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Running in the Family
Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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alternative
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
an alternative plan
Have seen the outline of a large fish caught and thrown in the curl of a wave, been where nobody wears socks, where you wash your feet before you go to bed, where I watch my sister who alternatively reminds me of my father, mother and brother.†
alternatively = as another possibility
DefinitionGenerally this sense of alternative means:
something available as another possibility
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAll, p.69.52
Web Links
anecdote
1 use
In the heart of this 250-year-old fort we will trade anecdotes and faint memories, trying to swell them with the order of dates and asides, interlocking them all as if assembling the hull of a ship.†
anecdotes = short, true stories
DefinitionGenerally anecdote means:
a short story that is true — often told for amusement or to make a point
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAll, p.26.44
Web Links
appalling
4 uses
Lalla's son Noel was most appalled by her.†
appalled = shocked by how terrible or horrible something is
DefinitionGenerally appalling means:
shockingly terrible or horrible
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.124.66
Web Links
cerebral
1 use
But death was due to a cerebral haemorrhage.†
cerebral = relating to the brain
DefinitionGenerally cerebral means:
relating to the brain — especially the cerebrum (front of the brain)

or:

involving careful thinking rather than emotions or instinct
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.196.48
Web Links
complacent
1 use
I can see their mouths open to catch drops of water on their tongues, washing their hooves, standing complacently under the drain spout, and then moving in Pears fragrance to a dinner of Manikappolu garbage.†
complacently = with satisfaction or contentment (unworried and satisfied)
DefinitionGenerally complacent means:
contented (unworried and satisfied) — often to a fault
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAll, p.143.82
Web Links
compulsive
2 uses
In India only the aristocracy gambled; in Ceylon the bankers and lime-burners and fishmongers and the leisured class would spend their afternoons, shoulder to shoulder, betting compulsively.†
compulsively = done excessively due to an uncontrollable desire
DefinitionGenerally compulsive means:
describing something someone does as done too much because of an uncontrollable desire — such as excessive gambling or eating
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.48.38
Web Links
context
1 use
Individuals are seen only in the context of these swirling social tides.†
context = the setting or situation in which something occurs
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAll, p.54.42
Web Links
deterrent
1 use
The only deterrent my father discovered was ping-pong balls.†
deterrent = something that discourages something not wanted
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.98.32
Web Links
Dutch
9 uses
When the Dutch first built this house egg white was used to paint the walls.†
Dutch = the people of the Netherlands (including Holland); or relating to them (including the name of their language)
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.24.28
Web Links
focus   (2 meanings)
2 meanings, 2 uses
1  —1 use as in:
Turn your focus to question #2.
I can only clarify this range in him by focussing on this metamorphosis.†
focussing = concentrating
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
Book1 use
Library54 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAll, p.198.79
Web Links
2  —1 use as in:
The focus of our study is...
Both widows became the focus of the attention of numerous bored husbands.†
focus = where attention is concentrated
DefinitionGenerally this sense of focus means:
where attention is concentrated or directed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAll, p.115.43
Web Links
foliage
3 uses
Here are majestic palms with their towering stems and graceful foliage, the shoe flower, the eatable passion flower.†
foliage = plant leaves
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.82.7
Web Links
indigenous
1 use
The journals delight in the beauty and the poisons, he invents "paper" out of indigenous vegetables, he tests local medicines and poisons on dogs and rats.†
indigenous = of local origin
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.82.49
Web Links
minuteness
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
minute size; or minute description
What images of family life they consumed in their minute jaws and took into their bodies no thicker than the pages they ate.†
minute = small, detailed, or careful
DefinitionGenerally this sense of minuteness means:
very small

or:

detailed (including even small considerations); or careful (done with care)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.136.11
Web Links
notorious
7 uses
Later the three of us moved to the dining room while my Aunt plucked notorious incidents from her brain.†
notorious = well known for something bad
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.25.56
Web Links
novel
1 use
Apart from Knox, and later Leonard Woolf in his novel, A Village in the Jungle, very few foreigners truly knew where they were.†
novel = new and original
DefinitionGenerally this sense of novel means:
new and original — typically something considered good
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAll, p.83.12
Web Links
oblivious
3 uses
For two days and nights they had been oblivious to the amount of destruction outside their home.†
oblivious = unaware of
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.60.33
Web Links
pragmatic
1 use
He welcomed the thorn bush, experimented with gnarled Japanese fig trees, retreated to pragmatic vegetables or spears of the succulent.†
pragmatic = concerned with practical matters
DefinitionGenerally pragmatic means:
concerned with practical matters — especially where quick results and/or practical experience triumph over theory
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useAll, p.145.73
Web Links
theorize
1 use
The behaviour of certain creatures he could theorize on for hours with V. C. de Silva.†
theorize = to form a theory (a belief about how something works or came about — often without having absolute proof)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.200.77
Web Links
vary
1 use
...vats.
Down here the light
storms through branches
and boils the street.
Villagers stand in the shadow and drink
the fluid from a coned leaf.
He works fast to reach his quota
before the maniac monsoon.
The shape of knife and pot
do not vary from r8th Century museum prints.
In the village,
a woman shuffles rice in a cane mat.
Grit and husk separate
are thrown to the sun.
From his darkness among high flowers
to this room contained by mud walls
everything that is important...†
vary = differ; or change
DefinitionGenerally vary means:
to be different, or to change
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAll, p.88.57
Web Links
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