Five apps to improve your vocabulary - scrabble board

It’s frustrating when we come across words we’re not familiar with. Luckily, we all carry around smartphones that can give us the definition, history and usage of any word in any language, in less than ten seconds. But has this luxury made us lazy linguists?

As tempting as the 'synonyms' button is in Microsoft Word, it’s important to challenge your linguistic skills. You'll see improvements in your writing and memory and the next time you come across a big scary word, you won't have to reach for your phone. Here are five free apps that will help you unleash your inner wordsmith.

  1. Words With Friends

    Officially the world’s most popular word game app, Words With Friends is like Tinder for linguists. Matching you up with friends or similarly skilled wordsmiths, your competitive side can drive the discovery of tons of new words.

  1. Punfound

    If you’re the kind of person who, to the despair of your friends and family, looks for any excuse to come up with a groan-inducing pun, this game is for you. It’ll boost your creativity levels, although it might also mean you stop getting invited to parties.

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  1. Duolingo

    Learning or improving foreign language skills has tons of benefits for your brain and gives you access to whole new system of expression that you can take inspiration from.

  1. Audible

    We all know that the best way to improve your vocabulary is to read more. If you’re on the go, try a free audiobook from the leading provider with the best narrators: have Tom Hiddleston read High Rise to you on your commute or Stephen Fry put you to sleep with Harry Potter. Bliss.

  1. Re: Shakespeare

    If you’re an Android user, you can get Samsung’s Re:Shakespeare app, which is designed to take the flashback-to-school-exams fear out of the bard’s plays and poetry. We owe so much of our language to the man (some argue it's over 1700 words), so we owe it to him to re-visit some of the origins of modern English.

Continue to improve your vocabulary and the next time you’re composing an email or telling an engrossing story down the pub, you’ll find the words will flow with eloquent ease. Get reading, whoreson impudent embossed rascals!

Hat tip: David Hunt
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