5 clever ways to learn new words

Improve your vocabulary with these tricks

The English language is vast, so whether we know it or not, we’re all on a sort-of quest to learn new words. If you’re keen to improve your vocabulary and learn new words, employ some of these top tips.

1. Read more, and read something different

A sure-fire way to increase your vocabulary and expose yourself to new words is through reading. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what you read - it could be news websites, papers, magazines or novels - most literature will be able to teach you something.

If you’re already a keen reader, then try something different. If you love a particular genre of book, perhaps delve into something you’d never usually choose. It’s likely that a new genre, or new publication, will have a few new words to throw at you and you’ll pick them up in no time using our personal dictionary app.

2. Buy a thesuarus & learn a word a day

This might be the obvious option, but much like physical exercise, your brain needs training in order to learn new words. Buy a thesaurus (the Oxford Dictionary & Thesaurus is our go-to) and endeavour to learn one new word a day. When you wake up, open it at a random page and pick a word. Read the definition, and throughout the day try to test yourself, or even to use it in an email, text or conversation.

The more you interact with new words, the more you’ll learn.

3. Play addictive games like words with friends

There are plenty of word games out there (we’re particular fans of Scrabble and Bananagrams), but we reckon one of the best games to learn new words is online: Words with Friends.

There have been stories of Words with Friends fans striking up long-lasting, rewarding relationships as a result of this game, but on a basic level it creates a brilliant opportunity to learn new words. It’s available on Android and iOS, can be played pretty much anywhere, against friends, strangers or the computer.

Similar to Scrabble, Words With Friends game allows you to build words on a crossword-style board from the letters you've got in your virtual rack. There's also a chat function so you can interact with your new word-nerd mates.

4. Go to lectures & talks

If you live in a big city, it's likely there'll be some kind of arts or academic body – possibly a university or museum – that hosts talks and lectures for the general public to attend.

Taking in a lecture every now and then will not only expand your mind and teach you new concepts or outlooks, but it's also likely you'll come across new words in the process. We're London-based and we love lectures at the Royal Geographical Society, Wellcome Collection and British Library.

5. Use Oh My Word!

The best way to keep on top of all these new words you’re learning is with our personal dictionary app. Sign up to Oh My Word! and you’ll get access to your own personal dictionary. You’ll be able to save words you find as you’re browsing the internet using our Chrome extension, and see them all together in a list - definitions and all.

Our web app is coming soon: this means you'll be able to sign in, visit your dictionary, and add and remove words all through our website instead of relying on the Chrome extension. It'll be compatible will all devices, so iPhone, Android and Windows logophiles can start saving words soon. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more announcements coming soon.