I’m a word nerd and proud of it! I think it comes from the fact that I was practically born with a book in my hand. I like to use expressive words, descriptive words, different words; I speak concisely and eloquently—most language professionals do, or we’d be bad advertisements for our professions—and I don’t think that’s anything to be ashamed of (sorry—of which to be ashamed). In fact, I think a vast vocabulary is plain sexy; it’s something that should be owned and displayed proudly, like a jaunty foulard or a dapper cravat (see what I did there?).
What’s more, it’s been proven that learning new words is good for your brain. Like doing crossword or other puzzles, memorizing and using new words is a great way to keep your synapses firing. It also comes in very handy during a heated game of Scrabble!
Of course, the best way to expand your vocabulary is to read, read, read. Admittedly, not too many people have time these days to laze about devouring endless paperbacks. So, who said your fancy new words had to come from the traditional novel? Nowadays, so much time is spent reading online, from newspapers to magazines to social media sites, that you’re bound to come across a few words you’ve never encountered before. Write them down, highlight them, keep a list in your smart phone, text them to yourself. Then—gasp!—look them up (suggestion: bookmark Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com; also, many e-readers now have a built-in dictionary feature). And then—double gasp!—use them in conversation. Before you know it, you’ll be a word nerd, too!
For our general edification (oops, I did it again!), I’m going to start sharing weird, wacky, rousing, and lesser-used words that I come across in my translations, readings, or everyday meanderings. If I’m ever short on inspiration (not sure that will happen), I might even pick them randomly from the dictionary (yes, believe it or not, I own a few). So, here goes, in keeping with the theme of this post…
Wordsmith, noun: A person who works with words; a skillful writer.
Used in a sentence: As editor of a prestigious daily, Jane is naturally a talented wordsmith.