15 Big Little Words
Sometimes, short and sweet is best, and English includes many three-letter words that help us accommodate our yearning for concise composition — or, to be brief, fix our yen for curt prose. Some are workhorse words — the article the, the pronouns his and her, conjunctions like and, prepositions such as for, verbs like put and say.
However, other three-letter words pack a lot of punch as nouns, adjectives, and verbs (sometimes adaptable to all three forms of speech), and are suitable for purposes as diverse as fitting into a tight headline or packing a punch in prose. Here’s a list of vivid vocabulary consisting of three letters:
1. Apt: appropriate, or suited or inclined
2. Ire: anger
3. Ken: something known or understood, or to know or recognize
4. Wee: small
5. Vex: to distress, irritate, agitate, or puzzle
6. Eke: to accomplish with great effort (also used to mean “increase” or “also”)
7. Cog: a tooth on a gear, or, in a figurative sense, a person as an insignificant part of an enterprise; a similar projection on a piece of wood for interconnecting with another piece; also, flattering, or throwing dice unfairly (also used to mean “to cheat or deceive,” as well as referring to a medieval sailing vessel)
8. Cwm: a valley or hollow
9. Err: to make a mistake, or to transgress
10. Ere: before
11. Gig: a short-term job
12. Yen: a yearning or urge for something
13. Bar: a beam or rod or other manufactured device or natural feature, or a counter for serving drinks or a commercial enterprise for this purpose, but also a verb meaning “to obstruct or prevent” or in reference to an exception (“barring that”)
14. Jet: a powerful stream of material, a jetlike emanation, or an airplane that uses jet propulsion, but also a very dark black, a type of glossy coal often used as jewelry
15. Ram: a male sheep, or a tool used for forcing movement or for breaking through a door or other structure, or a part of a vehicle or vessel designed to damage other vehicles or vessels; to use a tool or similar device
Subscribe to Receive our Articles and Exercises via Email
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our exercise archives, writing courses, writing jobs and much more!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!
2 Responses to “15 Big Little Words”
The word “ere” appears a lot in Shakespeare.
In general, this is a nice list. I’m putting this in my weekly round-up.