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Where the Red Fern Grows

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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belligerent
1 use
He strutted around with a belligerent and tough attitude.
belligerent = hostile (as though eager to fight)
DefinitionGenerally belligerent means:
hostile (the attitude of one eager to fight); or one already engaged in a fight or war
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
bewilder
2 uses
He was bewildered and mad.
bewildered = confused
DefinitionGenerally bewilder means:
to confuse someone
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library17 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
cleave
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
cleave through
The keen edge cleaved through the tough skin.
cleaved = cut through
DefinitionGenerally this sense of cleave means:
to split something — especially with violent force

or:

to cut through something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
commotion
4 uses
Just then I heard growling, and a commotion off to one side.
commotion = noisy disturbance
DefinitionGenerally commotion means:
a disturbance — typically noisy
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
deliberate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
deliberate insult
I was firmly convinced that a smart old coon had deliberately poked that stick in my trap.
deliberately = intentionally
DefinitionGenerally this sense of deliberate means:
to do something intentionally (do it on purpose)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
dumfounded
2 uses
Grandpa was dumbfounded. He tried to say something, but it wouldn't come out.
dumbfounded = so surprised he was made temporarily speechless
DefinitionGenerally dumfounded means:
very surprised - often too surprised to know what to say or do
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
entangled
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
entangled in the branches
One could see that the rope had been gnawed in two. The frayed end had become entangled in a fair-sized dead limb.
entangled = caught in
DefinitionGenerally this sense of entangled means:
caught in

or:

twisted together into a confusing mass
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
fidget
2 uses
Hearing the word beat, Grandpa began to fidget.
fidget = make small restless movements
DefinitionGenerally fidget means:
to make small restless movements
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
foliage
3 uses
Then I saw them—two burning, yellow eyes—staring at me from the shadowy foliage of the tree.
foliage = plant leaves
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
heed
1 use
Little Ann would jump and bounce and try to get Old Dan to play, but the solemn old boy just jogged along, heedless of everything.
heedless = ignoring (not paying attention)

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-less" in heedless means without. This is the same pattern you see in words like fearless, homeless, and endless.)
DefinitionGenerally heed means:
pay close attention to; or to do what is suggested — especially with regard to a warning or other advice
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
limber
4 uses
He just lay there in the sunshine, all stretched out and limber as a rag.
limber = flexible (capable of moving, bending, and stretching easily)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of limber means:
of a person's body:  flexible (capable of moving, bending, and stretching easily)

or:

readily adaptable — especially of someone's mind
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
lithe
1 use
The long, lithe body dipped low to the ground.
lithe = thin with flexibility and grace of movement
DefinitionGenerally lithe means:
a graceful, flexible body — often implying thinness

or:

graceful, flexible body movement
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
paralysis
5 uses
She made an effort to stand but couldn't. Her muscles were paralyzed and the blood had long since ceased to flow.
paralyzed = unable to move
DefinitionGenerally paralysis means:
loss of the ability to move the body or a part of it

or:

inability to act or make a decision
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
passage
1 use
I remembered a passage from the Bible my mother had read to us: "God helps those who help themselves."†
passage = a short part of a longer written work
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
salve
1 use
With a bottle of peroxide and a can of salve I would doctor their wounds.
salve = cream or liquid that is put onto skin to make it feel better or heal
DefinitionGenerally salve means:
a cream or liquid put onto skin to make it feel better or heal

or:

anything that eases pain or anxiety; or the act of doing such
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
sober
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a sobering thought
In a sober voice my father said, "Some day you may have to live in town."
sober = serious
DefinitionGenerally this sense of sobering means:
serious; or making one serious or calm
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
solemn
2 uses
In a solemn voice, he said, "We won't talk about this again."
solemn = very serious
DefinitionGenerally solemn means:
in a very serious (and often dignified) manner
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library20 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
sprain
4 uses
I don't think it's broken, but it sure is a bad sprain.
sprain = injury to the ligaments of a joint caused by stretching them too far
DefinitionGenerally sprain means:
injury to the ligaments of a joint caused by stretching them too far — most commonly injuring the ankle

(ligaments are the tough, fibrous bands that connect bones across joints)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 17
Web Links
twilight
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
pink clouds in a twilight sky
I was a proud boy as I walked along in the twilight of the evening.
twilight = the time of day between daylight and darkness (in this case, just after sunset; but in other usage, it could be just before sunrise)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of twilight means:
the time of day between daylight and darkness (just after sunset or just before sunrise); or the light from the sky at that time
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
waver
3 uses
The red fern wavered and danced to the music of the hills.
wavered = moved back and forth
DefinitionGenerally waver means:
to move back and forth (shake or quiver)

or:

to change, be unsure, or weak
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
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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