Learning More Words

If you have a morbid fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth, there is a word for it: arachibutyrophobia. There is a word to describe the state of being a woman: muliebrity. And there’s a word for describing a sudden breaking off of thought: aposiopesis. …In English, in short, there are words for almost everything.

– Bill Bryson, Mother Tongue

Lately, I have spent quite a few evenings playing Boggle. I haven’t managed to win a single game. There are so many words that I have never heard of. And I’m not talking about long words (words with more than seven letters) rather words of three or four letters. I never knew that a ree was a female Eurasian sandpiper, that feh is a Hebrew letter (pe) or that ose is a ridge of sand (esker). There are also lots of valid three letter words such as oot, ens, dah, and ern which I use all the time without having any idea as to what they mean.

I have been trying to find ways to learn new words. I’ve been reading word lists, scrabble anagram lists, dictionaries, books about words etc. So far, the best thing I have come across is a program that Tony wrote which analyses the boggle games we have played and produces a list of all the words it was possible to find in a game.

I’ve started to dream about boggle. Maybe it’s time to find something new to play like scrabble.