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Lonesome Dove

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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apathy
1 use
Often she was tempted just to walk into a saloon where there was a girl or two she could might have talked to, but instead she had given way to apathy, spending whole days sitting on the edge of her sleeping loft, doing nothing.
apathy = lack of interest and enthusiasm
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 26-27
Web Links
augment
1 use
He had brought along a sack of chilies, and he dumped them liberally into his beans, feeling free to augment the dish with pieces of whatever varmints strayed into his path—rattlesnakes mostly, with an occasional armadillo.
augment = enlarge or increase
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 17-18
Web Links
belligerent
1 use
the Indians were not belligerent and it was apparent that Gus had merely struck the wrong bunch at the wrong time, in the wrong manner.
belligerent = hostile (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 99-100
Web Links
contempt
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
feels contempt towards her
He treated danger with light contempt or open scorn,
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
Book3 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7-8
Web Links
expedient
1 use
He carried the bodies up to the prairie, laid them in their shallow graves and helped July pile rocks on the graves, a pitiful expedient that wouldn't deter the varmints for long.
expedient = action that is convenient and speedy
DefinitionGenerally expedient means:
a practical action — especially one that accepts negative tradeoffs due to circumstances

or:

convenient, speedy, or practical
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 58-59
Web Links
fastidious
3 uses
Xavier himself had a near-monopoly on fastidiousness in Lonesome Dove.
fastidiousness = excessive concern with cleanliness or matters of taste

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-ness" converts an adjective to a noun that means the quality of. This is the same pattern you see in words like darkness, kindness, and coolness.)
DefinitionGenerally fastidious means:
giving careful attention to detail

or:

excessively concerned with cleanliness or matters of taste
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3-4
Web Links
futile
2 uses
What he was doing—indeed, his whole life—now seemed to him completely futile.
futile = effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 91-92
Web Links
indifferent
8 uses
He had seen many men die of wounds, and had watched the turning of their spirits from active desire to live to indifference.
indifference = lack of concern
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
Book8 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 77-78
Web Links
insolent
14 uses
The fact that the bartender had been a little slow and insolent hadn't necessarily been a reason to break his nose.
insolent = rudely disrespectful
Word Statistics
Book14 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 44-45
Web Links
irony   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
situational irony
It was ironic that the shot which finally got him in trouble was as big an accident as the shot that had made his fame.
ironic = an entertaining coincidence when what happens is not what might be expected
DefinitionGenerally this sense of irony means:
when what happens is very different than what might be expected; or when things are together that seem like they don't belong together — especially when amusing or an entertaining coincidence
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5-6
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
verbal irony
  "Feather beds ain't his style."
  He had meant it as blatant irony, since of course feather beds were exactly Jake's style, but the discussion was so solemn that his flourish went unnoticed.
irony = saying one thing while meaning the opposite — as humor
DefinitionGenerally this sense of irony means:
saying one thing, while meaning the opposite or something else — usually as humor or sarcasm
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 21-22
Web Links
mitigate
1 use
"Because people are slow learners, like your sister," Clara said, grinning at Betsey to mitigate the criticism.
mitigate = make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 75-76
Web Links
prudent
2 uses
The deputy had nine children, and his death caused an uproar against whores and gamblers, so much so that Jake thought it prudent to leave town.
prudent = smart (to be cautious)
DefinitionGenerally prudent means:
sensible and careful
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 42-43
Web Links
rein
66 uses
Frog Lip reined in his horse and watched as both cows fell through the roof of the sod house.
reined in = restrained or controlled (by pulling on straps used to control a horse)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of rein means:
to restrain or control; or a means of control
The meaning of rein depends upon its context. For example:
  • "keep a tight rein on the new employee," or "rein in a horse" — to control or restrain
  • "give the new employee free rein," or "give the horse full rein" — do not restrain
  • "the reins of government" — means of control
  • "the reins of the horse" — leather straps used with a bit to control a horse (You might like to think of other senses of rein as being figurative derivations from this sense.)
Word Statistics
Book66 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9-10
Web Links
resignation   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
submitted her resignation
It was made even more interesting a few minutes later when Bolivar walked up and handed in his resignation.
resignation = a document expressing that he is quitting his job
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resignation means:
to quit — especially a job or position; or a document expressing such an act
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 40-41
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
accepted it with resignation
And, as in the rainstorms, his misery increased to a pitch and then was gradually replaced by fatigue and resignation.
resignation = acceptance of something undesired as unavoidable
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resignation means:
acceptance of something undesired as unavoidable or the lesser of evils
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 66-67
Web Links
reticent
3 uses
Jasper had never been reticent, but now it seemed he had to be talking every waking minute as a means of holding his own fears in balance.
reticent = reluctant to speak
DefinitionGenerally reticent means:
reluctant — especially to speak freely
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 36-37
Web Links
scrupulous
2 uses
July took it as a criticism of his work, which he felt he had done scrupulously.
scrupulously = carefully with attention to detail
DefinitionGenerally scrupulous means:
careful to behave ethically and/or diligently (with great care and attention to detail)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13-14
Web Links
scrutiny
1 use
He scrutinized the address on the letter and then looked at July.
scrutinized = looked at very carefully

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ive" converts a word to a verb. This is the same pattern you see in words like apologize, theorize, and dramatize.)
DefinitionGenerally scrutiny means:
careful examination of something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 50-51
Web Links
speculate
15 uses
1  —15 uses as in:
don't know, but I'll speculate
She heard the boys speculate that the branding would be done in another week, which meant they were close to starting the drive.
speculate = guess
DefinitionGenerally this sense of speculate means:
to think about, wonder, guess or theorize with much uncertainty
Word Statistics
Book15 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 19-20
Web Links
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