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Politics and the English Language

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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Achilles
2 uses
ACHILLES' HEEL†
Achilles = mythical Greek hero of the Iliad; central character and foremost Greek warrior at the siege of Troy
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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bourgeois
3 uses
Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: CLASS, TOTALITARIAN, SCIENCE, PROGRESSIVE, REACTIONARY BOURGEOIS, EQUALITY.†
bourgeois = typical of the middle class or their values and habits
DefinitionGenerally bourgeois means:
typical of the middle class or their values and habits - typically used disapprovingly

or (in Marxist theory):

typical of the property-owning class
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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catholic
1 use
Comfort's catholicity of perception and image ... continues to evoke that trembling atmospheric accumulative hinting at a cruel, an inexorably serene timelessness...
catholicity = including a wide variety
DefinitionGenerally this sense of catholic means:
universal or inclusive of a wide range of people or interests
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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consequence
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
a direct consequence of
It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of régime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning.†
consequently = resultantly (as a result)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of consequence means:
a result of something (often an undesired side effect)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library28 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
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democracy
3 uses
In the case of a word like DEMOCRACY, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides.†
democracy = a system of government in which citizens have power with equal votes
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
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equivalent
1 use
(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.†
equivalent = being equal or essentially equal
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
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evoke
3 uses
But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves.†
evocative = bringing strong feelings or memories to mind

(editor's note:  The suffix "-ive" converts a word into an adjective; though over time, what was originally an adjective often comes to be used as a noun. The adjective pattern means tending to and is seen in words like attractive, impressive, and supportive. Examples of the noun include narrative, alternative, and detective.)
DefinitionGenerally evoke means:
to call forth or cause — typically to arouse an emotion or bring a memory to mind
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
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indefinitely
2 uses
But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely.†
indefinitely = for an unspecified, but long period of time; or forever
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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metaphor
11 uses
I list below, with notes and examples, various of the tricks by means of which the work of prose-construction is habitually dodged: DYING METAPHORS.†
metaphors = figures of speech in which a similarity between two things is highlighted
DefinitionGenerally metaphor means:
a figure of speech in which a similarity between two things is highlighted by using a word to refer to something that it does not literally denote — as when Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage."

When Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players." he was not saying the world is really a stage and all people are actors. But he was pointing to the similarities he wants us to recognize.
Word Statistics
Book11 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
objective
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an objective viewpoint
Words like PHENOMENON, ELEMENT, INDIVIDUAL (as noun), OBJECTIVE, CATEGORICAL, EFFECTIVE, VIRTUAL, BASIS, PRIMARY, PROMOTE, CONSTITUTE, EXHIBIT, EXPLOIT, UTILIZE, ELIMINATE, LIQUIDATE, are used to dress up simple statements and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgments.
objective = fact-based and not influenced by personal feelings or preferences
DefinitionGenerally this sense of objective means:
fact-based without the influence of personal feelings or preferences
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
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obsolete
1 use
] To begin with, it has nothing to do with archaism, with the salvaging of obsolete words and turns of speech, or with the setting-up of a "standard-English" which must never be departed from.†
obsolete = no longer in general use because it was replaced by something better
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
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persecution
1 use
Statements like MARSHAL PÉTAIN WAS A TRUE PATRIOT, THE SOVIET PRESS IS THE FREEST IN THE WORLD, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS OPPOSED TO PERSECUTION, are almost always made with intent to deceive.†
persecution = very bad and unfair treatment
DefinitionGenerally persecution means:
very bad and unfair treatment of others — usually because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or political beliefs
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
Web Links
perversion
2 uses
] Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to.†
perversions = things that have been converted so they are not what they should be
DefinitionGenerally perversion means:
the conversion of something so it is not what it should be — especially a sexual practice considered unacceptable by society
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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phenomenon
3 uses
This had to be so, because no modern writer of the kind I am discussing–no one capable of using phrases like "objective consideration of contemporary phenomena"–would ever tabulate his thoughts in that precise and detailed way.†
phenomena = things that exists or happened — often of special interest
DefinitionGenerally phenomenon means:
something that exists or happened — especially something of special interest — sometimes someone or something that is extraordinary
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
Web Links
rectify
1 use
Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called TRANSFER OF POPULATION or RECTIFICATION OF FRONTIERS.
rectification = correction

(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 rectify means:
correct, fix, or make right
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
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scrupulous
1 use
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say?†
scrupulous = careful to behave ethically and/or diligently
DefinitionGenerally scrupulous means:
careful to behave ethically and/or diligently (with great care and attention to detail)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
Web Links
socialism
2 uses
The words DEMOCRACY, SOCIALISM, FREEDOM, PATRIOTIC, REALISTIC, JUSTICE, have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another.†
socialism = an economic system based on government ownership or control of all important companies — with the ideal of equal benefits to all people
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
solidarity
1 use
People who write in this manner usually have a general emotional meaning–they dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another–but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying.†
solidarity = a state of agreement and support — especially for political action
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
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specimen
2 uses
Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written.†
specimens = a sample regarded as typical of its class; or a bit of tissue, blood, or urine that is taken for diagnostic purposes
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
Web Links
tyranny
1 use
When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases–BESTIAL ATROCITIES, IRON HEEL, BLOODSTAINED TYRANNY, FREE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD, STAND SHOULDER TO SHOULDER–one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker's spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them.†
tyranny = harsh and unjust rule
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
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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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