Dictionaries and Other Resources
There are no shortcuts to developing a sophisticated vocabulary. These dictionaries and related resources are highly recommended:
Please Note: Most of the following links provide unpaid access to these online publications.
Cambridge Dictionaries : an elegant resource that tells you 'what is usually meant' by a word, and gives you an accessible example of the word in its grammatical context.
OneLook : offers a short definition and links to other dictionaries that define the word in depth.
OED : the Oxford English Dictionary provides you with word derivations and history, back to earliest usage.
Wordnik.com : this site provides a wealth of contemporary examples of words in context, and thereby strengthens your understanding of new terms. You can also hear words pronounced, and link to a thesaurus and visual dictionary.
Merriam Webster's Dictionary of Synonyms and Antonyms will help you perceive the subtlety of and distinguish between similar terms. This can be ordered online for less than $5, including shipping.