The #Write #Word? Post 57

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In your writing, do you sometimes have problems discovering the ‘right’ word? I do. In trying to improve my own work, maybe I can help you.

Today’s words: Xenial, Xenophobically, X marks the spot, Xmas.

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

Xenial: Roget has no suggestions for this rarely used word that means ‘of or pertaining to the friendly relation between host and guest, or between a person and a foreign country’. In the UK at present, such feelings of welcome and friendship have been exhausted for many people living in areas subject to large immigrant populations. Government consistently fails to provide adequate facilities and infrastructure to deal with an influx of new people, and is dreadful at dealing with cultural differences in an adequate manner. Ironically, resentment falls on the newcomers, who are almost always providing services the local population need but don’t want to work in. Resentment, of course, should be reserved for politicians who fail to deal with pressing issues.

The world looks on with wonder and some ridicule as it watches our incompetent leaders utterly fail the people with self-obsessed antics aimed entirely at preserving the ‘integrity’ of their specific political parties.

So, please forgive the idiocy you’re witnessing from overseas. Most of us are xenial; we do welcome those from other lands.

Usage for Xenial:

‘It’s widely recognised that the peoples of large and warm lands tend to be more xenial than those who dwell on colder islands. Perhaps the opportunity to spend more time outdoors helps nurture a broader social mix than the more isolated family connections poor weather encourages.’

Adverbs: words used to strengthen a weak verb, added to a verb in order to give it more power. Often, the best way to avoid their use is to employ a strong verb instead.

Xenophobically: xenophobes are people with an irrational and unnatural fear, even hatred, of people from other lands. The attitude is usually the result of ignorance and the prejudice such lack of knowledge inevitably promotes. So, this adverb describes, on its own, a complex attitude. But we can still avoid it in certain circumstances. ‘Old George was well known in the town for behaving xenophobically toward anyone from outside the area.’ We could express this differently: ‘Old George was well known in the town for his negative and ill-informed dislike of anyone not born locally.’

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 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.

X marks the spot: according to the OED, this expression was first noted in 1813, when it referred to marks made on a map to identify certain places for the reader. It’s also been questionably accredited to the US mafia in the early 1900s, apparently in identifying locations for murders! However, the most popular application stems from its use as a marker for the illiterate to use as an identifier on ‘treasure maps’ supposedly used by pirates. Other than in fiction, there seems little evidence it was ever a reality.

We can avoid it by describing the location we have in mind, unless, of course, we’re writing a satire on pirate stories.

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.

Xmas: possibly a pagan ceremony commandeered by early Roman Christians as a way of integrating new myths with the old; an annual celebration of material excess; a commercially-promoted time of over-spending, usually on gifts no one wants.

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

I welcome your observations and suggestions here. And, if you’ve enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to share it with your followers and friends. Thank you.