Seven words I learned reading the sport section

To obtain a strong vocabulary, we need but two things: the desire to read and the desire to learn.

However, all too often I gloss over words I don’t know, confident with the thrust of the sentence to assume meaning from inference. If you take the time just to quickly look them up – and how easy that is in this day and age – you can fill your mind from the word-well.

Reading widely, of course, means from all over the place, whether that be literary fiction, scientific journals, historical documents or horror short stories.

Following politics is often a good source, though I would ignore the flagrant pretention of Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who once used the 29-letter wordfloccinaucinihilipilification” in parliament, presumably to show off the size of his dictionary. (FNARR-FNARR!)

However, there are plenty of other locutions out there worth knowing that shouldn’t make your readers cringe with contempt. Indeed, I’ve expanded my vocabulary just by reading about football in the Guardian.

So, here are my seven favourite words I’ve found in football reportage, in alphabetical order. Let me know in the comments how many you knew – and see if you can guess which team I support…

1) Alacrity

Noun – brisk and cheerful readiness

“Spurs’ central pair continue to exhibit their eagerness to pester the opposition, snatch the ball from midfield and break with alacrity.”

2) Emetic

Adjective – causing vomiting

“The designers of Arsenal’s 2016/17 third kit have opted for a frankly emetic acid-green, a hue more commonly associated with the signage of biohazards.”

3) Inexorable

Adjective – impossible to stop or prevent

“When their form clicks, the Spurs attacking threat can seem at times inexorable.”

4) Peripatetic

Adjective – travelling from place to place, in particular working in various places for relatively short periods

“It appears the peripatetic Emanuel Adebayor is seeking a return to English football, where he has played for Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Crystal Palace.”

5) Pyrrhic

Adjective – (of a victory) won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor

“With their best players injured or suspended, Arsenal’s pyrrhic victory may have ironically cost them their otherwise incessant participation in the Champions League.”

6) Tourniquet

Noun – a device for stopping the flow of blood through a vein or artery, typically by compressing a limb with a cord or tight bandage

“Far from the delicate waif his detractors paint him as, Erik Lamela has proved a tourniquet in the Tottenham midfield, cutting off the flow of their opponents’ intentions.”

 7) Vituperative

Adjective – bitter and abusive

“At the final whistle, Arsenal’s fans, in a spate of vituperative abuse, called for Wenger’s resignation, despite being their most successful manager of all time.”

6 thoughts on “Seven words I learned reading the sport section”

  1. ‘Peripatetic’ haunted me when I was teaching ‘Of Mice and Men’. You teach the kids that’s George and Lenny’s thing and then you hear it all the freaking time, always in the wrong context. Bless ’em for trying out new vocab though. My work there was done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t know vituperative, but would possibly have worked it out in context as it’s similar to vitriol. Who knew football could be so informative!
    I’m going with Spurs, seeing as you’ve tagged them along with COYS and Tottenham at the bottom of the page. Unless that’s just to throw people off and you really support Arsenal…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Didn’t know peripatetic or vituperative, but the other five I’ve come across before. I love learning new words, although sometimes I wish I had more of a chance to use them… Dropping five dollar words in a YA fiction novel isn’t really possible. Unless you have a character who enjoys showing off… I really need to dust off that old manuscript sometime.

    Liked by 1 person

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