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The History of Love

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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acclaim
1 use
Isaac Moritz, acclaimed author of six novels including The Remedy, which won the National Book Award, died Tuesday night.
acclaimed = popularly and enthusiastically praised
DefinitionGenerally acclaim means:
to praise enthusiastically and publicly — sometimes choosing without opposition or a formal vote
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
cursory
1 use
A few hours later, the first of many passersby gave it a cursory glance as they went by the window.
cursory = hasty and without attention to detail
DefinitionGenerally cursory means:
quick—not thorough (without attention to detail)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
decorum
1 use
Only a last scrap of decorum keeps me from it.
decorum = proper manners and conduct
DefinitionGenerally decorum means:
manners and conduct considered to be proper and in good taste
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
dispute
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
their border dispute
I knew that her father wanted her to learn how to play the piano, but that she wanted to learn the violin, and that this dispute remained unsettled, with both sides standing their ground, until...
dispute = disagreement
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
disagreement, argument, or conflict
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
diverge
1 use
Two rabbis diverged in a yellow wood.
diverged = moved apart
DefinitionGenerally diverge means:
to move apart; or be or become different
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
elaborate
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
elaborate on your plan
Dr. Vishnubakat said That's interesting, can you elaborate?
elaborate = add details (say more about it)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elaborate means:
add details or explain in detail
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
Web Links
frenetic
1 use
...that had been the inspiration for countless frenetic variations.
frenetic = fast, energetic
DefinitionGenerally frenetic means:
fast, energetic — often with confusion
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
incredulous
1 use
... he repeated, incredulous,
incredulous = unbelieving; or having difficulty accepting something so unexpected
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
innovate
1 use
While some critics saw it as a boldly innovative departure, others ... called the collection a failure.
innovative = introducing things that are new and different

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ive" converts a word into an adjective; though over time, what was originally an adjective often comes to be used as a noun. The adjective pattern means tending to and is seen in words like attractive, impressive, and supportive. Examples of the noun include narrative, alternative, and detective.)
DefinitionGenerally innovate means:
bring something new to an environment
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
lament
1 use
At that moment ... Jacob launches into a lament, a single, ecstatic paragraph, unbroken over five pages, that Time magazine called one of the most "incandescent, haunting passages" in contemporary literature.
lament = expression of grief
DefinitionGenerally lament means:
to express grief or regret
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
languish
1 use
The careless owner hardly noticed it, and for some years it languished on the shelves, acquiring a pattern of mildew across the cover.
languished = suffered in a bad situation for a long time
DefinitionGenerally languish means:
to suffer in a bad situation for a long time
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
nostalgia
2 uses
attacks of nostalgia
nostalgia = longing for something past
DefinitionGenerally nostalgia means:
happiness that come with the memory of good times combined with a hint of sadness that those times are over
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
obscure   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
the view or directions are obscure
After Uncle Julian left, my mother became more withdrawn, or maybe a better word would be obscure, as in faint, unclear, distant.
obscure = not easily detected (not easily seen, heard, understood...)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
not clearly seen, understood, or expressed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
knows the famous and the obscure
But, with a dreadful feeling, she remembered how it had been her who'd insisted that he publish the book. He'd argued with her, saying it was too personal, a private matter, but she'd pushed and pushed, softening his resistance until he finally broke down and agreed. Because wasn't that what wives of artists were meant to do? Husband their husbands' work into the world, which, without them, would be lost to obscurity?
obscurity = a condition of not being known by many people (in this case, hardly known to anyone)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of obscure means:
not known to many people; or unimportant or undistinguished
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
persist
1 use
And yet I persist like a stubborn mule in my efforts.
persist = continue
DefinitionGenerally persist means:
to continue — often despite difficulty
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
prolific
1 use
And no one could accuse him of not being prolific in his chosen metier.
prolific = highly productive (creating abundantly)

(editor's note:  Metier means "area of expertise".)
DefinitionGenerally prolific means:
producing abundantly
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
Web Links
rebuttal
1 use
Sometimes Litvinoff found himself disagreeing with someone's argument, and in his head he delivered a brilliant rebuttal.
rebuttal = argument in opposition
DefinitionGenerally rebuttal means:
a statement arguing against something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
speculate
5 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
don't know, but I'll speculate
This is because they argue about what it means to be among the Living, and because they don't know they can only speculate,
speculate = guess or theorize
DefinitionGenerally this sense of speculate means:
to think about, wonder, guess or theorize with much uncertainty
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
spontaneous
2 uses
The fifth time they met, under the spell of Rosa's youthful spontaneity—halfway through a heated discussion...—Litvinoff surprised himself by proposing they go hear a concert together.
spontaneity = behaving in an instinctive, uninhibited manner
DefinitionGenerally spontaneous means:
behaving in an instinctive, uninhibited manner

or:

happening naturally (without planning or external force)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
vestige
2 uses
The anatomical illusion that had seemed so real slowly disappeared and—like so much we no longer need but can't give up—became vestigial.
vestigial = a trace of something that was previously there
DefinitionGenerally vestige means:
a remaining trace (little bit of something) that was previously abundant
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
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