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Weekly Challenge #4: Stretch Your Vocabulary

Last week’s challenge was to use vocabulary words in regular conversation. How did you do? I discovered something awesome…

A reader named Tori recommended the site vocabulary.com. (“It’s my guilty procrastination site,” she confessed.) The site quizzes you on vocab words to test your skills. Try it, it’s addictive! A few of the words I learned were traduce, unwonted and esurient. Thanks, Tori.

If you accepted the challenge, which words did you use this week? I’d love to hear! The next challenge is coming right up…xoxo

P.S. Good grammar is sexy, and the nerdiest tip.

(Top photo by Vanessa Jackman; bottom photo of Jackie Kennedy in 1971. Illustration from the New Yorker Cartoon Bank)

  1. Awesome Post :)

  2. This totally inspired me. I’d love to read more, but between work and studying right now I’ve decided not to beat myself up over it and when I have time I’ll get to that book list. In the meantime though, I downloaded a vocabulary app on my phone that give me a new word every day and quizzes along the way. It’s a great way to expand my vocabulary, even if I only have a few minutes in line at the store! My favourite was bacchanalian… I feel like it can be most integrated into my life ;)

  3. I really like learning words from this website, freerice.com.
    They donate 10 grains of rice to a country in need through the World Food Programme for every answer you get right. The questions get harder with each level. I am a teacher and use it with my fourth graders. They love it, learn something, and are doing something good for the world too.

  4. I usually do this the old fashioned way – every time I come across a word I haven’t heard of or like, I jot it down. Been doing this for a few years now http://alifeofsaturdays.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/words/

    Adding words into everyday conversation on the other hand is a little tougher. Also, hard to pull off without sounding pretentious sometimes!

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  6. I used words I already knew but don’t use enough – “elucidate”, “vertiginous”, and “disdain”

  7. Oh lord. Vocabulary.com is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’m so excited about this. Thanks Jo!

  8. Ooo, what a pleasant surprise! So happy that to have another vocabulary.com addict. The words that keep catching me are: chthonic, vitiate, esurient and fugacious. I might try to sprinkle them into my conversations this week…

  9. I am now a proud owner of a “Good Grammar is Sexy” T-shirt. Studio Nico had a sale a few months ago, so I took full advantage after first seeing it on your blog! It never fails to get a chuckle from my word nerd friends.

  10. jm says...

    I used ‘importunate.’ (annoyingly persistent or intrusive.) I said, “I wish these importunate thoughts would stop popping into my head!” I will never forget that word.

  11. I learned absquatulate, what a cool word! Thanks Joanna, love this site!

  12. So, funny this should be your challenge, as simplifying my vocabulary is an ongoing goal.

    I work in digital marketing now, and have multiple graduate degrees. I also work with over 26 languages all of whom do business in English. These fields combined mean that I need to avoid words that seem overly ostentatious. Or, ahem, complicated!

    http://www.ellegentsia.com

  13. I love using big vocab words in casual conversation, I have even stretched this callenge to include our 2 year old! Today she told me “mama I am famished!” haha :)

  14. love this idea – I missed it on your blog last week but I will be trying it now!

  15. I do feel like it is worth nothing that while many among us might find good grammar sexy or a robust vocabulary a must-have, both of those traits are something that a person typically only acquires through education. It’s possible to be brilliant and not know anything about spelling or grammar. There’s all kind of intelligence out there, and always prioritizing a particular kind of academic intelligence silences important voices.

    Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with building up one’s vocabulary! New words are delightful.

    • hear hear!

  16. So glad I came across this post.. vocabulary.com and freerice.com here I come!!

  17. even better: freerice.com

    correct vocab answers score grains of rice for communities in need. and it’s increasingy difficult every right answer. it’s great and highly addictive, too!

  18. Can I play the Spelling Police and point out that “grammar” is misspelled in the P.S. section? :)

  19. “Asinine.” As in, “some of the SAT questions I had to say while proctoring were completely asinine.” Our school librarian actually said she was impressed (huge deal).

  20. I always send my college freshmen to freerice.com to play their simple vocabulary game. It’s great because it also donates to charity every time you get an answer correct, and there’s nothing wrong with killing two birds with one stone!

  21. ps i do mine in french & spanish too. :)

  22. i second allison’s support of freerice.com. fun philanthropy!

  23. Love this! I didn’t take the challenge yet, but will need to put my new vocab into practice this week.

    Emily | Sparkle Meets Pop

  24. I am sorry to say that I had to use the word supercilious this week.

  25. Obstreperous, from a book I’m reading. Really inspired to broaden my vocabulary:)

  26. I second freerice.com. they quickly find your “level,” making it easy to gradually increase your vocab in a natural way. Also, i think the definitions are better than vocabulary.com, where sometimes they seem kind of off.

  27. Last Friday one of my grad school profs asked if anyone knew what postprandial meant and I was the only one who knew! I’m so glad you shared this word and your vocabulary challenge. I’m counting postprandial as my vocabulary word for last week…now to find another new word!

    • Haha I too have used postprandial and have gotten crosseyed stares, but feel like a smarty pants for knowing….

  28. Oh it’s like in Clueless! I don’t think I learnt a new word this week, I’ll have to check that site out.

  29. You should try freerice.com
    They quiz you on vocab words and everytime you get an answer right-they donate 10 grains of rice to the World Food Programme to help end world hunger!

  30. I’ve learn 2 new words in the book I’m reading! Did not used them yet! But I just love to learn new words, don’t you?

    Words can be really sexy and spelling mistakes can make me run off!!! :-D