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another post about finding the perfect word

Yes, I’m that picky kind of writer. It’s hard for me to spew stuff willy-nilly, though I’m trying to learn that talent. I stand in awe of people who churn out 5,000 words a day and then go back to consolidate and shape their raw words into a cohesive story.

You DO go back and shape those words, don’t you?

When I find the perfect words, with the appropriate nuance, with layers of meaning…well, it gives me a little tickle. I like a lot of flavor packed into each sentence.

So beyond the dictionary and the thesaurus, there’s this tool:

OneLook Reverse Dictionary.

“OneLook’s reverse dictionary lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word. Just type it into the box above and hit the “Find words” button. Keep it short to get the best results. In most cases you’ll get back a list of related terms with the best matches shown first.”


Let’s try  “sad face”:

I get 100 words, including:

sorrow, gloom, doleful, long face, plaint, mournful, pensive, dejected, wan, sombre, weight, lined, heavy, suppress, tragedy, lugubrious, cloud, woebegone, mourning, buckle, vein, and mow, and many others…


Turns out a definition of mow is:

verb:  make a sad face and thrust out one’s lower lip (“Mop and mow”)  (MACMILLAN DICTIONARY ONLINE)

Dang. Words. Just when you think you know them.

Slippery little devils.


pick-a-link for writers!!!



  • Language Realmfor English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Chinese and Latin. Includes sources for idioms, slang, proverbs, colloquialisms and other tips. Most importantly…


  • Specialty Dictionariesneed some vocabulary to describe furniture? Ballet? The latest Net lingo? From Accounting to Water, find what you need in the’s Specialty Dictionary Department. Such as:

  • The Bookshelf Musepractically writes your story for you. Has Emotion Thesaurus, Setting Thesaurus, Color, Texture and Shape Thesaurus as well as a Symbolism Thesaurus. What the hell more do you want? BLOOD?

One more link….

  • Wordle. Make a word cloud. Why would you do such a thing? To find out if you’re over-using certain words, stressing the ideas that your want. Or just for the hell of it.

Yes, Sally May. Words. Are. Fun.

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