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Dear John

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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accentuate
2 uses
She was wearing one of those scrappy tank tops that accentuated her tan, and all I could think was that she was the sexiest woman I'd ever seen.
accentuated = emphasized or drew attention to
DefinitionGenerally accentuate means:
to emphasize or draw attention to — possibly to emphasize by increasing
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
alleviate
1 use
...she wasn't even attempting to alleviate my concerns.
alleviate = lessen
DefinitionGenerally alleviate means:
to lessen something that is bad — especially to lessen pain
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
altercation
1 use
Because of the altercation, I knew I was no longer welcome at the beach house; I also didn't want to see Randy or Susan or any of the others, which made it impossible to contact Savannah.
altercation = argument, confrontation, or fight
DefinitionGenerally altercation means:
a noisy argument, confrontation, or fight
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
approach   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 6 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
approached the city
I emerged from the car and began to approach the house.†
approach = go toward
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
to get closer to (near in space, time, quantity, or quality)
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library104 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
use the best approach
Unsure, I opted for Dad's approach and said nothing.†
approach = technique (way of doing something)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of approach means:
a way of doing something; or a route that leads to a particular place
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
augment
1 use
The plan was for my squad to augment other units from different divisions on a hard push to Baghdad.
augment = add to (enlarge)
DefinitionGenerally augment means:
enlarge or increase
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
contrast
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
there is a contrast
The sun was beginning its slow descent, and as I pulled out, the sky was a swirl of fruity colors that contrasted dramatically with the evening skies I'd come to know in Germany.
contrasted = differed
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
a difference — especially a notable difference; or the side-x-side arrangement of things that draws attention to an unmissable difference
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
demonstrate   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
It demonstrates my point.
"All you have to do is grab near the hoof and tug while you tap the back of his leg here," she said, demonstrating.†
demonstrating = showing (how something is done)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of demonstrate means:
to show
The exact meaning of this sense of demonstrate can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "I will demonstrate how to throw a Frisbee." — show how to do something
  • "I will demonstrate how much quicker the new computer is than the old one." — show how something works
  • "Her questioned demonstrated that she was listening and thinking deeply about what was said." — showed to be true or proved
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
demonstrate to protest
Things were tense in the capitals of our NATO allies; on the news, there were demonstrations from the citizens and forceful proclamations from their leaders that the United States was about to make a terrible mistake.†
demonstrations = public protests

(editor's note:  The suffix "-tions", converts a verb into a plural noun that denotes results of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in actions, illustrations, and observations.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of demonstrate means:
a public display supporting a cause — usually joining with others in a political protest
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
direct   (4 meanings)
4 meanings, 12 uses
1  —1 use as in:
was direct in my instructions
I think I already knew what she was getting at, but for whatever reason, I wanted her to say it directly.†
directly = in a straightforward manner (clearly without any ambiguity)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straightforward (uncomplicated or simple — perhaps also indicating openness and honesty)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
directed her question to
Passion is passion. It's the excitement between the tedious spaces, and it doesn't matter where it's directed.†
directed = focused
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
to indicate direction; or to cause movement or focus in a direction or towards an object
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "intentionally directed fire at unarmed civilians" — aimed a gun
  • "directed the question to her" — aimed a question
  • "directed her north" — pointed in a particular direction
  • "directed attention to the 3rd paragraph" — focused attention on a particular object
  • "The sound of her voice directed him to the kitchen." — guided or gave directions to someone to help them move to a particular place
  • "She directed him to the airport." — gave directions to send someone to a particular place
  • "She directed the boat north." — steered it
  • "directed the letter to" — send a letter to a particular person by putting a name and address on it
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library36 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
directed the jury to...
I did as she directed, and the horses closed in.†
directed = instructed
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
give instructions or commands
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 18
Web Links
4  —8 uses as in:
directed the movie
He didn't say much, but he did give me permission to talk to the director.†
director = supervisor (person in charge)

(editor's note:  The suffix "-or" often converts a verb to a noun that means "a person who."  This is the pattern you see in words like actor, editor, and visitor.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
supervise, control, or to be in charge of
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library29 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 16
Web Links
flippant
1 use
"That was flippant," she said, "I'm sorry."
flippant = showing an inappropriate lack of seriousness
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
frugal
1 use
...it was worth a small fortune, more than enough for my frugal dad to retire a few times over and...
frugal = habitually avoiding waste
DefinitionGenerally frugal means:
avoiding waste — typically being careful not to spend much money
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
interpret
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
her interpretation of the data
It was possible that she interpreted his quiet nature accurately as well and knew he would be slow to anger and never violent.†
interpreted = understood (in a particular way)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of interpret means:
to understand or explain something in a particular way — often the meaning or significance of something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
passage
3 uses
Gone were long passages in which she described the way she envisioned our life together, passages that in the past had always filled me with anticipation.†
passages = short parts of longer written works
DefinitionGenerally this sense of passage means:
a short part of a longer written work
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
positive   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 3 uses
1  —1 use as in:
I'm absolutely positive!
She wouldn't let me peek while she was getting ready, but when she finally emerged from the bathroom, she was positively glamorous.†
positively = absolutely (used for emphasis)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of positive means:
certain (having no doubt; or used for emphasis)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
had a positive effect
If there was a positive side to all this, it was that it gave him something to build his days around now that he was retired—something aside from coins, that is.†
positive = good
DefinitionGenerally this sense of positive means:
good or beneficial
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
The test came back positive.
Out of the eighteen, one was positive for melanoma.†
positive = indicating that the results of a test showed that a condition was found
DefinitionGenerally this sense of positive means:
found a condition or substance to be present
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 20
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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