Monday, February 12, 2024


I like learning new words. My most frequent source is The New Yorker, a magazine with captivating prose. Reading articles there expands my vocabulary with no special effort.

Usually you encounter words you've seen many times before but just never bothered to look up. Like "plaintive" (sad) or "sinuous" (curvy). Occasionally, as in the current issue, you confront a mysterious word you've never heard of. Like "noumenal" (existing independent of perception). 

Researching the meaning of "noumenal" forces you to dip a toe in the pond of philosophy, something that intimidates many. Braving that cold water is worth the effort, however, because you gain more than a simple word. You watch brilliant minds wrestle with big questions like the nature of reality, the "hard problem of consciousness" and the purpose of our existence. 

Funny where words can lead us.


  1. I love words, especially ones that are new to me (not many are - I have a big vocabulary!). I'm tempted to subscribe to the New Yorker - it always seems to have interesting articles.

    1. I recommend the subscription. I read every issue, cover-to-cover, and love exploring new fields. And laugh at the cartoons.

  2. I used to read long books with a dictionary nearby! Like Sheila, I'm always thrilled when I come across a new one. I need to get back into crosswords.

  3. If interesting language is your bag, so to speak, Susie Dent runs a word of the day and has a few books out of curious, old, and new wordage.