Friday, 24 April 2015

I Have A Big...Vocabulary

I think as a writer I'm expected to have a big vocabulary. The truth is I kind of do. I'm aware it could be way bigger though. I don't know if "vocab-envy" is actually a thing but hey, it might just be. Not saying that I really have such a thing. One thing I am actually envious of those is people who can just create a lot of different words. When I read a story and there's a glossary/dictionary in the back I know the person who wrote it is pretty creative.
This motherfucker practically invented the English language.
The real problem with my vocabulary though? It's that I know a lot of words; I just can't define them. There are a lot of words I can use in a sentence but if you asked me what they actually mean I don't think I could tell you. My vocabulary is of a pretty decent size but I can't really tell you what most of them mean. It's kind of odd to me. I imagine I'm not the only one like that though. I just grew up with the words and know how to use them in context. I think that's one reason I'm so accepting of words only having power when used in the correct context but that's also a whole other subject entirely. It's also one that covers a lot of issues I don't really feel like touching.

Can you define most of the words you know? What's the most obscure word you know, that you can use and define?


  1. When I read a story and there's a glossary/dictionary in the back I just sigh and put it down, never to pick it up again.
    The whole "I know what the word feels like, but I have no idea what it means" thing is actually very common... and very dangerous. Get into the habit of looking the word up every time this occurs (online dictionaries make this so easy, I even have a shortcut for definitions built into my operating system) and you'll pick up their meanings in no-time.

  2. I don't think a giant vocabulary list is essential for writers. Most of my professors in college would give you lower grades if you filled your work with big words that the average reader wouldn't know. At least in fiction writing, they stressed the importance of what they all called "KISS"-- Keep It Simple, Stupid. One of my profs had a poster in her office of the band Kiss with keep it simple stupid printed under the band's name. I enjoyed that...

  3. just go 'define:word' on Google and the definition comes right up, use it all the time.

  4. The Navy books I'm writing have glossaries.
    Jury's still out on that one.

  5. I was always like that too. In school if the teacher would ask me the meaning of a word I would freeze and not be able to explain it... even if it was a relatively common word. My guess is most people are pretty much the same way unless they are really educated at a high level, then they probably have studied the origins of words really in depth (depending on what they are studying, of course).


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