Peter’s First Word Of The Day – Aa

August 30, 2008

This is, without a doubt, the nerdiest thing I have done in recent history.  I’ve been studying for the GRE, trying to bone up on my vocabulary and whatnot, and I’ve been trying out all sorts of “word of the day” widgets and apps to help me learn more words.  However, to my frustration, I continue to discover that half of the time I am already familiar with the words they’re supplying.  Call me a conceited know-it-all if you will, but for a guy trying to get a Stanford-worthy GRE score those run-of-the-mill word generators just aren’t gonna cut it.  So, in addition to reading as much literature as possible, I decided to embark on a particularly geeky project to help improve my vocabulary and general knowledge of the english language.  I have a copy of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, a slim volume of merely 1700 pages, which I have determined to read a page or so at a time.  And from each page that I read I will select one word to focus on in this blog, both for my benefit and for yours.  I will provide a definition and some additional and interesting media to accompany it.  You will notice that for my first word of the day, the word itself is linked to a Wikipedia page and there is a related YouTube video.  I will do my best to keep it interesting and fun.  There will be nouns and verbs and adjectives and all of your favorite parts of speech.  It will be a veritable word-orgy.

Let me mention one more thing, at the rate of a page a day I won’t even be finished “a” before I actually end up writing the GRE, so maybe this is not so much a way to study for the GRE than it is a dorky hobby for a hopeless word-lover.  I hope we all learn something from this.  Enjoy.

So where better to start than the beginning.  I’ve got a couple of great vowels for you all to start us off:

AA – n. basaltic lava forming very rough, jagged masses with a light, frothy texture.  Contrast with PAHOEHOE. 



P.S.  Consider this a running citation for all of my definitions:

Concise Oxford English Dictionary (10th ed.). (2002). New York: Oxford University Press.


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