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October Sky

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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accord   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 18 uses
1  —17 uses as in:
according to, or in accord with
Like everybody else in Coalwood, I lived according to the rhythms set by the shifts.
according to = in keeping with (or in harmony or agreement with)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
in keeping with; or in agreement/harmony/unity with
This sense of accord is often seen in the form according to or accordingly where it can take on more specific meanings. For example:
  • "According to Kim, ..." — as stated by
  • "To each according to her ability." — based upon
  • "Points are scored according to how well they perform." — depending upon
  • "The dose is calculated according to body weight." — in proportion to
  • "We got a flat tire. Accordingly, I pulled to the side of the road." — because of what was just said; or as a result
Word Statistics
Book17 uses
Library53 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 22
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
accord her the respect deserved
At the time, a player as good as Jim was accorded nearly the same celebrity status across Big Creek district as...
accorded = given special treatment
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
to give someone special treatment — especially respect
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
altitude
24 uses
It had been designed to reach an altitude of five miles.
altitude = elevation (height)
DefinitionGenerally altitude means:
elevation (height) — typically above sea level or above the earth's surface

or:

(metaphorically) a desirable height
Word Statistics
Book24 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 23
Web Links
calculus
21 uses
"To get all that we need to know from this book," I said, "we're going to have to learn calculus."
calculus = the branch of mathematics that is concerned with continuously changing values
DefinitionGenerally this sense of calculus means:
any system or process used to calculate values or to reason

or:

the branch of mathematics that is concerned with continuously changing values
Word Statistics
Book21 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
coalesce
2 uses
A gathering murmur, people in their yards talking across the fences, coalesced outside.
coalesced = came together
DefinitionGenerally coalesce means:
to merge or bring different things together
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
contrast
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
contrast their writing styles
In contrast, I was wearing a plaid flannel shirt, the same pair of cotton pants I'd worn to school all the previous week, and scuffed leather shoes, the ones I'd worn the day before playing around the creek behind the house.
in contrast = in a comparison that shows differences
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
point to differences between; or compare to show differences
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
direct   (5 meanings)
5 meanings, 13 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
I stirred uncomfortably when she raised her eyes from her prepared remarks and seemed to be looking directly at me.†
directly = straight (exactly where stated; used for emphasis)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straight (exactly where stated); or without involvement of anything in between
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "The road runs directly to Las Vegas." — straight (without varying from a straight line)
  • "It was a direct hit." — exact
  • "The plant is in direct sunlight." — unobstructed (without anything in between)
  • "She wants a direct meeting with him." — personal (without other people in between)
  • "She paid direct attention to what he was reading." — close
  • "a direct gaze" — straight, steady, or focused—not a brief glance taken while generally looking at other things; not a sideways look
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library62 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 16
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
was direct in my instructions
He didn't answer me directly.†
directly = in a straightforward manner (clearly without any ambiguity)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straightforward (uncomplicated or simple — perhaps also indicating openness and honesty)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
3  —3 uses as in:
directed her question to
Dad entered the blockhouse, and I directed him to the firing panel after checking the connections.†
directed = guided
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
to indicate direction; or to cause movement or focus in a direction or towards an object
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "intentionally directed fire at unarmed civilians" — aimed a gun
  • "directed the question to her" — aimed a question
  • "directed her north" — pointed in a particular direction
  • "directed attention to the 3rd paragraph" — focused attention on a particular object
  • "The sound of her voice directed him to the kitchen." — guided or gave directions to someone to help them move to a particular place
  • "She directed him to the airport." — gave directions to send someone to a particular place
  • "She directed the boat north." — steered it
  • "directed the letter to" — send a letter to a particular person by putting a name and address on it
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library36 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
4  —2 uses as in:
directed the jury to...
Mr. Fuller was walking beside the bulldozer, directing the driver.†
directing = instructing
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
give instructions or commands
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 21
Web Links
5  —1 use as in:
directed the movie
The traffic had increased to the point that Tag had to come down and direct it.†
direct = control (give instructions to)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
supervise, control, or to be in charge of
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library29 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 22
Web Links
discord
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
discordant music
To keep our morale up, we sang with discordant enthusiasm.
discordant = voices that didn't go well together (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 8
Web Links
focus   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 11 uses
1  —7 uses as in:
Turn your focus to question #2.
For the first time, I missed Jim, missed his strength, his ability to focus on nothing but the task at hand.†
focus = concentrate
DefinitionGenerally this sense of focus means:
verb: to concentrate, look at, or pay attention to

noun: the act of concentration, or the ability to concentrate

(to concentrate is to direct attention or effort towards a single thing)
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library75 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
The focus of our study is...
In a space of a few short weeks, he had shrunk, literally collapsing around his lungs as they became the entire focus of his being.†
focus = where attention is concentrated
DefinitionGenerally this sense of focus means:
where attention is concentrated or directed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useEpil.
Web Links
3  —3 uses as in:
The camera focuses automatically
My eyes wouldn't focus, and my mind felt as if it were being sucked down into a whirlpool of red and white swirling blotches.†
focus = adjust (to see clearly)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of focus means:
to adjust a lens to make an image clear
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
passage
1 use
"The Word is the Word, Sonny," he said, running his finger along a random passage.†
passage = a short part of a longer written work
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
prodigious
9 uses
That is the most prodigious girl in this school!
prodigious = fabulous (beyond what is usual)
DefinitionGenerally prodigious means:
enormous; or far beyond what is usual in magnitude or degree
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
propellant
30 uses
I went down to my lab to mix up some more propellant.
propellant = something that propels (moves something) such as rocket fuel
DefinitionGenerally propellant means:
something that pushes something forward
in various senses, including:
  • rocket fuel
  • compressed gas that transports something from an aerosol can
  • the explosive charge from a bullet
Word Statistics
Book30 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
remission
2 uses
As we hoped and prayed, Miss Riley's disease went into remission.
remission = a less severe state
DefinitionGenerally remission means:
a decrease in intensity — most typically of a disease or (especially in the UK) the length of a prison sentence
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 23
Web Links
superintendent
17 uses
Maybe if this was Welch High, the county superintendent would approve such a class, but not here.
superintendent = a person who directs and manages an organization
DefinitionGenerally superintendent means:
a person who directs and manages an organization — such as a school district

or:

a caretaker of a building — such as an apartment building
Word Statistics
Book17 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
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