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Vocabulary

Top-Ranked Words with Sample Sentences from the Book

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acquire
1 use
He was famous for shoplifting and his black-handled switchblade (which he couldn't have acquired without his first talent),
acquired = obtained (come into possession of)
DefinitionGenerally acquire means:
obtain (come into the possession of something)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library17 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 1
Web Links
acquit
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
she was acquitted
Then he said I was acquitted and the whole case was closed.
acquitted = officially found "not guilty"
DefinitionGenerally this sense of acquit means:
officially find "not guilty" of criminal charges
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 12
Web Links
agony
2 uses
His face contracted in agony, and sweat streamed down his face.
agony = intense suffering (in this case, from physical pain)
DefinitionGenerally agony means:
intense feelings of suffering — can be from mental or physical pain
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
appeal
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
appeals to youthful tastes
But I realized that these three appealed to me because they were like the heroes in the novels I read.
appealed = were attractive
DefinitionGenerally this sense of appeal means:
attractiveness or desirability; or to be attractive or desirable
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
apprehensive
1 use
He was pretty well crocked, which made me apprehensive.
apprehensive = worried (in this context, crocked means drunk.)
DefinitionGenerally apprehensive means:
worried over possible misfortune
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
bewilder
5 uses
Glory, I thought with a bewildering feeling of being rushed, things are happening too quick.
bewildering = confusing
DefinitionGenerally bewilder means:
to confuse someone
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library17 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
conformist
1 use
Soda fought for fun, Steve for hatred, Darry for pride, and Two-Bit for conformity.
conformity = to fit in (comply with customary behavior)
DefinitionGenerally conformist means:
someone who thinks and acts like others in a group
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
contempt
4 uses
1  —4 uses as in:
feels contempt towards her
...maybe Paul felt only contempt and pity and hate for greasers?
contempt = disrespect
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect — often accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike or disgust
Word Statistics
Book4 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
delirium
3 uses
1  —3 uses as in:
fever induced delirium
What all did I say while I was delirious?
delirious = in a state of mental confusion
DefinitionGenerally this sense of delirium means:
a usually brief state of mental confusion often accompanied by hallucinations
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
detach
2 uses
I should be scared, I thought with an odd detached feeling, but I'm not.
detached = emotionally uninvolved (separated from emotions)
DefinitionGenerally detach means:
to separate something from something else (physically or emotionally)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
dogged
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
dogged determination
"My parents," Johnny repeated doggedly, "did they ask about me?"
doggedly = with continuing effort despite difficulties (in this case, despite not having been answered the first time he asked)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dogged means:
continuing effort to achieve something despite difficulties (persistent)
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
elude
1 use
1  —1 use as in:
your point eludes me
I was trying to find the meaning the poet had in mind, but it eluded me.
eluded = escaped understanding by
DefinitionGenerally this sense of elude means:
to escape understanding (not understand)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 5
Web Links
environment
2 uses
1  —2 uses as in:
her family environment
I hoped they hated us, that they weren't full of that pity-the-victims-of-environment junk the social workers kept handing Curly Shepard every time he got sent off to reform school.
environment = surrounding conditions
DefinitionGenerally this sense of environment means:
surrounding conditions
in various senses, including:
  • conditions in a location or geographic area — as in "the desert environment"
  • conditions that affect a particular activity — as in "the learning environment"
  • conditions that create a certain mood — as in "a competitive environment," or "a romantic environment,"
  • conditions that impact a particular computer system, subsystem, or program — as in "the Windows environment"
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 9
Web Links
genuine
1 use
Darry spun around to face me, genuine fear on his face.
genuine = real
DefinitionGenerally genuine means:
real (as when a person is sincere or an object is not a replica or fake)
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library21 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 100
1st useChapter 7
Web Links
indignant
2 uses
Soda looked back at him indignantly.
indignantly = with annoyance at something unjust
DefinitionGenerally indignant means:
angered or annoyed at something unjust or wrong
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library16 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 10
Web Links
ornery
3 uses
"I've got me a ornery pony," Soda'd tell him, rubbing his neck.
ornery = ill-tempered (and so difficult to control)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of ornery means:
cranky (easily annoyed and quick to complain and argue)
Word Statistics
Book3 uses
Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 3
Web Links
premonition
1 use
But this church gave me a kind of creepy feeling. What do you call it? Premonition?
premonition = a feeling, not based on reason, that something will happen — especially something bad
Word Statistics
Book1 use
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 4
Web Links
testify
2 uses
She said she ... would testify that the Socs were drunk and looking for a fight and that you fought back in self-defense.
testify = provide oral evidence in court
DefinitionGenerally testify means:
provide evidence of something — especially to say something under oath in a court of law
Word Statistics
Book2 uses
Library11 uses in 10 avg bks
1st useChapter 6
Web Links
theme
7 uses
1  —7 uses as in:
wrote a 2-page theme on my summer
I wondered for a long time how to start that theme, how to start writing about something that was important to me.
theme = essay
DefinitionGenerally this sense of theme means:
an essay written by a student

(This sense of theme is much rarer in recent decades than in the past.)
Word Statistics
Book7 uses
Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 1000
1st useChapter 12
tone
5 uses
"That's the greaser that jockeys for the Slash J sometime," she said, as if we couldn't hear her. I had heard the same tone a million times: "Greaser... greaser... greaser."
tone = attitude expressed in the sound of the voice
DefinitionGenerally this sense of tone means:
the general feeling, mood, or attitude of something — especially of something said or written
Word Statistics
Book5 uses
Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
SAT®*top 500
1st useChapter 2
Web Links
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