Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Most writers have a love of words, all sorts of words

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Most writers I know who have had any success getting published, or who blog regularly or otherwise self-publish, have a great love of words, all sorts of words.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about idioms and how they make language colorful and interesting, as well as difficult to learn.

But there are other words I enjoy, and I don’t know whether they have a name as such or are classified in any linguistic categories. I just call them “odd words.” My working definition of an odd word is very simple: It’s a word I personally find bizarre, strange, or perhaps just funny. Some of them are “invented” words, acronyms, and other language shorthand that have gained wide usage. Others are words which are longstanding words in the English language, perhaps just not widely known or used.

Some words I think “odd” or funny are (in no particular order and for no particular reason): nexus (makes me think of cars), genuflect (sounds like it should be “dirty,” but is just the opposite), fat burners (gives me visions of bubbling pots on stoves), minty fresh (what’s “fresh” about mint anyway?), apotheosis (just sounds impressive to me), reticent (sounds pompous to me), and pompous (personally, I’m reticent to use that one).

I’ve seen lists of words that people say are “inherently funny,” and I agree with some of the words that make those lists. Among them are: aglet, discalceate, coccyx, sprocket — and my personal favorite for inherently funny sounding words: uvula.

Writers love words. What are some words you love, either for their meaning, their sound, or the way they look in print? Feel free to leave a comment and share.

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