As an English major, a writer, and a reader, one would think that my vocabulary would be astonishingly diversified and completely grandiloquent. It isn’t. That’s not to say that I don’t know a plenitude of words and their meanings. But the usage of my vast lexicon is essentially nonexistent in the course of my writing and conversation. I use the same words over and over and over and over… Well, I think you get the point.
Shortly before winter break, I was overcome with a sudden urge while on Dictionary.com (more accurately, I was distracted in the course of looking up a word from some reading homework) to play a word game. I noticed quite early on that most of the words they were giving me in this game were familiar and not challenging at all. I also realized that I never really utilized any of them in everyday writing or conversation, and I became a bit depressed. So I went on a word-seeking rampage. I copied down several of the vocabulary lists from the game onto note cards, which are now plastered all over my desk. And in some fortuitous twist of fate, I received a dandy little calendar that gives me a new word for each day of the year. Granted, I’m eleven days in and have known about half the words already, but the important part is that there will be words I won’t know.
I am aware that most of these words are far from everyday use in everyday situations. I also know that should I decide to use them, I risk sounding pretentious. I would like to avoid this at all costs. But at the same time, I’d also like to be able to use words that are more interesting than, well, “interesting”.
So in my word-search craze, Here are some of the words I found, which I was told by a very respected person in my life were “good words.” Thank you for doubting my English major-ness…
- Bombast: n., speech too pompous for an occasion
- Vitriolic: adj., very caustic; scathing
- Quixotic: adj., impulsive and often rashly unpredictable
- Lachrymose: adj., suggestive of or tending to cause tears
- Ebullient: adj., overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement; high-spirited
- Didactic: adj., 1. designed or intended to teach; 2. making observations
- Vinaceous: adj., of the color of red wine
These are only a few of the forty-five words I have taped to my desk and pinned to my message board. They’re all fantastically enjoyable to say, and I can’t wait until I’m able to put them to use. In fact, I might try to slip a few into my posts.
Words could almost be described as Elysian for me. The dictionary is a necessary tool for me, as is the thesaurus. And I’ve come to be very good friends with both.