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A White Heron

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
audible
1 use
The enemy had discovered her, and called out in a very cheerful and persuasive tone, "Halloa, little girl, how far is it to the road?" and trembling Sylvia answered almost inaudibly, "A good ways."
inaudibly = so quietly it almost couldn't be heard

(Editor's note:  The prefix "in-" in inaudibly means not and reverses the meaning of audibly. This is the same pattern you see in words like invisible, incomplete, and insecure.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of audible means:
capable of being heard
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
cease
1 use
The short summer night seemed as long as the winter darkness, and at last when the whippoorwills ceased, and she was afraid the morning would after all come too soon, she stole out of the house and followed the pasture path through the woods,
ceased = stopped or discontinued

(editor's note:  A whippoorwill is a type of nocturnal bird. So here, the author is saying that those birds stopped singing and that indicated that night was coming to an end.)
DefinitionGenerally cease means:
to stop or discontinue
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library26 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 2
Web Links
compassion
1 use
She thought often with wistful compassion of a wretched geranium that belonged to a town neighbor.
compassion = sympathy for another's suffering and wanting to help
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
comprehend
1 use
...she knew by instinct that her grandmother did not comprehend the gravity of the situation.
comprehend = understand — especially to understand it completely

(editor's note:  In this context, gravity is a synonym for seriousness.)
DefinitionGenerally comprehend means:
to understand something — especially to understand it completely
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library20 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st usePart 1
Web Links
contrary
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
on the contrary
There was hardly a night the summer through when the old cow could be found waiting at the pasture bars; on the contrary, it was her greatest pleasure to hide herself away among the huckleberry bushes,
on the contrary = an expression used to intensify denial of an idea
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
demure
1 use
"So Sylvy knows all about birds, does she?" he exclaimed, as he looked round at the little girl who sat, very demure but increasingly sleepy, in the moonlight.
demure = modest, quiet, and shy
DefinitionGenerally demure means:
modest, quiet, and shy; or pretending such in a playful way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st usePart 1
Web Links
discreet
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
discreet--not showy or gossipy
Sylvia left the cow to whatever sad fate might await her, and stepped discreetly aside into the bushes, but she was just too late.  The enemy had discovered her, and...
discreetly = inconspicuously (in a manner unlikely to attract attention)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of discreet means:
trustworthy with secrets and/or inconspicuous or unobtrusive
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
dwell
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a modest dwelling
It was a surprise to find so clean and comfortable a little dwelling in this New England wilderness.
dwelling = a house or shelter in which someone lives
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 1
Web Links
grave
1 use
But Sylvia kept an awed silence; she knew by instinct that her grandmother did not comprehend the gravity of the situation.
gravity = importance (weightiness) or seriousness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of grave means:
serious and/or solemn
The exact meaning of this sense of grave can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "This is a grave problem," or "a situation of the utmost gravity." — important, dangerous, or causing worry
  • "She was in a grave mood upon returning from the funeral." — sad or solemn
  • "She looked me in the eye and gravely promised." — in a sincere and serious manner
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 1
Web Links
inclined
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
I'm inclined to
The old cow was not inclined to wander farther, she even turned in the right direction for once as they left the pasture, and stepped along the road at a good pace.
inclined = in the mood
DefinitionGenerally this sense of inclined means:
a tendency, mood, desire, or attitude that favors something; or making someone favor something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st usePart 1
Web Links
landmark
2 uses
But the stately head of this old pine towered above them all and made a landmark for sea and shore miles and miles away.
landmark = something easily recognized (such as a geographic feature) — especially one that helps one to know where she is
DefinitionGenerally landmark means:
something very important

or:

something easily recognized (such as a monument, building, or geographic feature) — especially one that helps one to know where she is; or that is a tourist destination
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
migrate
1 use
Perhaps it was only migrating, or had been chased out of its own region by some bird of prey.
migrating = moving from one place to another (in this case, because of the change in seasons)
DefinitionGenerally migrate means:
move from one place to another — sometimes seasonally
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 1
Web Links
ponderous
1 use
It was like a great main-mast to the voyaging earth; it must truly have been amazed that morning through all its ponderous frame as it felt this determined spark of human spirit wending its way from higher branch to branch.
ponderous = large
DefinitionGenerally ponderous means:
large or of great weight; or slow and unwieldy — especially because of size

or

boring — especially because of  length
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
premonition
1 use
Some premonition of that great power stirred and swayed these young creatures who traversed the solemn woodlands with soft-footed silent care.
premonition = a feeling, not based on reason, that something is so or will happen
DefinitionGenerally premonition means:
a feeling, not based on reason, that something will happen — especially something bad
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
provoke
1 use
A little girl was driving home her cow, a plodding, dilatory, provoking creature in her behavior, but a valued companion for all that.
provoking = tending to cause a reaction — typically an emotional reaction such as anger
DefinitionGenerally provoke means:
to cause a reaction — typically an emotional reaction such as anger; and sometimes caused intentionally
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
rebuke
1 use
But Sylvia does not speak after all, though the old grandmother fretfully rebukes her, and the young man's kind, appealing eyes are looking straight in her own.
rebukes = criticizes severely
DefinitionGenerally rebuke means:
criticize severely; or such criticism
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
solemn
2 uses
...and vexed by their fluttering and lawlessness the solemn heron goes away.
solemn = dignified
DefinitionGenerally solemn means:
in a very serious (and often dignified) manner
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library20 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
twilight
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
pink clouds in a twilight sky
Sylvia stood still and waited, letting her bare feet cool themselves in the shoal water, while the great twilight moths struck softly against her.
twilight = coming out in the time of day between daylight and darkness (in this case, just after sunset)

(editor's note:  The author is describing these moths as coming out at this time of day)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of twilight means:
the time of day between daylight and darkness (just after sunset or just before sunrise); or the light from the sky at that time
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
wane
1 use
But as the day waned, Sylvia still watched the young man with loving admiration.
waned = grew smaller (in this case, the amount of day that is left)
DefinitionGenerally wane means:
a gradual decline (in size or strength or power or number) — especially the part of the moon that is visible
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
wistful
2 uses
She had always believed that whoever climbed to the top of it could see the ocean; and the little girl had often laid her hand on the great rough trunk and looked up wistfully at those dark boughs that the wind always stirred, no matter how hot and still the air might be below.
wistfully = with longing or unfulfilled desire
DefinitionGenerally wistful means:
showing longing or unfulfilled desire
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
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