toggle menu
menu
vocabulary
1000+ books
Book Menu

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
afflict
5 uses
They could have something, an affliction, that's beyond their control.†
affliction = something that causes ongoing suffering

(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 afflict means:
cause suffering — such as illness, pain, or unhappiness
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
banish
5 uses
And then I'm off to sleep, banishing it from my mind.†
banishing = expelling or getting rid of
DefinitionGenerally banish means:
to expel or get rid of
in various senses, including:
  • to force someone to leave a country as punishment
  • to push an idea from the mind
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
bequeath
1 use
We bequeath our racquets to an eager, pink-cheeked foursome.
bequeath = give or pass down
DefinitionGenerally bequeath means:
give or pass down — often upon death in a will
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
candid
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
your candid opinion
Her candor has us both looking away.†
candor = honesty and directness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of candid means:
honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
chide
8 uses
"Come now," Felicity chides.†
chides = scolds or criticizes
DefinitionGenerally chide means:
to tell someone they have done wrong — sometimes in a gentle way to encourage better behavior
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
condescending
1 use
I hear him, condescending and impatient, trying to reason with the couple in the street.
condescending = treating others as inferiors
DefinitionGenerally condescending means:
treating others as inferior; or doing something considered beneath one's position or dignity
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
contempt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
feels contempt towards her
A contemptuous "ha" escapes from Felicity's mouth.
contemptuous = showing disrespect
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
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
convention
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
conventional behavior
I recognize that this is unconventional.†
unconventional = not regarded as normal

(editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in unconventional means not and reverses the meaning of conventional. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of convention means:
something regarded as normal or typical
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
defer
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
deferred to her wishes
"Mama says... That's why we're supposed to defer to our husbands."
defer = submit or yield to another's opinions
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
submit or yield (typically to another person's opinion because of respect for that person or their knowledge)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 23
Web Links
descend
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
thieves descended upon us
Ann has stayed behind to practice her aria for Assembly Day—the day when our families will descend upon Spence and see what marvels of womanhood we're becoming.†
descend = come
DefinitionGenerally this sense of descend means:
to come or arrive — especially suddenly or from above or as an attack
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
disdain
2 uses
My voice drips with disdain.†
disdain = a lack of respect
DefinitionGenerally disdain means:
a lack of respect — often suggesting distaste and an undeserved sense of superiority

or:

to reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 23
Web Links
duplicity
1 use
But mostly, I'm hoping that it will be my mother's voice I hear next, laughing at my duplicity, forgiving me for everything, even this bit of trickery.
duplicity = deception — such as lying
DefinitionGenerally duplicity means:
deception (lying to or misleading others) — usually over an extended period
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 21
Web Links
evaluate
2 uses
Would you like to be paraded around the ballrooms of London society like some prize horse there to have its breeding capabilities evaluated?†
evaluated = thought carefully and made a judgment about
DefinitionGenerally evaluate means:
to think carefully and make a judgment about something
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
hideous
12 uses
No. This is all some hideous dream.†
hideous = extremely ugly, offensive, and/or frightening
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 28
Web Links
indulge
4 uses
Mustn't let them think we British ladies are so petty as to indulge in arguments on the streets.†
indulge = enjoy to excess
DefinitionGenerally indulge means:
to give into a desire or enjoy something — especially in excess of what is thought good—such as a desire to eat too much cake, or be too lazy

or:

to allow or help someone to get their way or enjoy something — especially something that (probably because of excess) is not considered to be good or proper
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
irony
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
situational irony
The great irony is that we told him the truth. And now we'll be punished for it.
irony = when what happens is very different than what might be expected
DefinitionGenerally this sense of irony means:
when what happens is very different than what might be expected; or when things are together that seem like they don't belong together — especially when amusing or an entertaining coincidence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 33
Web Links
malevolent
1 use
What if this otherworldly little girl is a malevolent spirit who means to do me harm?
malevolent = evil
DefinitionGenerally malevolent means:
evil
  • of a person — wishing or appearing to wish evil to others
  • of a thing — exerting an evil or harmful influence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
optimistic
3 uses
It isn't the most optimistic outlook I've ever heard.†
optimistic = expecting the best; or focusing on the good part of things
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
ravine
12 uses
It's a solid hike through the trees, beyond the boathouse and the lake, and along a deep ravine.†
ravine = a deep narrow steep-sided valley — especially one formed by running water
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
taut
4 uses
A line of dark hair snakes over a taut stomach.†
taut = pulled or drawn tight;
or: subjected to great tension
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
Go to Book Menu
Take Pre-Reading Quiz
† 
Sample usage followed by this mark was not checked by an editor. Please let us know if you spot a problem.
SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board, which is not affiliated with verbalworkout.com™, and does not endorse this site.