Monday, April 25, 2011

Letter U ~ UNUSUAL Words

Vocabulary is important in writing. Word choice--Diction--can be all the difference between a successful sentence and one that makes the reader go Huh? The way we choose to communicate our message through sentence, chapter, and ultimately story structure is also vital.

There's plenty of familiar 'U' words found in an average writing day: unlike, understood, use, universe, unite, unwilling, up, and underline. Of course, we could go on for quite a while creating this list. But we don't have to. If you're interested, you can go HERE for a rather concise list of average 'U' words.

What about the not-so-ordinary 'U' words, or words of other letters? How do we weave them into our writing without becoming overbearing?

~ as with all good things use in moderation.
~ as with all things in life: balance is necessary.

But by all means, use words that aren't seen everyday. Sometimes what a sentence is looking for is that added spice and the not-so-ordinary word to give it the punch it needs.

Here's a few of those not-so-ordinary 'U' words I find interesting.

Ultracrepedate ~ to criticize beyond sphere of one's knowledge.

Uliginous ~ slimy; oozy; swampy; growing in swampy places.

Umber ~ brownish red.

Upas ~ poisonous or harmful institution or influence.

Ustion ~ action of burning or searing.

Uxorious ~ excessively fond of one's wife.

Any interesting 'U' words you can think of? What about excessive use of not-so-ordinary word? What are your thoughts?


  1. I'd only heard of Umber before. WOW. Thanks for the intro to some new unusual U words :D

  2. My daughters and husband are fond of the word ululate. They use it all the time. No kidding. As in: "What is all the ululation going on in here?"

  3. I hadn't heard of any of those word but umber. Thanks for teaching me so new words.

  4. Those are awesome, and "uliginous" sounds like exactly what it is! I love words like that. GREAT post!

  5. Uliginous - my new favorite word of the day.

    Unusual words are great - but then when a n author uses the same unusual word a second time, you get pulled from the story. A third time? A fourth time? Yeah, I agree. Once is good. More is bad.

    But I do love your Unusual words for today ;-)

  6. Some great words there!

    Daughterling started a new book this weekend which is filled with words even I hadn't heard of. I'm all for expanding my vocabulary, but I'm wondering if the author overshot his audience?

  7. Those are interesting! I love unique words. My fave U word is ubiquitous... so many possibilities with that one.

  8. LOL I can't see my mc saying any of those.

    Loved your take on U, Sheri. :D

  9. Great list, Sheri.

    I totally agree with your suggestion that those words be used in moderation. I just finished reading a novel where one particular word kept popping up in the last 1/3 of the book - rent (as in, rip). It felt like the author discovered a new fave word and had to throw it in as frequently as she could, but I just kept thinking "why not just say rip?"

  10. The only one of those words I recognized was umber. Not good. My English teacher vocabulary ego just took a hit! LOL :-)

  11. These are UBER-cool words!

  12. ooo, I need you to spell those out phoenetically for me! LOL! :D Not to be ultracrepedate... :D

    and why does uxorious make me giggle? *snort* Thanks, Sheri!((hugs))

  13. Those were some crazy U words. And where on earth did you find that fuzzy U?
    Great post!

  14. I'll use larger, more unusual words when speaking, but I've tried to curtail that when writing. Keeping it simple!

  15. Word usage is so important when writing for kids. If they can't understand it, they'll put the book down and we don't want that. My MG writing is not how I speak at all - well, except for the occasional "dude". Thanks for the education on U words!

  16. What great u words. I guess you can learn something new everyday. Just visit from the A-Z Challenge.

  17. Great u words. You are so right that the right (or wrong) word can make or break a sentence or paragraph.

    A-Z Fellow Challenger
    Holly Ruggiero’s POV

  18. I need to find a way to use the word "undulate." :)

    p.s. I can't stop looking at that pink fuzzy U!

  19. In arguments, I find myself ultracrepedating all the time. I think it's because I don't like to be wrong, but what women doesn't? It's good to know there's an actual term for it, though :)


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