Do your readers need a dictionary?The author of one of my textbooks must be a friend of the magniloquent (see below) Conrad Black, or maybe a contributor to the harder levels of I say that because the text is sprinkled with so many obscure, unusual, “look how smart I am” kinds of words.

Here, for your amusement or perhaps horror, are some of the ones that drove me to the dictionary:

  • Anomie: A lack of the usual social or ethical standards.
  • Encephalated: (Wasn’t in the dictionary, but “encephalic” means of or relating to the brain).
  • Glossolalia: The gift of tongues.
  • Magniloquent: Grand or grandiose in speech (somewhat like the word itself, wouldn’t you say?).
  • Neurasthenia: An ill-defined medical condition characterized by lassitude, fatigue, headache, and irritability, somewhat how I feel reading words like this. (Lassitude: weariness or disinclination to exert oneself.)
  • Phenomenology: Science of phenomena.
  • Sacrality: Not in dictionary but “sacralize” is to endow with sacred significance.
  • Tautological: Saying the same thing twice in different words.

My point is that not many people read with a dictionary close at hand, nor do they want to. (Lots of people don’t even read these days, but that’s another issue!) I don’t usually look up a word right away but keep a running list to check later only because I am such a word nerd. But really, it’s kinder to your reader to pick a word that’s more familiar and more easily understood without a dictionary.

(While checking the link to, I had to stop and play; made it to level 48 and 1,500 grains of rice donated before forcing myself to stop!)

Photo by libellule789 and Pixabay.