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Becoming a Wordsmith

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

word·smith| ˈwərdˌsmɪθ | noun a skilled user of words.

To become a wordsmith knowing how to use a dictionary is important. Dictionaries are an integral in being able to understand what a word means.

in·te·gral| ˈɪn(t)əɡrəl, ɪnˈtɛɡrəl |


1 necessary to make a whole complete; essential or fundamental: games are an integral part of the school's curriculum | systematic training should be integral to library management.

So what are the basics when using a dictionary? The following is copied from the link above, though there are a few more things to check out as well.

How to use a dictionary Dictionaries are organized alphabetically, so start with the first letter of the word that you are trying to find. 'Alliteration' is going to be in the first section of the dictionary under 'a'.
There will be lots of entries for each letter of the alphabet, so use the guide word at the top of the page to help you. The guide word tells you what the first or last word on that page of the dictionary is.
You will need to look at the second letter of the word, and then the third, and so on, in order to find it. It takes a little practice to find words quickly.
You may need to scan several pages of the dictionary in order to find the word that you need. Scanning is a way of reading quickly to find the information that you need. The more you practice, the better you will get at finding words fast.

Word types

When you find your word, there may be an abbreviation next to it. Perhaps vb., n., or adj. The introduction to your dictionary will tell you what they each mean because every dictionary is different, but these are the most common and may indicate that your word is a verb, a noun, or an adjective.

Different meanings

Some words have multiple meanings. These will usually be numbered, and may have an example of the way that the word can be used in a sentence. Some dictionaries may give even more information; perhaps about the origin and history of a word, or some of its synonyms (words or phrases which mean the same, or nearly the same).


Best luck, and I hope your educational journey is successful.


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