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The Lost Boy

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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adapt
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
adapted to the new rules
As usual, I adapted quickly, and joined in the hunt whenever a child left.
adapted = changed to fit into the situation
DefinitionGenerally this sense of adapt means:
changed to fit a different situation; or made suitable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
annihilate
1 use
After several annihilating lessons of Sorry, Stephen and I make our way down to the deck by the Russian River.
annihilating = having been completely defeated

(editor's note:  Sorry is a board game. The author is saying he was beat so badly that he should think of the game as a lesson from a better player.)
DefinitionGenerally annihilate means:
to completely destroy or defeat
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useEpil.
Web Links
badger
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
badgered her until she agreed
His face became tight as I badgered him relentlessly.
badgered = nagged or repeatedly bothered
DefinitionGenerally this sense of badger means:
to nag or bother someone repeatedly — typically to get them to do something
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
compose
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
keep your composure
I felt tingly all over as I stared into the face of the prettiest girl I had ever seen. Without the girl knowing, I regained my composure as she began to talk.
composure = calm (in control of emotions)

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ure" sometimes converts a verb that ends in an "s" sound to a related noun. This pattern is seen is words like pleasure, pressure, and exposure.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of compose means:
to calm someone or settle something
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
context
1 use
"Your Honor," my lawyer chuckled as he stood up, "Ms. Gold's statement is taken totally out of context."
out of context = in a misleading way because it lacks the situation in which it occurred
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 7
Web Links
corroborate
1 use
Your Honor, while no direct corroboration has yet been made, the minor has an established pattern of extreme dysfunctional behavior.
corroboration = additional evidence that supports (in this case, the charge of intentionally starting a harmful fire)

(editor's note:  The suffix "-tion", converts a verb into a noun that denotes the action or result of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in action, education, and observation.)
DefinitionGenerally corroborate means:
to support an opinion — typically with additional evidence or testimony
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
critique
1 use
After every show, Alice and I went back and forth with our own critiques.
critiques = examinations and judgments of something
DefinitionGenerally critique means:
an examination and judgment of something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
direct   (4 meanings)
4 meanings, 5 uses
1  —1 use as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
"He's always looking to help out," she answered, knowing that Mother had no intention of talking to me directly.†
directly = personally (person-to-person)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straight (exactly where stated); or without involvement of anything in between
The exact meaning of this sense of direct is subject to its context. For example:
  • "The road runs directly to Las Vegas." — straight (without varying from a straight line)
  • "It was a direct hit." — exact
  • "The plant is in direct sunlight." — unobstructed (without anything in between)
  • "She wants a direct meeting with him." — personal (without other people in between)
  • "She paid direct attention to what he was reading." — close
  • "a direct gaze" — straight, steady, or focused—not a brief glance taken while generally looking at other things; not a sideways look
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library62 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
was direct in my instructions
The only reason I am not sentencing you for that is I have no direct proof.†
direct = clear
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straightforward (uncomplicated or simple — perhaps also indicating openness and honesty)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
directed her question to
She and I waited for several minutes until an elderly woman directed Lilian into another room.†
directed = guided
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
Book1 use
Library36 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
4  —1 use as in:
directed the movie
I became fascinated by complicated screenplays and how the director pieced everything together.†
director = person in charge of making a film

(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
Book1 use
Library29 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
establish
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
establish that there is a need
Your Honor, while no direct corroboration has yet been made, the minor has an established pattern of extreme dysfunctional behavior.†
established = demonstrated or known
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 7
Web Links
evaluate
1 use
The county hereby recommends the minor to be immediately admitted to psychiatric evaluation for possible admission into a facility that can best support his needs.
evaluation = the process of making a careful judgment about something

(editor's note:  The suffix "-tion", converts a verb into a noun that denotes the action or result of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in action, education, and observation.)
DefinitionGenerally evaluate means:
to think carefully and make a judgment about something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
glutton
1 use
"Gluttons for punishment, are they?" the judge chuckled before continuing.
gluttons = people who persist in some activity despite harmful or unpleasant consequences
DefinitionGenerally glutton means:
someone who consumes more than they should — especially eating and drinking too much

The expression:  "a glutton for punishment" refers to someone who persist in some activity despite negative consequences (as though loving the punishment)

The expression: "a glutton for whatever" refers to people who like whatever a lot — such that "a glutton for sunshine" loves sunshine.
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
initiate   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
initiate discussions
On my weekly visits to Dr. Robertson, I never felt forced to talk about anything, but soon found myself initiating the conversation about my past.
initiating = starting
DefinitionGenerally this sense of initiate means:
to cause (something) to begin
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
initiate into the fraternity
The boys and I forgive your weakness, but you still have to be initiated into our group.
initiated = accepted as a member through special procedures
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
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
negative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
had a negative effect
For a split second something didn't feel right. I thought of aborting. Negative, I told myself a second later.†
negative = no
DefinitionGenerally this sense of negative means:
bad or harmful
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
prejudice
5 uses
"You going to be all right? You're not prejudiced, are you?"
  I shook my head as my mouth hung open. ... I had never had black foster parents before.
prejudiced = having unreasonable beliefs or feelings based on race (in this case against a race, but this book also discusses such feeling held against foster children)
DefinitionGenerally prejudice means:
to have unreasonable belief that is unfair to members of a race, religion, or other group

or more generally:

to have (or create in others) an unreasonable belief that prevents objective (unbiased) consideration of an issue or situation
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
probation
8 uses
I stayed at juvenile hall for a few weeks until my new probation officer, Mrs. O'Ryan, placed me with John and Linda Walsh, a young couple in their 20s who had three kids.
probation officer = a person who monitors a criminal who does not have to be in prison as long as they demonstrate good behavior and obey special restrictions
DefinitionGenerally probation means:
a period of testing (especially of person)
in various senses, including:
  • a period during which a criminal does not have to be in prison as long as they demonstrate good behavior and obey special restrictions
  • a period during which a new employee is tried out on the job and during which the employee does not have all the privileges of a regular employee
  • a period during which a student's grades or behavior must improve to prevent being kicked out of school
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
putrid
1 use
She was so close I caught a whiff of her putrid body odor.
putrid = disgusting
DefinitionGenerally putrid means:
rotting (an advanced state of decomposition) with a foul odor; or anything that is disgusting
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
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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