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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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belligerent
2 uses
He was very happy, he wrote and in belligerently underlined words threatened that he intended to stay that way.
belligerently = with an attitude of one 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
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 38
Web Links
complacent
1 use
"Not to be able to have children anymore ... Anyhow," she added complacently, "I'm nowhere near the change because I'm that way again."
complacently = with contentment (unworried and satisfied)
DefinitionGenerally complacent means:
contented (unworried and satisfied) — often to a fault
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 47
Web Links
contempt
7 uses
1  —7 uses as in:
feels contempt towards her
But Ben was contemptuous of non-college lawyers
contemptuous = lacked respect
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
Book7 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 29
Web Links
disdain
2 uses
So in the warm summer days the lonesome child sat on her stoop and pretended disdain for the group of children playing on the sidewalk.
disdain = a lack of respect or interest (because they are not good enough)
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
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 38
Web Links
dissent
1 use
They informed her of trouble-making office rumors, expecting that she would relay them to the readers and create dissension.
dissension = disagreement

(editor's note:  The suffix "-sion", 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 admission from admit, discussion from discuss, and invasion from invade.)
DefinitionGenerally dissent means:
to disagree; or disagreement or conflict — typically between people who cooperate, and often with official or majority beliefs
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 44
Web Links
dubious
2 uses
"If that's what you want..." she began, dubiously.
dubiously = doubtfully
DefinitionGenerally dubious means:
doubtful
in various senses, including:
  • doubtful that something should be relied upon — as in "The argument relies on a dubious assumption."
  • doubtful that something is morally proper — as in "The company is accused of using dubious sales practices to influence minors."
  • bad or of questionable value — as in "The state has the dubious distinction of the highest taxes."
  • doubtful or uncertain — as in "She is dubious about making the change."
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 45
Web Links
fastidious
1 use
Fastidious Johnny had bought his own cup, emulating men who were in better circumstances.
fastidious = excessively concerned with cleanliness or matters of taste
DefinitionGenerally fastidious means:
giving careful attention to detail

or:

excessively concerned with cleanliness or matters of taste
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 36
Web Links
futile
6 uses
She stood in desperate futility, helplessly enduring the indignity.
futility = unable to do anything about it
DefinitionGenerally futile means:
effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 44
Web Links
midwife
18 uses
"It's time to get the midwife," Sissy said.
midwife = a woman skilled in aiding the delivery of babies
DefinitionGenerally midwife means:
a non-doctor who practices the profession of assisting women in childbirth; or to assist in childbirth

or:

someone who helps bring something into existence; or the act of helping to bring something into existence
Word Statistics
Book18 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 50
Web Links
muse
8 uses
1  —8 uses as in:
her musings
Everyone has a secret life, she mused.
mused = thought
DefinitionGenerally this sense of muse means:
reflect (think) deeply on a subject — perhaps aloud
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
persist
5 uses
"I'd look just like Irene Castle if I had short hair," persisted Francie.
persisted = continued (despite opposition)
DefinitionGenerally persist means:
to continue — often despite difficulty
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 24
Web Links
pneumonia
9 uses
It would mean a lot to me if I could tell them that their father died of pneumonia alone.
pneumonia = a lung disease
DefinitionGenerally pneumonia means:
respiratory disease characterized by inflammation and accumulation of fluid in the lungs; caused by infectious agents (e.g., viruses or bacteria) or by inhalation of certain irritants
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 36
Web Links
poignant
6 uses
With poignancy, Sissy realized that he was growing up.
poignancy = deeply felt emotion — perhaps sadness
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
Book6 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 44
Web Links
Protestant
11 uses
He knew that Sissy believed in the Church...any Church, Catholic, or Protestant;
Protestant = any of the Western churches that separated from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation
DefinitionGenerally Protestant means:
a member of or relating to any of the Western churches that separated from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
resignation   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
submitted her resignation
all of whom expected the city reading job when and if Miss Armstrong resigned.
resigned = quit (a job)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of resignation means:
to quit — especially a job or position; or a document expressing such an act
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 44
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
accepted it with resignation
There was resigned regret that the new flat was not as nice as their Lorimer Street home.
resigned = accepted something undesired as unavoidable
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 14
Web Links
revere
2 uses
She revered God and loved Jesus, but she understood why people often turned away from these Two.
revered = regarded with feelings of deep respect and awe
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 28
Web Links
scrupulous
2 uses
The flat was scrupulously clean;
scrupulously = carefully and with attention to detail
DefinitionGenerally scrupulous means:
careful to behave ethically and/or diligently (with great care and attention to detail)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
Shakespeare
21 uses
Before they went to bed, Francie and Neeley had to read a page of the Bible and a page from Shakespeare.
Shakespeare = author widely regarded as the greatest in the English language and whose works include Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet
DefinitionGenerally this sense of Shakespeare means:
English dramatist and poet frequently cited as the greatest writer in the English language and who wrote such works as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet (1564-1616)
Word Statistics
Book21 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
wither
7 uses
Her right arm had been horribly burned and she grew up with its skin withered and purple.
withered = shriveled (wrinkled)
DefinitionGenerally wither means:
to shrivel (wrinkle and contract — usually from lack of water)

or:

to become weaker; or feel humiliated
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
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