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Oryx and Crake

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
cache
8 uses
1  —8 uses as in:
cache of arms
What's in the cache, foodwise?
cache = things of value stored in a hidden place
From page 149  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of cache means:
a storage space — often hidden to hold valuables, provisions or weapons; or the storing of things
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 1, p.4.3
Web Links
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
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5, p.97.7
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no longer in force; or having ceased to exist or live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
dissertation
3 uses
What had impressed them, said the interviewers — there were two of them, a woman and a man — was his senior dissertation on self-help books of the twentieth century.
dissertation = a scholarly paper required for an academic degree
From page 245.8  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally dissertation means:
a lengthy academic paper — especially a scholarly work required for an advanced academic degree
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8, p.196.3
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
Library7 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
Library7 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
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 12, p.303.2
Web Links
ferret out
1 use
For the same reason he'd taken to spending hours in the more obscure regions of the library stacks, ferreting out arcane lore.
ferreting out = searching for and discovering through persistent investigation
From page 195.1  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally ferret out means:
search for and discover through persistent investigation
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8, p.195.1
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
Library75 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4, p.72.1
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
Library2 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
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8, p.207
Web Links
immune
8 uses
He might be immune from the virus — unless, of course, Crake had been lying to him — but not from the rage and despair of its carriers.
immune = not in danger of suffering
From page 345.8  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally immune means:
not in danger of being affected by something — especially a disease

or:

relating to disease resistance
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 12, p.304.7
Web Links
impede
2 uses
Then he limps back up to the treeline, takes off his flowered bedsheet, hangs it on a branch: he doesn't want to be impeded.
impeded = slowed or hindered
From page 372.1  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally impede means:
create difficulty so as to slow or prevent (something)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 15, p.372.1
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
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8, p.207.2
Web Links
portfolio
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
investment portfolio
Uncle Pete had a chunk of Happicuppa stock in his portfolio, and not just a little chunk.
portfolio = collection of investments
From page 180.9  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of portfolio means:
all the investments held by an individual or organization
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 8, p.180.9
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
Library6 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
theme
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
theme of the novel
Jimmy's mother said it was all artificial, it was just a theme park and you could never bring the old ways back, but Jimmy's father said why knock it?†
theme park = an amusement park with one or more basic underlying ideas — such as the Magic Kingdom
From page 27.7  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of theme means:
a basic idea that underlies what is being said or done — especially in a literary or artistic work
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 2, p.27.7
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
vaccine
9 uses
Before setting out, Crake had stuck a needle in Jimmy's arm — an all-purpose, short-term vaccine he'd cooked himself.
vaccine = a substance that stimulates the production of antibodies to protect against disease
From page 287.6  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally vaccine means:
a substance (such as weakened or dead a disease-causing microorganism) injected into a person or animal to stimulate the production of antibodies to protect against a disease
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4, p.79.8
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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