You may not feel like a natural wordsmith, but it needn’t be the end of the world.

Not everyone has a working vocabulary the size of Shakespeare’s (29,000 words, according to some estimates). In fact, the average Brit stumbles along with a mere 4,000 or so – with possibly a few more on a Friday night after a few bevvies.

The good news, if you’re keen to expand your vocabulary, is that it doesn’t have to be boring. These days, you don’t need to go to night school or plough through dusty ol’ text books to broaden your linguistic horizons.

Most people with a smartphone or Facebook account will be aware that addiction to Scrabble-variant Words With Friends (WWF) is spreading to all four corners of the globe. Even the great and the good are getting in on the act, with film star Alec Baldwin hit the headlines when his reluctance to turn off his phone got him slung off a flight.

The difference between WWF and Scrabble is small but crucial. In WWF, the game intervenes and warns you if you’re trying to play an invalid word before you submit your move. This allows you to try many variants of letters to generate the best possible score on each turn. Along the way you can pick up some great new words.

Here at Wordsworks Towers, we’ve always got a game or two of WWF bubbling away in the background when we’re not engrossed in our business copywriting. In the last few days, newly-discovered words have included:

  • guano
  • fitch
  • trowth
  • gelt
  • juco
  • kea
  • theines
  • patin
  • zin
  • paca

Just for fun (or is it because we’re cruel?) we’ve jumbled up the definitions here. See if you can match them up with the right words, above. You’ll find the answers below.

A) a large, greenish New Zealand parrot

B) a variant of ‘truth’, probably of Scottish origin

C) a large, white-spotted, tailless rodent of Central and South America

D) an American term for junior college

E) a plate, usually made of silver or gold, especially the plate on which the bread is placed in the Eucharist

F) the European polecat

G) a type of caffeine, especially in tea leaves

H) a natural manure composed chiefly of the excrement of sea birds, found especially on islands near the Peruvian coast

I) to sap strength, vitality, or power from; to weaken or subdue

J) a low palm-tree, or the south-eastern corner of the desert (of Biblical origin)

If you fancy liberating your lexicon or enlarging your lingo, you can find out more about joining the Words With Friends bandwagon here.

Meanwhile, you can highlight the invisible text below for the answers…

A) kea

B) trowth

C) paca

D) juco

E) patin

F) fitch

G) theines

H) guano

I) gelt

J) zin