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The Laughing Man

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
acute
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
acute pain
The impact of this feat on the Dufarges was so acute that their hearts literally burst, and they dropped dead at the Laughing Man's feet.
acute = severe
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acute means:
sharp (severe or strong) — usually negative
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
anonymous
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an anonymous author
Soon the Laughing Man had amassed the largest personal fortune in the world. Most of it he contributed anonymously to the monks of a local monastery—
anonymously = without revealing who contributed the money
DefinitionGenerally this sense of anonymous means:
an unknown person, or of an unknown person — such as an unknown author, or donation of an unknown person
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
appropriate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
it is appropriate
I planned to take her into my underworld employ in some undefined but appropriately regal capacity.
appropriately = in a suitable (fitting) manner
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
compassion
1 use
There was a compassionate side to the Laughing Man's character that just about drove me crazy.†
compassionate = feeling or showing sympathy for another's suffering
DefinitionGenerally compassion means:
sympathy for another's suffering and wanting to help
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
contempt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
feels contempt towards her
He was an impartial and unexcitable umpire at all our bedlam sporting events, a master fire builder and extinguisher, and an expert, uncontemptuous first-aid man.†
uncontemptuous = not showing a lack of respect

(Editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in uncontemptuous means not and reverses the meaning of contemptuous. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
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
Web Links
disconcerting
1 use
It was a shade disconcerting.†
disconcerting = disturbing or unsettling
DefinitionGenerally disconcerting means:
disrupt composure — such as to confuse or worry
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
distort
1 use
Omba bowed his own slightly distorted head and revealed to his master that the Dufarges had killed Black Wing.†
distorted = altered in an unnatural or untrue way
DefinitionGenerally distort means:
to alter something in an unnatural or untrue way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
eloquent
1 use
One day, however, in a hoarse but eloquent voice, he appealed for help to the animals of the forest.†
eloquent = powerful use of language
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
flaunt
1 use
Soon the Laughing Man was regularly crossing the Chinese border into Paris, France, where he enjoyed flaunting his high but modest genius in the face of Marcel Dufarge, the internationally famous detective and witty consumptive.†
flaunting = showing off
DefinitionGenerally flaunt means:
the act of showing off (displaying something in an obvious way for others to admire or envy)

or:

openly defiant of rules or expectations
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
hideous
3 uses
At all costs, stifle my natural hideous laughter.†
hideous = extremely ugly, offensive, and/or frightening
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
however
5 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
However, complications may...
One day, however, in a hoarse but eloquent voice, he appealed for help to the animals of the forest.†
however = a word used to connect contrasting ideas as when using though, in spite of that, in contrast, nevertheless, etc.
DefinitionGenerally this sense of however means:
though (or another expression that connects contrasting ideas)

(Based on idea 1 we might not expect idea 2, but this is a way of saying that even though idea 1 exists, we still have idea 2.  Synonyms include in spite of that, , nevertheless, nonetheless, on the other hand, in contrastand but.)
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library61 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
Web Links
ingenious
1 use
Soon his ingenious criminal methods, coupled with his singular love of fair play, found him a warm place in the nation's heart.†
ingenious = showing cleverness and originality
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
invariably
1 use
Rainy afternoons, the Chief invariably took us either to the Museum of Natural History or to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.†
invariably = always; or (said in exaggeration when meaning) almost always
DefinitionGenerally invariably means:
never changing; or always the same
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
loathe
1 use
However, the Dufarges had no intention of liberating Black Wing, whom they feared and loathed.†
loathed = detested or intensely disliked
DefinitionGenerally loathe means:
hate, detest, or intensely dislike
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
moreover
1 use
Moreover, he removed his mask and spoke to them, softly, melodiously, in their own tongues.†
moreover = in addition to what has just been said
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
narrate
2 uses
Once he started narrating, our interest never flagged.†
narrating = telling (a story)
DefinitionGenerally narrate means:
to tell a story-possibly as the main voice in a documentary; or a character who speaks to the audience in a performance
The specific meaning of narrate depends on context. For example:
  • "She narrated her story with tears in her eyes." — told a story
  • "Her diary chillingly narrates her descent into madness." — tells a story in writing
  • "Morgan Freeman narrated the documentary which features historic news reports and interviews." — was the voice that tells a story while tying the scenes of a documentary together
  • "The character who plays the Stage Director in Our Town also narrates for the audience." — when an actor in a play, movie, or other performance helps to tell the story by talking directly to the audience (breaking the imaginary barrier between the performers and the audience)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
nonetheless
2 uses
I had no idea what was going on between the Chief and Mary Hudson (and still haven't, in any but a fairly low, intuitive sense), but nonetheless, I couldn't have been more certain that Mary Hudson had permanently dropped out of the Comanche lineup.†
nonetheless = in spite of that (used to connect contrasting ideas)
DefinitionGenerally nonetheless means:
in spite of that (Used to connect contrasting ideas. Other synonyms could include words and phrases such as nevertheless, all the same, still,  and however.)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
ominous
1 use
There were twenty-five Comanches in the Club, or twenty-five legitimate living descendants of the Laughing Man—all of us circulating ominously, and incognito, throughout the city, sizing up elevator operators as potential archenemies, whispering side-of-the-mouth but fluent orders into the ears of cocker spaniels, drawing beads, with index fingers, on the foreheads of arithmetic teachers.†
ominously = threatening (suggestive of, or foreshadowing bad things to come)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
species
1 use
There he befriended any number and species of animals: dogs, white mice, eagles, lions, boa constrictors, wolves.†
species = a similar group of animals or plants
DefinitionGenerally species means:
a group of animals or plants that are similar — typically identified as a group because they can procreate together (reproduce new members of the group)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
wistful
1 use
And to really top things off, when another Comanche and I were flipping a coin to decide which team would take the field first, Mary Hudson wistfully expressed a desire to join the game.†
wistfully = with longing or unfulfilled desire
DefinitionGenerally wistful means:
showing longing or unfulfilled desire
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 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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