Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thirty Days to the Most Powerful Vocabulary

Recently I picked up a copy of 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary with the intention of actually learning more words to add to my mental dictionary. Immediately upon arriving home (well, it wasn't exactly immediately, say two or three days later), I dug right into it, eyes wide open, brain waiting to absorb, and hands turning the pages. YES, I said to myself, this is exactly what I need. I'll be able to throw in my books all sorts of big and little words, so much so that it will amaze everyone how my writing has improved. Ambidexterous, now that's a big word that carries a lot of meaning, I'll just file it away in the lobes of me brain for good use. I didn't learn that word in that book, though. I heard somebody say it when I was maybe 14 or 15 and it has stuck with me ever since. See what I mean about learning and building your vocabulary.

But the heck of it is, I haven't found a place in my writing to actually put it in a spot where it will do the most good. I thought about using it in a sentence describing a two-handed gunslinger, you know, "Slim Jim was ambidexterous all right. He plugged Black John with both barrels at the same time, he did." HELL, we all know that no cowboy talked thataway, so I've never used it. It's too multifarious for anything like that.

I buckled down and ensconced my schnozzola in the pages of that book and before you knew it, I had another word pop into my cerebellum, "scorbutic," a perfect word to put in a description somewhere, if I can just find where. AHA! Found it. "Joe looked scorbutic lying on that scurvy laden bear skin." Nope. We all know that bears don't have scurvy, only humans. At least, I never heard of it. I guess maybe it would fit, he could still look that way to the beholder, but it isn't a very good word.

Well that's enough for the first day. What a great book! I've already learned two new words just by opening it up, even though they weren't in there. I can see my writing improving already.          


  1. you're so right. I so seldom get to use the coolest of words I know. That's why I like some fantasy writing. You get to use cool old words.

  2. Charles, I can see where it would be easier to use them in fantasy and SF where you are not sticking to a particular time.

  3. You made my day with this post--fun stuff

  4. Oscar, what in tarnation does multifarious mean?

  5. There are some great words out there just begging to be used. I've always liked antidisestablishmentarianism. I used to think it was the longest English word which is probably what attracted me to it in school. It's not a word that easily fits into women's magazine stories, but I haven't entirely given up hope of using it.

  6. Valance, many different parts.

    Patsy, if that isn't the longest, it's one of the longest. It doesn't fit into much of anything in my estimation.

  7. Thanks Oscar. I'm gonna use that word just as soon as I can.

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