Saturday, April 25, 2020

A to Z Joy: Vocabulary and Victory


Every thesaurus in the world died a little inside when Stephen King said that. Take King's advice if you like, but please don't throw out your thesaurus. Use it to build an impressive vocabulary, for yourself if not for your characters (you writers out there). And do it because...words are fun! And fascinating. And just plain weird.

I'm not suggesting you become the irritating person at the copy machine, throwing around obscure words in order to sound smart. I only hope you will be aware of the wonderful world of words. If someone uses a word you don't know, look it up. Keep a list of favorite words, unique and special words, and sprinkle them around lightly when you speak and when you write. Like salt, a little goes a long way. And at the very least, you'll up your crossword and Scrabble game.

Here are a few of my recent special words:

augury (a sign of what will happen in the future; omen)
blatherskite (a person who talks at great length without making much sense)
obtund (dull the sensitivity of; deaden)
enchiridion (a book containing essential information on a subject)

In other news, I'm not all that competitive, but I appreciate a hard-earned victory. And although it seems as if we will never reach the end of this pandemic, each day brings us closer to this very hard-earned victory. Stay the course, keep yourselves safe, and we'll meet up again on the other side!





12 comments:

  1. I think the issue is using a complicated word instead of a simple one that means the same thing. By all means find some words you enjoy, but don’t overdo it. I’ve come across some stories in my slush reading that make me grit my teeth because not only do they use long words that aren’t necessary, but they don’t actually seem to know the difference. I have looked into a thesaurus in my time, usually with my students, and had to explain that no, you can’t use this word instead of that one, because they don’t mean exactly the same thing, even if the thesaurus has them in the list!

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    1. That's good advice to keep in mind when using a thesaurus. The fact that English has so many words that don't quite mean the same thing must be pretty challenging for non-native speakers!

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  2. I enjoy reading books with a few new words. How will crossword puzzles survive if no one uses the beautiful words in our language?

    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

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  3. I definitely use a thesaurus because sometimes I can't quite get the word I want so I follow a trail of words to get to the one I was trying to think of.

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    1. Following the trail is a great way to describe the process!

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  4. With all due respect to Mr. King, I disagree. I use a thesaurus all the time because it's easy for me to fall into the trap of repeating the same words in my writing. I see nothing wrong with using one, especially to increase one's vocabulary. I also keep a word/phrase journal to jot down words that I come across to while writing.

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    1. It does help keep things fresh. It's so easy to unconsciously use the old favorites!

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  5. I utterly disagree with King. Perhaps he never forgets a word, but although I have always been known for having a large vocabulary, yet I still sometimes find that the one perfect word I want is not quite coming to mind. The real rule is never to use a word without actually knowing precisely what it means.
    (Click the Blog link on the second row) : V is for Victuals

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    1. Sometimes, I have to see a list of words I don't want to find the one I do want :-)

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  6. Blatherskite. I like that one. :)

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    1. Sadly, they are not difficult to find these days!

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