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The Good Earth

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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betrothed
12 uses
He and his father had bought two silver rings, washed with gold, and silver earrings, and these his father had taken to the woman's owner in acknowledgment of betrothal.†
betrothal = promised to marry; or the person who has promised to marry
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
clamor
6 uses
He is clamoring to sell that strip near to the western field we now have.†
clamoring = demanding loudly and/or persistently
DefinitionGenerally clamor means:
loud noise and/or persistent demands — especially from human voice
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
compel
9 uses
"I am compelled to lend it to my uncle," he replied shortly.†
compelled = forced; or (more rarely) convinced
DefinitionGenerally compel means:
to force someone to do something

or more rarely:

to convince someone to do something
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
consternation
6 uses
"No woman?" he asked in consternation.†
consternation = dismay (unhappiness, worry, and often confusion) — typically over something unexpected
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
cultivate
8 uses
He came to where Wang Lung was and he stood in silence while Wang Lung hoed a narrow line beside the broad beans he was cultivating.†
cultivating = developing, growing, or preparing to grow 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
Book8 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
despair
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
do not despair
Wang Lung observed the huts and he began to shape his own mats this way and that, but they were stiff and clumsy things at best, being made of split reeds, and he despaired, when suddenly O-lan said, "That I can do.†
despaired = lost hope
DefinitionGenerally this sense of despair means:
to lose hope
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
grave
3 uses
Wang Lung did not speak with the maiden, since it was not fitting, but he inclined his head gravely when she bowed, and he was pleased with her, for she knew her duty and she moved about the house quietly with her eyes downcast.†
gravely = in a serious and solemn manner
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
Book3 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
haughty
9 uses
And as he passed Wang Lung each driver gave him a scornful and haughty look, and no prince could have looked more haughty than these drivers in their rough work coats as they passed by the small group of persons, standing wondering at the edge of the roadway.†
haughty = arrogant
DefinitionGenerally haughty means:
arrogant or condescending (acting superior or self-important)
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 27
Web Links
heed
16 uses
Wang Lung living among these who labored at feasting others, heard strange things of which he took little heed.†
heed = pay close attention to; or do what is suggested
DefinitionGenerally heed means:
pay close attention to; or to do what is suggested — especially with regard to a warning or other advice
Word Statistics
Book16 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
impudent
9 uses
"If you are buying nothing more," he said at last with much impudence, "you will have to pay rent for the stool."†
impudence = improperly bold or disrespectful — especially toward someone who is older or considered to be of higher status
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
indifferent
6 uses
"Will you have more?" asked the boy indifferently.†
indifferently = in a manner that is without interest
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
Book6 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
lenient
2 uses
In these parts, where Wang Lung had lived all his life and his father and his father's father had lived upon the land, there were famines once in five years or so, or if the gods were lenient, once in seven or eight or even ten years.†
lenient = less strict or more tolerant than might be expected
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
malicious
9 uses
And then he added somewhat maliciously, pulling at the hairs on his mole, "And do not think that silver will waken him—he has had silver under his hand since he was born."†
maliciously = with a desire to see others suffer; or in a threatening manner
DefinitionGenerally malicious means:
wanting to see others suffer; or threatening evil
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
moreover
12 uses
Moreover, who has heard of a pretty slave who was virgin in a wealthy house?†
moreover = in addition to what has just been said
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
nevertheless
24 uses
Nevertheless, he had to struggle with his flesh before he could answer.†
nevertheless = in spite of that (used to connect contrasting ideas)
DefinitionGenerally nevertheless means:
in spite of that (Used to connect contrasting ideas. Other synonyms could include words and phrases such as nonetheless, all the same, still,  and however.)
Word Statistics
Book24 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
ponder
10 uses
Sometimes, working over the clods in the fields, he would fall to pondering about her.†
pondering = thinking deeply or carefully about
DefinitionGenerally ponder means:
to think deeply or carefully about something
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
reproach
7 uses
Yesterday you attack my house and call aloud in the streets that my daughter is not a virgin; today you reproach me, who if your father passes on, must be as your own father to you!†
reproach = a criticism; or to express criticism
DefinitionGenerally reproach means:
a criticism; or to express criticism — especially where a relationship makes the disapproval result in disappointment or shame
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
satiate
1 use
Then it was that he looked at O-lan, his wife, as a man looks at the woman whose body he knows thoroughly and to satiation and who has lived beside him so closely that there is nothing he does not know of her and nothing new which he may expect or hope from her.†
satiation = to satisfy a hunger; or fill to satisfaction (typically said of hunger for food, but can be said of anything desired—such as of knowledge or sensual pleasure)

(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.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
scorn
17 uses
But this scorn did not change the mind of Wang Lung.†
scorn = disrespect or reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book17 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
somber
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a somber mood
And she answered him flatly and somberly, "Every day was I beaten."
somberly = solemnly (in a manner that is serious—not cheerful or lighthearted)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of somber means:
serious and without humor or fun — perhaps sad
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
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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