Use word-image pairings to remember definitions

I have tutored students for the SAT and I have also taught English as a second language. The question that I got all the time from my students was:

“How on earth will I ever remember all of these new vocabulary words?”

My answer? With a little creativity!

One thing I find helpful is to associate a new word with an image. So for example:

Word-Image Pairing Strategy

The first time I learned the word pompous, I immediately thought, "That's my guidance counselor!"

He thought he knew everything there was to know about the college application process even though his info was about 20 years out of date. And he wouldn't ever let us forget it, pontificating endlessly about all the things he thought we were doing wrong but that we were actually doing right, because hello? It was the 21st century!

Thank goodness I switched guidance counselors because I would never have gotten into the college I did had I listened to him. But I guess, I have him to thank for always remembering the definition of the word pompous.

Here are some other word-image pairings that have worked for me:

Pecuniary: The word pecuniary looks a lot like the word penny. So I always think of Scrooge counting piles and piles of pennies in his bank vault.

Usurious: The first time I saw this word was in an article describing the "usurious interest rates" levied by credit card companies. Since then, every time I see this word, I think about those crazy interest rates.

So give the word-image pairing strategy a shot!


Photo Credit: aggedor, Mat_the_W, mecklenburg