The OED is on the tip of my tongue
March 24, 2014 11:02 AM Subscribe
Like many people on this site, I read a lot and have a pretty large vocabulary. But, when I speak or write, I often feel like much of that vocabulary is hiding in a part of my brain that I can't get at. Please suggest tasks that will flex my active vocabulary-retrieval muscles.
I constantly have the maddening sense that the exact word I want is just out of reach -- I know I've heard and read it many times, I can even remember its general shape, but for the life of me I can't think what it is. These mostly tend to be polysyllabic words, often Latinate ones: misconception, apprehensive, trepidation, pinchbeck, rigorous, picaresque. (This is an actual list I made of words I've had trouble thinking of in the past few days. I keep a notebook of these words, but this doesn't seem to help make them more accessible.) I'd really love to have better access to this part of my vocabulary. What are some practical things I could do, for example games online or otherwise? "Crosswords" is an obvious idea, but most crosswords don't feature much of this kind of vocabulary. There are a lot of vocabulary quizzes online, but they tend to be about recognition rather than retrieval. What are some active advanced-vocabulary-retrieval games/activities/etc. I could try?