Think Outside the Border Tip #11 – Use the Right Word!

If you are not sure about the meaning of a word, do not use the word.  People notice.  Consider this example from the book, How to Sound Clever: Master the 600 English Words You Pretend to Understand When You Don’t:

“A couple of years ago, I was in a meeting trying to persuade some people of the merits of a business idea. The presentation seemed to be going well: the three people opposite me were nodding as I spoke. After ten minutes I stopped talking and put my pen down on the table in what I hoped was a business-deal-sealing kind of way. Then one of them spoke, ‘You kept on using the word salubrious,’ he said. ‘Do you know what that word actually means?’

I should confess at this point that salubrious is one of those words I’ve never been sure about. It sounds like the French word for dirty, which is sale, but I can never remember if it in fact means the opposite: if it means clean. I had to go for one or the other now.

‘Er… doesn’t it mean dirty?,’ I said weekly.

He shook his head. ‘Salubrious means the opposite – it means clean.’

The deal collapsed five minutes later.”

Words matter.  We think with words.  We share with words.  We build with words.  If you use the wrong words, people will notice.

You must commit some time to mastering your vocabulary.

But, you do not have time to thumb through thick dictionaries looking for the right words.

No worries.  You no longer have to.

When I began writing the series Word Up! The Vocab Show, I discovered an indispensable tool.  Go to

Type in the word you are unsure about, and you will get instant definitions in multiple dictionaries.

I use this site every morning before posting the “word of the day” on the Visual Latin Facebook page.

I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

Have a great Saturday!