Struggling to find the ‘right’ word when you’re writing? Me, too, sometimes. Maybe, in working to improve my own work, I can help you.
Today’s words: Jargon, Jetsam/ Flotsam, Join together, Joke.
Synonyms are alternative words that have the power to convey exactly what you’re trying to say.
Jargon: the thesaurus lists these five subheadings; speciality, absurdity, unintelligibility, language, and slang. I love that ‘slang’ is included here, as it has the effect of reducing the self-importance that accompanies the use of so much jargon. However, most of us understand jargon to mean ‘unintelligibility’, and under that subheading are another 55 alternatives including incomprehensibility, impenetrability, obscurity, incoherence, gibberish, secret, riddle, and enigma.
Usage for Jargon:
‘The untrustworthy, the insecure and the downright cheats in life are the jargon-monsters who use this unintelligible language as one way to confuse, belittle and control those not in the club. It’s a technique employed mostly to exclude in an environment where inclusion would be so much more helpful.’
Here, we could use ‘gibberish’, ‘obscurity’, ‘enigma’, and ‘riddle’ in place of jargon to produce the same sense.
Words often misused: because it’s always 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?
Jetsam/ Flotsam: If the crew of a ship jettison items, usually to reduce the weight of a ship suffering stormy weather, it’s called jetsam. If you find it, you can legally keep it. If, however, cargo is washed overboard, it, along with any resultant wreckage, belongs to the owner. If you find and keep it, you’re committing theft. How an individual is to know which of these definitions covers any specific item encountered on the beach is unclear, and that may be why most people lump the two terms together in common parlance.
Redundancies: words serving no purpose. In speech they’re spacers, giving the speaker time to think. But in writing they slow the reader’s progress.
Since it’s impossible to ‘join apart’, and the act of joining involves bringing things together, this expression is a tautology. As good writers, we surely don’t use such phrases, do we? ‘Join’ will do the job unaided.
And, my own humorous, metaphorical, and often irreverent, thought-provoking, and controversial definitions of some common words for your entertainment, which I list under The Delusional Dictionary.
Joke: any leader incapable of the job, regardless of the nature of the organisation; a policy incapable of application; the dogma and doctrine of almost every religion ever invented by man.
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