March Wordnik of the Month: Madison Andrews

In our monthly Wordnik newsletter (which you, too, can get in your in-box by subscribing to our Word of the Day via email) last month we asked for volunteers for a new feature, our Wordnik of the Month. We got a great response, and are happy to feature Madison Andrews as our very first WotM (pronounced “whottem”)!

Madison Andrews is a journalist, editor, and graphic designer based in Austin, Texas. When she isn’t posting SAT Critical Reading and Writing advice on her blog, Mad Skills Vocabulary, she is a columnist and contributor for A New Domain and Tech Page One. Follow Madison
@madskillsvocab, or send her an email.

Of course, we had some questions for Madison …

1. How do you use Wordnik?

I use Wordnik to enrich the educational content on Mad Skills
. I’m particularly excited about our latest feature, Mad Skills Word Search, which I designed with Paul Bonner of NimbleQuick studios.

Mad Skills Word Search is a web app that uses the Wordnik API to provide definitions and examples of SAT words. So, say you’re a student, and you run across the word perfidious in a blog post or word list on the Mad Skills Vocabulary site. You could click on that link to find several different definitions and context sentences for the word.

Word Search is still in the early stages of development, but we’re excited to see where this project will lead. Currently, the only way to invoke the application is to click on a linked word in an article or word list on Mad Skills Vocabulary, but we’ll be adding a search page to the Mad Skills Word Search site. We also hope to eventually allow our users to take advantage of some of Wordnik’s more exotic offerings – etymologies and related words and audio pronunciations.

We’re also interested in building a community of Mad Skills users, and will be doing some other cool stuff in that direction, as well.

2. What’s your favorite thing about Wordnik?

My favorite thing about Wordnik is that it makes language fun, engaging, and interactive. Most students can’t learn new words and truly expand their vocabularies just by memorizing lists of SAT or AP exam words. They need to interact with a word, see several definitions, read lots of examples, hear the word, learn how it relates to other words that they know. Really get to the point where they can almost taste it. That’s what Wordnik provides, and that’s what I hope to provide in a more targeted way for the students who visit Mad Skills Vocabulary. For Mad Skills, the Wordnik API makes that possible.

3. What’s your all-time favorite Wordnik list?

Gravity’s Rainbow by dfw2008.

4. What one thing do you wish Wordnik would do (that it doesn’t now)?

Well, one thing we’re thinking about for Mad Skills is adding an interactive flash card application, and maybe even practice exams for high school and college students, and I agree with many of the users on your community forums that some kind of flash card capability would be a great addition to Wordnik, as well. But really, at this point we’re more focused on the API and figuring out how to take advantage of everything it provides, and we’re very happy with what we’ve seen so far.

5. What are some of your other favorite sites online?

… and whatever site I end up choosing as a replacement for Google Reader,
currently Feedly.

Would you like to be a Wordnik of the Month? Email us at with your answers to these questions, and enjoy your fifteen minutes of wordy fame …