The #Write #Word? Post 46

Word cloud via

Finding it hard to discover the ‘right’ word when writing? Me, too, sometimes. In trying to improve, maybe I can help you.

Today’s words: Macabre, Migrant/ Refugee, Monachopsis, Member of Parliament,

Synonyms are alternative words that have the power to convey exactly what you’re trying to say.

Macabre: Roget lists only two sub-headings: frightening and spooky. Under ‘spooky’ are a further 28 alternatives including ghostly, nightmarish, ghoulish, uncanny, eerie, and unearthly.

This illustrates the fact that some words lack true synonyms.  The SOED defines ‘macabre’ as ‘grim, gruesome’. But I suspect most writers would agree the word has a broader meaning, encompassing the emotions of disgust, horror, terror, dread, incomprehension, and darkness. I think, therefore, this word is difficult to substitute and may be employed instead of seeking a less accurate substitute.

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?

Migrant/ Refugee: War, terrorism, and crime throughout the world have forced millions to flee and seek refuge in other lands. They normally begin as refugees, but become migrants, unwelcome in many countries that fear to admit them for security, religious or economic reasons. Where the refugee usually inspires pity and sympathy, the migrant is too often viewed with suspicion and even antipathy.

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.

Monachopsis: That subtle but often persistent feeling of being out of place.

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.

Member of Parliament: a person, elected to represent the views of constituents, who generally sticks to his/her own views regardless; an unreliable individual, given to ambition and self-promotion; a pig with trotters in the trough; a natural liar, cheat, prevaricator and sociopath.

Language learners may find this link a useful aid for pronunciation, and there’s a great group page on Facebook here.

I contribute a column to a monthly online magazine, Pandora’s Box Gazette, where I also deal with the use of words. For the most recent, please click here.

Your observations and suggestions are welcome in the comments section below. And, if you’ve enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to share it with your friends. Thank you.

4 thoughts on “The #Write #Word? Post 46

    1. Thanks, Melanie. Just one of many ‘word’ resources I’ve collected over the years as a writer (something I’ve been doing for around two and half centuries). There are several more examples of such unusual words in previous posts, if you have the time to search!

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  1. “Macabre” is one of my very favorite words! I first heard it after reading a Stephen King book that had it in the title (Danse Macabre). I hope it makes a comeback!

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