About a month back I was at a meeting at a friend’s house and as I was waiting for Dad to pick me up we saw a word that we weren’t sure what it meant. Mr G walked over to their bookshelf, pulled out a beautiful dictionary, and said, “A friend once told me, ‘if you don’t know a word – look it up.’” So now he does!
I’m (re)reading the Little Women series by Louisa May Alcott, old favourites of mine. Written in the 19th Century, and set in America, I’ve read a lot of words that I don’t really know. For the first book (Little Women) and at least for some of the second book (Good Wives) I just ignored them and trusted the context to tell me what the person meant by using that long, obscure word. One day, I wanted to check out one word, and then after that I saw how helpful it is to carry a dictionary with me! Since then I’ve been keeping our pocket dictionary with my book and I try to look up a word when I don’t rightly know what it means. Sometimes I have an idea of what it means – but I look it up, just check; sometimes I have absolutely no idea what it means!
Now I’m trying to find the balance between just looking the word up and moving on, and not letting it go in one eye and out the other. I guess even if I can’t quote that definition of a word afterwards, it’s like asking someone in a conversation what the word they just used means – it broadens my vocab understanding. On the other hand it can help to take the time to record the definition. When I put in the effort to find it in the dictionary I really enjoy discovering a new word!
PS: I love using dictionary.reference.com as an online dictionary and thesaurus too. It comes in very handy when I am looking for a similar word. And whoever knew there were so many words and terms and saying out there? It’s inspiring! (at least, it is to me… then again, I’m crazy!)