Word selection

Reading random selections and samples from my Kindle this evening, trying to settle on something new to read, I had a random thought:  there are some words that have a disproportionate impact on me as a reader.  It’s utterly irrational.

  • Vital — Nora Roberts especially likes to use “vital” as an adjective to describe goals, objects, ideas that are extremely important to her characters.  There’s nothing wrong or inappropriate about the usage, but she’s used it enough that I notice the usage.  It’s a Thing that I associate with her now.
  • Lavish — Many, many authors like this word, especially during love scenes, when attention is lavished on one body part or another.  Usually  a body part that is not a particular erogenous zone for me, so I roll my eyes and move on.
  • Lave — Again with the laving during love scenes.  Or the “lathing”, which seems to be a common substitution…probably by people who have never used a lathe?
  • Moist — This is not used by any particular author or in a specific context, it’s just a word whose sound and mouth-feel during pronunciation bothers me; I get a visceral image of spittle, damp, and mold, which is not always the intended image.

Like I said:  utterly irrational reader association and reaction to perfectly innocent words.  Well, except for that lathe, which can do a lot of damage to tender body parts if used in lieu of laving.

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5 Comments

Filed under language generally, malaprop

5 responses to “Word selection

  1. HSC

    “Moist” makes me shudder. I don’t know why, it’s just… wrong.

  2. Splayed is a word I see a lot in historical romance but not anywhere else. Apparently modern men don’t splay their hands over their lover’s backs whereas historical men did?

    • I can’t remember the last time I read a love scene in a contemporary where the hero’s hands were splayed anywhere. It’s always the heroine grasping the hero’s back.

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