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The Plague

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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abstract
18 uses
1  —18 uses as in:
abstract thought
My notions on the subject were purely abstract, and I'd never given it serious thought.
abstract = a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abstract means:
of a concept or idea not associated with any specific instance
Word Statistics
Book18 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st usePart 2
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apathy
3 uses
She was greatly struck by the apathy of his voice when, on her asking how he was feeling, he replied that he was in a bad way, he did not need a doctor, and all he wished was to be taken to the hospital, so as to comply with the regulations.
apathy = lack of interest and enthusiasm
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
benevolent
3 uses
...And it was this that put him in the bad books of his hostess. ... All his subsequent efforts to bring the good lady round to, anyhow, a state of benevolent neutrality came to nothing.
benevolent = kindly
DefinitionGenerally benevolent means:
kind, generous, or charitable
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 4
Web Links
capricious
2 uses
But from now on it was different; they seemed at the mercy of the sky's caprices-in other words, suffered and hoped irrationally.
caprices = instances of impulsiveness or unpredictability
DefinitionGenerally capricious means:
impulsive or unpredictable or tending to make sudden changes — especially impulsive behavior
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 4
Web Links
defer
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
deferred the decision
It was the time when, acting under orders, café-proprietors deferred as long as possible turning on their lights.
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 usePart 2
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discord
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
discord amongst the group
And on that lofty plane all will fall into place, all discords be resolved, and truth flash forth from the dark cloud of seeming injustice.
discords = disagreements or conflicts
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 usePart 4
Web Links
disdain
1 use
...the love of God is a hard love. It demands total self-surrender, disdain of our human personality.
disdain = a lack of respect
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 usePart 4
Web Links
disparage
1 use
...it sounded perhaps a little disparaging,
disparaging = criticizing or making seem less important
DefinitionGenerally disparage means:
to criticize or make seem less important — especially in a disrespectful or contemptuous manner
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st usePart 2
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dispose
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
disposed the troops along...
Thus it was only natural that old Dr. Castel should plod away with unshaken confidence, never sparing himself, at making anti-plague serum on the spot with the makeshift equipment at his disposal.†
disposal = command

(editor's note:  When something is "at someone's disposal" it is "at their command," or "available for their use." They can use it as they please.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispose means:
the arrangement, positioning, or use of things
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 2
Web Links
eccentric
4 uses
harmless eccentricities
eccentricities = unconventional or strange behaviors
DefinitionGenerally eccentric means:
unconventional or strange; or a person with such traits
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st usePart 1
Web Links
epidemic
76 uses
Is the epidemic getting out of hand?
epidemic = a widespread outbreak of a disease that is passed from one person (or other organism) to another
DefinitionGenerally epidemic means:
a widespread outbreak of a disease that is passed from one person (or other organism) to another

or more rarely:  anything that spreads quickly — especially something bad
Word Statistics
Book76 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
futile
6 uses
...a number of people were standing outside the main entrance, some of them hoping to be allowed to visit a patient—a futile hope, since such visits were strictly prohibited—...
futile = effort that is pointless because it is unproductive or unsuccessful
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
incessant
9 uses
Rambert talked incessantly, as if his nerves were out of hand.
incessantly = continuously
DefinitionGenerally incessant means:
continuous — often in an annoying way
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
obstinate
4 uses
Yes, I chose to be blindly obstinate, pending the day when I could see my way more clearly.
obstinate = stubbornly not doing what others want
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
petulant
3 uses
Rambert tossed his head petulantly.
petulantly = with unreasonable anger or upset
DefinitionGenerally petulant means:
unreasonably annoyed or upset

or:

easily annoyed or upset
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st usePart 2
Web Links
phenomenon
4 uses
Hitherto people had merely grumbled at a stupid, rather obnoxious visitation; they now realized that this strange phenomenon, whose scope could not be measured and whose origins escaped detection, had something vaguely menacing about it.†
phenomenon = something considered extraordinary
DefinitionGenerally phenomenon means:
something that exists or happened — especially something of special interest — sometimes someone or something that is extraordinary
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st usePart 1
Web Links
prudent
1 use
While intensifying their desire to be set free, the terrible months they had lived through had taught them prudence, and they had come to count less and less on a speedy end of the epidemic.
prudence = good sense and caution
DefinitionGenerally prudent means:
sensible and careful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 5
Web Links
refute
1 use
No, all those horrors were not near enough as yet even to ruffle the equanimity of that spring afternoon. The clang of an unseen streetcar came through the window, briskly refuting cruelty and pain.
refuting = proving or arguing that something is false
DefinitionGenerally refute means:
to disprove or argue against
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st usePart 1
Web Links
resignation
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
accepted it with resignation
... and poverty had taught her resignation.
resignation = acceptance of 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 usePart 4
Web Links
virulent
3 uses
It seemed that, for obvious reasons, the plague launched its most virulent attacks on those who lived, by choice or by necessity, in groups:
virulent = harshest (worst)
DefinitionGenerally virulent means:
of disease:  very bad — perhaps very contagious

or

harsh or hateful
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 5
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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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