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The Joy Luck Club

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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acquiesce
1 use
I had wished her out of my life, and she had acquiesced, floating out of her body to escape my terrible hatred.
acquiesced = reluctantly complied
DefinitionGenerally acquiesce means:
reluctant or unenthusiastic compliance, consent, or agreement
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
benevolent
3 uses
"Little sister, been a long time since I play with dolls," he said, smiling benevolently.
benevolently = with kindness
DefinitionGenerally benevolent means:
kind, generous, or charitable
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
despair
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she felt despair
It was one of complete despair and horror, for losing Bing, for being so foolish as to think she could use faith to change fate.
despair = distress (at not knowing how to improve a bad situation)
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 useChapter 9
Web Links
discord
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
discordant music
I learned to play only the most ear-splitting preludes, the most discordant hymns.
discordant = unpleasant sounding
DefinitionGenerally this sense of discord means:
unpleasant sound — especially a combination of sounds that sound wrong together (though sometimes done intentionally in music)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
disparage
2 uses
As is the Chinese cook's custom, my mother always made disparaging remarks about her own cooking.
disparaging = critical or belittling
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 useChapter 13
Web Links
dowry
5 uses
I listened to him with my nose held high, sniffing the stink of his words when he told me my father would not likely give the dowry he required.
dowry = money or property given by a woman's family to the husband at marriage
DefinitionGenerally dowry means:
in some societies, money or property given by a woman's family to the husband at marriage

or less formally: money or property a bride brings to a marriage
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
exasperated
5 uses
I was mad at Harold and he was exasperated with me.
exasperated = greatly annoyed
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
indifferent
2 uses
He has always been politely indifferent.
indifferent = uninterested
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
Book2 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
irrational
1 use
And I knew he had done that, not out of any concern for me, but because when he wants something, he gets impatient and irrational about people who make him wait.
irrational = unreasonable
DefinitionGenerally irrational means:
not reasonable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
lament
11 uses
But now she laments that she never did anything to stop them.
laments = expresses regret
DefinitionGenerally lament means:
to express grief or regret
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
pavilion
11 uses
The boat looked like a floating teahouse, with an open-air pavilion larger than the one in our courtyard.
pavilion = a large roofed structure without walls
DefinitionGenerally pavilion means:
a large structure separate from a main structure
in various senses, including:
  • a large roofed structure without walls — often found in parks
  • a temporary structure — such as a large tent to house exhibits at a fair, to provide sports facilities, or to put on a show
  • a section of a large hospital or office complex adjacent to other parts
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
peasant
12 uses
It was at this shop, working like a peasant, that I met Clifford St. Clair.
peasant = used historically or possibly in relation to a very poor country:  a person of low income, education, and social standing
DefinitionGenerally peasant means:
used historically or possibly in relation to a very poor country:  a person of low income, education, and social standing — especially one who raises crops or livestock
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
pious
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a good, pious woman
They were pious people, Muslims, who believed the twin babies were a sign of double luck,
pious = religious
DefinitionGenerally this sense of pious means:
religious or highly moral
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
pretense
3 uses
One minute she was talking to my father, complaining about the tenants upstairs, scheming how to evict them under the pretense that relatives from China were moving in.
pretense = something that helps one pretend (in this case, pretend that the room is needed)
DefinitionGenerally pretense means:
a false appearance or action to help one pretend
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
prodigy
8 uses
And when I lost, I was filled with growing dread, and then terror that I was no longer a prodigy, that I had lost the gift and had turned into someone quite ordinary.
prodigy = short for "child prodigy" — someone who is a master of a skill at an early age
DefinitionGenerally prodigy means:
an impressive or wonderful example of a particular quality

or:

a child prodigy (someone who is a master of one or more skills or arts at an early age)
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
refugee
3 uses
She wore the same brown-checked Chinese dress until the Refugee Welcome Society gave her two handme-down dresses, all too large in sizes for American women.
refugee = someone who fled their homeland
DefinitionGenerally refugee means:
someone who has fled their homeland to getaway from a dangerous or difficult situation; or related to such people
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
relevant
2 uses
Because when I want something to happen—or not happen—I begin to look at all events and all things as relevant, an opportunity to take or avoid.
relevant = relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
remorse
3 uses
a memory I recall from time to time with a mixture of nausea and remorse.
remorse = deep regret for doing something that was wrong
DefinitionGenerally remorse means:
a feeling of deep regret for doing something that was wrong
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
revere
3 uses
He promised to revere her as if she had been First Wife, his only wife.
revere = deeply respect and admire
DefinitionGenerally revere means:
regard with feelings of deep respect and admiration — sometimes with a mixture of wonder and awe or fear
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
somber
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a somber mood
to sit and wait for our own deaths with proper somber faces
somber = serious—without humour or fun
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 2
Web Links
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