Tomorrow marks a little known holiday – Thesaurus Day – honoring the author of Roget’s Thesaurus, Peter Mark Roget, who was born January 18, 1779. This holiday is of particular interest as I’ve enjoyed learning new words since I was young. Words like “idiosyncratic” and “conscientious” were typical weekly suggestions from my father – words rarely used by children my age – but ones I determinedly, while sometimes erringly, employed.
In a recent blog post Words to Retire in 2013, I humbly echo my colleagues Samantha’s sentiment that we have accepted a decided laziness in writing, reusing clichéd buzzwords rather than searching for more compelling choices. To compound this observance, I am not particularly pleased with the shorthand additions to the Oxford dictionary this year – lolz, mwahahaha, ridic and tweeps.
In PR, we add the necessity of simplicity and efficiency. We can’t waste our breath (or often perfunctory keyboard fingers) on listless words that increase obscurity rather than pack a punch. My friend recently reminded me of an editor’s remark, “When editing your documents, make every word beg for its life.” Do our words repeatedly warrant adjustment, but we are too lazy to exert the energy required to change them?
To jointly honor the birthday of an important author and to strive for eloquence in the upcoming year, I reached out to a couple of my colleagues who love words, with the goal of discovering some of their favorites along with any investigative methodologies to find them. These synonyms may not help with your upcoming press releases, but do constitute a pleasant collection to utilize thoughtfully in 2013.
Samantha (@samanthamcgarry): My goal, when seeking out words, is finding ones that combine simplicity with power and elegance. If I had to choose just one word, it would be kindness.
Authenticity – accurate in representation of the facts, trustworthy, reliable.
Alchemy – any magical power or process of transmuting a common substance into a substance of great value.
Grace – elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion or action.
Potent – powerful, mighty.
Tapestry – a fabric consisting of a warp upon which colored threads are woven by hand to produce a design.
Steve (@savittorioso): My goal with words heralds from the immortal words of one of my former editors: deploy muscular verbs that show not tell. Here are some other words I love, though not all are verbs.
Bravado – show of boldness intended to impress.
Inculcate – to teach and impress by frequent repetition or instruction.
Irenic – aiming or aimed at peace.
Rhapsodic – feeling or showing great enthusiasm and happiness.
Schmick – smart or stylish.
As for me, my goal is finding words which make me pause and take pleasure in reading twice. I hope to utilize the following when appropriate this year. Enjoy!
Caprice – a sudden impulse and seemingly unmotivated notion or action.
Extemporize – improvise, to get along in a makeshift manner.
Incipient – beginning, in an early stage.
Intransigence – refusing to moderate a position, being uncompromisingly extreme.
Pioneer – to originate or take part in the development of.
Obdurate – resistant to persuasion or softening influences.
Tenacity – diligence, stubbornness.
Rachel has a decade of experience across both B2B and B2C technology. She spearheads diverse communications programs for clients ranging from emerging venture-backed startups to post-IPO companies with the same mentality: transparency, teamwork and never backing down from a challenge. She works with some of Inkhouse’s most innovative, fast-growing clients in the Bay Area including Okta, Nutanix, Grammarly, Strava, Neo4j and Databricks.