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The Wanderers

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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alliance
2 uses
Turning her head, looking out of the one bright window through which came the cries of the little MacLains playing in the yard, she knew another moment of alliance.†
alliance = association formed to support common interests
DefinitionGenerally alliance means:
an association formed to support common interests
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
anguish
2 uses
Her fingers set, after coming back, set half-closed; the strength in her hands she used up to type in the office but most consciously to pull the udders of the succeeding cows, as if she would hunt, hunt, hunt daily for the blindness that lay inside the beast, inside where she could have a real and living wall for beating on, a solid prison to get out of, the most real stupidity of flesh, a mindless and careless and calling body, to respond flesh for flesh, anguish for anguish.†
anguish = extreme pain, suffering, or distress
DefinitionGenerally anguish means:
extreme pain, suffering, or distress (of body or mind)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
arrogant
1 use
While Mamie C. Loomis, a child in peach, sang "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go," Mr. King sucked a little marrow bone and lifted his wobbly head and looked arrogantly at Virgie through the two open doors of her mother's bedroom.†
arrogantly = with an excessive sense of superiority
DefinitionGenerally arrogant means:
having an excessive sense of superiority
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
contradict
1 use
As she looked out from her hill in the creeping shade, Miss Katie Rainey might have liked to be argued with and prevailed upon to go back in the house; at the last she might have suffered contradiction, but from whom?†
contradiction = something (typically a statement) that disagrees with itself; or (more rarely) the act of disagreeing

(editor's note:  The suffix "-tion", 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 action, education, and observation.)
DefinitionGenerally contradict means:
disagree
in various senses, including:
  • to say something is not true — as in "She contradicted his testimony."
  • to say something else is true when both can't be true — as in "I don't believe her. She contradicted herself as she told us what happened."
  • to be in conflict with — as in "Her assertions contradict accepted scientific principles."
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
Web Links
direct
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
At the MacLain Bijou, directly across from Virgie on the stile, there was a wrinkled blue sheen of rain on the two posters and deeper in, the square of yellow bard ("Deposit Required for Going In to Talk") hung always like a lighted window in a traveler's gloom.†
directly = close, or in a straight line
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
Book1 use
Library62 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
disheveled
1 use
In old age Miss Katie showed what a neat, narrow head she had under the hair no longer disheveled and flyaway.†
disheveled = messy (untidy or disordered) — especially of a person's clothes and hair
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
diverge
1 use
"But mainly, Mr. MacLain, you should remember to keep off rich food," Miss Snowdie said, leading her husband down a divergent path.†
divergent = to move apart; or be or become different
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
hideous
2 uses
Then he made a hideous face at Virgie, like a silent yell.†
hideous = extremely ugly, offensive, and/or frightening
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
however
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
However, complications may...
However, this n, your mama, her weren't in two pieces, or floatin' upside down, or any those things yet.†
however = a word used to connect contrasting ideas as when using though, in spite of that, in contrast, nevertheless, etc.
DefinitionGenerally this sense of however means:
though (or another expression that connects contrasting ideas)

(Based on idea 1 we might not expect idea 2, but this is a way of saying that even though idea 1 exists, we still have idea 2.  Synonyms include in spite of that, , nevertheless, nonetheless, on the other hand, in contrastand but.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library61 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
Web Links
impede
1 use
Cassie Morrison, her black-stockinged legs seeming to wade among the impeding legs of the other women, crossed the parlor to where Virgie sat in the chair at the closed sewing machine.†
impeding = creating difficulty so as to slow or prevent
DefinitionGenerally impede means:
create difficulty so as to slow or prevent (something)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
insolent
1 use
As she would drift in the river, too alert, too insolent in her heart in those days, the mist might thin momentarily and brilliant jewel eyes would look out from the water-line and the bank.†
insolent = rudely disrespectful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
languid
1 use
"Press their heads," Jinny said languidly, over her shoulder.†
languidly = without much energy; or moving slowly or in a relaxed manner
DefinitionGenerally languid means:
lacking energy or relaxed or moving slowly
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
minute
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
minute size
She felt the sand, grains intricate as little cogged wheels, minute shells of old seas, and the many dark ribbons of grass and mud touch her and leave her, like suggestions and withdrawals of some bondage that might have been dear, now dismembering and losing itself.†
minute = small
DefinitionGenerally this sense of minute means:
small, exceptionally small, or insignificant
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
opaque
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
opaque shower door
She moved but like a cloud in skies, aware but only of the nebulous edges of her feeling and the vanishing opacity of her will, the carelessness for the water of the river through which her body had already passed as well as for what was ahead.†
opacity = not able to see through
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
recollect
1 use
Virgie had a sudden recollection of recital night at Miss Eckhart's—the moment when she was to be called out.†
recollection = memory

(editor's note:  The suffix "-tion", 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 action, education, and observation.)
DefinitionGenerally recollect means:
to remember — especially experiences from long ago
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
reproach
1 use
If the funeral's small we can't reproach ourselves.†
reproach = a criticism; or to express criticism
DefinitionGenerally reproach means:
a criticism; or to express criticism — especially where a relationship makes the disapproval result in disappointment or shame
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
scrutiny
1 use
There was a tuning fork in his shirt pocket that showed when he walked sideways back of the coffin and leaned over it full front to scrutinize the body.†
scrutinize = to look at very carefully

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ive" converts a word to a verb. This is the same pattern you see in words like apologize, theorize, and dramatize.)
DefinitionGenerally scrutiny means:
careful examination of something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
serene
1 use
Cassie had chosen the one thin, gold-rimmed coffee cup for herself, and balanced it serenely.†
serenely = in a manner that is calm and untroubled
DefinitionGenerally serene means:
calm and untroubled
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
sojourn
3 uses
She smiled, biting the seed in the pepper grass), back past the drunk Simon Sojourner that didn't want her, and on to embarrassed Mr. Mabry, behind whom waited loud, harmless, terrifying Mr. Nesbitt who wanted to stand up for her.†
sojourner = someone who visits a place
DefinitionGenerally sojourn means:
a temporary visit to a place
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
vivacious
1 use
After Dr. Williams' prayer, little crumbs and clods ran down the mound, pellmell; the earth grew immediately vivacious and wild as a creature.†
vivacious = having an engaging liveliness — when said of a person, typically said of a female
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
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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