The 3 Best Sites to Learn a New Word Every Day

Expanding and improving your vocabulary one word at a time

Image of boy surfing Internet on laptop-computer for school homework
mtreasure / Getty Images

In terms of vocabulary development, we were all little geniuses in childhood, learning hundreds of new words every year. By the time we entered first grade, most of us had active vocabularies of several thousand words.

Unfortunately, we weren't geniuses for very long. By age 11 or 12, equipped with a sizable survival vocabulary, most of us lost some of our early enthusiasm for language, and the rate at which we picked up new words began to decline significantly. As adults, if we don't make deliberate efforts to increase our vocabularies, we're lucky to pick up even 50 or 60 new words a year.

The English language has so much to offer (between 500,000 and 1 million words, by most accounts) that it would be a shame to let our vocabulary-building talents go to waste. So here's one way that we can regain some of our youthful brilliance: learn a new word each day.

Whether you're a student preparing for the SAT, ACT, or GRE, or simply an unabashed logophile (or lover of words), starting each day with a fresh word can be intellectually nourishing—and more enjoyable than a bowl of All-Bran.

Here are three of our favorite daily word sites: all are free and available through e-mail subscriptions.

A.Word.A.Day (AWAD)

Founded in 1994, A.Word.A.Day at is the creation of Anu Garg, an India-born computer engineer who clearly enjoys sharing his pleasure in words. Simply designed, this popular site (nearly 400,000 subscribers from 170 countries) offers concise definitions and examples of words that relate to a different theme every week. The New York Times has called this "the most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace." Recommended for all word lovers.

Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Day

For many of us, the Oxford English Dictionary is the ultimate reference work, and the OED Word of the Day provides a complete entry (including a wealth of illustrative sentences) from the 20-volume dictionary. You can sign up to have the OED's Word of the Day delivered by e-mail or RSS web feed. Recommended for scholars, English majors, and logophiles.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

Less expansive than the OED site, the daily word page hosted by this U.S. dictionary-maker offers an audio pronunciation guide along with basic definitions and etymologies. The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is also available as a podcast, which you can listen to on your computer or MP3 player. Recommended for high school and college students as well as advanced ESL students.

Other Daily Word Sites

These sites should also be useful to high school and college students.

Of course, you don't have to go online to learn new words. You can simply begin making a list of new words that you encounter in your reading and conversations. Then look up each word in a dictionary and write down the definition along with a sentence that illustrates how the word is used.

But if you need a little encouragement to work on building your vocabulary every day, sign up for one of our favorite word-a-day sites.

View Article Sources
  1. Dahlgren, Mary E. "Oral Language and Vocabulary Development: Kindergarten & First Grade." Reading First National Conference, 2008.

  2. How Many Words Are There in English?” Merriam-Webster.

  3. Garg, Anu. "A.Word.A.Day."

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "The 3 Best Sites to Learn a New Word Every Day." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Nordquist, Richard. (2020, August 27). The 3 Best Sites to Learn a New Word Every Day. Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "The 3 Best Sites to Learn a New Word Every Day." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 30, 2023).