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Travels with Charley

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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attribute
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
I attribute it to...
Such a dog-lover talks baby talk to mature and thoughtful animals, and attributes his own sloppy characteristics to them until the dog becomes in his mind an alter ego.†
attributes = credits (a source for something)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of attribute means:
to credit (a source for something)
in two typical senses:
  • "I attribute it to her work." — to say who or what made something happen
  • "Remember to attribute any quotations in your paper." — indicate the source of a quotation or idea
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st usePart 3
Web Links
benign
3 uses
The New England states use a terse form of instruction... New York State shouts at you the whole time. Do this. Do that. ... Every few feet an imperious command. In Ohio the signs are more benign. They offer friendly advice, and are more like suggestions.
benign = kindly or mild
DefinitionGenerally benign means:
kindly, mild, or harmless
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
contempt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
feels contempt towards her
It wasn't that this veterinary didn't like animals. I think he didn't like himself, and when that is so the subject usually must find an area for dislike outside himself. Else he would have to admit his self-contempt.
contempt = lack of respect

(editor's note:  The compound word, self-contempt, means it is himself that he doesn't respect; and therefore does not like.)
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 usePart 3
Web Links
descend
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
thieves descended upon us
I've always admired those reporters who can descend on an area, talk to key people, ask key questions, take samplings of opinions, and then set down an orderly report very like a road map.†
descend = come suddenly
DefinitionGenerally this sense of descend means:
to come or arrive — especially suddenly or from above or as an attack
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
desolate   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 11 uses
1  —9 uses as in:
felt desolate
It's just a very lonely, helpless feeling at first—a kind of desolate feeling.
desolate = sad or miserable—and often lonely
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 2
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
a desolate place
Such a place the Fallen Angels might have built as a spite to Heaven, dry and sharp, desolate and dangerous, and for me filled with foreboding.
desolate = empty, providing no shelter or sustenance
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 3
Web Links
despair
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she felt despair
Oh, I have seen plenty since and have felt the shattering waves of violence and despair and confusion.
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
1st usePart 4
Web Links
disparage
2 uses
Some years ago, Edna Ferber wrote a book about a very tiny group of very rich Texans. Her description was accurate, so far as my knowledge extends, but the emphasis was one of disparagement. And instantly the book was attacked by Texans of all groups, classes, and...
disparagement = criticism
DefinitionGenerally disparage means:
to criticize or make seem less important — especially in a disrespectful or contemptuous manner
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st usePart 4
Web Links
distend
3 uses
He was in trouble, his abdomen distended and his nose and ears hot.
distended = swollen (sticking out)
DefinitionGenerally distend means:
to extend — especially the swelling outward of a part of the body; e.g., the stomach
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 3
Web Links
distort
9 uses
My memories were distorted by twenty-five intervening years.
distorted = altered in an untrue way
DefinitionGenerally distort means:
to alter something in an unnatural or untrue way
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 2
Web Links
inhabitant
7 uses
When an Indian village became too deep in its own filth, the inhabitants moved.
inhabitants = people (who live in a particular place)
DefinitionGenerally inhabitant means:
a person who lives in a particular place
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
laconic
3 uses
The New England states use a terse form of instruction, a tight-lipped, laconic style sheet, wasting no words and few letters.
laconic = using few words
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
objective
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an objective viewpoint
In the first place I knew the countryside, and in the second I had friends and relatives by marriage, and such a situation makes objectivity practically impossible,
objectivity = understanding or decisions based on facts without the influence of personal feelings or preferences
DefinitionGenerally this sense of objective means:
fact-based without the influence of personal feelings or preferences
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st usePart 4
Web Links
obsolete
3 uses
...in this era of planned obsolescence, when a thing breaks down I can usually find something in my collection to repair it—a toilet, or a motor, or a, lawn mower.
obsolescence = no longer in general use because it was replaced by something better

(editor's note:  The phrase "planned obsolescence," refers to a strategy of selling a product that is intended to be replaced by something better in the not-too-distant future.)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st usePart 2
Web Links
redundant
1 use
Indeed the dismal downpour made my intended visit to Niagara Falls seem redundant.
redundant = more than is needed (by repeating one downpour with another)
DefinitionGenerally redundant means:
more than is needed — often something that is unnecessarily repeated

or in technical usage:  a secondary component designed to work if the primary component fails; or of such a system
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st usePart 2
Web Links
subtle
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a subtle difference or thinker
I stopped conversing with my dogs, and I believe that subtleties of feeling began to disappear until...
subtleties = things that are not obvious, but noticeable by someone with adequate sensitivity and relevant knowledge
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
1st usePart 3
Web Links
taciturn
4 uses
The natural New England taciturnity reaches its glorious perfection at breakfast.
taciturnity = with a tendency to be reserved and not to talk
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
tangible
3 uses
Roots were in ownership of land, in tangible and immovable possessions.
tangible = capable of being touched
DefinitionGenerally tangible means:
capable of being touched, or easily understood so there is no question of its value or reality
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st usePart 2
Web Links
ubiquitous
1 use
He was a silent, ubiquitous small boy.
ubiquitous = being present everywhere or all the time
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 1
Web Links
vestige
4 uses
And Charley, who still had vestiges of his Chicago grooming, waded in the water and became his old dirty self again.
vestiges = remaining traces of something that was previously there
DefinitionGenerally vestige means:
a remaining trace (little bit of something) that was previously abundant
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 3
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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