19 New Words to Spice Up Your Vocabulary in 2020 (Infographic)

Posted 28 Nov 2019, by

Isabel Cabrera

A great vocabulary is an essential tool in a writer’s toolbox.

Using new words can transform dull, lifeless phrases into something much more engaging.

But what’s the best way to learn new words?

You could read a book or open up a thesaurus every day. You could play word puzzles with your friends⁠—if that’s how you like to roll on a Friday night.

Or you can cheat a little by reading our infographic below.

We have compiled a list of 19 new words to use in your writing in 2020. All these words are now commonly used, especially by millennials, on social media and everyday conversation.

Readers fluent in internet-speak will be familiar with many of these words. Others have been used as slang for decades, but have only recently become mainstream.

Using these words can improve your writing, ensuring you stand out from the pack of other writers.

Check out our infographic below to spice up your vocabulary in 2020.

new words infographic

9 Ways To Improve Your Vocabulary

Looking for other great ways to expand your vocabulary and improve your writing? Aren’t we all!

It’s no secret that as writers, we tend to stick to the words we know and love. It’s what’s safe for us. But if you’re looking to spruce up your writing a little and give you a lot more to work with.

1. Read every single day

As a writer, this one shouldn’t be too hard for you. The truth is, sometimes we can be so engrossed in our own work, we forget to step back and enjoy the words of others.

Make this a priority for you from now on. Keep a book on your bedside table and make note that you have to read a little each night.

It’s the best way to pick up new words. You can even slip in a technical book or two, depending on what sort of language you’re looking to develop.

If you’re on an electronic device (such as a Kindle) you can actually highlight the words in your text as you read. It will tell you the meaning, and you can also bookmark them for later. It’s a very handy feature if you’re looking to remember a few new words as you go.

Of course, if you’re reading a good old paper book, you can still make note on your phone, or with pen and paper. Depending on the book, you might be keen to highlight as you go. We know some people find this blasphemous, so won’t push this one!

2. Create your own personal dictionary

It’s one thing to read and learn a new word, it’s another altogether to actually remember it.

Start a Google Doc, or if you prefer something a little more traditional, set yourself up with some pen and paper.

Every time you come across a new word you love and want to use in your own writing, make a note of it.

Now, you could jot the boring dictionary definitely next to it. Or, you could get a little more creative and put together your own definition. Have a little fun with it and make it a word to remember.

Using Grammarly is also a great to learn new words.

3. Do a little etymological research

As I’m sure you already know, etymology is the study of the origin of words and how the meaning has changed and developed over the course of history.

If you’re into words – which as a writer you no doubt are – then this is a bit of fun you can have, while also adding to that amazing vocabulary of yours.

If you’re looking for a free resource to help you out, head on over to Etymonline.com. It’s one big, online dictionary that you can search through and discover the history of all words. It also has its own app and Google extension.

Next time you come across an unusual word that you want to add to your vocabulary, do a little bit of research! It’ll not only make it more interesting for you, but you’re more likely to remember the word in the process.

4. Embrace the music

That’s right, books aren’t the only resource we can use to discover new words.

Next time you’re enjoying a bit of downtime away from it all, pop in some ear buds and turn on the tunes. Listen the words as you go – you can even sing along if you like.

You’ll not only come across a few new words as you go, but you get to immerse yourself in some pop culture in the process.

This is a fabulous way to gain some insight into the trendy words and sayings that are doing the rounds at the moment.

5. Go people-watching

Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a bit of people-watching? I know I do!

Plus, it’s a great way to expand your vocabulary.

Think about all those times in your writing when you have struggled to put a conversation to paper. This is no easy task and takes a lot of fine-tuning as you go.

There is no better research you can do, than actually getting out there and eaves dropping on some actual conversations.

Take your pen and paper – or go with your phone to be a little more discreet – and make notes about the types of words people use in their everyday conversations. Ask yourself what sort of mannerisms they are using and so on.

6. Host a game night

Sure, not everyone might be as keen as you to expand their vocabulary, but who can pass up a game’s night!?

There are so many great games out there at the moment that can be used to expand your vocabulary in the process. Here are just some to help you out:

  • Scrabble: never one to be overlooked, you can’t go past a good game of Scrabble. You will need to keep the dictionary close for this one for any of those inevitable disputes.
  • Boggle: mix up the fun with Boggle. You shake up the pieces and then have three minutes to find as many words as possible. You won’t be discovering any long words in this game, but you might find some hidden gems.
  • Scattergories: this is the game where you lose points for using the same words. You have to think outside the square – and fast – and improve your vocabulary along the way.
  • Wordsmithery: it’s all in the name for this one. There’s multiple choice to help you along, as you try and guess the meanings of new words. An ideal way to get some more words into your vocabulary.

7. Take a writing course

Being a writer can sometimes be rather lonely. Taking a course, like one of the many writing courses on MasterClass, is a great way to meet new people who have common interests, and also learn plenty of new skills (and words) along the way.

If you’re not really a people person, then you can opt for an online course that you can take from the comfort of your home. Most of these courses are self-paced, so there’s no rush.

There are so many classes to choose from, including creative writing, thesis writing, non-fiction writing and more. Find the one that interests you and give it a go, you’ll not only discover great new words but you’ll get the chance to improve on your writing in the process.

8. Find your common words

Head through the latest book/novel/article you wrote and give it a read through. Are there any words that keep cropping up again and again – hint, of course there are! This is something we all do, so you’re not alone.

Highlight or make note of them and head back through with a thesaurus. It’s time to discover some fabulous new words that you can used instead of your go-to words that keep slipping in.

This is one of the easiest ways to quickly improve your writing. So jump to it and see what you come across.

9. Ask friends and family

You may have the best vocabulary in the family, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a thing or two you could learn from those around you.

Set them all a task – ask them to send you their favorite, obscure word they can think of. If you ask 20 friends to do this, you’re going to get 20 great answers. People will love having fun with something like this and will be all too keen to take part.

All you have to do is ask! It’s a very quick and simple way you can add some new words to your vocabulary without having to lift a finger.

Now you know some fabulous ways you can improve your vocabulary, it’s time to check out our infographic below to start you off. You can add 19 new words straight away and stand out from the pack.

What are you waiting for?!

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