The Power of A Single Word

We all know there is power in words.  We wouldn’t be readers, or authors, or even humans without words.  The power that amazes me, however, is the power of a single word.

You don’t think a single word can have power?  You think it needs friends to back it up?

Try saying “bomb” in an airport.

That’s not even a great example, because it holds the power of fear.  I personally like the power “outside” has over my dog.  I have to avoid it (and “out”) unless I plan to take a walk.  Immediately.  He gets so excited that nothing else will do.

What about the word “free,” especially in the context of goods or services?  Most people have a natural response of some sort to this word.  🙂

As an author I find that some words work better than others for conveying the same idea.  It’s always a challenge to find just the right word for a situation, a task I usually enjoy.  Some words are simply more descriptive than others; “green” may bring to mind a host of colors, but “celery” gives everyone the same image.  Certain words are more eloquent or fit a character’s speech patterns more accurately.  The occasional word even has an emotional weight simply within itself.

As a kid, my favorite words were the big words that had the same basic meaning as small words.  Pernicious.  Facetious.  Enigma.  🙂  I have always loved words for themselves.  Their power has never surprised me, but it still finds ways to amaze me.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. T.S. Bazelli
    Mar 15, 2011 @ 17:34:30

    Kind of an aside, but my favorite word is “Cake”. It makes such a nice smack against your lips, a mouth watery click, when you say it.

    But yes, words have power. Completely agree.


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