The #Write #Words? Post 28

Word cloud ceated through

Examining Onomatopoeia and Metaphor, Simile, Collective Nouns, and my Delusional Dictionary. For definitions, click here for the introductory post to the series.

This week’s words: Xanadu, Xeric, X-ray.

Onomatopoeia: Xanadu:

Xanadu is a place of dreamlike magnificence and luxury as described by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his well-known poem, Kubla Khan. Whilst the word is not strictly an onomatopoeia, for those who know the poem, it conjures a picture of exactly what it describes. So, lacking any other example beginning with this obtuse letter, which occupies only 3 pages out of the 3742 that make up my 2 volume edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, I’ve resorted to a small touch of improvisation here.

Simile: Xeric:

Once again, the letter ‘x’ defeats most who list figures of speech and I can find none beginning with it. However, I can think of one potential word; ‘xeric’ describes an environment characterised by extreme dryness. So, ‘as xeric as the Atacama Desert’, could be used to describe a bar devoid of sustaining liquor for example. For those who are unaware, the Atacama Desert, in Chile is considered the driest place on Earth.

Collective Nouns: I can’t think of, nor can I find, an example of a collective noun that begins with ‘x’. So, here’s a challenge for those with the time and inclination to fill this void. Good luck!

Delusional Dictionary: X-ray: a much-abused term, applied to spectacles that falsely claim to provide the wearer with the ability to spy flesh beneath concealing clothing; a power associated with certain superheroes, providing them with an ability to penetrate opaque barriers with their vision; a medical advance believed by lay persons to provide clues to all hidden bodily ills.

For those learning English as a language, there’s a useful guide to pronunciation here, and Facebook hosts a great group you can join here.

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