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Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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accentuate
1 use
Rule Number One: a pretty, petite girl should accentuate with makeup and good posture.
accentuate = draw attention (in this case, what is attractive)
DefinitionGenerally accentuate means:
to emphasize or draw attention to — possibly to emphasize by increasing
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
alternative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an alternative plan
Three pages outlining the idea, the details, and the lie. Which was that a hard working and respected colored maid has agreed to let me interview her and describe in specifics what it's like to work for the white women of our town. Weighing it against the alternative, that I planned to ask a colored woman for help, saying she'd already agreed to it seemed infinitely more attractive.
alternative = other possibility
DefinitionGenerally this sense of alternative means:
something available as another possibility
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
anonymous
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an anonymous author
"It's been written anonymously," I say, "but with Hilly around, there's still a good chance people will know it was me."
anonymously = by an unnamed author so others will not know who wrote it
DefinitionGenerally this sense of anonymous means:
an unknown person, or of an unknown person — such as an unknown author, or donation of an unknown person
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 28
Web Links
asthma
7 uses
But Benny got the asthma tonight, so Minny ain't gone make it.
asthma = a common respiratory disorder characterized by wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and sometimes coughing
DefinitionGenerally asthma means:
a common lung disorder characterized by wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and sometimes coughing
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
candid
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
your candid opinion
...actually agreed to talk to you candidly?
candidly = with honesty and directness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of candid means:
honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
compulsive
3 uses
I guess she was a compulsive liar even back then.
compulsive = done too much because of an uncontrollable desire
DefinitionGenerally compulsive means:
describing something someone does as done too much because of an uncontrollable desire — such as excessive gambling or eating
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 25
Web Links
disdain
1 use
But the dichotomy of love and disdain living side-by-side is what surprises me.
disdain = lack of respect

(editor's note:  In this context, dichotomy means "division or contrast.")
DefinitionGenerally disdain means:
a lack of respect — often suggesting distaste and an undeserved sense of superiority

or:

to reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
divine
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
to forgive is divine
"Yes, um, I heard Spencer Tracy's supposed to be divine," I say.
divine = wonderful
DefinitionGenerally this sense of divine means:
wonderful; or god-like or coming from God
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 25
Web Links
domestic
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
domestic happiness
I've come to get more books for Aibileen and check if anything's ever been written about domestic help.
domestic = relating to a home
DefinitionGenerally this sense of domestic means:
relating to a home or family
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 27
Web Links
duplicity
1 use
I stand, frozen by how duplicitous my life has become.
duplicitous = deceptive
DefinitionGenerally duplicity means:
deception (lying to or misleading others) — usually over an extended period
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
highlight
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
highlight the main findings
And we're adding a fashion column, highlighting some of the best outfits worn by our members, and a makeup column with all the latest trends.
highlighting = emphasizing (drawing attention to)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of highlight means:
emphasize (call attention to something)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 27
Web Links
implication
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
the implication is that...
I leave out everyone's name and I pause at the implication of this, knowing it's not good. Even though he is asking to be my husband, I don't know him enough to trust him completely.
implication = something shown indirectly (in this case, something realized as a logical consequence of the precaution taken)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of implication means:
Something that follows from something else.
The thing that follows could be:
  • something suggested indirectly (not said directly)
  • something that can be concluded (often a logical consequence)
  • something that results from something else
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 28
Web Links
initiative
16 uses
For the second week in a row, I leave out Hilly's bathroom initiative.
initiative = proposal or thing started (in this case a movement or plan to segregate private bathrooms)
DefinitionGenerally initiative means:
the ability and tendency to determine what should be done and to start doing it without instruction

or:

to start something
The exact meaning of starting something depends upon the context. For example:
  • "She did it on her own initiative." — started it without anyone telling her to
  • "She seized the initiative." — started actions that force others to react to her rather than her having to react to them
  • "the peace initiative" — a plan or the start of actions to bring about something
  • "a ballot initiative" — a proposed law that is started by citizen petition rather than by the legislature (applicable in many jurisdictions such as California)
Word Statistics
Book16 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
minute
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
keep the minutes
In your satchel when I was hunting for the minutes?†
minutes = formal notes
DefinitionGenerally this sense of minutes means:
a written record of what happened at a meeting
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
mundane
3 uses
The talk turns mundane at times, with complaints of low pay, hard hours, bratty children.
mundane = ordinary (lacking interest or excitement)
DefinitionGenerally mundane means:
ordinary or lacking interest or excitement — possibly to the point of being boring

or more rarely:

belonging to this earth or world; not ideal or heavenly
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
obstinate
3 uses
Elizabeth fiddles with a clump of hair that's slipped out of her roller, grimaces at its obstinacy.
obstinacy = refusal to do what she wants
DefinitionGenerally obstinate means:
stubbornly not doing what others want
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
ostentatious
1 use
For the next fifteen minutes, I follow Mother and Missus Whitworth from one ostentatious room to the next.
ostentatious = intended to attract notice and impress others
DefinitionGenerally ostentatious means:
intended to attract notice and impress others — especially with wealth in a vulgar way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
pathetic   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
Her pathetic look saddened us.
I don't let myself say to him what I'd like to, that he probably deserved whatever she did, but he's just too pathetic-looking.
pathetic = pitiful
DefinitionGenerally this sense of pathetic means:
pitiful (arousing pity)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
a pathetic attempt to insult me
calling the governor 'a pathetic man with the morals of a streetwalker.'
pathetic = so bad he is laughable
DefinitionGenerally this sense of pathetic means:
very bad — possibly so bad it is laughable (possibly mixed with some feeling of pity)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 19
Web Links
perspective
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
Look at it from her perspective
No one's ever written a book like this.... We'd be breaking new ground. It's a brand-new perspective.
perspective = way of seeing and thinking about things
DefinitionGenerally this sense of perspective means:
a particular way of seeing or thinking about things
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
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