint scorn and implied a joke, but his face did not change in the slightest.†
implied = suggested (said indirectly)
DefinitionGenerally imply means:
to suggest or say indirectly — possibly as a logical consequence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
manifest
13 uses
1  —13 uses as in:
manifest destiny
Manifestly, however, curiosity got the better of fear, for presently Shefford caught a pair of wondering dark eyes peeping at him.†
manifestly = obvious; or to make obvious; or to show or demonstrate
Word Statistics
Book13 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
nevertheless
9 uses
Nevertheless, it made his blood run cold.†
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
Book9 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
novel
1 use
Shefford experienced again a feeling that had been novel to him—and it was that he was loose, free, unanchored, ready to veer with the wind.†
novel = new and original
DefinitionGenerally this sense of novel means:
new and original — typically something considered good
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
poignant
8 uses
Memory was too poignant; the past was too close; he wanted to forget until he had toiled into the heart of this forbidding wilderness—until time had gone by and he dared to face his unquiet soul.†
poignant = sharp or intense
DefinitionGenerally poignant means:
sharp or intense — typically arousing deep emotion such as sadness, but possibly having or creating a sharp smell, taste, or insight
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
precede
2 uses
He associated the assault with the three strange visitors of the preceding day.†
preceding = prior (in time or space)
DefinitionGenerally precede means:
to go or do before
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
scorn
7 uses
His tone held faint scorn and implied a joke, but his face did not change in the slightest.†
scorn = disrespect or reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
somber
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
a somber mood
Withers rode off, with a parting word to Shefford, and finally Joe somberly mounted his bay and trotted down the valley.†
somberly = solemnly (in a manner that is serious—not cheerful or lighthearted)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of somber means:
serious and without humor or fun — perhaps sad
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
wistful
10 uses
And the wistfulness of her silence touched him.†
wistfulness = full of longing or unfulfilled desire

(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 wistful means:
showing longing or unfulfilled desire
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
wither
164 uses
Withers, the trader who keeps it, hauls his supplies in from Colorado and New Mexico.†
withers = shrivels or becomes weaker
DefinitionGenerally wither means:
to shrivel (wrinkle and contract — usually from lack of water)

or:

to become weaker; or feel humiliated
Word Statistics
Book164 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13
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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