Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan Provides infrequently used words to strengthen your vocabulary.

The “Exploring Ways to Use Our Minds Efficiently” website points out that developing a vocabulary is one of the most overlooked ways to improve our lives.

Everyone, not just authors and public speakers, benefits from it both personally and professionally. The website brought out three reasons to improve your vocabulary. In this column I am going to discuss the first one.

Vocabulary sharpens your communication. Effective communication is simple. Having a good vocabulary is more than knowing hundreds of advance words; the point of having a good vocabulary is to be able to choose words with precision.

The website uses the metaphor of “communication toolbox,” that is, each word is a tool ready to be used. The more tools we master, the better our chances of finding the right one for the communication task at hand.

Having a large bank account of words is not the goal. Every time we learn a word we are better understanding the ones we have learned. By comparing the meaning of new words with the ones you already know, you understand how to use them more effectively.

More often than not, this means knowing the easier words and their meaning more thoroughly. Therefore, a good vocabulary often makes your communication simpler and not the opposite as many people think.

1. chrysalis (KRIS-uh-lis) A. a protected stage of development B. a sheltered state or stage of being or growth C. sparkling D. glamorous ——————-

2. bungalow [BUN-guh-lo) A. a blunder B. a tropical plant C. an innocuous snake D. a one-storied house with a low-pitched roof ——————-

3. farrago (fuh-RAH-go) A. a termagant B. fiery C. a summer scarf D. a confused mixture, hodgepodge

A and B are correct for No. 1, chrysalis.

No. 2, bungalow, is D.

No. 3, farrago, is D. What I have for A is a synonym for virago. Sometimes farrago and virago are confused. ——————-

If you get this next one correct, you’re word-savvy.

4. boustrophedon (bue-struh-FEE-dun) A. a stringed Grecian instrument that looked like a mandolin B. a psychological setback C. the style of writing in which the direction of the lines is alternated D. an object that is confiscated E. a large balloon

What I have for A under No. 4 is a definition for bouzouki. The answer is C. If I sent Vaughan’s Vocabulary to my editors in boustrophedonic style, they might not publish it.

Editor’s Note: Don R. Vaughan, Ph.D., of Eupora is a speech and theatre professor at East Mississippi Community College. He is also pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in northeastern Choctaw County. Contact him at