Beautiful Words

Beautiful words

Beautiful words

What makes you want to remember a word like cornucopia, abecederian, heterodoxy, circumlocution when you read it? ? Do you try to decode it first–Is ‘-locution’ the root?  and what’s the prefix–‘hetero-‘ tell you about the meaning? What about the suffix -ian–does that make it a noun?

Here’s a great word that roles off your tongue–contradistinction. Think root and prefix and you’ve got the meaning, one that translates to your writing with a single word rather than …hmm… How many would it take?

It reminds me of art. So much is said with a picture in such a concise place. The artist provides us with a 12×14 canvas (or smaller, or larger) and it takes us hundreds of words to explain its meaning.

I posted a list of my favorite words here and here and here. These are words that you’ll want to use in your writing. They say so much in their few little syllables. And for those of you working valiantly to avoid adverbs and adjectives–because you understand they are the crutch of weak verbs and nouns–as Stephen King said, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”–you will notice that they replace up to five normal words.

Here’s the question. Do you love words so much you’ve become a logomach–one who disputes over words and their meanings. Or a neologist–one who invents words for a situation (do you verbize nouns and nounize verbs?). You might simply be a philomath–a lover of learning.

Whatever your reason for loving words, make sure it isn’t for sesquipedalia. That just annoys the people you talk to.

Check back for some recommendations about books. I have a few favorites I read to make sure I don’t get lazy with my writing.


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a weekly columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is  editor of a K-8 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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9 thoughts on “Beautiful Words

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Oxford Essential Dictionary of Difficult Words | WordDreams...

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  3. One of my favorite words is contrapposto, referring to the twist of upper part of the body in a different direction from the lower part, or left from right. It’s used to describe art – think of the famous Greek sculpture, the Discus Thrower. Isn’t that beautiful?


    • That is. I used to try to put these gorgeous words in my writing and critiquers said it sounded awkward–uppity. Since then, I’ve read many of these four-syllable beautiful words in stories. I think the ‘awkwardness’ had more to do with my voice rather than the words.


      • Words are meant to be used, not to languish in dictionaries. But language and jargon must fit the story and the speaker. As a writer, I have specific characteristics in mind and sometimes the dollar words fit much better than the nickel ones. I trust my judgement and you should trust yours.


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