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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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alternative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an alternative plan
Then, she took me down to the import section and told me about "real" alternative music.
alternative = non-standard (in this case referring to a style of music different than standard rock)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of alternative means:
something available as another possibility
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st usePart 3
Web Links
anonymous
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an anonymous, uninteresting house
I could see the magazine on the newsstands, and a lot of anonymous eyes looking at it,
anonymous = lacking individuality or interesting features

(editor's note:  Anonymous is more commonly used to indicate that the identify of a person is unknown, as elsewhere in the book where a letter said: "I would like to be anonymous to you.")
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 3
Web Links
auspicious
1 use
[regarding his laughing so much as a child] It seems like a rather "auspicious" beginning.
auspicious = favorable; or suggestive of good things to come
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
bias
2 uses
And maybe I'm biased, but when my sister quoted a pop song and talked about the future, it seemed great.
biased = showing favoritism (under the influence of a personal preference that prevents being objective)
DefinitionGenerally bias means:
a personal preference — especially a prejudice that prevents objective consideration

or:

any tendency to move in a particular direction — such as a car that tends to want to swerve toward the right
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 4
Web Links
bourgeois
1 use
I did ask her questions, and I let her talk the whole time. I learned a lot about "objectification," Native Americans, and the bourgeoisie.
bourgeoisie = a member of the middle class

or (in Marxist theory):

a member of the property-owing class
DefinitionGenerally bourgeois means:
typical of the middle class or their values and habits - typically used disapprovingly

or (in Marxist theory):

typical of the property-owning class
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 3
Web Links
context
1 use
Nobody can be as big as the Beatles because the Beatles already gave it a "context."  The reason they were so big is that they had no one to compare themselves with, so the sky was the limit. Sam added that nowadays a band or someone would compare themselves to the Beatles after the second album, and their own personal voice would be less from that moment on.
context = an historical situation (in this case, to which things since it are compared)
DefinitionGenerally context means:
the setting or situation in which something occurs
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st usePart 3
Web Links
convention
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
conventional behavior
I asked my brother if Kelly was unconventionally beautiful.
"No, she's hot beautiful."
unconventionally = in an unusual way

(editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in unconventionally means not and reverses the meaning of conventionally. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of convention means:
something regarded as normal or typical
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st usePart 2
Web Links
corpulent
3 uses
The nice thing was my Aunt Helen was never on a diet. And my Aunt Helen was "corpulent."
corpulent = excessively fat
DefinitionGenerally corpulent means:
with excessive body fat
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
cynical
1 use
...they were really having fun being cynical,
cynical = someone who expects the worst — especially of people (such as expecting them to be selfish and lie)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 3
Web Links
denounce
1 use
My sister spent the next ten minutes denouncing the Greek system of sororities and fraternities.
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
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
initiate
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
initiate into the fraternity
I think this is the initiation for new cast members.
initiation = ceremony (to accept new members)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of initiate means:
to accept someone's membership into an organization — typically in a ceremony — sometimes including a period of instruction and/or test
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 3
Web Links
literally
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
literally--not figuratively
From the time we got into the car to the time we came home, my mom literally did not stop talking.
literally = what follows is actually true — not an exaggeration
DefinitionGenerally this sense of literally means:
actually true using the basic meaning of the words (not an exaggeration, metaphor, or other type of figurative speech)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 2
Web Links
perspective   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
Look at it from her perspective
Maybe it's good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there.†
perspective = way of seeing and thinking about things
DefinitionGenerally this sense of perspective means:
a particular way of seeing or thinking about things
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useEpil.
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
Keep it in perspective
Just like what my sister said when I had been in the hospital for a while. She said that she was really worried about going to college, and considering what I was going through, she felt really dumb about it. And really, I don't think I have it any better or worse than she does. I don't know. It's just different. Maybe it's good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there.
perspective = a sensible view

(editor's note:  This editor thinks Charlie is saying that sometimes you can't properly understand a person's feelings unless you've been in their shoes.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of perspective means:
a sensible view of a situation that considers its different parts in a balanced way
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useEpil.
Web Links
positive
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a positive attitude
My mom can be quiet and talk at the same time when she's being positive.†
positive = optimistic
DefinitionGenerally this sense of positive means:
optimistic (expecting or focusing good things); or agreeable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 3
Web Links
provoke
1 use
He said that my sister was not allowed to see the boy who hit her anymore, and he was going to have a talk with the boy's parents tonight. My sister then said that it was all her fault, that she was provoking him, but my dad said it was no excuse.
provoking = making (him) so angry he would react
DefinitionGenerally provoke means:
to cause a reaction — typically an emotional reaction such as anger; and sometimes caused intentionally
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
skeptical
1 use
When he gave me the book, Bill said, "Be skeptical about this one."
skeptical = doubtful (that what it says is true)
DefinitionGenerally skeptical means:
doubtful (that something is true)

or more rarely:

generally tending to doubt what others believe
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 4
Web Links
sober   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —1 use as in:
Talk to me when your sober.
I mentioned the titles because they were as great when I listened to them sober.
sober = not under the influence of alcohol
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 1
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
I need to sober up.
After we sobered up a bit with coffee and Mini Thins, Patrick drove me home.
sobered up = became less drunk
DefinitionGenerally this sense of sober up means:
to become less drunk
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st usePart 4
Web Links
theme
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
theme of the novel
He is always making mix tapes for my sister with very specific themes. One was called "Autumn Leaves."
themes = an idea that is unifying or recurrent
DefinitionGenerally this sense of theme means:
a basic idea that underlies what is being said or done — especially in a literary or artistic work
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st usePart 1
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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