Struggle to find the ‘right’ word for your writing? Occasionally, so do I. Perhaps, in trying to improve my own work, I can help you.
Today’s words: Enlightenment, Entomb, Eek, Esprit d’escalier, Engineer.
Synonyms are alternative words that have the power to convey exactly what you’re trying to say.
Enlightenment: Roget lists the following sub-headings; knowledge, wisdom, information, and sanctity. Under ‘wisdom’ are another 29 alternatives including sapience, depth of mind, digested experience, broadmindedness, and objectivity. The Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, is generally considered to have begun with the start of the scientific revolution in the 1620s and continues today, though some believe it ended in 1789 (the start of the French Revolution). It was a movement that questioned long held ideas and the authority of monarchy and the church, relying instead on reason for its conclusions and ideas. It’s odd to realise there are still billions of people who cling to old ideas in spite of so much information that contradicts these myths and legends.
Usage for Enlightenment:
‘Georgia absorbed all the knowledge and information her tutors tossed her way until she awoke one morning fully understanding the sense of enlightenment created by reliance on reason in place of myth and legend.’
See if you can construct a sentence with the same meaning without using ‘enlightenment’.
Words often misused: because it’s stolen terms from many languages, English often uses words that appear to mean something similar. However, as wordsmiths, we owe it to our readers to get it right, don’t we?
Entomb: this is often confused with ‘trap’, ‘confine’, and imprison’. Typically, miners who are trapped may be alive; if they’re entombed, they’re dead, ie in a tomb.
Onomatopoeia: a word designed to imitate the sound associated with the object or action designated. Basically, an onomatopoeia is a word that echoes the sound it portrays. Most are either nouns or verbs. By adding ‘ing’, you can turn many into adjectives.
Eek: used to describe a sound made to indicate shock, surprise, fear etc. ‘Eek! What’s that awful shape writhing in the shadows, Donald?’
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 introduce some here from time to time.
Esprit d’escalier: (French) we’ve all done it, thought of a suitable, maybe witty, repost too late to express it to the object of our annoyance or irritation. A feeling rarely experienced by Oscar Wilde or Noel Coward.
And, my own humorous, metaphorical, and sometimes irreverent and controversial definitions of some common words for your entertainment, which I list under The Delusional Dictionary.
Engineer: in UK, a person of intelligence and skill condemned by academics as an ignoramus due to working with hands as well as brain; a person who really does understand how a car works; a woman capable of terrifying male colleagues by knowing how to use a spanner.
I’m ending this series with a final alphabetical run and will then close this chain of posts and move on to something new. I’ll have produced more than a year’s worth of these word posts by then. The series will remain available in the archive, should anyone wish to use it.
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