40 ways to expand your vocabulary and enable you to use more complex words with confidence

  • Thousands of words and phrases
  • ‘Teaser Questions to monitor progress
  • Anecdotes and examples to help you memorize words
  • Advice and tips for successful learning



Root Meaning Example
1.      via Road Obviate
2.      aequus (equ-) Equal Equivocal
3.      malus Bad, evil Malign
4.      dico, dictus To say, tell Malediction
5.      volo To wish Malevolent
6.      militis Soldier Militant
7.      bonus, bene Good, well Benevolent
8.      fides Faith Infidelity
9.      scribe, scriptus To write Subscribe
10.  nox, noctis Night Equinox
11.  dono To give Condone
12.  libra Balance, pound Equilibrium
13.  taceo To be silent Taciturn
14.  loquor to speak Loquacious
15.  solus Alone Soliloquy
16.  venter, ventris stomach Ventral
17.  magnus Big, great, Magniloquence
18.  verbum word Verbatim
19.  volvo, volutus To turn Voluble
20.  dorsum Back endorse


More etymology

Root Meaning Example
1.      vox, vocis Voice Vocal
2.      fero To carry Vociferous
3.      ambulo To walk Somnambulist
4.      smnus Sleep Somnolent
5.      pre- Before Preamble
6.      notus Known Notorious
7.      summus Highest Consummate
8.      vetus Old Inveterate
9.      genesis Birth Congenital
10.  chromos Beginning, origin Chronic
11.  pathos Time Empathy
12.  grex, gregis Feeling Egregious
13.  sciens Herd Prescient
14.  omnis Knowing Omniscient
15.  ana- All Anachronism
16.  tele- Far, at a distance Telepathy
17.  se- Apart Segregate
18.  metron Measurement Chronometry
19.  syn- Together Synchronize
20.  manus Hand Manuscript



  1. is a criminal = malefactor
  2. cannot sleep = insomniac
  3. talks to himself = soliloquist
  4. scientist of inheritance = geneticist
  5. skilled old hand = veteran
  6. studies family trees = genealogist
  7. studies the causes of diseases = pathologist
  8. rides a horse =equestrian
  9. sings a song = vocalist
  10. walks in his sleep = somnambulist

More matching

  1. horse-like = equine
  2. listless, feeling nothing = apathetic
  3. incapable of reform = incorrigible
  4. saying two things at once = equivocal
  5. mindlessly talkative = garrulous
  6. noisy, clamorous = vociferous
  7. generous, forgiving = magnanimous
  8. economical of speech = laconic
  9. having the highest skill = consummate
  10. doing good = beneficent

Recall a word

  1. ruthless; without conscience = unconscionable
  2. suspiciously smooth-talking = glib
  3. outstandingly bad; vicious = egregious
  4. out of place = incongruous
  5. study of the family tree = genealogy
  6. science of heredity = genetics
  7. in correct order of time = chronological
  8. diseased; pertaining to the study of disease (adj.) = pathological
  9. measurement of time = chronometry
  10. to cause to occur at the same time = synchronize
  11. ignorant = nescient
  12. knowledge of an occurrence beforehand = prescience
  13. enjoying companionship = gregarious
  14. to identify strongly with the feelings of another = empathize
  15. to speak to oneself, as in a play = soliloquize
  16. unselfish; not revengeful = magnanimous
  17. able to walk after being bedridden = ambulant
  18. inability to fall asleep = insomnia
  19. to make unnecessary = obviate
  20. not fond of chatter = taciturn

Masterly work; you have a talent for words. Good work; you are making very satisfactory progress.  Average work; could you improve your study technique?.  Not up to standard; work harder.  Poor; you need to revise before going on.  Why are you doing so badly?




Root Meaning
1.      phanein To show
2.      pater, patris Father
3.      onyma Name
4.      homos Same
5.      phone Sound
6.      archein To rule
7.      mater, matris Mother
8.      caedo (-cide) To kill
9.      homo Person
10.  uxor Wife
11.  sui- Oneself
12.  pyros Fire
13.  theos God
14.  credo To believe
15.  unus One
16.  trepido To fear
17.  scintilla Spark
18.  urbs City
19.  rus, ruris Country, farmland
20.  gnosis Knowledge


More etymology

Root Meaning
1.      mania Madness
2.      anti- Opposite
3.      frater Brother
4.      soror Sister
5.      claustra Enclosed space
6.      akros Highest
7.      hypo- Below, under
8.      dia- Through
9.      rex, regis King
10.  pono To place
11.  vivo To live
12.  verto, versus Sharp
13.  stoa Porch
14.  ovum Egg
15.  vita Life
16.  specto To view, look at
17.  punctus Point
18.  acuo Sharp
19.  per- Through
20.  retro- Backwards



