Tag Archives: Using Music to Learn Vocabulary

Using Music to Learn Vocabulary: Part 5

“Using Music to Learn Vocabulary” is back with its fifth installment!

(Refresh your memory with parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, then read on below).

1. Maudlin: “Eighth Avenue” by Hospitality

Maudlin means self-pityingly or tearfully sentimental.

2. Rubbernecker: “Ambulance” by Eisley

A rubbernecker is a person who stares or gapes inquisitively, especially in a naive or foolish manner.

3. Super Trouper: “Super Trouper” by ABBA

Super Trouper is the registered trademark name of a brand of huge spotlights used in stadium concerts.

4. Degausser: “Degausser” by Brand New

A degausser is a device that neutralizes a magnetic field or erases information.

5. Cantilever: “You’re the Runner” by Mitten

A cantilever is a projecting structure, such as a beam, that is supported at one end and carries a load at the other end or along its length.

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Using Music to Learn Vocabulary: Part 4

Even more good vocabulary words are in the 4th installment of “Using Music to Learn Vocabulary”!

1. Treacle: “Black Treacle” by Arctic Monkeys

Treacle means cloying speech or sentiment. In Britain, treacle also refers to molasses.

2. Myna: “Indian Myna” by Ben Lee

A myna is a type of bird native to Asia. The myna is an omnivorous bird with a strong territorial instinct that has adapted extremely well to urban environments. The myna is also an important motif in Indian literature.

3. Halcyon: “Halcyon” by Orbital

Halcyon is an adjective that describes a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful.

4. Matador: “Matador” by Maria Taylor

A matador is a bullfighter whose job is to kill the bull.

5. Synesthete: “Synesthete Song” by Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band

A synesthete is someone who experiences synesthesia, the condition of perceiving sounds as specific colors or colors as specific sounds.

6. Tundra: “To Tundra” by Los Campesinos!

Tundra refers to a treeless area that has a permanently frozen subsoil and supports low-growing vegetation like mosses, shrubs, and lichens.


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Using Music to Learn Vocabulary: Part 3

Part 3 of After The Show’s “Using Music to Learn Vocabulary” has arrived!

1. Vagrancy: “Difference is Time” by Jason Boesel / Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band

Vagrancy is the state of wandering the land of an itinerant person without a home or regular employment.

2. Apocryphal: “Smarter” by Eisley

Apocryphal means erroneous or fictitious; of questionable authorship or authenticity; false.

3. Jonestown: “Highs and Lows of Being Number 1” by Jenny and Johnny

Jonestown, or the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, was a cult led by Jim Jones. In November 1978, 918 people in Jonestown died in a mass-suicide / mass-murder.

4. Garish: “Get Well” by Noise Addict

Garish means obtrusively bright and showy, loud, or gaudy.

5. Watershed: “Watershed” (an unfinished, unreleased demo) by Hanson

A watershed is a ridge of high land dividing two areas that are drained by different river systems; a critical point that marks a division or a change of course; a turning point.


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Using Music to Learn Vocabulary: Part 2

“Using Music to Learn Vocabulary” (read part 1 here) is back with a second installment.

1. Jackalope: “We’re All Stuck Out In the Desert” by Johnathan Rice

A jackalope is a mythical animal of North American folklore described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns or deer antlers and sometimes a pheasant’s tail (and often hind legs).

2. Polystyrene: “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” by Ben Lee

Polystyrene is a rigid clear thermoplastic polymer that can be molded into objects or made into a foam that is used to insulate refrigerators.

3. Carpetbagger: “Carpetbaggers” by Jenny Lewis

A carpetbagger refers to a northerner who went to the South after the Civil War to profit from the Reconstruction & refers to a political candidate who seeks election in an area where they have no local connections.

4. Aztlán: “New Yorker Cartoon” by Jenny and Johnny

Aztlán refers to the mythical ancestral home of the Nahuas, one of the main populations in Mesoamerica.

5. Tucker Telephone: “I Don’t Mind” by Phantom Planet

Tucker Telephone refers to a torture device used at Arkansas’ Tucker State Prison Farm in the 1960s. The device, designed using parts from an old-fashioned crank telephone and batteries, administered electric shocks.


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Using Music to Learn Vocabulary

Listening to music, such as the songs below, can help you improve your vocabulary. Did you know the definitions of all the words below?

1. “Archipelago” by Mirah

Vocab. Word: Archipelago

Definition: A group of islands; an expanse of water surrounded by islands

2. “Narcissus in a Red Dress” by The Like

Vocab. Word: Tutelage

Definition: Protection of or authority over someone or something; guardianship

Vocab. Word: Charlatan

Definition: A person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill; a fraud

3. “Anhedonia” by Skinny Jean:

Vocab. Word: Anhedonia

Definition: The inability to feel pleasure

4. “My Pet Snakes” by Jenny and Johnny

Vocab. Word: Ouroboros

Definition: An ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail

5. “Quarry Hymns” by Land of Talk

Vocab. Word: Quarry

Definition: A place, typically a large, deep pit, from which stone or other materials are or have been extracted

6. “No Action” by Elvis Costello

Vocab. Word: Bakelight

Definition: An early form of brittle plastic made from formaldehyde and phenol, used chiefly for electrical equipment

7. “Ductile” by Ben Lee

Vocab. Word: Ductile

Definition: Able to be drawn out into a thin wire; Able to be deformed without losing toughness; pliable, not brittle

Honorable Mention: “Fair Game” by The Like

Vocab. Words: Akimbo, Pessimistic, Incestuous, Tempestuous, Extraneous


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