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The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
alleviate
1 use
Towards dawn his brother became serener. (For what human ill does not dawn seem to be an alleviation?)
alleviation = to lessen something that is bad

(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 alleviate means:
to lessen something that is bad — especially to lessen pain
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
allude
6 uses
Her allusions to her son were few and...
allusions = indirect references

(editor's note:  The suffix "-sions", converts a verb into a plural noun that denotes results of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in discussions from discuss, explosions from explode, and revisions from revise.)
DefinitionGenerally allude means:
to make an indirect reference
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
anecdote
4 uses
Each one poured into the conversation his store of wise sad anecdotes and his dry regret about the race of men.
anecdotes = short, true stories
DefinitionGenerally anecdote means:
a short story that is true — often told for amusement or to make a point
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
avarice
2 uses
It was just possible that the Marquesa de Montemayor was not a monster of avarice, and Uncle Pio of self-indulgence.
avarice = excessive desire for wealth
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
contempt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
feels contempt towards her
...that freedom from conscience that springs from a contempt for the dozing rich he preyed upon.
contempt = lack of respect and dislike
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
Web Links
debase
2 uses
Even speech was for them a debased form of silence;
debased = degraded (decreased in quality)
DefinitionGenerally debase means:
to degrade (decrease) the purity, quality, or status of something — often morality or metals
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
despair
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she felt despair
For those near to her the despair was fearful to behold. She was convinced that her life was over, her life and children's.
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 useChapter 4
Web Links
diligent
3 uses
The result of all this diligence was an enormous book,
diligence = hard work and care in tasks
DefinitionGenerally this sense of diligent means:
hard work and care in tasks — often continuing when others might quit because of difficulties
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
extricate
1 use
His mother dressed him in garnet velvet, and when he was able he followed her about at a distance of several yards, extricating himself gravely from the ladies who tried to detain him in conversation.
extricating = freeing or removing from constraint or difficulty
DefinitionGenerally extricate means:
free or remove from constraint or difficulty
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
furtive
4 uses
He knew that the crowd was furtively glancing at him,
furtively = while taking pains to avoid being observed (in this case, seen to be looking at him)
DefinitionGenerally furtive means:
taking pains to avoid being observed

or:

in a manner indicating nervousness (being cautious or appearing suspicious)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
futile
3 uses
...as she gazed into the mirror and recognized the futility of her attempt she...
futility = pointlessness (because her effort would not succeed)
DefinitionGenerally futile means:
effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
guile
1 use
He would resort to guile and declare that he scarcely felt it.
guile = cunning and deceitful
DefinitionGenerally guile means:
cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceitful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
mitigate
1 use
...sought to mitigate them by the casualness of her announcement.
mitigate = make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
obstinate
5 uses
Even then, even then, there remained in his heart an obstinate nerve insisting that at least St. Francis would not utterly have condemned him,
obstinate = stubbornly unyielding
DefinitionGenerally obstinate means:
stubbornly not doing what others want
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
profound
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
profound sadness
...even in the most perfect love one person loves less profoundly than the other.
profoundly = with great intensity or emotional depth
DefinitionGenerally this sense of profound means:
of greatest intensity or emotional depth
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
resignation
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
accepted it with resignation
At last she resigned all pretense.
resigned = gave up

(editor's note:  pretense is a synonym for pretending.)
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 2
Web Links
resolve
5 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
I resolved to stop drinking.
She resolved to write a letter to the Abbess.
resolved = decided
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resolve means:
to decide — typically a firm or formal decision
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
revere
2 uses
...but it seemed to Camila that she was looking at all the beauty and dignity in the world. As she waited for the lines that preceded her entrance she clung to Uncle Pio in reverent silence,
reverent = with feelings of deep respect and admiration
DefinitionGenerally revere means:
regard with feelings of deep respect and admiration — sometimes with a mixture of wonder and awe or fear
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
somber
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
a somber mood
Straight, somber and impersonal, he entered the actress's room and stood waiting.
somber = serious—without humour or fun
DefinitionGenerally this sense of somber means:
serious and without humor or fun — perhaps sad
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
venerate
2 uses
Uncle Pio had long since communicated to Camila his veneration for great poets and Camila never questioned the view that they were a little above the kings and not below the saints.
veneration = feelings of respect and reverence

(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 venerate means:
regard with feelings of respect and reverence
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
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