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The Soloist

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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advocate   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
to advocate
Even a columnist, with a license to advocate for one thing or another, generally stops short of personal involvement in the life of a subject.
advocate = publicly support
DefinitionGenerally this sense of advocate means:
to recommend or publicly support (someone or something)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2.21
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
an advocate supporting
Nathaniel, it seems, already has an advocate and trusted acquaintance, namely me.
advocate = public supporter (in this case, him)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of advocate means:
a person who publicly supports and works to advance a cause

or more rarely:

someone acting in the role of a defense lawyer in England's past and in some jurisdictions today
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1.3
Web Links
belligerent
1 use
a belligerent argument
belligerent = hostile (with the attitude of people eager to fight)
DefinitionGenerally belligerent means:
hostile (the attitude of one eager to fight); or one already engaged in a fight or war
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3.24
Web Links
contrite
1 use
Nathaniel finally brings his head up and there's a hint of contrition in his eye.
contrition = sorrow or regret for a fault or offense

(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 contrite means:
feeling sorrow or regret for a fault or offense
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.12
Web Links
cursory
1 use
Nathaniel gives the hall a cursory look, but his gaze is fixed on the stage, with the musicians filing back in from the dressing room.
cursory = hasty and without attention to detail
DefinitionGenerally cursory means:
quick—not thorough (without attention to detail)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.12
Web Links
delude
7 uses
If the poor soul is that delusional, he's even sicker than I thought.
delusional = out of touch with reality (having false beliefs)
DefinitionGenerally delude means:
deceive (convince to have a false belief)
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.2
Web Links
destitute
2 uses
I'm ashamed that in a region of unprecedented wealth, the destitute and the sick have been shoved into this human corral.
destitute = people who are extremely poor; or lacking the necessities of life such as food and shelter
DefinitionGenerally destitute means:
extremely poor; or lacking the necessities of life such as food and shelter

The expression "destitute of" means:  lacking
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.4
Web Links
diagnose
14 uses
The diagnosis was paranoid schizophrenia, and his life, as he had lived it until then, was over.
diagnosis = the name of a disease that was determined to be the cause of an illness

(editor's note:  People with paranoid schizophrenia have false beliefs that others are plotting against them or their family. As with other forms of schizophrenia, sufferers may hear things that are not real and have delusions of grandeur - a false belief that they are much greater and more powerful and influential than they really are. It is the most common type of schizophrenia and when treated properly people who have it have a very good chance of leading happy and productive lives.)
DefinitionGenerally diagnose means:
determine or identify the nature of a problem or an illness
Word Statistics
Book14 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.18
Web Links
diligent
1 use
Nathaniel sweeps the sidewalk with maniacal diligence, flicking dead cockroaches and cigarette butts into the gutter to clear a space for his bedding.
diligence = hard work and care

(editor's note:  In this context, maniacal means obsessive; or with wild or excessive enthusiasm.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of diligent means:
hard work and care in tasks — often continuing when others might quit because of difficulties
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1.7
Web Links
disdain
1 use
Murray, with straight reddish hair and a look of weary disdain, glares at me.
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
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2.14
Web Links
eccentric
1 use
He quickly makes himself at home, acting like an eccentric and gabby uncle who's dropped by after a long absence.
eccentric = unconventional or strange behaving
DefinitionGenerally eccentric means:
unconventional or strange; or a person with such traits
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 3.23
Web Links
indifferent
4 uses
"I'll be back," I say. He nods indifferently.
indifferently = without interest (unconcerned)
DefinitionGenerally indifferent means:
without interest
in various senses, including:
  • unconcerned — as in "She is indifferent to what is served to eat."
  • unsympathetic — as in "She is indifferent to his needs."
  • not of good quality (which may imply average or poor quality depending upon context) — as in "an indifferent performance"
  • impartial — as in "We need a judge who is indifferent."
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePref.
Web Links
meticulous
2 uses
Nathaniel's clothes are neater and cleaner this time, his grooming more meticulous.
meticulous = treating details with care
DefinitionGenerally meticulous means:
treating details with great care
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.3
Web Links
muse   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —1 use as in:
her musings
I scribble Nathaniel's musings in my spiral notebook, trying to keep up with a running soliloquy that is somewhat reminiscent of Joseph Mitchell's Professor Sea Gull character.
musings = thoughts
DefinitionGenerally this sense of muse means:
reflect (think) deeply on a subject — perhaps aloud
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.4
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
She was his muse
Each is as true today as it will always be, and for Nathaniel the music is both medicine and muse, no less an inspiration now than it was before his fall.
muse = source of inspiration
DefinitionGenerally this sense of muse means:
the source of an artist's inspiration - especially a person or mythological goddess
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.12
Web Links
prescribe
6 uses
I'm curious to know her every thought, her diagnosis, her prognosis, her prescription.
prescription = medical recommendation

(editor's note:  In this context, a diagnosis is the name of the disease found to cause an illness; and the prognosis is the expected outcome for the person with the disease.)
DefinitionGenerally prescribe means:
to recommend or require what should be done

or more specifically:

of a medical doctor:  to give medical instructions — such as writing that a patient should take antibiotics
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 1.3
Web Links
relevant
1 use
The question is whether newspapers will still be relevant at a time when readers are flocking to the Internet and our most solid core of subscribers is slowly dying off, with newsroom cutbacks keeping pace.
relevant = important or meaningful (in this case, with regard to spreading news and helping to inform and shape public opinion)
DefinitionGenerally relevant means:
relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 1.2
Web Links
revere
2 uses
He holds the photo at arm's length, quietly reverent.
reverent = feeling or showing respect and admiration
DefinitionGenerally revere means:
regard with feelings of deep respect and admiration — sometimes with a mixture of wonder and awe or fear
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2.20
Web Links
symphony
18 uses
I know he's an excellent player, a magnificently accomplished professional musician, because I saw him playing Beethoven's Third Symphony.
symphony = a long and complex piece of music — typically for full orchestra in four parts
DefinitionGenerally symphony means:
a long and complex piece of music — typically for full orchestra in four parts;

or:  an orchestra that plays such; or such a performance
Word Statistics
Book18 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1.7
Web Links
tirade
3 uses
She remembers too well her brother's tirades, which terrified her and were like a dagger through her mother's heart.
tirades = speeches of angry criticism
DefinitionGenerally tirade means:
a speech of angry criticism
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2.15
Web Links
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