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Black Like Me

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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belligerent
1 use
"What're you trying to do," the white man asked belligerently, "kill this man's sale?"
belligerently = with an attitude of one 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
Web Links
benevolent
1 use
People read this poison—and it's often presented in a benevolent tone, even a kind tone.
benevolent = kind or charitable
DefinitionGenerally benevolent means:
kind, generous, or charitable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
condone
4 uses
Did their silence condone the lynching?
condone = allow (bad behavior) without taking a stand against it
DefinitionGenerally condone means:
accept without criticism; or approve of
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
contempt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
feels contempt towards her
By the very tone of his question he revealed his contempt for us.
contempt = lack of respect
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
Web Links
despair
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she felt despair
He spat out the word with the deepest despair I have ever heard in a human voice.
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
discriminate
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
suffered discrimination
I have learned that men in uniform, particularly officers, rarely descend to show discrimination, perhaps because of the integration of the armed forces.
discrimination = unfair treatment of different groups of people differently (in this case based upon race)

(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 this sense of discriminate means:
to treat people of different groups differently — especially unfair treatment due to race, religion or gender
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
establish
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
establish that there is a need
"Yes, but Negroes have more illegitimate children, earlier loss of virginity and more crime—these are established facts," he insisted without unkindness.†
established = proven
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
Web Links
guile
2 uses
I saw again their large eyes, guileless, not yet aware that doors into wonderlands of security, opportunity and hope were closed to them.
guileless = innocent — without cunning (shrewdness, cleverness) or deceit

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-less" in guileless means without. This is the same pattern you see in words like fearless, homeless, and endless.)
DefinitionGenerally guile means:
cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceitful
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
gullible
1 use
Black people who had witnessed this all over the country could only despair at the gullibility of white people who, seeing all this, swallowed the old line that it was caused by communists and black agitators.
gullibility = the trait of being easily tricked because of being too trusting
DefinitionGenerally gullible means:
easily tricked because of being too trusting
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
haughty
2 uses
"You keep him quiet—or else," Christophe said haughtily.
haughtily = condescendingly (in a superior or self-important way)
DefinitionGenerally haughty means:
arrogant or condescending (acting superior or self-important)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
Martin Luther King Jr.
12 uses
People like Martin Luther King, they said, were just troublemakers and subversives.
Martin Luther King = inspiring U.S. civil rights leader and Baptist minister who campaigned against the segregation of blacks; assassinated (1929-1968)
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
ostentatious
1 use
We went to the car, which P. D. carefully and ostentatiously pretended to unlock.
ostentatiously = in a manner intended to attract notice
DefinitionGenerally ostentatious means:
intended to attract notice and impress others — especially with wealth in a vulgar way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
petulant
2 uses
He knows by the white man's look of disapproval and petulance that he is being told to get on his way, that he is "stepping out of line."
petulance = annoyance or upset
DefinitionGenerally petulant means:
unreasonably annoyed or upset

or:

easily annoyed or upset
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
prejudice
13 uses
And in the midst of it, the picture of the prejudice and bigotry from which I had just come flashed into my mind,
prejudice = unreasonable and unfair belief or feeling (in this case against members of a race)
DefinitionGenerally prejudice means:
to have unreasonable belief that is unfair to members of a race, religion, or other group

or more generally:

to have (or create in others) an unreasonable belief that prevents objective (unbiased) consideration of an issue or situation
Word Statistics
Book13 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
profound   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
profound idea
"Maritain has some profound things to say about the religion of racists," he said, leafing the book.
profound = deep or far-reaching in intellect or insight
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
deep or far-reaching in intellect or consequence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
profound sadness
I could only conclude that his attitude came from an overwhelming love for his child, so profound it spilled over to all humanity.
profound = of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
reticent
4 uses
The youth knew me and had no reticence in talking...
reticence = reluctance
DefinitionGenerally reticent means:
reluctant — especially to speak freely
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
subtle   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
a subtle poison
Some were shamelessly open, some shamelessly subtle.
subtle = working in an indirect or hidden way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
a subtle difference or thinker
The experience had subtler points that did not escape Rutledge.
subtler = harder to notice or understand
DefinitionGenerally this sense of subtle means:
not obvious, but understandable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps depending upon fine distinctions)

or:

capable of understanding things that require sensitivity and relevant knowledge (perhaps understanding fine distinctions)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
superficial
4 uses
Their children resembled mine in all ways except the superficial one of skin color,
superficial = relating to a surface rather than to anything deep or penetrating
DefinitionGenerally superficial means:
relating to a surface rather than to anything deep or penetrating (often of injuries or thinking)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
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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