The #Write #Word? Post 7

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Do you sometimes struggle to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? I do. Perhaps, in improving myself, I can help other writers.

Today’s words: Luxuriant/Luxurious, Down in the dumps, Iktsuarpok.

Words often misused: English, because of its inheritance of words stolen from many languages, often uses words that superficially appear to mean more or less the same thing. However, as wordsmiths, we owe it to our readers to get it right, don’t you think?


Luxurious means ‘full of luxury’. But luxuriant means ‘producing abundantly, growing profusely’.

So, a person can live a luxurious life in a luxurious place and drive a luxurious car, but they can’t have a luxuriant car. Their garden, however, may be luxuriant, as can the plants growing there.

Cliché: a stereotyped or hackneyed expression; a phrase, opinion or other element of language that’s so overused it no longer holds power. However, clichés come into being as the result of their original and effective ability to describe a situation or quality in apposite terms. Their use should be sparing: in dialogue, they’re fine, providing the speaker would use them. They are words or expressions we’ve all encountered more times than…Here, I could use a cliché to illustrate what a cliché might be.

Down in the dumps: an expression meaning ‘depressed, crestfallen, unhappy’.

‘When Jenny left Gilbert, he was down in the dumps for the three minutes it took him to find a new partner.’

This could be expressed as, ‘When Jenny left Gilbert, he was crestfallen for the three minutes it took him to find a new partner.’ Of course, our opinions of both Jenny and Gilbert will differ according to our personal experiences!

Untranslatable emotions: The world’s languages contain numerous words for emotions (and other things) for which English has no equivalent. Most people know ‘schadenfreude’, from German, and ‘frisson’, from French, but there are more, and I’ll introduce some here from time to time.

Iktsuarpok (Inuit): describes that specific anticipation felt when waiting for someone that makes one keep going outside to check if they’ve arrived.

Language learners might find this link useful for pronunciation, and you’ll reach a great group page on Facebook if you click this link.

I contribute a monthly column to an online magazine, Pandora’s Box Gazette where I also deal with the use of words. To see the most recent, please click this link.

Your observations and suggestions are welcome in the comments section below. And, if you’ve enjoyed this post, why not use the buttons to share it with your friends? Thank you.