Firstly, What Words Should We Learn? What Is The Best Way To Increase Your Vocabulary?
Expanding your vocabulary is always a great thing but often it is not the best use of your time. Knowing all the synonyms of ‘obsequious’ will probably not improve your life that much. The reason is: you already know the word, you can already use it in your talking and thinking, so you don’t need a new one except for special cases when you can just use the thesaurus. My mentality is, that there are too many words in the English language to know all of them. The 2nd Edition Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words (Source) (it is 20 volumes long). And that is not counting obsolete words and words from specialist fields. So therefore, we should be selective in what words we learn……..
Try not to waste your time learning words that are:
- Not useful
And if you are going to learn a word, it’s best if it is:
- Not synonymous with any word you know. It has a new meaning for you.
- Not antiquated, so therefore it would not be strange for you to use it in writing.
- Useful. Some words are very non-synonymous but too specific for it to ever be likely that you will use them.
Here Are Some Useless Words For Your Amusement (Make Sure You Don’t Learn Any Of These, You Will Feel Bad About It)
- Defenestration (n.): the act of throwing someone or something out of a window.
- Doddard (n.): a tree that is missing its top branches through rot or decay.
- Quincunx (n.): an arrangement of five objects with four at the corners of a square or rectangle and the fifth at its centre (⁙).
- Aglet (n.): the plastic coating at the end of a shoelace.
- Jentacular (adj.): pertaining to breakfast.
- Tarantism (n.): an illness characterized by the sudden urge to dance.
- Xylopolist (n.): someone who sells wood.
Ok that’s enough.
How Can Words Make You Think In New Ways?
Our conscious mind thinks in words, at least in a large part. It is words that categorise the world around us into objects that we can understand. Without a word for ‘tree’, we would still be able to distinguish and recognise trees. But, for an abstract concept like ‘bumbling’, recognising this distinct quality in people’s manner would be more rare and less clear. If we then learned this word, we would possibly have a moment of realisation of this thing that we realised was there all along but we didn’t focus on it.
Words That Will Make You Recognise New Things In The World, That You May Have Already Recognised In A Less Conscious Way
Limerance (n.): unreciprocated and obsessive romantic attraction to another person.
Many people have experienced the heartrenching feeling of limerance in their lifetimes and it’s surprising that this word isn’t more well-known. We use terms like ‘infatuation’, but none that capture the discomfort of this mental state and how unhealthy it can become.
Pedant (n.): a person who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning.
We know people like this. Now we know what to call them.
Mellifluous (adj.): a sound that is sweet and smooth; pleasing to hear.
The word itself sounds nice.
(The word mellifluous is mellifluous.)
Sonorous (adj.): an opposingly deep and full sound.
Moribund (adj.): at the point of death; in a dying state, close to death.
This can be used to refer to something which is on the verge of death or to the state of being almost at death, which is something that is interesting to imagine.
Iridescent (adj.): showing luminous colours that seem to change when seen from different angles.
This is a word for some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. You can look up ‘iridescent’ on Google Images and see some of my favourite things that I didn’t previously know the adjective for.
Oblivion (n.): the state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening around you.
This is another state that we have all experienced, and now with this word we can reflect on this unique sensation.
Facetious (adj.): treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humour; flippant.
Asides from being so useful, it has the useless quality of possessing all five vowels in alphabetical order exclusively.
Flâneur (n.): a person who saunters around observing society; an idler; dawdler; loafer
In Situationist theory, people sometimes walk around taking in their urban environment in philosophical ways. But otherwise, this word just means someone who is rather aimless and lazy.
Salacious (adj.): having or conveying undue or indecent interest in sexual matters.
This is a very neccesary word.