  1. a masterly musician = virtuoso
  2. sneers at tradition = iconoclast
  3. fears being shut in = claustrophobe
  4. fatherly ruler = patriarch
  5. a dabbler = dilettante
  6. studies religion = theologian
  7. a beginner = tyro
  8. has imaginary ailments = hypochondriac
  9. compulsively starts fires = pyromaniac
  10. believes in one god = monotheist

More matching

  1. love of parties = conviviality
  2. city sophistication = urbanity
  3. religious belief = creed
  4. sharp thinking = acuity
  5. hostility = animus
  6. marriage = matrimony
  7. named after the father = patronymic
  8. pride in one’s country = patriotism
  9. personal code of ethics = credo
  10. identifying a disease = diagnosis

Recall a word

  1. inheritance from one’s father = patrimony
  2. belief in many gods = polytheism
  3. unselfish; not revengeful = magnanimous
  4. morbid fear of heights = acrophobia
  5. the killing of one’s brother = fratricide
  6. opposite in meaning (adj.) = antonym
  7. to rob of life or vigour = devitalize
  8. inexperienced, unsophisticated = naive
  9. scrupulously careful in the observance of proper procedure = punctilious
  10. clear, understandable (of style or language) = perspicuous
  11. wary, cautious, watchful = circumspect
  12. easily fooled = gullible
  13. all of one mind (adj.) = unanimous
  14. uncomplaining in face of pain or misfortune = stoical
  15. killing of a race = genocide
  16. crazily partisan for own country= chauvinistic
  17. an alcoholic = dipsomaniac
  18. compulsion to steal = kleptomania
  19. the emblems of the manarch = regalia
  20. starting fires for financial gain = arson
The thrill of recognition

As time goes on and you notice more and more of the words you have studied whenever you read, or whenever you listen to lectures, the radio, or TV, the thrill of recognition plus the immediate comprehension of complex ideas will provide a dividend of incalculable value.

You will hear these words in conversation, and you will begin to use them yourself, unselfconsciously, whenever something you want to say is best expressed by one of the words that exactly verbalizes your thinking. Another priceless dividend!

So keep on! You are involved in a dividend-paying activity that will eventually make you intellectually rich.





Adder nuff?

Some English words, in their journey down the centuries, have become slightly muddled. In a few cases, words that should begin with n have lost their first letter because it has got turned into the n of an.  Here’s an example:

An orange should be a norange.  It comes from Arabic naranj.


Others are adder, which is from an Anglo-Saxon word naedre, a snake, so it should be a nadder; and apron, from French naperon, a little cloth.

It can happen the other way round, too. A newt should really be a ewt (from Anglo-Saxon efeta, a newt)




Root Meaning
1.      derma Skin
2.      orthos Straight
3.      psyche Soul
4.      neuron Nerve
5.      logos Knowledge, science
6.      algos Pain
7.      agogos Leader
8.      pes, pedis Foot
9.      paidos (paed-) Child
10.  demos The people
11.  oculus Eye
12.  iatreia Healing
13.  metron Measurement
14.  geras Age
15.  soma Body
16.  pathos Suffering
17.  odontos Tooth
18.  pous, podos Foot
19.  cheir (chiro-) Hand
20.  ophthalmos Eye


1.      graphein To write
2.      astron Star
3.      nautes sailor
4.      ge (geo-) earth
5.      zoion Living things
6.      calculus Pebble, counter
7.      oikos House
8.      meteron Something in the sky
9.      hydor, hydros Water
10.  nomos Rule, law
11.  petra Rock, stone
12.  bios Life
13.  physis Nature
14.  tome Cute
15.  sectus Cut
16.  khoros Dance
17.  kardia Heart
18.  platy Broad, flat
19.  therapeia Care, attendance
20.  pharmakon drug


Invented by…

biro – the world-wide ballpoint is called after its inventor, Hungarian Laszlo Biro (1899-1985).

tarmac – the durable surface for roads and runways gets its name from tar (used to stick it together) plus macadam, after John McAdam, the Scottish engineer who first used broken-up stones for road-making.

Sandwich – the ever-popular ‘sarnie’ is called after the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who wanted something to keep him going during a 24-hour session at the gambling table.

Mackintosh – the rubberized waterproof coat is named after its inventor, the Scot Charles Mackintosh; note the –k- in the spelling, unlike in the name of the desk-top computer.

Diesel – the most widely used engines in the world were invented in 1897 by the German engineer Rudolf Diesel, who died in a shipping accident in the Channel.

Doily – the little lace mats made the fortune of John Doily, a London draper in the eighteenth century.


©Dodgsons KingsWay Sanctuary Church, 1973.


Published by:

Andrea Nicola Dodgson

I'm a R.o. Buddhist. And a U.N. Theatre tutor where I own all the Ethnography businesses as birth certificates involving Disney, MGM, Universal, Times Warner, 20th Century Fox, Sony, D.C., Tristar, Pixar, Columbia, and Paramount. And, I get Equipment here for it. I want all my equipment.. #Solidarity

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