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Oryx and Crake

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
context
3 uses
When dealing with indigenous peoples ... you must attempt to respect their traditions and confine your explanations to simple concepts that can be understood within the contexts of their belief systems.
contexts = settings or situations
From page 97.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally context means:
the setting or situation in which something occurs
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5, p.97.7
Web Links
contingent   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 3 uses
1  —1 use as in:
the Canadian contingent
But the rest of the team, he said — the MaddAddamite contingent — was confined to base for the duration.
contingent = group
From page 304.2  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contingent means:
a sub-group united by something in common
in various senses, including:
  • a squad of soldiers sent to do a job
  • members of an association at a convention of many associations
  • all the women at a meeting with women and men
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 12, p.304.2
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
contingent upon
Kids came and went, desks filled and emptied, friendship was always contingent.†
contingent = determined by conditions or circumstances not yet established
From page 71.4  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4, p.71.4
Web Links
defunct
6 uses
Jimmy's [codename] was Thickney, after a defunct Australian double-jointed bird that used to hang around in cemeteries, and...
defunct = having ceased to exist
From page 81.6  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally defunct means:
no longer in force; or having ceased to exist or live
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 2, p.23.9
Web Links
elaborate   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 4 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
elaborate on your plan
Already he was rehearsing his exit lines: I'm not what you need, you deserve better, I'll ruin your life, and so forth. But it was best to work up to these things, so he elaborated on his new job.
elaborated = explained in more detail
From page 246.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elaborate means:
add details or explain in detail
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 14, p.358.9
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
an elaborate design
It might be an elaborate setup, an invention of Crake's, a practical joke to frighten him.
elaborate = having much detail and complexity
From page 217  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elaborate means:
having details and complexity — sometimes fancy or ornate
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 8, p.217
Web Links
factor
5 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
It was the deciding factor.
Crake explained about the rapid-growth factors he'd incorporated.
factors = things that affect a result or outcome
From page 303.2  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of factor means:
something that affects a result or outcome
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 12, p.303.2
Web Links
focus
5 uses
1  —5 uses as in:
Turn your focus to question #2.
We're supposed to be focusing on our work.
focusing = concentrating
From page 207.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of focus means:
verb: to concentrate, look at, or pay attention to

noun: the act of concentration, or the ability to concentrate

(to concentrate is to direct attention or effort towards a single thing)
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library57 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4, p.72.1
Web Links
however
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
However much she tried...
Crake, King of the Crakery, because Crake is still there, still in possession, still the ruler of his own domain, however dark that bubble of light has now become.†
however = regardless of how
From page 333.9  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of however means:
to whatever degree (regardless of how much; or whatever unspecified amount)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 13, p.333.9
Web Links
hypothesis   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 7 uses
1  —1 use as in:
a study to test her hypothesis
Hypothesis, demonstration, conclusion, if A then not B.
hypothesis = an idea to be tested
From page 218.7  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of hypothesis means:
a seemingly reasonable, but unproven idea or explanation based upon known facts
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 8, p.218.7
Web Links
2  —6 uses as in:
assume as a working hypothesis
Hypothetical scenarios were a favourite thing of Crake's.
hypothetical = temporarily treating something as true to advance discussion
From page 210.2  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of hypothesis means:
something that may or may not be true, but is temporarily treated as true to advance a discussion or to further investigation
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8, p.207
Web Links
irony
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
verbal irony
"So, you got a girlfriend?" ... "I mean, there's quite an array of babes to choose from." He meant this to be ironic. He couldn't picture ... Crake with one of them....
ironic = saying one thing while meaning the opposite
From page 207.2  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of irony means:
saying one thing, while meaning the opposite or something else — usually as humor or sarcasm
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8, p.207.2
Web Links
obsolete
5 uses
Then he'd stay up too late, and once in bed he'd stare at the ceiling, telling over his lists of obsolete words for the comfort that was in them.†
obsolete = no longer in general use because it was replaced by something better
From page 261.1  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1, p.4.9
Web Links
positive   (3 meanings)
3 meanings, 9 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
had a positive effect
Oh Jimmy, this is so positive.†
positive = good or beneficial
From page 308.2  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 8, p.190.2
Web Links
2  —2 uses as in:
positive feedback from my boss
She must have had some sort of positive emotion about him though.†
positive = indicating approval or agreement
From page 61.5  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of positive means:
approval or agreement
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4, p.61.5
Web Links
3  —5 uses as in:
a positive attitude
Cheer up! Look on the bright side! You've got to think positive!
positive = optimistically
From page 169.8  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of positive means:
optimistic (expecting or focusing good things); or agreeable
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4, p.56.7
Web Links
relevant
1 use
Can a single ant be said to be alive, in any meaningful sense of the word, or does it only have relevance in terms of its anthill?
relevance = importance
From page 371.8  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally relevant means:
relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 15, p.371.8
Web Links
revise
10 uses
Crake was his best friend. Revision: his only friend.
revision = changed version

(editor's note:  The suffix "-sion", 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 admission from admit, discussion from discuss, and invasion from invade.)
From page 310.8  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally revise means:
to change (and hopefully improve) — most frequently to improve a written document, but it can be any intentional change such as a change in an estimated amount, a plan, or a series of procedures
Word Statistics
Book10 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 10
1st useChapter 1, p.6.3
Web Links
simulate
5 uses
The night-sky simulation was on, the faux moon was shining, the Crakers — as far as he could tell — were peacefully asleep.†
simulation = something that is not real, but is made to imitate or behave like something that is

(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.)
From page 326.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally simulate means:
make an imitation or representation of
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 4, p.83.7
Web Links
tone
7 uses
He wasn't including himself in this question: his tone was one of detached but not very strong interest, as if he were conducting a survey of people's less attractive personal habits, such as nose-picking.
tone = general feeling expressed
From page 167.4  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of tone means:
the general feeling, mood, or attitude of something — especially of something said or written
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 1, p.7.4
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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