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A Curtain of Green

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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abundant
1 use
Within its border of hedge, high like a wall, and visible only from the upstairs windows of the neighbors, this slanting, tangled garden, more and more overabundant and confusing, must have become so familiar to Mrs. Larkin that quite possibly by now she was unable to conceive of any other place.†
overabundant = present in great quantity
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
appropriate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
it is appropriate
...without any regard for the ideas that her neighbors might elect in their club as to what constituted an appropriate vista,
appropriate = suitable (fitting)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of appropriate means:
suitable (fitting) for a particular situation
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library28 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
Web Links
beseech
1 use
He bent down and in a horrified, piteous, beseeching voice he began to call her name until she stirred.†
beseeching = asking or begging
DefinitionGenerally beseech means:
to ask strongly or beg for something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
bewilder
1 use
Her eyes were dull and puckered, as if from long impatience or bewilderment.†
bewilderment = a feeling of extreme confusion
DefinitionGenerally bewilder means:
to confuse someone
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library17 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
compel
1 use
Life and death, she thought, gripping the heavy hoe, life and death, which now meant nothing to her but which she was compelled continually to wield with both her hands, ceaselessly asking, Was it not possible to compensate? to punish? to protest?†
compelled = forced; or (more rarely) convinced
DefinitionGenerally compel means:
to force someone to do something

or more rarely:

to convince someone to do something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
cultivate
1 use
She was busy with the hoe, clearing one of the last patches of uncultivated ground for some new shrubs.†
uncultivated = not developed

(Editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in uncultivated means not and reverses the meaning of cultivated. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
DefinitionGenerally cultivate means:
enhance growth or development
in various senses, including:
  • to grow crops or prepare land for them
  • enhance a relationship — especially for a purpose
  • develop discernment (better recognition of differences) in taste or judgment
  • to grow a culture in a petri dish
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
glimpse
1 use
-almost stealthily bearing down upon his laxity and his absorption, as if that glimpse of the side of his face, that turned-away smile, were a teasing, innocent, flickering and beautiful vision-some mirage to her strained and wandering eyes.†
glimpse = a quick look or partial understanding
DefinitionGenerally glimpse means:
a quick look or partial understanding
The exact meaning of glimpse can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "I caught a glimpse of her when I was walking to class." — a very quick look
  • "I glimpsed at the headlines." — looked quickly
  • "Reading the book gave me a glimpse of the life of a devout Muslim immigrant in America." — a quick, incomplete view
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library43 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
heed
2 uses
To the neighbors gazing down from their upstairs windows it had the appearance of a sort of jungle, in which the slight, heedless form of its owner daily lost itself.†
heedless = ignorant or ignoring; or not following advice

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-less" in heedless means without. This is the same pattern you see in words like fearless, homeless, and endless.)
DefinitionGenerally heed means:
pay close attention to; or to do what is suggested — especially with regard to a warning or other advice
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
intricate
1 use
The head of Jamey, bent there below her, seemed witless, terrifying, wonderful, almost inaccessible to her, and yet in its explicit nearness meant surely for destruction, with its clustered hot woolly hair, its intricate, glistening ears, its small brown branching streams of sweat, the bowed head holding so obviously and so fatally its ridiculous dream.†
intricate = complicated — having many complexly arranged elements
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
levee
1 use
Then as if it had swelled and broken over a daily levee, tenderness tore and spun through her sagging body.†
levee = an embankment (wall or slope) that is built to prevent a river from overflowing
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
negligent
1 use
As he turned his head a little to one side and negligently stirred the dirt with his yellow finger, she saw, with a sort of helpless suspicion and hunger, a soft, rather deprecating smile on his face; he was lost in some impossible dream of his own while he was transplanting the little shoots.†
negligently = with insufficient care or attention
DefinitionGenerally negligent means:
insufficient care or attention (not being careful enough or not trying hard enough to fulfill a responsibility)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
nimble
1 use
Then he jumped nimbly to his feet and ran out of the garden.†
nimbly = quickly and easily
DefinitionGenerally nimble means:
quick and agile  — typically physically, but can also reference quick, agile thinking

(someone who is agile does things easily)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
obliterate
1 use
She had waited there on the porch for a time afterward, not moving at all-in a sort of recollection— as if to reach under and bring out from obliteration her protective words and to try them once again ... so as to change the whole happening.†
obliteration = do away with completely

(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.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
oblivious
1 use
He remembered all the while the oblivious crash of the windows next door being shut when the rain started... .†
oblivious = unaware of
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
recollect
1 use
She had waited there on the porch for a time afterward, not moving at all-in a sort of recollection— as if to reach under and bring out from obliteration her protective words and to try them once again ... so as to change the whole happening.†
recollection = memory

(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 recollect means:
to remember — especially experiences from long ago
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
reputable
1 use
Now the intense light like a tweezers picked out her clumsy, small figure in its old pair of men's overalls rolled up at the sleeves and trousers, separated it from the thick leaves, and made it look strange and yellow as she worked with a hoe-over-vigorous, disreputable, and heedless.†
disreputable = not trusted or respected — especially thought to engage in illegal activities

(Editor's note:  The prefix "dis-" in disreputable means not or opposite. It reverses the meaning of reputable as seen in words like disagree, disconnect, and disappear.)
DefinitionGenerally reputable means:
trusted and respected (having a good reputation)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
strenuous
1 use
Just to what end Mrs. Larkin worked so strenuously in her garden, her neighbors could not see.†
strenuously = in a manner that requires much effort
DefinitionGenerally strenuous means:
energetic; or physically or mentally difficult or requiring endurance
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
submissive
1 use
The servant would call her at dinnertime, and she would obey; but it was not until it was completely dark that she would truthfully give up her labor and with a drooping, submissive walk appear at the house, slowly opening the small low door at the back.†
submissive = inclined to submit (give in) to the wishes of others
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
vigilant
1 use
The daily summer rains could only increase her vigilance and her already excessive energy.†
vigilance = careful watch
DefinitionGenerally vigilant means:
carefully observant or attentive — often to possible danger
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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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