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Reading widely, of course, means from all over the place, whether that be literary fiction, scientific journals, historical documents or horror short stories.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 word “floccinaucinihilipilification” 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…
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.”
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.”
Adjective – impossible to stop or prevent
“When their form clicks, the Spurs attacking threat can seem at times inexorable.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”