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Running in the Family

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

instructions
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
From page 69.5  Typical Usage
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.69.5
Web Links
appalling
4 uses
Lalla's son Noel was most appalled by her.†
appalled = shocked by how terrible or horrible something is
From page 124.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally appalling means:
shockingly terrible or horrible
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.124.7
Web Links
coincide
3 uses
As this coincided with the RoyalThomian cricket match, we would collect them and throw them into the stands full of Royal students.†
coincided = to be similar — especially to happen at the same time or place
From page 74.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAll, p.59.9
Web Links
communal
3 uses
A communal protest this time, the first of my socialist tendencies.†
communal = related to a group rather than individuals
From page 84  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.84
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)
From page 143.8  Typical Usage
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.143.8
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
From page 54.4  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAll, p.54.4
Web Links
demure
4 uses
Why did she not tell me the story—this demure woman in a sari who was once "bath prefect" at Bishop's College Girl's School, who officiated over the cleansing of my lean five-year-old nakedness?†
demure = modest, quiet, and shy; or pretending such in a playful way
From page 139.4  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useAll, p.139.4
Web Links
dowry
1 use
The sister also had a dowry of thirty thousand rupees, and both Lalla and Vere were short of money at the time, for both enjoyed expensive drinking sessions.
dowry = money or property given by a woman's family to the husband at marriage
From page 120.1  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally dowry means:
in some societies, money or property given by a woman's family to the husband at marriage

or less formally: money or property a bride brings to a marriage
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.120.1
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)
From page 24.3  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book9 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.24.3
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
From page 198.8  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
Book1 use
Library75 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAll, p.198.8
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
From page 115.4  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of focus means:
where attention is concentrated or directed
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAll, p.115.4
Web Links
gullible
2 uses
He loved our gullibility, our innocence, and his tricks on us would last for years.†
gullibility = the trait of being easily tricked because of being too trusting
From page 193.6  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally gullible means:
easily tricked because of being too trusting
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.193.6
Web Links
minute
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
minute size
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
From page 136.1  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of minute means:
small, exceptionally small, or insignificant
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.136.1
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
From page 25.6  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.25.6
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
From page 127.6  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.60.3
Web Links
parody
2 uses
A parody of the ruling language.†
parody = a funny imitation of somebody's style
From page 64.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally parody means:
imitation of somebody's style in a humorous way

or:

a very poor imitation of somebody's style
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.64.9
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
From page 145.7  Typical Usage
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 500
1st useAll, p.145.7
Web Links
scorn
1 use
If the subject was something as innocent as flowers, then Dr. William Charles Ondaatje, who was the Ceylonese Director of the Botanical Gardens, would throw scorn on any opinion and put the others in their place.†
scorn = disrespect or reject as not good enough
From page 67.6  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useAll, p.67.6
Web Links
serene
5 uses
The men leaned their chins against the serene necks of the women, danced a waltz or two, slid oysters into their partner's mouths.†
serene = calm and untroubled
From page 51.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useAll, p.154.8
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
From page 88.6  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally vary means:
to be different, or to change
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useAll, p.88.6
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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