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A Prayer for Owen Meany

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
approach
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
use the best approach
Mrs. Brocklebank—whose daughter, Heather, is in my Grade 12 English class— took a slightly different approach to her lawn; I found her ripping her dandelions out by their roots.†
approach = way of doing something
From page 316.6  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
a way of doing something; or a route that leads to a particular place
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 6, p.316.6
Web Links
bolster
1 use
Mr. Meany, in an effort to bolster the disappointing business at the quarry, was expanding his involvement in monument sales.
bolster = support and strengthen
From page 66.2  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of bolster means:
support or strengthen
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 2, p.66.2
Web Links
bona fide
2 uses
You had to be a bona fide resident of the state, and the prize scholarship was usually awarded to a public-school kid who was at the top of his or her graduating class; but Owen was at the top of our Gravesend Academy graduating class, the first time a New Hampshire resident had achieved such distinction—"Competing Against the Nation's Best, Gravesend Native Wins!" was the headline in The Gravesend News-Letter: the story appeared in many of New Hampshire's papers.
bona fide = true
From page 344.6  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally bona fide means:
real (genuine, true, or sincere)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1, p.14.1
Web Links
bronze
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
bronze won't corrode in salt water
According to Major Rawls, the Soldier's Medal rates above the Bronze Star but below the Legion of Merit.†
bronze = made of a brownish metal

(editor's note:  The bronze Star is a medal awarded to selected members of the United States military for heroism or other merit.)
From page 626.7  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of bronze means:
a brownish-colored metal with red or yellow hues that is made of copper and (usually) tin
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9, p.626.7
Web Links
cadaver
2 uses
The acts themselves were unclear—for example, a woman bent over a man for some undetermined purpose, as if she were about to do some violence on an utterly helpless cadaver.
cadaver = dead human body
From page 159.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally cadaver means:
the dead body of a human being — especially one used for medical study
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4, p.159.7
Web Links
contempt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
feels contempt towards her
"From God," my grandmother repeated contemptuously.†
contemptuously = with disrespect
From page 195.8  Typical Usage
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
1st useChapter 4, p.195.8
Web Links
contrast
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
contrast their writing styles
In contrast, the woman could not relax; her fingers picked at her clothes, and she poked at her hair— which was piled mountainously high and was as sticky-looking as a cone of cotton candy.†
in contrast = in a comparison that shows differences
From page 593.5  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
point to differences between; or compare to show differences
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6, p.260.5
Web Links
dispute
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
She disputes his claim.
As for the settlement of the disputed deed, you can be sure the Indians were not the beneficiaries of the resolution to that difference of opinion.†
disputed = challenged, argued about, or fought over
From page 10.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
challenge, argue about, or fight over
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 8, p.430.6
Web Links
eclectic
1 use
Thus did our eclectic foursome arrive at Christ Church.
eclectic = varied
From page 214.4  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally eclectic means:
a distinctive mix of styles or ideas selected from various sources

or:  

one who selects a distinctive mix of styles or ideas rather than adopting a common set from a single source
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5, p.214.4
Web Links
flaunt
1 use
The Dowlings were there, not seizing the opportunity to use this occasion to flaunt their much-embattled, sexual role reversals; they had—and probably this was for the best—never had a child.
flaunt = show off
From page 571.9  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally flaunt means:
the act of showing off (displaying something in an obvious way for others to admire or envy)

or:

openly defiant of rules or expectations
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9, p.571.9
Web Links
illicit
1 use
There was a police car in the high-school parking lot—on the lookout for vandals, I suppose, or else to prevent the high-school students from using the parking lot and the athletic fields for illicit purposes at night.
illicit = illegal or improper
From page 141.5  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally illicit means:
illegal
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3, p.141.5
Web Links
immodest
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
immodest dress
I waited with the men in their guayabera shirts and huaraches, and their cowboy boots; the women, from petite to massive, appeared immodestly content in short shorts and halter tops, their rubber thongs slapping the hard floors of the Phoenix airport, which was optimistically called the Sky Harbor.†
immodestly = improperly not covering enough of their bodies
From page 591.2  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of immodest means:
considered improper — especially too sexually suggestive which is typically said of clothing
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9, p.591.2
Web Links
indulge
14 uses
Now that it mattered to him, to get the timing of his leap adjusted to my lifting him even higher, why couldn't I simply indulge him without criticizing him?†
indulge = enjoy to excess
From page 308.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
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
Book14 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2, p.61.7
Web Links
manifest
8 uses
1  —8 uses as in:
manifest destiny
Lydia's nodding was the most detectable manifestation of how her senility was in advance of my grandmother's senility—or so my grandmother had observed, privately, to me.†
manifestation = demonstration (something made obvious or shown)

(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.)
From page 194.2  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of manifest means:
obvious; or to make obvious; or to show or demonstrate
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5, p.210.5
Web Links
passage
3 uses
I read the passage Owen had underlined most fervently in his copy of St. Thomas Aquinas—"Demonstration of God's Existence from Motion."†
passage = a short part of a longer written work
From page 544.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1, p.5.3
Web Links
poignant
1 use
Of course, it was Owen Meany who experienced the most poignant encounters with my mother's dummy.
poignant = intensely emotional
From page 99.6  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally poignant means:
sharp or intense — typically arousing deep emotion such as sadness, but possibly having or creating a sharp smell, taste, or insight
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 3, p.99.6
Web Links
remedial
1 use
Because of my weak spelling I was enrolled in an extra, remedial course, which was marginally insulting,
remedial = intended to fix a deficiency in education
From page 309.9  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally remedial means:
intended to remedy (fix) — especially a deficiency in education or health
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6, p.309.9
Web Links
revise
10 uses
He had revised a few of his earlier views of our Vietnam policy.†
revised = changed
From page 508.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally revise means:
to change (and hopefully improve) — most frequently to improve a written document, but it can be any intentional change such as a change in an estimated amount, a plan, or a series of procedures
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 4, p.169.2
Web Links
warrant
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
serious enough to warrant surgery
He must have been a difficult "role model" for Hester, however, because I think her worshipful love of him—in addition to her constant losses in the daily competitions with her older brothers—simply overwhelmed her, and gave her an unwarranted contempt of my Aunt Martha.†
unwarranted = not justified

(editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in unwarranted means not and reverses the meaning of warranted. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
From page 58.9  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of warrant means:
to justify (make an action reasonable or necessary)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 2, p.58.9
Web Links
wrest
1 use
The "pillar of light," which was supposed to follow Harold Crosby's now-interrupted, risky descent, appeared to have a will of its own; it illuminated Owen on the mountain of hay, as if the light had wrested control of itself from Barb Wiggin.
wrested = taken (with effort)
From page 220.4  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally wrest means:
obtain with difficult effort or force
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 5, p.220.4
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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