It isn’t the most frequently used word in the dictionary, but it’s a highlight

Greg Lucas is a journalist, blogger and weekly food writer for SN&R.

High isn’t one of the most common words used in the English language.

The top 10, in descending order, are: the, of, to, and, a, in, is, it, you, that.

High isn’t even on the top 100 list.

But at 174, it ranks right up there on the top 500.

High rears up all over the place as a noun, adverb and adjective.

As an adjective, though, it’s hard to imagine a word—even high’s antonym, low—that precedes a more varied list of words.

In the Capitol, for instance, lobbyists are high-powered, using high-risk strategies because they play for high stakes but try to avoid a high profile in order to justify their high retainer.

Despite high-level negotiations, a high-caliber lobbyist might cause a high-minded legislator high anxiety even if the lobbyist’s bill is a high priority for high-school districts in high-density parts of California.

The high court can overturn high crimes or misdemeanors.

In Hollywood, a good idea is high-concept.

High pitch. High note. High fidelity.

High School Musical.

High grades. High marks. High performance. High score.

High end. High living. High society.

High temperature. High latitude. High altitude.

High tech.

High tragedy. High adventure. High security.

High winds over Endor.

High-strung. High voltage. High explosives.

High maintenance.

High value. High-quality. High price.

Hijinks? Hijack? No, that’s just hyperbole.

High seas. The High Chaparral. High resolution.


High dudgeon. High speed. High velocity. High wire.


High priest. High ceilings. High altar.


Highbrow. High-octane. High roller. High card.

High time.

And, the high point:

High times.