What Are the Best Ways to Learn Vocabulary?

Some of the best ways to learn new vocabulary are techniques such as making flashcards of unfamiliar words, visiting “word of the day” websites, or playing word games. Using such creative methods frequently makes them most effective as learning tools.

One of the simplest ways to expand vocabulary is to look up unknown words, whether they are found in a magazine, in a movie or in conversation. An easy way to encounter new words is by reading books, especially literature from an unfamiliar place or era. Create a list or make flashcards to keep track of these new words so they aren’t forgotten hours or days later. To better remember definitions, try forming sentences with the words, or writing the definitions several times.

Certain resources are specifically designed to enhance vocabulary. Test preparation guides have extensive lists of words that are found less frequently in mainstream media or day-to-day interactions. “Word of the day” websites offer definitions, synonyms, and the origin of a randomly selected—and often rather unusual—word.

A good way to remember and demonstrate this newfound knowledge is by playing word games such as crossword puzzles, board games, or games on a phone or computer. It's also fun to try using new vocabulary in conversation.