Welcome to Babble of the Books

A Bright and Cozy Place to Talk Reading

  • Allie

Trick Words

Updated: Mar 15, 2020

Yesterday I began reading Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino. The first essay entitled “The I in Internet” is full of strong writing… and words that I had to look up in the dictionary.

It’s become a habit to look out for new words as I read. In the past I’ve been lax; I figure out what the word means given its context and move on. However, the limited understanding I garner from that instance keeps me from being able to use the word myself in other contexts.

Thus, I’ve changed my ways. I now flag words I want to add to my lexicon with a post-it and take the time to look them up one by one.

From today onward, every Wednesday I plan to share a word (or few) that I encountered in my reading and felt inspired to look up. First, I’ll provide the word and the phrase or sentence in which I read it. Second, I’ll list the definition. (In today’s post, definitions come from the Oxford English Dictionary.) Lastly, I’ll take a stab at using the word myself in a sentence.

In the above essay by Tolentino I identified three words:


“She was then pilloried by people who chose to demonstrate their own moral superiority through mockery” (9).

Def: verb, to attack or ridicule publicly

Teens feel pressure to fit in, or else face being pilloried by their peers.


“... a similar fiasco made national news in Pizzagate, after a few rabid internet denizens decided they’d found coded messages about …” (10).

Def: noun, an inhabitant or occupant of a particular place

When I studied music in college, I was practically a denizen of the music building, given I spent more time there than in my own apartment.


“But even in this narrative, the importance of action was subtly elided” (19).

Def: transitive verb. To pass over in silence; to suppress, strike out, or omit from an account

Feedback that elides either praise or criticism is incomplete; both are necessary.

What words have you been adding to your lexicon? In what ways does reading challenge you to grow? Share in the comments, and happy reading!



Thanks for submitting!