The Best Way To Acquire Words (Hint: Read More!)

_the novel perdido street station held open in the middle, viewed from the side, undoubtedly being consumed by a voracious reader_

Words are great.

The vocabulary I habitually utilize hardly taps the well of words available in the English language. This isn't news: most people fail to employ the full range of lexical jewels stashed in their thesauruses. As such, I'm delighted to announce that the book I'm reading now is full of fantastic words. I'm reading Perdido Street Station. No lie: The man who wrote this book, China Miéville, has a lexicon just as prodigious as the world he paints. Here are a few novel and infrequently seen words I've espied thus far:

  • detumescing
  • veldt
  • sciolist
  • eidolon
  • vertiginous
  • aesthete
  • bombastic
  • moribund
  • inveigled
  • oneiric
  • febrile
  • necrotic
  • pusillanimous
  • bivouac
  • chthonic
  • dissident
  • querulous
  • inchoate
  • paean
  • patina
  • desiccate
  • moniker
  • nacre
  • solipsistic
  • autotelic
  • liminal
  • deracinate
  • sepulchral

Aren't these splendid? I didn't start taking notes on words until a hundred pages in, and I've got several hundred pages to go. Just think what wordly wonders I may encounter next!

Saturday, June 12, 2010 - tags: books


  • said: Reply

    Okay, a couple of those I didn’t consider particularly novel – in fact I’m impressed I know so many on that list – but oh man, I still appreciate him SO MUCH for just USING those words. Because you’re right, most authors don’t bother. And as for words like “deracinate” and “febrile”? Mmmmmyes. China Mieville jumped to the top of my favorite authors list very, very quickly.

    • said: Reply

      Not all of them are novel, no, and I figured you’d say as much. (Though, I will note that I said the words were either novel or not seen all that often–words I’d like to either learn or remember exist.)

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