I Thought I Had at Least an Average Vocabulary; Wrong Again

I still remember the big day.

I was probably around 12 years old, and my parents were taking me out to get something I really wanted.

Webster’s 3rd New International Dictionary.

It was THE dictionary.

It contained more than 450,000 entries, including more than 100,000 new entries.

The first print run had 2,726 pages, weighed 13½ lbs, and originally sold for $47.50 (about $350 in 2010 dollars).

Why would a sports and girl obsessed 12-year old boy want a dictionary?

Well, despite being obsessed with sports, I wasn’t very good at any of them.

And as for the girl thing, let’s just say the obsession was quite one-sided, and besides, I was more comfortable spending an hour with a book of brain teasers than a girl.

I was also studying for our school’s spelling bee, and a dictionary was the best study guide imaginable. (I had hoped to win our regional spelling bee to make it the National Finals in Washington, D.C., but unfortunately I never did.)

Anyway, I loved that dictionary, and despite my mediocre verbal SAT scores, I always thought that those years spent studying from it had helped to improve my vocabulary.

So when I came across an online vocabulary quiz, I thought it would be right up my alley.

This particular quiz was referred to as the “Slippery Words Quiz“, described as the following:

Many of the words we use have a meaning that is different from what it once was. Take the quiz below to see if you can guess the earliest meaning of some of the more slippery English words.

Well there were 11 words in the quiz, and as I found out after the test, the average score is a 6.

My score was a 3.

Looks like it’s time to bring a dictionary to bed with me again…

If you’d like to take the quiz, here is the link.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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