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And The Mountains Echoed

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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ascetic
1 use
He wasn't accustomed to being talked back to, certainly not by women. ... I had turned bold and adventurous, and he even more ascetic and emotionally austere. We had become natural opponents.
ascetic = self-denying of comfort
DefinitionGenerally ascetic means:
someone who practices self-denial (often to encourage spiritual growth); or relating to such self-denial

or:

severely plain (without decoration)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
candid
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
your candid opinion
"He has no sense of fun or adventure," she said, listlessly stirring her coffee. "Suleiman is a brooding old man trapped in a younger man's body."
I was a little startled by her offhand candor. "It is true that Mr. Wandati is uniquely comfortable with solitude," I said, opting for cautious diplomacy.
candor = honesty and directness
DefinitionGenerally this sense of candid means:
honest and direct
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
cholesterol
2 uses
I worried it was going to raise his cholesterol, eating all those eggs, and I asked Dr. Bashiri during one of Baba's appointments.
cholesterol = a substance found in animal fat that when eaten or produced in large quantities increases the probability of getting heart disease
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
contrast   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
contrast their writing styles
His jeans were stiff with dirt, and they were too short besides. By contrast, his T-shirt hung almost to his knees.
by contrast = in a comparison that shows 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 7
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
there is a contrast
She wears a bright yellow coat, buttoned to the throat, which contrasts with the dark gray overcast sky above.
contrasts = differs notably (in brightness or tone)
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 6
Web Links
descend
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
thieves descended upon us
Soon, winter would descend on Shadbagh, winter and its icicles and weeklong snowdrifts and winds that cracked the skin on the back of hands in a minute flat.†
descend = come
DefinitionGenerally this sense of descend means:
to come or arrive — especially suddenly or from above or as an attack
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
direct   (5 meanings)
5 meanings, 15 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
directly above; or buy direct from
He has an unnerving way of looking at people these days, even when he is staring directly at them, that gives nothing away.†
directly = straight (exactly where stated; used for emphasis)
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
Book4 uses
Library62 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
2  —3 uses as in:
was direct in my instructions
She spoke in a way that left no room for retort, steamrolling over me with the truth, told right at the outset, plainly, directly.†
directly = in a straightforward manner (open and honest even if it makes someone uncomfortable)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
straightforward (uncomplicated or simple — perhaps also indicating openness and honesty)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
3  —1 use as in:
directed her question to
She tries to direct her thoughts to Saboor once more and instead finds her mind drifting to the rumor she has heard around the village: that he is looking for a new wife.†
direct = focus
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 3
Web Links
4  —1 use as in:
directed the jury to...
On the way home, we paused often for good-humored exchanges with magazine vendors and butchers, a few cheerful words with the young policemen directing traffic.†
directing = giving directions to
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 4
Web Links
5  —6 uses as in:
directed the movie
But, frankly, I doubt the board of directors would approve it, Idris.†
board of directors = members of a board that oversees the affairs of a corporation or other institution
DefinitionGenerally this sense of direct means:
supervise, control, or to be in charge of
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library29 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
disdain
2 uses
This is an old habit, this joke making and clowning in the face of bad luck, this disdain of hers for the slightest show of self-pity.
disdain = a lack of respect
DefinitionGenerally disdain means:
a lack of respect — often suggesting distaste and an undeserved sense of superiority

or:

to reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
dissent
1 use
Should I utter so much as a word of dissent, I am confident they would label me a communist anarchist, and then even Andreas's influence would not save me from the dungeons.
dissent = disagreement
DefinitionGenerally dissent means:
to disagree; or disagreement or conflict — typically between people who cooperate, and often with official or majority beliefs
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8
Web Links
doleful
1 use
She would stay in bed, wearing an old winter coat over her pajamas, a weary, doleful, unsmiling presence in the apartment.
doleful = full of sadness
DefinitionGenerally doleful means:
expressing or causing sadness
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
explicit
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
explicit instructions
The boy hadn't explicitly addressed his note to either one of them, but Masooma had casually assumed that he'd intended the poem for her and the cousin for Parwana.†
explicitly = clearly and specifically
DefinitionGenerally this sense of explicit means:
clear and with enough detail so there is no confusion
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
guile
3 uses
...something of her had passed to Pari. Something of her cheerful devotion, her guilelessness, her unabashed hopefulness.
guilelessness = innocence or openness (lack of deceit or shrewdness)

(Editor's note:  The suffix "-lessness" in guilelessness means in a state without. This is the same pattern you see in words like fearlessness, powerlessness, and harmlessness.)
DefinitionGenerally guile means:
cunning (shrewdness and cleverness) and deceitful
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
illustrate   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
as illustrated by this example
The case will be used next week for Peer Review, a monthly video conference watched by all the facilities during which mistakes by physicians, who remain anonymous, are used to illustrate learning points.†
illustrate = help make clear
DefinitionGenerally this sense of illustrate means:
to help make clear — typically by example
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
an illustrated children's book
The way her hand bent at its slender wrist reminded me of an illustration I had once seen in a glossy book of poems of a long-lashed woman with flowing dark hair lying with her lover in a garden, offering him a cup of wine with her pale delicate fingers.†
illustration = picture

(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 this sense of illustrate means:
to draw pictures (or provide photographs) to accompany a book or other writing
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
indolent
2 uses
When she smokes, Masooma's face slackens. Her lids droop. Her head tilts unsteadily to the side and her voice takes on a sluggish, distant quality. A whisper of a smile forms on the corners of her mouth, whimsical, indolent, complacent rather than content.
indolent = lazy

(editor's note: In this context, complacent means "contented to a fault".)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of indolent means:
lazy; disinclined to work
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
Kabul
133 uses
Kabul is an island, really. Some say it's progressive, and that may be true. It's true enough, I suppose, but it's also out of touch with the rest of this country.
Kabul = the capital and largest city of Afghanistan; located in eastern Afghanistan
Word Statistics
Book133 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
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