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Words you want to use someday

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Tom, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Hey, just curious.

    What are some words you've never used before in your writing, but hope to use someday? Why haven't you used them before, and why do you want to use them?

    The two words I would like to use but haven't yet are tenebrous and eldritch. Tenebrous means "dark, murky", and eldritch "wierd, eerie, otherworldly".

    My liking of both words lies mostly in how they sound. Tenebrous sounds dark and empty--it has this resonant quality, like the deep, low hum of a bass guitar. Eldritch is a strange word, which reflects its meaning, and its unusual combination of sounds gives it a dissonant quality that I find slightly unsettling.

    I've never used either because my writing voice is casual and personal, and those two words would sound extremely strange in any of my characters' narration. Using them could also get me accused of purple prose or thesaurus abuse, but I'm not too concerned about that. I'm planning on starting a high fantasy with a more formal, impersonal tone, so I might be able to fit those two words in if the narration calls for them.
     
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  2. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Thews. Non-Euclidean.
     
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  3. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    It's a phrase rather than a single word, but I'd like to describe a character with "skin as dark as the river's silty banks". The best-known Egyptian toponym for their own country, "Kemet", is generally interpreted as describing to the Nile floodplains' dark soil since it literally names the color black. It'd work great for a setting with Egyptian influences.
     
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  4. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Cool thread! Half the reason for the existence of my current novella WIP was to find a home for my arcane word-hoard. Thus, it is a first-person narrative by an arrogant scholar/sorcerer who has a penchant for this sort of thing. This way, I have a place to use all the weird words, and will be less tempted to use them in more 'normal' stories. 'Tenebrous' and 'eldritch' have already been used, as well as dozens of other off-the-beaten-path words. I rarely use a thesaurus for this purpose, I just pay attention to cool words. It's been a lot of fun getting them off my chest.

    Interestingly, my fourteen-year-old niece, who has been reading the first-draft installments, hasn't complained about the vocabulary one bit. Indeed, last time I saw her (at Christmas), she was asking for the next chapter.

    Edit: Oh, yeah. I choose words by the 'sound' quite a bit as well, hoping for a touch of the 'poetic' in my prose. Some just don't have the right feel or effect when placed next to each other.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
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  5. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    Given that certain e-Book software comes with in-built dictionaries that let you look up words in mid-read, it could be that complaints about vocabulary abuse will diminish as more readers turn to digital literature. Is your niece reading your writing digitally or on paper?
     
  6. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    @ Jabrosky: I'm not 100% certain. I'm sending Word-docs, but I don't know if she's printing them out or not. I guess this means 'not-digital' though.

    Thought of a few I haven't used yet:

    feckless
    peregrination
    cynosure
    purblind

    And of course, the longest one I know, but probably won't use:

    antidisestablishmentarianism

    And how about this one:

    formication--the sensation of insects crawling beneath one's skin. Probably related to 'formic acid'. The obvious problem here: the 'm' might be read as an 'n', changing the meaning quite a bit! Still, awesome word!
     
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  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    There's a word I used to use a word a lot back in the day when I used to DM online. It was one of those go-to words that helped me get into the vibe and get comfortable, so I used it a lot in the opening paragraphs.

    The word is "quietude."

    Then one day, like a year after all those games ended, I popped back into the program to say "hi." And one of the players got so excited and had to tell me, "I saw that word, that word you always use. Quietude. It was in a movie! All this time I thought you had made it up!"

    *facepalm*

    I've never used it since.
     
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  8. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Oh, man, I'm going to end up thinking of more and more things to put in this thread. Please forgive me, I can't help myself!

    Anyway, I think its fun to know some unusual words that are small, like five letters or less. I've used these:

    tor
    karst
    geas (pronounced: gaysh)
    veld

    And, yup, I've used 'quietude', and will use it again gosh-darnit!

    One more I have yet to use: vizard (you have to admit, that's a cool 'sounding' word.)
     
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  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    You're braver than I am. But I have to admit that I miss it.
     
  10. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I'm looking for a situation where I can use tor and geas. Two very awesome words, with awesome meanings.
     
  11. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    "Veld" is the Dutch Afrikaans word for field, but it's most commonly used for subtropical grasslands in South Africa and nearby countries. It could work fine for a setting based on that specific region, but elsewhere its geographically specific connotations might not transfer smoothly to a fantasy world.

    Though to be fair, it seems the word "savanna" can connote Africa as well despite its more general definition. I prefer to use it for any tropical grassland, but most people's idea of a savanna is the African variety with all those flat-crowned acacia trees. I'd even go so far as to say that the savanna has become the quintessential African habitat in the public imagination, as you'll find out once you type in "african landscape" in Google image search.
     
