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Context clues

I gained my vocabulary purely through reading. I was not one of those people who sat around studying vocab flash cards…not even before the SATs. Instead, I used the old fashioned method of picking things up through context.

However, this is an imperfect method, which has led me in recent years to add “looking unfamiliar words up in the dictionary” to my learning routine. Even now I find words that I have learned incorrectly.

Today, for example, I realized that I didn’t know the proper definition of the word “bemused”. For some reason I always thought it was a different way of saying “amused”, when in fact it means something like “bewildered”.

Ah, language.