Your vocabulary is extremely important! The words you use in speaking and writing create a window through which others view your knowledge. If this window is too small, others may never know your abilities and potential and may never understand your opinions and insights. The Vocabulary Quick Reference will make this window much larger by allowing you to increase your knowledge of word roots and begin the lifelong process of vocabulary building.

The Vocabulary Quick Reference is the only book of its kind. It was produced to meet the following, and previously unfulfilled, requirements of an effective vocabulary learning tool:

  • List all the words that contain each root with a complete definition for each word.
  • Show the complete etymology for each word.
  • Show which words are most frequently used. This is important to students preparing for the SAT and other college entrance exams.
  • Highlight the most important portion of each definition so the user has a short and easy-to-learn definition embedded within each complete definition.
  • Create an alphabetical list of these highlighted words that will group related words together so they can be learned together.
  • Develop a pronunciation technique that has no special characters and is easy to use.

For a detailed description of how this is done see the How To Use This Book section.

Learning vocabulary through memorization is very difficult and often temporary. However, learning becomes more meaningful through the study of roots. Once you understand the roots, you can dissect a word and use the roots to learn the meaning of the word. For instance, triskaidekaphobia can be dissected as follows: tris means three, kai means and, deka means ten, and phobia means fear. Therefore, triskaidekaphobia means fear of the number 13.

Words that sound alike are often confused. For example, bisect and dissect are similar in sound and are often misused and misspelled. Bisect [bi-,two + sect,to cut] means "to cut into two equal parts." Dissect [dis-,apart + sect,to cut] means "to cut apart." The prefix dis- in dissect means apart, but is often confused with the prefix di- which means two. Since dissect consists of two roots, the first ending in "s" and the second beginning with "s," it must be spelled with two s's. Once you understand the etymology you will never misuse or misspell bisect or dissect. This spelling rule also applies to many other words. In interrupt, irrupt, and corrupt, the first root ends with "r" and the following root begins with "r" so they must be spelled with two r's. The roots tell you how to spell the word. See page 200.

Another example of the power of etymology is in learning million, billion, trillion, etc., which all contain the root mill, meaning 1,000. Most people know how to spell and use million, billion, and trillion, but what comes after trillion? The root for million is mill, which means 1,000. Since million doesn't have a prefix a 1 is understood. So one million is written as one set of three zeros after 1,000 or 1,000,000. In billion and trillion the m for mill is understood and the prefix indicates how many sets of three zeros are to be written after 1,000.Thus the etymology for billion is [bi-,two + [m]ill,thousand + -ion] which is written as 1,000,000,000 or two sets of three zeros after 1,000. The etymology for trillion is [tri-,three + [m]ill,thousand + -ion] which is written as 1,000,000,000,000 or three sets of three zeros after 1,000. After trillion comes quadrillion [quadr-,four + [m]ill,thousand + -ion] which is four sets of three zeros after 1,000 or 1,000,000,000,000,000. These prefixes continue through viginti which in Latin means twenty. You simply write down 1,000 and then add as many sets of three zeros as the prefix indicates. See pages 116 and 282. Centillion is written as 100 sets of three zeros after 1,000 or 1 followed by 303 zeros.

Words such as pneumonia can be very annoying because the first letter is silent. However, when you understand the root it is easy to see why the "p" in pneumonia is silent. Pneumo and the suffix -pnea are forms of the same root. In cases like apnea, the "p" is necessary and is pronounced. Therefore the pronunciations for pneumonia and apnea are (noo MOHN yuh) and (AP nee uh). See pages 193 and 194. The same is true for pter on page 196. The "p" is pronounced in helicopter (HEL ih kop' ter) and is silent in pterodactyl (tehr' uh DAK tul). See page 197.

The roots ann meaning year and enn meaning years are an excellent example of how helpful roots can be in determining the correct word to use. For instance, if you are looking for a word that means "occurring once every two years" do you want to use biannual or biennial? Bi-means two and enn means years so the correct word is biennial. Biannual can't be correct because if the word contains the root ann it has to mean something that occurs within a one year period. Therefore, biannual means something that occurs twice a year. If the word contains the root enn it has to mean something that occurs once in two or more years. Once you understand that ann means year and enn means years, you will never confuse the annuals in your flower garden with the perennials. Since ann always pertains to something that occurs within a one year period, the annuals are the flowers that last only one season, while the perennials bloom year after year. See pages 73 and 283.

To see a few examples of words that should be learned together turn to the following pages in the keywords section:

The keywords for utopia and dystopia on page 259 beginning with "imaginary."

The keywords for grapheme, phoneme, morpheme, lexeme, semanteme, and taxeme on page 304 beginning with "smallest."

The keywords for alexia and agraphia on page 270 beginning with "loss of the ability to."

The keywords for cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude on page 324 beginning with "with praise for."

The keywords for agnostic and atheist on page 284 beginning with "one who believes."

See the keywords on page 261 beginning with "inflammation."

See the keywords on page 250 beginning with "fear."

See the keywords on page 251 beginning with "figure of speech."

There are hundreds of words in this book that are just as easy and fun to learn as the examples presented here. Read through the dictionary and keyword sections and you will be amazed at how many words can be learned together, and their etymology makes leaming and remembering them almost effortless.

This book contains 260 primary roots. When a root is given, every word that contains that root is listed so the user will know how many words contain the root and will have a complete definition for each word. The etymology is listed immediately after each word so the roots and the definition can be seen together at a glance. The keywords in the definition that reflect the etymology are also highlighted in blue so a direct connection can be made between the meaning and the etymology. This makes the meaning easy to understand and recall.

Remember, an impressive vocabulary will strengthen your self-confidence and give you a distinct advantage in an increasingly competitive world. The vocabulary you build with the Vocabulary Quick Reference will improve your quality of life as it opens new doors and prepares you for future opportunities.