How to use a thesaurus to actually improve your writing | Martin Amis

23 thoughts on “How to use a thesaurus to actually improve your writing | Martin Amis

  1. The Webster's dictionary definition states that the root 'lapis' relating to stone in 'dilapidated' comes from the idea of being pelted with stones, not from being made of stone. So in that sense a hedge could be dilapidated. More importantly, how people use language changes all the time, so looking at the original root is not always the best way forward (see 'decimated' for example, which Kurt Vonnegut insisted has to mean reduced by one tenth, but that is not the only way the word is used today).

  2. Lots of people like his books but I could never separate the books from this creepy, horrible man. He is nothing like his father.

  3. this is bullshit. words are used to convey meaning, and the only reason to use a synonym is when the synonym more accurately conveys the meaning you want to convey. this bullshit about rhythm is stupid and no one should write like that

  4. I’m reading Alexander The Great by Peter Green. I’m not even half way through it and here are some terms i’ve written down to remember and learn:

    Accouchement: the process of giving birth to a baby.

    Affectation: behavior, speech, or writing that is artificial and designed to impress

    Anax: Tribal chief or military leader

    Alacrity: brisk and cheerful readiness.

    Arete: Excellence

    Bivouacked: stay in a temporary camp without cover.

    Canard: an unfounded rumor or story.

    Conciliatory: intended or likely to placate or pacify.

    Concupiscence: strong sexual desire; lust.

    Condotierre: a leader or a member of a troop of mercenaries, especially in Italy.

    Cupidity: greed for money or possessions.

    Demur: raise doubts or objections or show reluctance.

    Despot: a ruler or other person who holds absolute power, typically one who exercises it in a cruel or oppressive way

    Dithered: be indecisive

    Entente: a friendly understanding or informal alliance between states or factions.

    Exculpate: show or declare that (someone) is not guilty of wrongdoing.

    Filia: friendship, affection, or love

    Gait: a person's manner of walking

    Ignominious: deserving or causing public disgrace or shame.

    Indignant: feeling or showing anger or annoyance at what is perceived as unfair treatment.

    Internecine: destructive to both sides in a conflict.

    Intransigence: refusal to change one's views or to agree about something.

    Invective: insulting, abusive, or highly critical language.

    Junketing: attend or go on a trip or celebration at public expense.

    Junta: a military or political group that rules a country after taking power by force.

    Laconic: using very few words

    Machpolotik: a doctrine in political theory advocating the use of power and especially of physical force

    Mawkish: sentimental in a feeble or sickly way.

    Monograph: a detailed written study of a single specialized subject or an aspect of it.

    Munificent: (of a gift or sum of money) larger or more generous than is usual or necessary.

    Obdurate: stubbornly refusing to change one's opinion or course of action.

    Obsequiousness: obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree.

    Parsimonious: unwilling to spend money or use resources; stingy or frugal.

    Pentinent: feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong; repentant.

    Percipience: good understanding of things; perceptiveness.

    Pernicious: having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way.

    Polgrom: An organized massacre of a specific ethnic group

    Poltroon: Coward

    Primogeniture: the right of succession belonging to the firstborn child

    Propituous: giving or indicating a good chance of success; favorable.

    Putative: generally considered or reputed to be.

    Recalcitrant: having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline.

    Repudiate: refuse to accept or be associated with.

    Retrenchment: the reduction of costs or spending in response to economic difficulty.

    Salved: soothe (wounded pride or one's conscience).

    Sedulous: (of a person or action) showing dedication and diligence.

    Unshod: not wearing shoes.

    Venality: quality of being open to bribery or overly motivated by money

  5. Whenever I use a thesaurus I think of the Friends episode where baby kangaroo wrote a letter about Chandler and Monica having full-sized aortic pumps.

  6. Wow, this is this much better than that other garbage video of Amis posted recently. This is a master talking about his craft rather than a cynical old drunk talking about things he is ultimately naive about simply due to his arrogance. I will def be watching this again.

  7. What's with Martin's parietal and temporal bones? It seems like they are located much deeper than those of an average person. It kinda divides the face with the rest of the head.
    It might be my crazy imagination, though.

  8. I firmly believe in using words accurately as much as possible, but I think it's just as important to allow yourself some wiggle room, especially in creative writing. Language and words are alive, constantly evolving.

  9. when in rome it's always a good idea to be able to speak the native tounge son
    if in fact you want to convey a concept or six, eat regular and shit right
    this is especially true if the kids are strait up without undue pomp FUCKING EMBARRASSING [no im not kidding check the metrics padawan]
    and who's fault through action inaction or otherwise is that Gatekeeper?

    sorry if that seemed like yelling…im getting a little preturbed with all the delay NOW
    spin the wheel the proper direction hampsters…i can't get a charge if you don't
    that means i can't help you fix the matrix alone and Trinity calls… so run bitches run

  10. A previous Big Think interview this guy did primed me to think this would be a steaming load… but no. This was great!

  11. As a title, I think Invitation to an Execution is more memorable and superior to Invitation to a Beheading . You don't want this repetition/rhyme in the body of your text, but I think it can be preferable in a title.

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