Apr 19, 2008

Meme: Vocabulary

This question comes from Nithin on Booking Through Thursday:

I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?

I used to look them all up. I had a notebook I kept definitions written in, it was even alphabatized. I had a huge fat unabridged dictionary and I even marked the words with a little penciled box around them so I'd know if I'd already looked one up! A bit obsessive.

I don't look up most words anymore. I just figure them out from the context, or skim over. If a word sounds really interesting, or the meaning is important to the story, I'll jot it down to look up on dictionary.com. Or just ask my husband. He yells "what's this word mean?" more than I do, but half the time I re-direct him to the dictionary. Although just the other day I impressed him by using the word hasp in a sentence (part of a latch). It came out intuitively; after I'd said it I wasn't sure it was the right word. Until the next day installing the latch on the shed door I read the word hasp in the directions; so I knew then that I was right!

Incidentally, how many of you like visiting sites such as Free Rice that have vocabulary games? Or this one that tells origins of English words? I think my enjoyment of these sites has overtaken my use of a printed dictionary. And, as a funny note, I can't count the number of strange sites I've come across when mis-typing dictionary in order to look up a word online. It seems there's dozens of sites out there that thrive on people's inability to spell dictionary with their fingers!


LisaMM said...

Free Rice is a great site! I've spent lots of time there.

I'm a skipper and almost never look up a word.

Literary Feline said...

I'm not familiar with Free Rice--I'll have to give it a try.

It is interesting to see what else you can come up with by mistyping a word now and again, isn't it?

I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

Maree said...

I love playing Free Rice. Great fun.
I never look words up now.

Trish said...

My step-sister will be taking her SAT soon, so she introduced me to Free Rice--we had a lot of fun with it (or she had a lot of fun testing my knowledge). I used to use the dictionary religiously as well, but my copy is falling apart so I don't use it as often. The only time I really look up words is when I'm trying to define something for husband--and usually because I can guess what the word means and can use it in its correct context, but can rarely define it exactly. Oh well!

verbivore said...

I love the Free Rice site - what a great challenge! We're always looking words up in this house, mainly because we function in two languages (my husband is French-speaking Swiss) and tend to get our vocab confused a lot :-)