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Master Harold...and the Boys

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
aghast
1 use
HALLY:   ...Say you stumble or bump into somebody ... do they take off any points?
SAM:  (aghast) Hally...!
HALLY:  When you're dancing — if you and your partner collide into another couple.
(Hally can get no further. SAM has collapsed with laughter.)
aghast = shocked and surprised
DefinitionGenerally aghast means:
shocked with feelings of surprise and dismay (sadness, disappointment, or worry)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
ailment
1 use
Bloody depressing there with everybody going on about their ailments, hey!
ailments = illnesses
DefinitionGenerally ailment means:
an illness
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
appalling
2 uses
(appalled) You mean don't dance?
appalled = shocked by how terrible or horrible something is
DefinitionGenerally appalling means:
shockingly terrible or horrible
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
collide
6 uses
When you're dancing — if you and your partner collide into another couple.
collide = crash together with violent impact
DefinitionGenerally collide means:
crash together with violent impact; or come into conflict
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
daunt
2 uses
An intrepid social reformer will not be daunted by the magnitude of the task he has undertaken.
daunted = discouraged or intimidated

(editor's note:  Intrepid is a synonym for brave. Daunted is a synonym for discouraged.)
DefinitionGenerally daunt means:
to discourage or intimidate
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
deliberate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
deliberate insult
There were occasions when we deliberately let you win a game so that you would stop sulking and go on playing with us.
deliberately = intentionally
DefinitionGenerally this sense of deliberate means:
to do something intentionally (do it on purpose)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
desolate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
felt desolate
A desolate Hally doesn't move.
desolate = sad or miserable—and often lonely
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
despair   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
she felt despair
I oskillate (mispronounces oscillate) between hope and despair for this world as well, Sam.
despair = hopelessness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of despair means:
hopelessness; or distress (such as extreme worry or sadness from feeling powerless to change a bad situation)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
do not despair
We mustn't despair.
despair = give up hope
DefinitionGenerally this sense of despair means:
to lose hope
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
edify
1 use
You're on your bed trimming your toenails with a knife — not a very edifying sight — and as for me....
edifying = instructive
DefinitionGenerally edify means:
to instruct — morally or intellectually
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
flotsam
1 use
...the flotsam and jetsam that life washed up on our shores!
flotsam = things treated as of low value (originally floating debris — especially wreckage of a ship)

(editor's note:  "Flotsam and jetsam" is an expression you'll hear once in a while. Most people don't distinguish between the two, but the difference is important in maritime law. Flotsam is debris from a shipwreck. Jetsam is specifically items intentionally thrown overboard to lighten the ship's load. While flotsam can be reclaimed by the original owner, jetsam of any value can enrich whoever finds it.)
DefinitionGenerally flotsam means:
floating debris — especially from a shipwreck

or:

anything or anyone treated as of low value such as discarded items or homeless people
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
infuriate
2 uses
...it was infuriating! I could have brained you!
infuriating = causing much anger or annoyance
DefinitionGenerally infuriate means:
to make very angry or annoyed
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
oppress
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
oppressive government
All vestiges of the feudal system with its oppression of the poor were abolished.
oppression = unfair treatment

(editor's notes: Vestiges means "traces of something that was previously there."  Feudal system refers to a system of government in which a single leader gave land to nobility and people who lived on the land had to serve the land owner. And abolished is a synonym for eliminated or stopped.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of oppress means:
to dominate harshly and unfairly; or to make suffer
The meaning of oppress depends upon its context. For example:
  • "The authorities oppress political activists," or "The new nation oppressed Native Americans." — to dominate harshly and unfairly
  • "She is oppressed by excessive debt." - made to suffer
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
oscillate
1 use
I oskillate (mispronounces oscillate) between hope and despair for this world as well, Sam.
oscillate = waver between conflicting emotions or opinions
DefinitionGenerally oscillate means:
move or swing from side to side regularly

or:

waver between conflicting positions or courses of action
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
peasant
2 uses
Not many intellectuals are prepared to shovel manure with the peasants and then go home and write a "little book" called War and Peace.
peasants = used historically or possibly in relation to a very poor country:  people of low income, education, and social standing — especially those who raise crops or livestock
DefinitionGenerally peasant means:
used historically or possibly in relation to a very poor country:  a person of low income, education, and social standing — especially one who raises crops or livestock
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
sheer
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
sheer fun
The sheer audacity of it took my breath away.
sheer = complete and without restriction

(editor's note:  In this context, audacity is a synonym for boldness or daring.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of sheer means:
complete or pure — without restriction,  qualification, or other elements (used for emphasis)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
thesis
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
the thesis of her editorial
To put my thesis in a nutshell: the war-dance has been replaced by the waltz.
thesis = an unproved statement put forward as a premise for discussion
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
tirade
1 use
He keeps up his tirade as... But what really makes me bitter is that I allow you chaps a little freedom in here — when business is bad and what do you do with it?
tirade = speech of angry criticism
DefinitionGenerally tirade means:
a speech of angry criticism
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
unobtrusive
1 use
(SAM and WILLIE work away as unobtrusively as possible.)
unobtrusively = in a manner that fits in so as not to attract much attention or disturb
DefinitionGenerally unobtrusive means:
fitting in so as not to attract much attention or disturb
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
vestige
3 uses
All vestiges of the feudal system with its oppression of the poor were abolished.
vestiges = traces of something that was previously there

(editor's notes: Feudal system refers to a system of government in which a single ruler gave land to nobility and people who lived on the land had to serve the land owner. Oppression means unfair treatment. And abolished is a synonym for eliminated or stopped.)
DefinitionGenerally vestige means:
a remaining trace (little bit of something) that was previously abundant
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
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