Charles Dickens would’ve been an awesome vocabulary teacher.

great expectationsI’m currently reading Great Expectations for the first time. My copy is 509 pages long and as of this writing I’m on page 211. As I’ve said elsewhere, I think Charles Dickens has the superhuman ability to craft perfect sentences. Along with that superpower comes an incredible vocabulary. I’ve been keeping tracks of words I don’t know on sticky notes in the back cover of my book. I’ve included the list below along with some random comments. For some of these I have been able to derive their meaning based on the context. But for most of them I need to grab a dictionary.

  • Rimy – This word is used in my favorite passage of the book so far. Dickens describes the rain on a window “as if some goblin had been crying there all night, and using the window for a pocket-handkerchief.” Dickens essentially says, “There’s goblin snot on my window!”
  • Perspicuity
  • Sagaciously
  • “Lords of the Admirality” – Not a word, but a phrase I need to Google.
  • ablutions
  • peppercorny – sounds yummy.
  • Farinaceous
  • gormandising
  • capricious
  • ignominous
  • adamantine – Who knew that Dickens was an X-Men fan?

  • ophthalmic
  • superciliously
  • cornchandler
  • excrescence – doesn’t this sound like some sort of gross emission? Just say the word out loud a few times. “Excrescence.” Among other things, it means an “abnormal growth.”
  • supposititious – I was convinced this word was a typo the first time I read it.
  • inbrued
  • avaricious
  • asseverates
  • Inveterate
  • preferment – Beer during processing?
  • rantipole
  • mollified – this is what happens when you meet Molly.
  • unremunerative – this is obvious: it means to not be remunerative.
  • stolidity
  • suborned
  • sanguinary

All of this leads me to the unarguable claim: Charles Dickens would’ve been an awesome vocabulary teacher.



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