Weekly Vocab Builder

One of the things I love about words is how they can sometimes take on a personality that mirrors their definitions. I found this poem in one of my son’s poetry books recently that exemplifies this idea:

Jittery seems a nervous word;
snuggle curls up around itself.
Some words fit their meanings so well:
Abrupt. Airy. And my favorite–

sesquipedalian,
which means: having lots of syllables.
–“Word Watch,” Linda Sue Park

Here are some words to give life to your writing this week. Which do you think sound like their definitions?

  • Solidarity: unified.
  • Unfriend: New Oxford American Dictionary‘s Word of the Year means to remove someone from a social media network.
  • Black Sunday: April 14, 1935, on which the worst of the dust storms took place in the Dust Bowl. For more on the Dust Bowl, check out this American Experience episode.
  • Green trade war: what will occur if the US adopts carbon caps.
  • Frowzy: unkempt.
  • Soporific: sleepy.

And here’s a bonus word. That poem above is a sijo poem: a Korean form of poetry not too different from haiku. In English, the sijo generally has three lines with 14 to 16 syllables each; sometimes the poem is broken into six lines. The last line offers a twist, some unexpected ending. If you want to know more, check out these sites:

And the book the poem came from is lovely. Use this link to order it for young poetry lovers in your life (my own is enamored with it): Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems).

About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug...hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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