Initially, was going to develop something around the word "tree" for this post. But that was so unexciting I hunted for something else.
For some reason, my mind drifted to Mr. Tuvok. He was a Vulcan, and the Chief of Security and Chief Tactical Officer on the Federation Starship "Voyager." (As in Star Trek: Voyager.)
How would one describe Mr. Tuvok? Well, like most Vulcans he didn't say much more than what he had to. He was … taciturn.
See how a Bear's mind turns? And turns. And.…
But taciturn is not a word that people use very regularly. For instance, when was the last time it occurred in your conversation? Or was used by a character in your book, if you've created one?
Now some could say that I'm using that word just to show off. Which may be true, but misses the point.
Think for a moment about words being tools. These are tools have a specific denotation (as in definition) and, perhaps, several connotations (ideas of feelings that are attached to that word, beyond it's literal or primary meaning). With these denotations and connotations, one is able to develop nuances (subtle differences or shades of meaning, expression or sound). As I said, like tools. A hammer is good for nails, but not so much for nuts and bolts. You wouldn't want to use wire strippers to cut a thick piece of lumber. Every tool has its use; the same goes for words.
My point is that the more words you have, the better you can write (or communicate generally). And if your reader has to consult a dictionary one or twice, that's OK. You've helped your reader expand his/her vocabulary.
But, generally, it's still better to use simpler, more common words. Say "quiet," rather than "taciturn," unless you want some nuances in meaning which taciturn evokes.
So, writers and readers: any thoughts about lesser-used words being worthwhile tools nonetheless?
Blessings and Bear hugs!