Life, Lists, Poetry, Words, Writing

How to Learn and Remember New Words

Resolutions? Did you make them this year? And are you wondering why I am talking about them a month into the year? Well, if you did make any, then this is a good point in time to look back to see how you are doing with keeping them. If not, then it is still not too late to make some. As for me, I did not really make resolutions, though I did talk about adding tiny habits. Including learning new words, and I think I am doing good with looking for them. But the next step is remembering them. So I am giving thought to this two step process of how to learn and remember new words now!

So first, here are a few quick tips on

How to Learn and Remember New Words

a hand writing with a pen on a note book.. pin title says  How to Learn and Remember New Words

I have used some of these tips on and off, but not as consistently as I should. Hopefully, this year, I will get better at doing so!

Use them

— immediately and then repeatedly over the next few days
— weave them together in tall stories. The weirder the story you use them in, the easier it will be to remember them!
— with other associated words (antonyms, synonyms, and related words) in sentences. For example, recondite meaning little known or difficult to be known/understood by most (synonyms include obscure or profound and opposites include superficial or shallow)
— by speaking the words out loud and listening to them
— writing them down

Apply memory techniques

— mnemonics (like using ROY G BIV or VIBGYOR for the colors of the rainbow)
memory palaces (they sound cool and are cool too!! Click on the link to learn more about them and how to use them. But to give you an overview, memory palaces have been used since time immemorial to learn things)
— word webs (write down words that you associate the word you are learning with in a web-like pattern)
— visual connections – drawings of things the word reminds you of (for example, claptrap is a word meaning trash. So you could visualize it with two hands in the motion of clapping and trapping some trash!)
— teach them to others (like I am kind of doing with some of the words here today)
— one new method i discovered is called the Goldlist Method and I am going to try using it (along with a few others based on the word and my mood!)
— and last but not least, memorize them (yes, good old rote learning for a bit always helps too)

and going back to the beginning, how we learn them also helps


— from real life situations, conversations with others, emails, texts etc
— from movies and shows you watch, or books you read, or songs you listen to
— words that you will use, or useful words, or cool words that you will want to use

So What of My Tiny Habit Goal(s) of Learning New Words & More

I am back again attempting a Poetics prompt over at dVerse. For this week’s prompt, Punam has encouraged us to look at resolutions once more. We could choose to weave one of five pieces of random advice into our own version of “resolution verse.” I picked this advice: “When you add something to the cupboard of life, subtract something,” and I used it to weave into my poem with a touch of humor as I looked at my tiny habits and how I have been working on them since I wrote down that list a little over two weeks ago.

FIFO*, Maybe So

Each one is a tiny habit
Each one just a puny feat
So for day one, thought I
Wouldn’t it be neat
to conquer all on my list?

I have to say I did succeed!
Yay, I really did..
But you see, I forgot this
Adding things sometimes means,
something else you miss!

And this is what befell moi
really – on that day..Oh boy!
Thirteen things I always (used to) did
They got left out, well, buried
in all my earnestness (or was it greed?)

~ Vidya @ LadyInReadWrites

*FIFO – First In First Out

Jokes apart, I am actually putting the tiny habits to practice. Though it is not all of them each day, I manage to go through more than half of them on a daily basis. However, I have not been doing the celebration bit always, and hope to feel comfortable doing that soon.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

On a side note, I will soon be working on a tall tale with all the words I have been learning these past couple of weeks (to give you an idea, some of the words include: paladin, strigiform, fasool, paraph, earworm, and bugbear)

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, how about you? How do you learn and remember new words? What about resolutions and goals for this year? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this post & any recommendations for me.

Image of hand holding pen and writing on a page; pin title says how to learn and remember new words

23 thoughts on “How to Learn and Remember New Words

  1. I’m very visual, so remembering new words by drawing a picture or relating the word to a picture would be very helpful. As I get older, I tend to forget new words quickly unless I use them or do something visual.

  2. I swear this article was written for me! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to improve my vocabulary only to forget the words or not know what context to use them in. Thanks for the tips!

  3. This post reminds me of reading the Reader Digest when I was a kid. I always looked at the new word section.

  4. With anything nowadays that requires me to use my memory, I always have to write things down. I would need to do this for new words too, and their definitions.

  5. I’m always looking to improve my vocabulary where I can. This is some really good and helpful advice. I used to use memory techniques when studying medicine. They can work really well for a lot of things.

  6. This is such an informative and helpful post for all the writers out there! I either write them down or teach them to my husband 😃. This way, I can remember the new words. I’ll follow your Memory Palace technique too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *