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Death of a Traveling Salesman

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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belligerent
1 use
"We don't take money for such," said Sonny's voice belligerently.†
belligerently = with an attitude of one eager to fight
DefinitionGenerally belligerent means:
hostile (the attitude of one eager to fight); or one already engaged in a fight or war
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
bestow
1 use
What prompted her to stay there across the room, silently bestowing her presence upon him?†
bestowing = giving
DefinitionGenerally bestow means:
to give — typically to present as an honor or give as a gift
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
bewilder
1 use
I'll sleep in the dark, he thought, in his bewilderment pitying himself.†
bewilderment = a feeling of extreme confusion
DefinitionGenerally bewilder means:
to confuse someone
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library17 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
conspiracy
1 use
Between them they had a conspiracy.
conspiracy = a secret agreement or plot
DefinitionGenerally conspiracy means:
a secret agreement or plot — especially to do something illegal or harmful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
continuous
1 use
Before long he heard something-soft, continuous, insinuating.†
continuous = continuing in time or space without interruption or irregularity
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
docile
1 use
In docility he held his eyes stiffly wide; they fixed themselves on the woman's clasped hands as though she held the cord they were strung on.†
docility = easily led or managed — perhaps submissive or well-behaved
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
elated
1 use
It shot up with great power, almost elation, and fell gently, like acrobats into nets.†
elation = intense feeling of happiness and excitement

(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 elated means:
full of happiness and excitement
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
equivalent
1 use
He was moved almost to tears, feeling for no reason that she had made a silent declaration equivalent to his own.†
equivalent = being equal or essentially equal
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
grave
3 uses
After a little interval they both rose and looking at him gravely went into the other room.
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
Book3 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
indignant
1 use
Somehow he felt unable to be indignant or protest, although some sort of joke had certainly been played upon him.†
indignant = angered or annoyed at something unjust or wrong
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
liable
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she is liable to
You never know who's liable to knock at your door,
liable = maybe going to
DefinitionGenerally this sense of liable means:
likely to; or maybe going to
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
melancholy
1 use
He drove through a heap of dead oak leaves, his wheels stirring their weightless sides to make a silvery melancholy whistle as the car passed through their bed.†
melancholy = a sad feeling or manner
DefinitionGenerally melancholy means:
a sad feeling or manner — sometimes thoughtfully sad
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
nimble
1 use
He stared at the woman while the frantic nimbleness of his feeling made his head sway.†
nimbleness = quickness and agility

(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 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
ostentatious
1 use
On some impulse he put all the money from his billfold under its fluted glass base, almost ostentatiously.†
ostentatiously = in a manner intended to attract notice and impress others
DefinitionGenerally ostentatious means:
intended to attract notice and impress others — especially with wealth in a vulgar way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
placid
1 use
But he moved a trembling hand across his eyes, and looked at the placid crouching woman across the room.†
placid = calm and not easily excited
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
premonition
1 use
Had she wished to affect him with some sort of premonition? he wondered unhappily.†
premonition = a feeling, not based on reason, that something will happen
DefinitionGenerally premonition means:
a feeling, not based on reason, that something will happen — especially something bad
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
profound
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
profound sadness
It began to pound profoundly,
profoundly = intensely
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
ravine
3 uses
Then he saw that he was on the edge of a ravine that fell away, a red erosion, and that this was indeed the road's end.†
ravine = a deep narrow steep-sided valley — especially one formed by running water
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
serene
1 use
Bowman averted his head and saw the woman looking serenely back at the mule, with only satisfaction in her face.†
serenely = in a manner that is calm and untroubled
DefinitionGenerally serene means:
calm and untroubled
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
sustain
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
sustained through the ages
When she never said a word, and sustained her quiet pose of holding the lamp, he was convinced of the strength in her body.
sustained = continued
DefinitionGenerally this sense of sustain means:
to continue through time
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
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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