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Death and the King's Horseman

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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abominable
3 uses
Hear him Mutter spells to ward off penalties For an abomination he did not intend.†
abomination = something that is exceptionally bad or detestable

(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 abominable means:
exceptionally bad or detestable
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
abyss
2 uses
I needed you as the abyss across which my body must be drawn, I filled it with earth and dropped my seed in it at the moment of preparedness for my crossing.†
abyss = a hole or dropoff so deep the bottom cannot be seen — often used figuratively to imply a frightening bottomless pit
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
betrothed
2 uses
WOMAN But she is betrothed to your own son.†
betrothed = promised to marry; or the person who has promised to marry
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
blasphemy
3 uses
No. I mean, is there no mourning in the home of the bereaved that such blasphemy is permitted?†
blasphemy = disrespectful of something considered sacred
DefinitionGenerally blasphemy means:
something said or done that is disrespectful of something considered sacred — especially God or religion
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
calamity
2 uses
I can tell you it would have been a terrible calamity if you'd succeeded.†
calamity = a disastrous event; or the distress resulting from it
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
contradict
1 use
PILKINGS I wish to ask you to search the quiet of your heart and tell me—do you not find great contradictions in the wisdom of your own race?†
contradictions = things that disagree with themselves; or (more rarely) acts of disagreeing

(editor's note:  The suffix "-tions", converts a verb into a plural noun that denotes results of the verb. Typically, there is a slight change in the ending of the root verb, as in actions, illustrations, and observations.)
DefinitionGenerally contradict means:
disagree
in various senses, including:
  • to say something is not true — as in "She contradicted his testimony."
  • to say something else is true when both can't be true — as in "I don't believe her. She contradicted herself as she told us what happened."
  • to be in conflict with — as in "Her assertions contradict accepted scientific principles."
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
desecrate
2 uses
OLUNDE [mildly] And that is the good cause for which you desecrate an ancestral mask?†
desecrate = violate the sacred nature of something
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
dubious
1 use
PILKINGS [dubiously] I'll have to see what it is.†
dubiously = doubtfully or suspiciously
DefinitionGenerally dubious means:
doubtful
in various senses, including:
  • doubtful that something should be relied upon — as in "The argument relies on a dubious assumption."
  • doubtful that something is morally proper — as in "The company is accused of using dubious sales practices to influence minors."
  • bad or of questionable value — as in "The state has the dubious distinction of the highest taxes."
  • doubtful or uncertain — as in "She is dubious about making the change."
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
factor
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
It was the deciding factor.
Perhaps there were other factors involved.†
factors = things that affect a result or outcome
DefinitionGenerally this sense of factor means:
something that affects a result or outcome
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
heed
2 uses
It is those who stand at the gateway of the great change to whose cry we must pay heed.†
heed = pay close attention to; or do what is suggested
DefinitionGenerally heed means:
pay close attention to; or to do what is suggested — especially with regard to a warning or other advice
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
however   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
However, complications may...
However, it doesn't really interest me.†
however = a word used to connect contrasting ideas as when using though, in spite of that, in contrast, nevertheless, etc.
DefinitionGenerally this sense of however means:
though (or another expression that connects contrasting ideas)

(Based on idea 1 we might not expect idea 2, but this is a way of saying that even though idea 1 exists, we still have idea 2.  Synonyms include in spite of that, , nevertheless, nonetheless, on the other hand, in contrastand but.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library61 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
However much she tried...
In a night which falls before our eyes
However deep, we do not miss our way.†
however = regardless of how
DefinitionGenerally this sense of however means:
to whatever degree (regardless of how much; or whatever unspecified amount)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
innovate
1 use
The PRINCE is quite fascinated by their costume and they demonstrate the adaptations they have made to it, pulling down the mask to demonstrate how the egungun normally appears, then showing the various press-button controls they have innovated for the face flaps, the sleeves, etc. They demonstrate the dance steps and the guttural sounds made by the egungun, harass other dancers in the hall, MRS PILKINGS playing the 'restrainer' to PILKINGS' manic darts.†
innovated = bring something new to an environment
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
plausible
1 use
I ought to get back to His Highness as quickly as possible and offer him some plausible explanation for my rather abrupt conduct.†
plausible = apparently reasonable, but unproven
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
precede
3 uses
JANE It isn't my preaching you have to worry about, it's the preaching of the missionaries who preceded you here.†
preceded = went or was before
DefinitionGenerally precede means:
to go or do before
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
recollect
1 use
As she recollects for the first time the full significance of OLUNDE'S presence.†
recollects = remembers
DefinitionGenerally recollect means:
to remember — especially experiences from long ago
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
scorn
1 use
ELESIN I more than deserve your scorn.†
scorn = disrespect or reject as not good enough
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
shirk
2 uses
PRAISE-SINGER The gourd you bear is not for shirking.†
shirking = avoiding
DefinitionGenerally shirk means:
to avoid something — such as a duty or responsibility
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
tact
1 use
I don't know where you pick up all these elephantine notions of tact.†
tact = the ability or act of saying or handling things in such a way that others feel good about them
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
venerate
2 uses
I saw, I touched, I wooed, rarely was the answer No. The honour of my place, the veneration I Received in the eye of man or woman Prospered my suit and Played havoc with my sleeping hours.†
veneration = feelings of respect and reverence

(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 venerate means:
regard with feelings of respect and reverence
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 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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