Thursday, August 30, 2007

Vocabulary: What a Solipsist!

For some strange reason, the time settings on my blog are acting up. This is yesterday's post and today's post is below this. Suddenly, blogger made yesterday today and today, yesterday. Let me try to fix this. Thanks for reading

When I started this blog, I said that would be featuring English vocabulary as well as grammar and pronunciation. So far, I've been focusing on grammar, which is a more problematic area of English language learning. Here, though, is my first entry for vocabulary.

Reading through Time magazine the other day, I came across the word solipsist. One of the good things I like about a magazine like Time is that many of their writers use good vocabulary and I find myself taking out my trusty dictionaries to look up new words.

So what does solipsist mean? The word is derived from solipsism which is a philosophical belief that the self or the individual is the only reality. A solipsist is someone who practices or believes in solipsism. It sounds deep, right? Fact is, if you sift through the philosophy part, what the word clearly means is that a solipsist is a selfish, individualistic, self-centered person. After all, if you think reality revolves around you, wouldn't that make you selfish?

I'm not surprised that Time used this particular vocabulary item. The article I was reading was entitled "China's 'Me' Generation."

It's not always proper to use big words, though. It pays to use them in the proper context. But, if you're feeling particularly mad a someone, you can call him/her a solipsist and he/she will probably not understand you.

Isn't learning new English words neat?

Have a nice day! And remember, don't be a solipsist!

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