Vocab Builder: Words About Words

Whether we’re talking about writing or grammar, these words are all about words.

  • samizdat, noun: a clandestine press.

It was she who came to be the initiator, contributor, editor and typist of the first release of samizdat newsletter Chronicle of Current Events issued in April 1968. —Russia-IC

  • hypernym, noun: a general word under which more specific words are categorized.

However, the hierarchy constructed in this manner cannot display the hypernym relation common to human knowledge. —Jing Chen and Qing Li, “Concept Hierarchy Construction by Combining Spectral Clustering and Subsumption Estimation”

  • orthography, noun: a system of written symbols to represent a language’s sounds.

If orthography faithfully reflected pronunciation, new English speakers would have an easier time, and linguists could more easily track changes in the sounds of English across regions and centuries. —Erin McKean, “After the spelling bee, imagining a world without standardized spelling”

  • anastrophe, noun: when words are placed out of normal word order for effect.

Anastrophe, or Inversion, is a figure by which we place last, and perhaps at a great distance from the beginning of the sentence, what, according to the common order, should have been placed first. —John Walker, A Rhetorical Grammar

  • logorrhea, noun: excessive talking or writing, usually that is incoherent.

But the Democratic representative has a bad case of logorrhea — he just can’t stop talking. —Araminta Wordsworth, “Some free advice for Anthony Weiner: Shut up”

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About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug...hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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