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Our Town

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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alacrity
1 use
(With alacrity, suddenly looking at George) Oh, yes!
alacrity = eagerness
DefinitionGenerally alacrity means:
quickness; and/or cheerful eagerness
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2
Web Links
aloof
1 use
(Unable to stand longer her mother's aloofness, slowly drops album on table, and moves quickly to L. of Mother) (Passionately) On, Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me.
aloofness = emotionally distance

(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 aloof means:
socially distant or uninterested in something that interests others — often thinking oneself superior to others
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3
Web Links
banal
1 use
(Finally she forces herself to speak a banality:) Oh, Mama, you shouldn't have.
banality = something uninteresting due to a lack of anything original or unusual
DefinitionGenerally banal means:
uninteresting due to a lack of anything original or unusual

(editor's note:  This word is correctly pronounced differently by various educated speakers of American English.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3
Web Links
congregation
1 use
...the very soft singing of the hymns by the congregation.
congregation = people who worship together in the same building

(editor's note:  A hymn is a religious song.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr.
Web Links
deprecate
1 use
Stage Manager now looks over the audience, puffs his pipe, consults watch, deprecates late-comers, etc.
deprecates = expresses disapproval of
DefinitionGenerally deprecate means:
to diminish or treat something as unimportant or of low quality; or to express disapproval
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 1
Web Links
descend
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
descend the mountain
They cross to R. steps, increasing speed, descend steps into theatre aisle and run off in an increasing blaze of light.
descend = move down
DefinitionGenerally this sense of descend means:
move or slope downward
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2
Web Links
diligent
1 use
I guess we're all huntin' like everybody else for a way the diligent and sensible can rise to the top and the lazy and quarrelsome sink to the bottom.
diligent = hard workers
DefinitionGenerally this sense of diligent means:
hard work and care in tasks — often continuing when others might quit because of difficulties
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useScene 1
Web Links
dogged
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
dogged determination
George starts doggedly out...
doggedly = with continuing effort despite difficulties
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dogged means:
continuing effort to achieve something despite difficulties (persistent)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2
Web Links
ecstatic
2 uses
Emily, ecstatic at seeing her father, watches him from the moment he...
ecstatic = feeling intense happiness and excitement
DefinitionGenerally ecstatic means:
feeling intense happiness and excitement (as when in a state of ecstasy)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2
Web Links
epitaph
1 use
Chose his own epitaph.
epitaph = a short text in memory of a dead person — typically written on their tombstone
DefinitionGenerally epitaph means:
a short text in memory of a dead person — especially text written on a tombstone
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3
Web Links
futile
1 use
But she is shown how impossible, how futile it is to return.
futile = pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
DefinitionGenerally futile means:
effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr.
Web Links
languid
3 uses
At once he starts eating sleepily, she to eat languidly, staring vaguely out.
languidly = in a slow, relaxed manner without much energy
DefinitionGenerally languid means:
lacking energy or relaxed or moving slowly
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 1
Web Links
morbid
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a morbid curiosity
In the last act it is important to remove from the picture of the seated dead any suggestion of the morbid or lugubrious.
morbid = suggesting the horror of death
DefinitionGenerally this sense of morbid means:
suggesting death and decay; or an unhealthy interest in disturbing thoughts — such as of death or cruelty
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr.
Web Links
pantomime
1 use
It seems advisable that at the opening of the play where the audience is first introduced to pantomime and imaginary props, that Mrs. Gibbs and Mrs. Webb in the preparation of breakfast perform much of their business with their backs to the audience, and do not distract and provoke its attention with too distinct and perhaps puzzling a picture of the many operations of coffee-grinding, porridge-stirring, etc.
pantomime = a performance or expression of something through gestures and body movements
DefinitionGenerally pantomime means:
a performance or expression of something through gestures and body movements without words
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr.
Web Links
perplex
2 uses
(More perplexed than ever)
perplexed = confused or puzzled
DefinitionGenerally perplex means:
to confuse
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 2
Web Links
placid
2 uses
They remain placid throughout the act,
placid = calm
DefinitionGenerally placid means:
calm and not easily excited
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3
Web Links
poignant
2 uses
...all those elements of poignant sorrow and abundant happiness that make for...
poignant = intensely touching the emotions
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
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useIntr.
Web Links
saunter
1 use
At the appointed "curtain hour", the Stage Manager saunters from Right, a script in his hand, a pipe in his mouth, hat on head.
saunters = walks leisurely
DefinitionGenerally saunter means:
to walk leisurely
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 1
Web Links
subtle
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a subtle shade of blue
There remain, however, two ways of producing the play. One, with a constant subtle adjustment of lights and sound effects; and one through a still bolder acknowledgment of artifice and make-believe: the rooster's crow, the train and factory whistles and school bells frankly man-made and in the spirit of "play."
subtle = understated so as not to draw attention to itself
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useIntr.
Web Links
tranquil
1 use
(Resuming her tranquility) Emily, look at that star.
tranquility = calm attitude
DefinitionGenerally tranquil means:
calm and undisturbed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useScene 3
Web Links
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