• Word of the Day
    drivel

    drI v@l

    noun

    1. foolish or silly speech or ideas.
    I don’t believe a word of this drivel about instant weight loss.

    2. saliva that has been allowed to fall from the mouth; drool.

    see more
  • Vocabulary of the Day
    critic

    krI tihk

    noun
    definition 1:  anyone who judges or evaluates.
    example:   Teenagers can be tough critics of video games.
    example:  My friend is a gentle but reliable critic of my writing.

    definition 2:  a person whose work is to write evaluations of literary, artistic, or other cultural works
    example:  Critics loved the film, but it did not attract large audiences.
    example:  Did you read what the critics had to say about the new restaurant?

    definition 3:  one who tends to criticize and find faults.
    example:  I don’t need a critic right now; I need some sympathy.
    example:  Everything has to be just right for my mother-in-law because she is such a critic.

    see more
May
20
2014

Wordsmyth’s new Word Parts database

The importance of learning Word Parts
Studying word parts (roots and affixes) equips us to do the following:

  • Identify the meaningful elements that make up words.
  • Learn the characteristics of roots and of affixes: origin, meaning, grammatical function.
  • Guess (or recall) the meaning of unfamiliar words from the clues given by word parts.
  • Recognize the relationship among words that share a common root or affix.
  • Recognize and use patterns of word change (e.g., cept, -ceive).
  • Improve spelling by gaining awareness of the internal logic of words.
  • Increase vocabulary, cultivate morphological awareness–and enjoy the English language.
  • Fulfill Common Core (CCSS) ELA Literacy standards.

Three views of the Word Parts data

1) Dictionary entries:
More than 8000 Wordsmyth dictionary entries now display information about the word parts that make up the headword. In the new Word Parts section of the entry, the headword is broken down into its roots and affixes.

introvert wpEach significant word part is identified and its origin, type, and meaning provided. The user can also here view a list of other example words containing the word part, and jump to those words’ dictionary entries to explore further. “More about this word part” notes explain in more detail how particular affixes combine with bases to form words.

abstain wp

2) A-Z Word Parts Page:
In addition to the dictionary entry Word Parts feature, where the composition of a word can be studied in the context of looking up a word, the user can search, sort, and browse more than 600 roots and affixes at the A-Z Word Parts page (under Search Tools menu).

Picture 3

3) Search Filters:
Finally, for a view of all the words that have word parts information, the Search Filter page (under the Search Tools menu) will display them in an alphabetical browsable format. Simply select “word parts information.”

Word Parts Data in Word Explorer Children’s Dictionary

Word Explorer Children’s Dictionary users have these same three modes of access to roots and affixes information, but with the example words limited to the headwords in the Children’s Dictionary. To maximize flexibility, there are links to the complete Word Parts Database from any point in the Children’s Word Parts data. In the case of roots and affixes that have no example words in the Children’s Dictionary, the word part and information about it can still be found in the Children’s Dictionary A-Z Word Parts look up. 

For a general introduction to the terms and concepts used in our Word Parts database, see this downloadable pdf http://dev.wordsmyth.net/testdir/web_site/help/WordPartsGuide.pdf.

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Dec
13
2013

flat-footed

Posted in Wordsmyth Blog by admin
flaet fU tihd
adjective
1. pertaining to or having flat feet.
A lady should never waltz if she feels dizzy. It is a sign of disease of the heart, and has brought on death. Neither should she step flat-footed, and make her partner carry her round; but must do her part of the work, and dance lightly and well, or not at all. (Mrs. John M. E. W. Sherwood , Manners and Social Usages)
2. off one’s guard; unprepared.
Mining companies were caught flat-footed by cyber attacks.

 
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Dec
04
2013

continuously vs. continually

Posted in Wordsmyth Blog, Writing Tip by admin

 

Continually   and   Continuously.  It seems that these words should have the same meaning, but in their use by good writers there is a difference. What is done continually is not done all the time, but continuous action is without interruption. A loquacious fellow, who nevertheless finds time to eat and sleep, is continually talking; but a great river flows continuously. (Ambrose Bierce, Write It Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults, 1909)

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Oct
28
2013

averse vs. adverse

Posted in Wordsmyth Blog by admin

It’s not a shocker that these two adjectives are frequently confused. They differ in spelling only by a letter, and they both mean, broadly speaking, “opposed to.” Digging deeper into their etymology only reveals more similarity: the same Latin verb, versare, meaning “to turn,” is at the root of both.

To keep the memorizing simple, here’s a tip:

The word “averse” always applies to a person. It describes a person’s feeling or attitude of being against or opposed to something. Examples: She was averse to violent movies. Are you averse to attending this costume party?

The word “adverse” applies to outside forces and conditions that affect people, usually in a way opposed to or harmful to people’s needs or interests. Examples: A blizzard creates adverse driving conditions. This study concludes that violent movies have an adverse effect on children.

You’ll notice, too, that “averse” is almost always used with the preposition “to.” Examples: I am not averse to change; it just takes me a while to adjust to new things. 

By contrast, “adverse” usually precedes a noun that it modifies: adverse side-effects, adverse winds

Get this distinction down,  and then learn the more precise meanings of these two words by looking up the dictionary entries. And, finally, if you are familiar with “aversion” and “adversity,” which are the nouns formed from “averse” and “adverse,” knowing this quartet of words will strengthen your command of all of them.

P.S.  If you come up with a mnemonic device based on the extra “d” in “adverse,” let us know.

 

 

 

 

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Oct
25
2013

Wordsmyth offers a free school subscription for 2013-14 school year

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Wordsmyth loves teachers. Teachers make up a significant portion of our user base, and developing literacy and vocabulary tools and resources that serve the needs of classrooms motivates much of what Wordsmyth is planning for the future.

 Earlier this year, we introduced a paid subscription option for individual users who want the benefit of premium features. A paid educational group subscription is in the pipeline, but to allow teachers and their students to try the premium subscription features, we are offering a free educational group subscription for the 2013-14 school year. Members of a subscribed school will have access to an ad-free site with a dedicated school URL, and other premium features such as unlimited saving and sharing of activities, use of up to 50 words in activities, Spanish support, and more.

In addition, subscribed schools will also have free use of new content and tools that will become available in the next few months: the extensive Wordsmyth Word Parts (roots and affixes) reference integrated with dictionary entries, and powerful search filters that allow users to perform focused dictionary searches to more easily generate subsets of the dictionary for specific purposes.

Enrollment in the free educational group subscription is a quick, easy process. Send us a request right now, or view a list of subscription features here.

There is also a FAQ about how the free school subscription works.

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