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If I Stay

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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acoustic   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —1 use as in:
auditorium acoustics
It was at a hall in town, a place that usually showcased local bands, so the acoustics were terrible for unamplified classical.
acoustics = sound quality (resulting from such things as the surfaces off of which sound bounces)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acoustic means:
sound quality or its study based on such things as the surfaces off of which sound bounces — such as how well a voice on stage can be heard in the back of an auditorium, or how noisy a restaurant sounds
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
acoustic guitar
He was riffing about on his acoustic guitar.†
acoustic = not using electricity to amplify sound
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acoustic means:
of a guitar or other musical instrument:  not using electricity to amplify sound
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
aesthetic
1 use
Forgive Simon. We haven't had high-quality cellists for a couple years, so he's excited about new blood. In a purely aesthetic way.
aesthetic = related to a sense of what is beautiful (in this case, beautiful music)
DefinitionGenerally aesthetic means:
related to beauty or good taste — often referring to one's appreciation of beauty or one's sense of what is beautiful

or:

beautiful or tasteful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
approximate
1 use
"Where's the rest?" asks a bearded guy in scrubs.
"Other driver suffering mild concussions, being treated at the scene. Parents DOA. Boy, approximately seven years old, just behind us."
approximately = about (in this case, the person speaking doesn't know the age for sure)
DefinitionGenerally approximate means:
almost, but not exact; or similar
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
concerto
5 uses
"That's sounding quite beautiful," Simon said toward the end of camp as he listened to me practice a movement from Hayden's Cello Concerto no. 2, a piece that had given me no end of trouble when I'd first attempted it last spring.
concerto = music written for orchestra and a solo instrument

(editor's note:  In other contexts, concerto can refer to music written for orchestra and more than one solo instrument.)
DefinitionGenerally concerto means:
music written for orchestra and one (or more) solo instruments
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
context
1 use
I worried that he was bored, but after a while I got too caught up in the music to care. Then, when Yo-Yo Ma played "Le Grand Tango," Adam reached over and grasped my hand. In any other context, this would have been cheesy, the old yawn-and-cop-a-feel move. But Adam wasn't looking at me. His eyes were closed and he was swaying slightly in his seat. He was lost in the music, too.
context = situation
DefinitionGenerally context means:
the setting or situation in which something occurs
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
contrast
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
contrast their writing styles
  "Neither sleet nor rain nor a half inch of snow will compel me to dress like a lumberjack."
  "Hey, my relatives were lumberjacks," Mom warns. "No making fun of the white-trash woodsmen."
  "Wouldn't dream of it," Dad replies. "Just making stylistic contrasts."
contrasts = comparisons (to show differences)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
point to differences between; or compare to show differences
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
establish
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
establish that there is a need
I think we've established that I'm not very good at trigonometry.†
established = demonstrated
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
show or determine (cause to be recognized or figure out)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
frenetic
2 uses
...a nighttime hush has fallen over the place. It is less frenetic than it was during the day, like the nurses and machines are all a little tired and have reverted to power-save mode.
frenetic = frenzied (with lots of excited activity)
DefinitionGenerally frenetic means:
fast, energetic — often with confusion
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
highlight
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
highlight the main findings
The operating room is small and crowded, full of blindingly bright lights, which highlight how grubby this place is.
highlight = emphasize (call attention to)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of highlight means:
emphasize (call attention to something)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
lament
3 uses
My parents were lamenting that they hadn't seen Willow and Henry and the baby in months.
lamenting = regretting
DefinitionGenerally lament means:
to express grief or regret
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 16
Web Links
lilt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an Irish lilt
And the other is a woman with skin so black it's blue and a lilt in her voice.†
lilt = pleasing sound
DefinitionGenerally this sense of lilt means:
a way of speaking, singing, or making music — typically cheerful, lively or pleasing — sometimes with the pitch of the voice rising and falling
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
midwife
11 uses
The midwife was telling Mom to push, then hold, then push.
midwife = someone skilled in aiding the delivery of babies
DefinitionGenerally midwife means:
a non-doctor who practices the profession of assisting women in childbirth; or to assist in childbirth

or:

someone who helps bring something into existence; or the act of helping to bring something into existence
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
perspective
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
Look at it from her perspective
I try to think about it from their perspectives.
perspectives = ways of seeing or thinking about things
DefinitionGenerally this sense of perspective means:
a particular way of seeing or thinking about things
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 15
Web Links
positive
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
had a positive effect
I remember the social worker telling my grandparents and Aunt Diane that this was a positive step.†
positive = good or beneficial
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
pragmatic
1 use
"I still don't understand why you don't just go to her family?" asks Kim, pragmatic as ever. ... But I also know that sometimes Adam needs to do things the dramatic way. He is fond of the Grand Gesture. Like saving up two weeks of pizza-delivery tips to take me to Yo-Yo Ma instead of just asking me out on a regular date.
pragmatic = practical
DefinitionGenerally pragmatic means:
concerned with practical matters — especially where quick results and/or practical experience triumph over theory
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
repudiate
1 use
"That funeral wasn't about celebrating Kerry's life," Mom growled, yanking at her scarf. "It was about repudiating it. It was like they killed him all over again."
repudiating = strongly rejecting
DefinitionGenerally repudiate means:
strong rejection — especially when the idea or thing being rejected was once embraced
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
superficial
1 use
I don't know that I'd call Mr. Dunlap "just fine," no matter how superficial his injuries.
superficial = relating to a surface rather than to anything deep or serious
DefinitionGenerally superficial means:
relating to a surface rather than to anything deep or penetrating (often of injuries or thinking)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 11
Web Links
symphony
7 uses
Well, you know how we all perform in an orchestra for the final symphony?
symphony = a long and complex piece of music
DefinitionGenerally symphony means:
a long and complex piece of music — typically for full orchestra in four parts;

or:  an orchestra that plays such; or such a performance
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
tranquil
2 uses
The car radio somehow still is attached to a battery and so Beethoven is broadcasting into the once-again tranquil February morning. [after the car accident]
tranquil = calm
DefinitionGenerally tranquil means:
calm and undisturbed
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
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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