Words….How many do you know?

dictionaryIt’s confession time again.  I love learning unfamiliar words.  In fact, as a child, I used to read the dictionary, for fun. I think I’m safe to classify myself as a word nerd.

While 26 letters comprise the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary (2013), advertised as “The definitive record of the English language”, reports that it contains over 600,000 million words.  In 1875, Holden reported that an intelligent man would use 10,000 words in speaking, and reading. So how many do you know?   If you’re curious, you can test your word knowledge by doing an online vocabulary test created by the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

While I no longer read the dictionary for fun, I subscribe to  services like,  A.Word.A.Day from WordSmith.com and the Latest Word from Unusedword.com  to get my new word fix delivered each day to my inbox.   When I come across a word I don’t know I add it to a file I keep on my smartphone.  I guess once a word nerd, always a word nerd.

So, if you come across a word you don’t know, or you need to find some new ones, why not try the Word page on Library’s Quick Reference Sources subject guide.  There you’ll find lots different tools to help you increase your word knowledge.

Nancy Whetstone

Brantford Campus Library

Oxford English Dictionary. (2013). Retrieved from http://public.oed.com/about/

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