  12. Delwyn

    Delwyn Dreamer

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    Corporeal and viscosity - together in the same sentence!
     
  13. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Actually, my Oxford English Dictionary (2 vol. print copy) gives a general, all-purpose definition, though the etymology is shown to be Dutch Afrikaans. I Like the OED the best, and stick to its definitions (except those few words that aren't in it!) I can't remember exactly but I might have used 'highveld', or 'high-veld'.

    In the meantime, here's a cool word with a fascinating meaning I haven't used yet, but plan to, as it's part of the upcoming plot:

    simulacrum

    A good one for writers of fantasy to know, I think.
     
  14. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Nice. That sounds already like it's going to be a good plot. Is it a human simulacrum?

    Another word I've never used is pennoncel. It's sort of like a pennant or flag. I like how it sounds Medieval.

    I also want to work cairngorm into a story. That word is just too expressive and interesting to pass up.
     
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  15. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    How cool, I've not come across 'cairngorm' before! It's got character. 'Cairn' is nice all by itself, even. 'Pennoncel' is quite nice too, good one. There's also 'oriflamme': haven't used either of these yet myself though.

    Yes, the main character in the novella is human, and a sorcerer. He will create a simulacrum of himself to help get out of a scrape, though I still have to figure out a few details. This scene will be the penultimate obstacle. After that, it's on to the finale! It's a pretty weird story: This sorcerer is from the fantasy world I've been working on for my future novel(s), but he opened a portal into another dimension--a fantasy world, hidden within my fantasy world! The story already has a whimsical feel, but I'm toying with the idea of hinting that the first person narrator is 'unreliable' (to be added in a later draft), making the whole venture questionable. On the other hand, his sorcery designs are built upon by later generations, and he later becomes a semi-important historical figure. I think I like the idea of making him a little controversial, not fully understood by historians or sorcerers.

    Hmmm, what else? I haven't used the word 'dolmen' yet, but I have used the related words, 'cromlech' and 'menhir'.
     
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  16. KC Trae Becker

    KC Trae Becker Troubadour

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    What a fun thread!

    I haven't made a list of words I want to use yet, but I like Incanus's idea of writing a character that uses fancy words to be able to use some of these gems.

    Words that would be fun to use off the top of my head: lugubrious, vicissitude, enigmatic.

    I also adore the word eldritch. It sounds so ancient and mysterious.

    Thanks, Tom, for starting this thread, you've all given me a new rabbit hole for ideas for stories.
     
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  17. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    Eldritch is one of those words where if I'm ever talking to someone in real life and they actually use it, I will punch them in the face. Something about it just screams 'I'm a tosser.'

    But that's just in real life, and one day I do hope to use it in my writing, probably when I want to write an utter tosser.
     
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  18. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Ha, yes, eldritch is a very pretentious-sounding word for everyday conversation. However, I actually know someone who talks like that, but he's also endearingly (and unwittingly) awkward, so I'd give him a pass for using it.

    I like the sound of the word gloaming, an old Scottish word for twilight, but I haven't used it yet. It's one of those words that you'd think would sound harsh and ugly when you say it aloud, but it comes out surprisingly soft and full. (At least, in my accent it does.)
     
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  19. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Good one Gryphos! That's amusing. I'm not sure I've ever heard 'eldritch' come up in verbal conversations before, it seems to be a word for literature only. Should someone utter it in front of me, I'm liable to smile and shake their hand. One person's 'tosser' is another's buddy. It's safe to say that I'd never punch anyone who hasn't punched me first.

    I haven't a shred of doubt that no small segment of the population would consider my writing pretentious, ridiculous, terrible, wordy, weird, purple, etc.

    I'm trying to think of a reason why I should care about any of this, but I'm not coming up with anything.

    There's a common writing 'rule': use simple language. I don't plan on bending this rule, I plan on breaking it right in half and tossing the remains over my shoulder without another thought.

    In fact, I'd go so far as to say that if you're not at least bending one or two of the 'rules', then you're probably not writing anything interesting, and likely being formulaic.

    So, I've used: vicissitude, enigmatic, gloaming (I'm pretty sure that one is in the piece I have in the Showcase now), not sure about lugubrious--I might have used it; I like that one.
     
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  20. Velka

    Velka Sage

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    Penumbra
    Aphelion
    Susurrous
    Caesura
    Mellifluous
    Vatic
    Doyen
    Insouciance
     
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