Using a Dictionary Everyday

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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!)

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5 thoughts on “Using a Dictionary Everyday

  1. Haha, I don’t think you’re crazy! I go through phases where I keep a pocket dictionary with my current book, and look up the words I don’t know, but sometimes it get’s kind of old. But it IS fun!

    And, actually, I don’t have much organization in my sock drawer, and actually, it’s not even a drawer at the moment! My socks are just all folded together, in a plastic container until I get a dresser. But it made a great example, don’t you think? 🙂

    Oh, the sequel to Little Women is called Good Wives? I wonder if that is an Australian edition, because I’ve never heard of it before! Our sequels are called Jo’s Boys and Little Men. That’s very interesting!

  2. Hi Eyebright
    Sometimes – actually I think most of the time – Good Wives is called Little Women, Part Second. I’m not sure if it is an Australian edition thing. That’s the parts where Amy goes abroad, Meg has her babies, Jo goes to New York etc. I’m rereading Little Men at the moment, and then I’ll read Jo’s Boys, which I haven’t read before!

    My ‘sock drawer’ is an very old baby milk powder tin that Mum painted light purple with white flowers for me when I was a little girl.

  3. That sounds great! I love using words that people either dont tend to use nowadays or just dont know. Good idea, I might have to try it!

    blessings,
    Meggie

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