Word of the week

Have you ever completed the Word Power feature in Reader’s Digest? I’m not much interested in such games – I don’t even do crosswords! – but I am committed to increasing my own vocabulary. Why? Because if I know more words, I’ll be able to read more fluently. But even more important, I’ll be able to write better. Knowing lots of words allows me – and you — to be more precise in writing. In my word-of-the-week feature I share a word with you that I’ve discovered in my own reading.

What does ‘inchoate’ mean?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: inchoate…. I’ve long held a particular fondness for the adjective inchoate. Perhaps it’s the idiosyncratic pronunciation that charms me — the CH sound …

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What does ‘precipitous’ mean?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: precipitous…. Ophelia Dahl (pictured above) grew up in privileged and challenging circumstances. She was the daughter of movie star Patricia Neal and …

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What does ‘restive’ mean?

Reading time: Just over 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: restive…. I started subscribing to the New Yorker magazine back in 1993, shortly after Tina Brown (pictured above) had become its editor. While I’d …

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What is ‘prosody’?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: prosody…. As a voracious reader, I regularly encounter words I’ve seen many times before but that I’m still hard-pressed to define. Prosody …

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What’s a ‘guignol’?

Reading time: About 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: guignol … When reader John Friesen sent me the word guignol, I didn’t recognize it, although I knew immediately it was French. He found it …

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What does ‘wilco’ mean?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That’s why I provide a word of the week. Today’s word: wilco…. I was texting a good friend recently and after a brief exchange, received the following message from him: wilco. I immediately knew what he …

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