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Half the Sky

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
abolish
4 uses
But then in the 1780s a few indignant Britons, led by William Wilberforce, decided that slavery was so offensive that they had to abolish it.
abolish = eliminate (end, or do away with)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
acquiesce
4 uses
Decades from now, people will look back and wonder how societies could have acquiesced in a sex slave trade in the twenty-first century that, as we've seen, is bigger than the transatlantic slave trade was in the nineteenth.
acquiesced = reluctantly complied
DefinitionGenerally acquiesce means:
reluctant or unenthusiastic compliance, consent, or agreement
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
civil rights movement
4 uses
Even in the United States, after all, what brought equal rights to blacks wasn't the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments passed after the Civil War, but rather the grassroots civil rights movement nearly one hundred years later.
civil rights movement = popular effort to establish political and social equality for African Americans in the USA (1954-1968)
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
defer   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
deferred the decision
Deferred consumption is higher among girls, and they buy durables and have higher savings rates.
deferred = postponed
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
delay or postpone (hold off until a later time)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
deferred to her wishes
it would be feckless to defer to slavery, torture, foot-binding, honor killings, or genital cutting just because we believe in respecting other faiths or cultures.
defer = submit or yield

(editor's note:  In this sentence, feckless is a synonym for irresponsible.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of defer means:
submit or yield (typically to another person's opinion because of respect for that person or their knowledge)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
denounce
10 uses
The implication is that instead of denouncing sweatshops, we in the West should be encouraging manufacturing in poor countries, particularly in Africa and the Muslim world.
denouncing = strongly criticizing
DefinitionGenerally denounce means:
to strongly criticize or accuse publicly

or more rarely:  to inform against someone (turn someone into the authorities)
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
discord
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
discord amongst the group
One reason for discord is a dispute about how to regard prostitution.
discord = conflict or disagreement — especially among those expected to cooperate
DefinitionGenerally this sense of discord means:
conflict or disagreement — especially among those expected to cooperate

or (especially in the form discordant):

seeming different  or wrong along with everything else
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
discredit
3 uses
The plan, she said, was to kill or imprison her or to fake a scandal to discredit her.
discredit = damage [her] reputation
DefinitionGenerally discredit means:
damage the reputation of — often causing distrust of or disbelief in
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
discriminate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
suffered discrimination
And while job discrimination against women is real, it has less to do with sexism than with employers being wary of China's generous maternity benefits.
discrimination = unfair treatment of different groups of people differently (in this case based upon gender)

(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 this sense of discriminate means:
to treat people of different groups differently — especially unfair treatment due to race, religion or gender
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
disdain
1 use
In the nineteenth century, wealthy American women disdained the women's suffrage movement,
disdained = showed a lack of respect for
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 14
Web Links
maternal
86 uses
In pushing for a global campaign to reduce maternal deaths, it's crucial to avoid exaggerated claims.
maternal = relating to a mother
DefinitionGenerally this sense of maternal means:
relating to a mother; or characteristic of parents — such as to care for and help to develop
Word Statistics
Book86 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr.
Web Links
mitigate
2 uses
The third lesson is that even when a social problem is so vast as to be insoluble in its entirety, it's still worth mitigating.
mitigating = making less harmful or unpleasant
DefinitionGenerally mitigate means:
make less harmful or unpleasant
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
mortality
45 uses
Mortality data show that in famines and droughts, it is mostly girls who die, not boys.
mortality = death rate (often given per 1,000 people per year)
DefinitionGenerally mortality means:
the quality of being mortal (subject to death)

or:

death rate — often given per 1,000 people per year
Word Statistics
Book45 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useIntr.
Web Links
non-governmental organization
2 uses
In Kyrgyzstan, women don't hold a single seat in parliament but run 90 percent of the NGOs.
NGOs = non-governmental organizations (private, non-profit organizations working for member goals at the international level)
DefinitionGenerally non-governmental organization means:
private, non-profit organizations working for member goals at the international level — possibly through direct action, but especially by lobbying government officials
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
notorious
6 uses
...he wanted Pakistan to be renowned for a sizzling economy, not notorious for barbaric rapes.
notorious = well known for something bad
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
philanthropy
8 uses
The Index of Global Philanthropy calculates that U.S. religious organizations give $5.4 billion annually to developing countries, more than twice as much as is given by U.S. foundations.
philanthropy = helping others — especially donating money to worthy causes
DefinitionGenerally philanthropy means:
helping others — especially donating money to worthy causes; or an organization that does so
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
pious
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
a good, pious woman
It pains her, as a pious Muslim, that some fundamentalists want to kill her in the name of Islam.
pious = religious
DefinitionGenerally this sense of pious means:
religious or highly moral
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
pragmatic
5 uses
The strongest argument we can make to leaders of poor countries is not a moral one but a pragmatic one:
pragmatic = concerned with practical matters
DefinitionGenerally pragmatic means:
concerned with practical matters — especially where quick results and/or practical experience triumph over theory
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
relevant
3 uses
What is relevant is that children are being enslaved.
relevant = relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
ubiquitous
3 uses
In India, for example, brothels are technically illegal—but, as we said earlier, they are ubiquitous; the same is true in Cambodia.
ubiquitous = common (seemingly present everywhere)
DefinitionGenerally ubiquitous means:
being present everywhere or all the time
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
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