Witnesses were aghast, amazed, astonished, astounded, bemused, benumbed, bewildered, confounded, confused, dazed, dazzled, disconcerted, disoriented, dumbstruck, electrified, flabbergasted, horrified, immobilized, incredulous, nonplussed, overwhelmed, paralyzed, perplexed, scared, shocked, startled, stunned, stupified, surprised, taken aback, traumatized, upset. Make sure you correctly understand the definition of a word (by using a dictionary) before using it in some important paper or report.
Your bookstore salesperson can provide plenty of examples of an inexpensive thesaurus.
Often you'll find that learning one new word leads to other new words, little constellations of meaning that keep your brain cells active and hungry for more.For instance, we know that sophomores are students in their second year of college or high school. The "sopho" part of the word comes from the same Greek root that gives us philosophy, which we know means "love of knowledge." The "ic" ending is sometimes added to adjectival words in English, but the "more" part of the word comes from the same Greek root that gives us moron. By permission of Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc. Suffixes, on the other hand, modify the meaning of a word and frequently determine its function within a sentence. With suffixes, the word becomes the adjective national, the adverb nationally, and the verb nationalize.Thus sophomores are people who think they know a lot but really don't know much about anything, and a sophomoric act is typical of a "wise fool," a "smart-ass"! Going back to philosophy, we know the "sophy" part is related to knowledge and the "phil" part is related to love (because we know that odendron loves shady spots). "Phil" is still love, and "anthropy" comes from the same Greek root that gives us anthropology, which is the study ("logy," we know, means study of any kind) of anthropos, humankind. Knowing the Greek and Latin roots of several prefixes and suffixes (beginning and endings attached to words) can also help us determine the meaning of words. See what words you can come up with that use the following suffixes.In fact, you might well discover that the words you've written down are rather common.What's happening is not that, all of a sudden, people are using words you never saw before, but that you are now reading and using words that you had previously ignored.