We all know that word games can improve our vocabulary, but at Word-Buff.com, we're going to do things the other way around...
We're going to improve our word power for the sole purpose of winning more word games!
After all, we're not out to impress people during dinner-table conversation - we're out to whip their butts in the after-dinner Scrabble game!
If you're a genuine word-buff, I'm sure you'll understand.
But first I'd like to say a bit more about the V-word. In the context of word games, vocabulary does not so much refer to your reading level, but rather to the lexical armory you bring to a word duel. Although you will no doubt improve your everyday vocabulary along the way, the sorts of words and word-learning techniques you will master here are specialized for one thing, and one thing only... word combat!
To master a specific word game, it is not enough to make a vague pledge to improve your word power. You must work out exactly what kind of word-knowledge is required of that particular game, and undertake targeted exercises to achieve it.
If you want to build your Scrabble vocabulary, for example, you should pay much more attention to the word AMNIOTE than ELEEMOSYNARY. If you're preparing for a Spelling Bee, on the other hand, it'll be the other way around.
Because AMNIOTE is a high-probability bonus word in Scrabble, but since it is spelled exactly as it sounds, it's not much of a discriminator in Spelling Bees.
ELEEMOSYNARY, on the other hand, is near impossible to spell from its pronunciation, making it a perfect candidate for a Spelling Bee. Attractive as this word may be to the Scrabble-buff, though, at 12-letters long you could play a billion games of before you got to use it.
There are nice overlaps in word game lexicons, of course. The word ETUI is a well-worn vowel-dump in Scrabble, an infamous repeater in Crosswords, and a reasonably difficult-to-spell candidate for Spelling Bees. By and large, though, the words you need to master will depend very heavily on the word game you want to win.
But it's not just about the words you study. There is also the question of how you study those words. The way in which your brain needs to access a word varies tremendously from one word game or puzzle to another. In Scrabble, you will be faced with a jumbled rack from which you need to find a word - this makes anagramming a critical skill. In a Crossword, you'll be presented with a crafty clue, making semantics the key ingredient. In a Spelling Bee, on the other hand, the trigger is a word's pronunciation.
Can you see why the subject of word game vocabulary takes up so much of this website? Not only do you need to master hundreds, if not thousands, of new words targeted specifically to a game or puzzle, but the mental exercises you need to practice to find that word in a game situation must be equally well-targeted.
It is! But that's the price you must pay to impress your friends ;-)
Now let's get on with the job. Click on a link below to go to a page that specializes in vocabulary-building resources for your specific area of interest...
Spelling Bee Vocabulary
You'll be taken to a page that talks about word-sources (i.e. dictionaries), word-lists, and word-study techniques that are specific to the type of word game that interest you.
Return to Word Games Home from Your Vocabulary Guide