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The Mysterious Benedict Society

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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amnesia
12 uses
Hey, does your amnesia have something to do with your silly disguises?†
amnesia = loss of memory
From page 129.5  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally amnesia means:
loss of memory (partial or total)
Word Statistics
Book12 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 7, p.125.9
Web Links
bolster
2 uses
What he needed was help — some encouragement, some guidance, anything to bolster his resolve.
bolster = support or strengthen
From page 367.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 3, p.56.5
Web Links
compel
7 uses
A strange sense of duty, not to mention a powerful curiosity, compelled him to join.†
compelled = forced; or (more rarely) convinced
From page 84.1  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally compel means:
to force someone to do something

or more rarely:

to convince someone to do something
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 4, p.79.5
Web Links
contradict
2 uses
Her insolent behavior contradicts her quiz scores.†
contradicts = disagrees
From page 237.6  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally contradict means:
disagree
in various senses, including:
  • to say something is not true — as in "She contradicted his testimony."
  • to say something else is true when both can't be true — as in "I don't believe her. She contradicted herself as she told us what happened."
  • to be in conflict with — as in "Her assertions contradict accepted scientific principles."
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 18, p.241.4
Web Links
contrast
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
contrast their writing styles
At this, Constance's pudgy, rosy cheeks grew redder still, so that her wispy blond hair seemed almost white in contrast, and her pale blue eyes shone bright as stars.†
in contrast = in a comparison that shows differences
From page 92.5  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contrast means:
point to differences between; or compare to show differences
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5, p.92.5
Web Links
demonstrate
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
It demonstrates my point.
As if to demonstrate his excitement, Mr. Curtain shot backward in his wheelchair at breakneck speed, screeching to a stop beside his desk.†
demonstrate = show
From page 319  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of demonstrate means:
to show
The exact meaning of this sense of demonstrate can depend upon its context. For example:
  • "I will demonstrate how to throw a Frisbee." — show how to do something
  • "I will demonstrate how much quicker the new computer is than the old one." — show how something works
  • "Her questioned demonstrated that she was listening and thinking deeply about what was said." — showed to be true or proved
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1, p.23.7
Web Links
dismay
6 uses
The room erupted in outcries of anger and dismay.†
dismay = sadness, disappointment, or worry
From page 14.2  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally dismay means:
to feel sadness, disappointment, or worry — typically in response to something surprising
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 14, p.198.1
Web Links
dispute
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
She disputes his claim.
The very first one read: The territories of the Naxcivan Autonomous Republic and the Nagorno-Karabakh region are disputed by what two countries?†
disputed = challenged, argued about, or fought over
From page 22.1  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
challenge, argue about, or fight over
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1, p.22.1
Web Links
earnest
4 uses
"Thanks so much for everything, Miss Perumal," said Reynie, earnestly taking her hand.†
earnestly = sincerely or seriously
From page 9.3  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally earnest means:
characterized by sincere belief

or:

intensely or excessively serious
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library19 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1, p.9.3
Web Links
establish
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
establish a positive tone
Bhutan, which under the 1865 Treaty of Sinchulu ceded border land to Britain; and Britain, which in exchange for that land provided Bhutan an annual subsidy, and under whose influence Bhutan's monarchy was established in 1907.†
established = created
From page 22.3  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of establish means:
create, start, or set in [a] place
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library25 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 1, p.22.3
Web Links
exasperated
8 uses
To the great exasperation of the others, Constance demanded to know why they couldn't have candy for breakfast.†
exasperation = great annoyance

(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 94.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally exasperated means:
greatly annoyed
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5, p.94.9
Web Links
indignant
5 uses
Constance was indignant, but there was no time for a full-blown argument to develop, for just then the children's escorts arrived.†
indignant = angered or annoyed at something unjust or wrong
From page 153.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 11, p.166.3
Web Links
irony
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
situational irony
The bitter irony wasn't lost on Kate: The moment she finally admitted to herself she needed help, there was no help to be found.†
irony = when what happens is very different than what might be expected
From page 446.9  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of irony means:
when what happens is very different than what might be expected; or when things are together that seem like they don't belong together — especially when amusing or an entertaining coincidence
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 36, p.446.9
Web Links
nevertheless
1 use
Nevertheless, the essence of what you say is true.†
nevertheless = in spite of that (used to connect contrasting ideas)
From page 105.7  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally nevertheless means:
in spite of that (Used to connect contrasting ideas. Other synonyms could include words and phrases such as nonetheless, all the same, still,  and however.)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library14 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5, p.105.7
Web Links
nonetheless
6 uses
Nonetheless, he answered the question truthfully: NO. The next question read: "Do you like to listen to the radio?"†
nonetheless = in spite of that (used to connect contrasting ideas)
From page 10.4  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally nonetheless means:
in spite of that (Used to connect contrasting ideas. Other synonyms could include words and phrases such as nevertheless, all the same, still,  and however.)
Word Statistics
Book6 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 2000
1st useChapter 1, p.10.4
Web Links
optimistic
8 uses
Reynie decided not to look at Constance; his optimism had been spoiled enough.†
optimism = a tendency to expect and see the best in all things
From page 189.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally optimistic means:
expecting the best; or focusing on the good part of things
Word Statistics
Book8 uses
Library15 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 31, p.371.1
Web Links
rectify
2 uses
At any rate, the situation has been rectified.
rectified = fixed or made right
From page 307.7  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of rectify means:
correct, fix, or make right
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library1 use in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 25, p.307.7
Web Links
somber
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
a somber mood
"Maybe not," Reynie said somberly, "but if we don't stop him now, he'll never be stopped."†
somberly = solemnly (in a manner that is serious—not cheerful or lighthearted)
From page 455.5  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally this sense of somber means:
serious and without humor or fun — perhaps sad
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5, p.106.8
Web Links
sufficient
3 uses
The Receiver would be considered insufficient evidence.†
insufficient = not adequate (not enough)

(Editor's note:  The prefix "in-" in insufficient means not and reverses the meaning of sufficient. This is the same pattern you see in words like invisible, incomplete, and insecure.)
From page 104.9  All Book Uses  Typical Usage
DefinitionGenerally sufficient means:
adequate (enough — often without being more than is needed)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library22 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 5, p.104.9
Web Links
vary
1 use
In general, then, they talked about the other news stories, those that varied day to day, and afterward they amused themselves by reading the advertisements.†
varied = differed; or changed
From page 3.5  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 useChapter 1, p.3.5
Web Links
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