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For Esme:--with Love and Squalor

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
abrupt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an abrupt change
She looked up at me abruptly.
abruptly = suddenly and unexpectedly
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abrupt means:
sudden and unexpected
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
acquaint
2 uses
Are you at all acquainted with squalor?
acquainted = familiar with
DefinitionGenerally acquaint means:
to cause to know; or to cause to be familiar with
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
acute
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
acute sense of smell
She looked at me with a kind of fresh acuteness.
acuteness = perceptiveness

(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 this sense of acute means:
sharp (highly perceptive in some area or mentally sharp)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
appendage
1 use
When he saw that I was looking at him, he closed his eyes, sleepily, angelically, then stuck out his tongue—an appendage of startling length—and...
appendage = a body part that projects from the body
DefinitionGenerally appendage means:
an external body part (such as an arm) that projects from the body; or any part that is joined to something larger
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
articulate
1 use
"I write extremely articulate letters for a person my—"
articulate = clearly expressed
DefinitionGenerally this sense of articulate means:
the act of or ability of clearly expressing with words; or to clearly express with words
The exact meaning of this sense of articulate depends upon its context. For example:
  • "She is articulate and persuasive." — well-spoken (expresses her ideas clearly)
  • "She articulated what everyone was thinking." — said aloud
  • "After the stroke, she had to learn to articulate her consonants." — speak distinctly (so each word can be understood)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
candid
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
your candid opinion
To be quite candid, Father really needed more of an intellectual companion than Mother was.
candid = honest and straightforward
DefinitionGenerally this sense of candid means:
honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
cunning
1 use
I'm still around, but from here on in, for reasons I'm not at liberty to disclose, I've disguised myself so cunningly that even the cleverest reader will fail to recognize me.
cunningly = cleverly
DefinitionGenerally this sense of cunning means:
being good at achieving goals through cleverness — and typically through deception as well (tricking others)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
dissonance
1 use
I gathered that the singing part of the rehearsal was over, and before the coach's dissonant speaking voice could entirely break the spell the children's singing had cast, I got up and left the church.
dissonant = unpleasant sounding (in this case, not in harmony with the children's voices)
DefinitionGenerally dissonance means:
not going well together; or conflict
especially in these two senses:
  • unpleasant musical sound
  • inconsistency or conflict between beliefs and actions such as voluntarily taking actions that conflict with beliefs, or holding two conflicting beliefs (also called "cognitive dissonance")
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
ecstatic
1 use
Then, suddenly, almost ecstatically, he felt sleepy.
ecstatically = with intense happiness
DefinitionGenerally ecstatic means:
feeling intense happiness and excitement (as when in a state of ecstasy)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
incessant
1 use
He took a cigarette from a pack on the table and lit it with fingers that bumped gently and incessantly against one another.
incessantly = continuously
DefinitionGenerally incessant means:
continuous — often in an annoying way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
inclined
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
I'm inclined to
Please write as soon as you have the time and inclination.
inclination = desire (are in the mood)

(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 this sense of inclined means:
a tendency, mood, desire, or attitude that favors something; or making someone favor something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
inscribe
3 uses
...he opened the woman's book and read the brief inscription on the flyleaf. Written in ink, in German, in a small, hopelessly sincere handwriting, were the words "Dear God, life is hell."
inscription = message written by hand

(editor's note:  A flyleaf is a blank page at the front or end of a book.)
DefinitionGenerally inscribe means:
to write
in various senses, including:
  • to write, carve, or etch words onto something's surface — as in "The names of the major donors will be inscribed on the front wall."
  • to write a signed message and/or signature — as in "She inscribed the book with the message:  I know this story will speak to your heart. Love Emma"
  • to write down something when adding it to a list — as in "Their names were inscribed in the register of at Ellis Island."
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
opaque
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
opaque explanation
She was given a steady, opaque look.
opaque = hard to understand
DefinitionGenerally this sense of opaque means:
difficult or impossible to understand — especially due to complexity or obscurity
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
poise
1 use
The next thing I knew, the young lady was standing, with enviable poise, beside my table.
poise = composure or grace
DefinitionGenerally poise means:
calm and in control — as in "shows poise under pressure"

and/or:

prepared for action — as in "poised for action" — (sometimes suspended or hovering as in "a finger poised over the mute button")

and/or:

confident and graceful in movement — as in "the poise and balance of a dancer"
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
prolific
2 uses
I said that I wasn't terribly prolific.
prolific = productive (in his writing)
DefinitionGenerally prolific means:
producing abundantly
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
resolve
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
I resolved to stop drinking.
He opened the envelope, loosely resolved to read the letter straight through, but read only the top half of the first page.
resolved = decided
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolve means:
to decide — typically a firm or formal decision
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
squalid
2 uses
This is the squalid, or moving, part of the story, and the scene changes.
squalid = unpleasant (possibly repulsive)
DefinitionGenerally squalid means:
dirty and unpleasant; or (more rarely) immoral
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
squalor
5 uses
"Are you at all acquainted with squalor?"
 I said not exactly but that I was getting better acquainted with it, in one form or another, all the time,
squalor = filth — especially a place that is extremely dirty and unpleasant

(editor's note: Squalor is an important concept in this Story. As an orphan, Esmé has developed an interest in understanding unpleasant things, so she expresses an interest in it. When the narrator says he is getting better acquainted with it, he is alluding to his experience with war.)
DefinitionGenerally squalor means:
(describing a place) extremely dirty and unpleasant — typically due to poverty
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
superficial
1 use
They were quite well mated, though, in a superficial way.
superficial = relating to a surface (perhaps appearances) rather than to anything deep or penetrating
DefinitionGenerally superficial means:
relating to a surface rather than to anything deep or penetrating (often of injuries or thinking)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
trifle
5 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
a trifling matter
Clay looked surprised, almost a trifle hurt.
trifle = little
DefinitionGenerally this sense of trifle means:
something of small importance; or a small quantity
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
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