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A Walk Across America

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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amble
3 uses
Before ambling away like a four-hundred-pound fat lady to a warm bath, the unconcerned porcupine made a final swipe at Cooper with its lethal tail and just missed both of us.†
ambling = walking leisurely
DefinitionGenerally amble means:
to walk leisurely or slowly
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
apprehensive
1 use
I was both excited and apprehensive.†
apprehensive = nervous or worried
DefinitionGenerally apprehensive means:
worried over possible misfortune
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 14
Web Links
cultivate
1 use
There was always work to do, whether it was cultivating, plowing, breaking in new crop land, or tilling the spring-thawed garden.†
cultivating = developing, growing, or preparing to grow crops
DefinitionGenerally cultivate means:
enhance growth or development
in various senses, including:
  • to grow crops or prepare land for them
  • enhance a relationship — especially for a purpose
  • develop discernment (better recognition of differences) in taste or judgment
  • to grow a culture in a petri dish
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 26
Web Links
erratic
1 use
His rap became a structureless, erratic mass of thoughts and ideas.†
erratic = irregular or unpredictable
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
fluctuate
1 use
25M stood for twenty-five miles walked, 05-20F meant that the bone-brittle temperature fluctuated between 5 and 20 degrees.†
fluctuated = alternately increased and decreased in quantity
DefinitionGenerally fluctuate means:
to alternately increase and decrease in quantity
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
foal
2 uses
He was like a newborn foal shadowing his mother, and like a mama horse and her foal they loved to be together.†
foal = a young horse; or giving birth to a young horse
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 26
Web Links
hippie
11 uses
Those of us who had long hair or a beard were labeled hippies, scum, and the pits.†
hippies = members of the 1960's counterculture associated with long hair, illegal drugs, casual sex, and opposition to violence.
DefinitionGenerally hippie means:
member of the counterculture that first became prevalent in the early 1960's in San Francisco — associated with long hair, illegal drugs, casual sex, and opposition to violence.
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
indifferent
1 use
With my hands on my hips, I looked down at his indifferent face.†
indifferent = without interest
DefinitionGenerally indifferent means:
without interest
in various senses, including:
  • unconcerned — as in "She is indifferent to what is served to eat."
  • unsympathetic — as in "She is indifferent to his needs."
  • not of good quality (which may imply average or poor quality depending upon context) — as in "an indifferent performance"
  • impartial — as in "We need a judge who is indifferent."
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
inhibit
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
she is shy and inhibited
Even this didn't dampen our uninhibited joy.†
uninhibited = acting naturally without being overly self-conscious

(Editor's note:  The prefix "un-" in uninhibited means not and reverses the meaning of inhibited. This is the same pattern you see in words like unhappy, unknown, and unlucky.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of inhibited means:
unable to act naturally due to being overly self-conscious
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 21
Web Links
integral
1 use
As with all things on the Farm, delivering babies was an integral part of their religion, since every baby was considered the Christ Child and was born perfect.†
integral = an essential part or characteristic
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
meander
3 uses
Most of the time, Homer ate before the sun's rays hit these mountaintops, but he waited until I got up at 6 A.M. As I cooked our "coat-hanger special" meat, Homer meandered over to me and sat on his stump.†
meandered = moved slowly in a winding or indefinite direction
DefinitionGenerally meander means:
to move slowly in a winding or indefinite direction — (often said of a river, or path, or conversation)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
migrate
3 uses
Bulleting over my head while I lay flat on my back on the hard rock, flocks of falcons and migrating hawks, maybe in the thousands, passed by.†
migrating = moving from one place to another
DefinitionGenerally migrate means:
move from one place to another — sometimes seasonally
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
paralysis
3 uses
All the trembling and most paralyzing movie scenes I had ever watched came back to my memory with the impact of a thousand sonic booms.†
paralyzing = making unable to move or make a decision
DefinitionGenerally paralysis means:
loss of the ability to move the body or a part of it

or:

inability to act or make a decision
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
positive
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
had a positive effect
Many Farm folk and children were gathered around the dentist, who was checking to find out if marijuana had any positive effect on teeth.†
positive = good or beneficial
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 22
Web Links
proportion
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
respond in proportion
With one swift slice, he cut two evenly proportioned lamb chops.†
proportioned = made appropriate in size, amount, or degree
DefinitionGenerally this sense of proportion means:
appropriate in size, amount, or degree
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
repentance
8 uses
Most of what he said about knowing God, repenting and salvation, I didn't clearly understand.†
repenting = expressing regret for having done something wrong
DefinitionGenerally repentance means:
the feeling or expression of regret for having done something wrong with a firm decision to be a better person in the future
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 28
Web Links
replenish
1 use
Everywhere I looked on the Farm, I saw pregnant young women and learned that to multiply and replenish was a part of their credo.†
replenish = replace what was used up; or restore to a previous condition
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 20
Web Links
scrutiny
1 use
Mary Elizabeth strutted to the door and scrutinized Cooper.†
scrutinized = looked at very carefully

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ive" converts a word to a verb. This is the same pattern you see in words like apologize, theorize, and dramatize.)
DefinitionGenerally scrutiny means:
careful examination of something
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 13
Web Links
seminary
18 uses
The last thing I wanted to happen to me was to get serious with some seminarian.†
seminarian = a school for training ministers, priests, or rabbis
Word Statistics
Book18 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 30
Web Links
vary
2 uses
The only decent building on the place was surrounded by tire ruts and pickup trucks in varying states of repair.†
varying = differing; or changing
DefinitionGenerally vary means:
to be different, or to change
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 14
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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