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The American

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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allude
12 uses
Bellegarde had been looking at him with quickened expectancy, and with the smile with which he had greeted Newman's allusion to his promised request.†
allusion = an indirect reference

(editor's note:  The suffix "-sion", 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 admission from admit, discussion from discuss, and invasion from invade.)
DefinitionGenerally allude means:
to make an indirect reference
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
amiable
12 uses
Newman listened to him with his impartial smile, and was glad, for his own sake, that he had fine feelings; but he mentally repudiated the idea of a Frenchman having discovered any merit in the amiable sex which he himself did not suspect.†
amiable = friendly, agreeable, and likable
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
audacious
14 uses
And the old man turned afresh, with a staring, wondering homage, to the audacious daub on the easel.†
audacious = bold and daring
DefinitionGenerally audacious means:
bold and daring (inclined to take risks) — especially in violating social convention in a manner that could offend others
Word Statistics
Book14 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
consequence
8 uses
1  —8 uses as in:
a direct consequence of
He would have been incapable of asking for it, for he had no perception of difficulties, and consequently no curiosity about remedies.†
consequently = resultantly (as a result)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
a result of something (often an undesired side effect)
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library28 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
cultivate
10 uses
I am not cultivated, I am not even educated; I know nothing about history, or art, or foreign tongues, or any other learned matters.†
cultivated = developed, grown, or prepared for growing crops
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
Book10 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
establish   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
establish a positive tone
He established himself in some rooms selected for him by Tom Tristram, in accordance with the latter's estimate of what he called his social position.†
established = settled
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
establish that there is a need
Even say we firmly established by medical evidence the presumption of a mind disordered by fever, ...†
established = proved
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
show or determine (cause to be recognized or figure out)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
grave
21 uses
She hesitated, and then she uttered a grave "No! he's a very honest little fellow."†
grave = serious and solemn
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
Book21 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
illustrate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an illustrated children's book
In Paris he had purchased a bag of hominy at an establishment which called itself an American Agency, and at which the New York illustrated papers were also to be procured, and he had carried it about with him, and shown extreme serenity and fortitude in the somewhat delicate position of having his hominy prepared for him and served at anomalous hours, at the hotels he successively visited.†
illustrated = accompanied by drawings
DefinitionGenerally this sense of illustrate means:
to draw pictures (or provide photographs) to accompany a book or other writing
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
impudent
12 uses
Damn his French impudence!†
impudence = improperly bold or disrespectful — especially toward someone who is older or considered to be of higher status
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
indulge
10 uses
Inevitably, he had a vast deal to say about women, and he used frequently to indulge in sentimental and ironical apostrophes to these authors of his joys and woes.†
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
Book10 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
intellectual
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
intellectual stimulation
The inconsistent little lady of the Avenue d'Iena had an insuperable need of changing her place, intellectually.†
intellectually = in a manner that relates to intelligence
DefinitionGenerally this sense of intellectual means:
related to intelligence — such as requiring, appealing to, or possessing intelligence
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
melancholy
12 uses
He wore the same decently melancholy aspect as a few months before; a few months more or less of brushing could make little difference in the antique lustre of his coat and hat.†
melancholy = a sad feeling or manner
DefinitionGenerally melancholy means:
a sad feeling or manner — sometimes thoughtfully sad
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
Monsieur
48 uses
"Monsieur wishes to buy it?" asked the young lady in French.†
Monsieur = Mr. or Sir (in French)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of Monsieur means:
French equivalent to the English Mr.

or:

French equivalent to saying sir in English (a polite way to address a male)
Word Statistics
Book48 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
moreover
11 uses
Moreover, many of the common traditions with regard to women were with him fresh personal impressions; he had never read a novel!†
moreover = in addition to what has just been said
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
perplex
11 uses
The Count Valentin looked at our hero from head to foot with his peculiar smile, in which impudence and urbanity seemed perplexingly commingled.†
perplexingly = to confuse
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
portfolio
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a leather portfolio
I was delighted to believe it, and when I went into society I used to carry her pictures with me in a portfolio and hand them round to the company.
portfolio = a flat, thin case for carrying papers, drawings, etc.
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
propriety
10 uses
M. Nioche had brought Newman a message from his daughter, in acceptance of his magnificent commission, the young lady declaring herself his most devoted servant, promising her most zealous endeavor, and regretting that the proprieties forbade her coming to thank him in person.†
proprieties = socially correct or appropriate behavior
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
tranquil
12 uses
Christopher Newman was silent a moment, and then with a tranquil smile he answered, "Yes."†
tranquil = calm and undisturbed
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
vulgar
12 uses
She has not a single question—it's vulgar to ask questions—and yet she knows everything.†
vulgar = of bad taste (crude, offensive, or unsophisticated)
DefinitionGenerally vulgar means:
of bad taste — often crude or offensive

or:

unsophisticated (or common) — especially of taste
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
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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