A vocabulary-enhancing guide for your TV viewing

Who says that just because you love television you can't beef up your lexicon? The folks at Dictionary.com have found a few TV shows they say might actually improve your vocabulary.

Here's the list:

1. "Glee": Musicals may take center stage, but Jane Lynch's ego-maniac Cheerio's coach Sue Sylvester uses some advanced vocabulary to insult her enemies. The next time you run into trouble, you may want to try: "I realize my cultural ascendance only serves to illuminate your own banality." Or perhaps, "Even your breath stinks of mediocrity." Burn!

2. "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart": It may be about truthiness and laughs, but "The Daily Show," not unlike "The Colbert Report," holds a lexical secret: its guests. Colbert and Stewart give air time to academics who address provocative and complex topics using some of the most advanced language on TV  ...  before they're lampooned, that is.

3. "Fringe": Known for its quality research, this sci-fi series uses actual science terminology in entertaining and far-fetched ways. Crack open those textbooks and prepare to expand your vocabulary on fringe science topics such as mutants, rare diseases, chimeras and teleportation.

4. "Top Chef": The Emmy-winning reality TV competition is a delectable way to develop your taste buds and vocabulary. Its user-friendly cooking terminology may help you decipher a few challenging cookbook terms of your own. TV never sounded this tasty.

5. "Sesame Street": Ask any parent whose kids watch Elmo and Big Bird and you'll learn how much viewers of any age glean from the show, with its references aimed at both grown-ups and children. "Sesame Street" is arguably the great refresher course.

Find out which vampires get credit for vocab building, what Mad Men has to teach us besides fashion, and what new kids' show is praised for word choice -- along with five shows that are accused of dumbing down the national discourse -- at LA Times' Showtracker blog.

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