Shortcutting… Big Words

19 May

My friend commented lugubriously (adv. mournfully, sorrowfully)  the other day that she sounds like a five-year-old when she writes. I imagine she was referring not to the subject matter of her writing, but rather to her vocabulary. I could have replied with a vitriolic  (adj. caustic, scathing) comment confirming her fears, or a facetious (adj. lacking serious intent) remark making light of them, but bearing in mind her lachrymose (adj. given to weeping) nature, I decided instead to play the sycophant (n. flatterer) and tell her it wasn’t the case. But it did get me thinking, is there an easy way to enhance one’s vocabulary, to eschew (v. shun, avoid) our  perfunctory (adj. performed merely as a routine duty) way of writing for one altogether more impressive? Here are a few quick ways I have found to boost your vocabulary:

  • Go on Word Dynamo and take a look at the test prep section: I’d recommend SAT hot words in particular. Remember, the more difficult it is to guess the meaning, the better.
  • Every time you write something on Microsoft Word, right click to find synonyms that have a little bit more spice than your original word. There is potential for making a fool of yourself here, as synonyms don’t always mean exactly the same thing (think Joey describing Monica and Chandler as people with ‘large aortic pumps’ in Friends) but hey, our mistakes are our best teachers etc. etc. right?
  • Flick through a dictionary  every now and then and pick out a word at random, then try to use it in a sentence at some point during the day. Bonus points if no one notices!
Use these tricks and you’ll soon be able to abjure (v. renounce, forswear) your five-year-old vocabulary and embrace bigger, better words. Hopefully, after a while, no one will be able to understand a word you’re saying!
But remember, my doctrines are esoteric (adj. intended to be revealed only to the initiates of a group) so don’t go telling everyone *conspiratorial wink*…

Keep shortcutting,


P.S. If I’ve used any of these words wrong, it was on purpose to test you…



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