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12

It depends who will use the word. If it's one character talking or thinking about another, it's a great word, and will help to characterize both characters in one swell foop. It will also trigger many readers to react in ways that enhance what you're trying to say. Readers who understand the word will get the intent. Readers who have to look up the word will ...


6

OneLook's Reverse Dictionary seems to offer precisely the kind of tool you're looking for. However, I don't know that they're very good - I tried get on a plane, but board came back as result #96, well after slip (#3), touchdown (#50), precession of the equinoxes (#66), and fayez banihammad (#85). From my superficial familiarity with computer language ...


6

Are you saying your character is describing someone as meretricious? If that's the word he would use, by all means use it. I have absolutely no problem making the reader work a little to expand his/her vocabulary. I have actually learned words from stopping and looking something up ("gravid" meaning pregnant and "guerdon" meaning gift are the two which leap ...


2

Reverse dictionaries being what they are[1], often your best bet is to think of a word that sorta-kinda fits the concept — maybe not the best fit, just something in the right ballpark — and then use a thesaurus to find a better word. (Rinse and repeat as necessary.) If you decide to ask on English.SE, make sure you show your work: describe what words you've ...


2

If your readers won't know what it means right away, don't use it. Readers should be able to read through your books without having to stop and look words up. If they have to stop, it throws them out of the story. You want reading to be a smooth process in which the reader is completely absorbed in the story. As for getting advice on other words to use, ...


1

To whom is your character speaking? You want your character to use "the correct words" - I'd say the most correct words are the ones that will convey the most meaning to the listener. So if your character is talking to someone else who's well-educated and has a large vocabulary, I think this could be the right word. If your character is talking to someone ...



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