I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can’t think of the right word for something. I’ll say to my husband, “Would you mind taking a look at the thingamabob? It won’t stay closed.” (As you know, he’s not exactly Mr. FixIt, but he can handle most of the little stuff.)
If I’m lucky, he knows exactly what I mean. If not, I get a blank look. So I try again. “You know, that whatsit under the counter in the laundry room?”
“Oh,” he says. “That thingamabob.”
We writers are particular about our craft. We would never substitute the word thingamabob for the correct word (except when a character might use that word in dialogue). Can you imagine? Editors and readers would have fits!
Writers choose words carefully. When a needed word fails to come to mind it can be terribly frustrating. Luckily, fellow writer friends are there to help. If they don’t know, either, or if I don’t want to bother them, I turn to a reverse dictionary some kind soul once mentioned on one of the writing loops.
At this wonderful website you can actually find the word you want by typing in its meaning. When I needed the name of a particular kind of bench for my March 2008 book, I typed in “bench with upholstered seat.” The word I sought was at the top of a list of possibilities: banquette. Problem solved in mere seconds!
If you’re interested in checking out this little gem of a site, here’s the address: http://www.onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml
Now it’s your turn to share. Are there any useful websites you recommend?
Until next time,
Mitch Takes A Wife, August 2007
All I Want for Christmas, November 2007