Concinnity

Concinnity is among my favourite words, as much for the beauty of the word itself as for its meaning.

I love the way it flutters off the tip of my tongue, the taps of ns and ts against the hard palate, and that lovely sibilant c, announcing the word’s emphatic syllable. There’s the lyrical cadence of the consonants and vowels playing off each other in a canter . I think it’s as lovely to say as it is to hear.

But it’s meaning…

  • a close harmony of tone as well as logic among the elements of a discourse
  • the skillful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of the different parts comprising the whole
  • studied elegance of literary or artistic style.

Concinnity is nearly onomatopoeiac, an elegant and harmonious word which, with copious concision, describes the creation of elegant harmony. If I were to argue that a poem could be accomplished with a single word, concinnity would be my argument.

It’s unfortunate the meaning so very specifically refers to a condition which has become increasingly rare in the tumult that is our times; I get very few opportunities to apply it.

Synonyms:

arrangement, chord, composition, melody, tune, unitymore synonyms

Next:

Refrain

The Thesaurus Game: How to Play

You can think of this game as a one-word writing prompt. Instead of being given the word, you’re being given a list of synonyms to choose your one word from.

But if you just want to think of it as a game, it’s one of those games without winners or losers, and the rules of play are fairly basic:

  1. The title of this post is the word
  2. Pick a synonym for the word
    • Either pick one of the synonyms above or
    • Look up the word in a thesaurus and pick a synonym there
  3. In a comment, tell us what synonym you’ve chosen
  4. Then add anything you want about the synonym
    • Describe why you chose it
    • Write a story, poem or essay inspired by the synonym
    • Write a blog post about it
      • Post a link to your blog post in the comment
      • Also post a link from your blog post to this page
  5. In your comment or blog post, please feel free to comment on this post as well

The conditions of play

  • We are here to celebrate words and language
  • Play nice — Zero tolerance for the following:
    • Don’t be mean, or use hate speech, or bully other players
    • No graphic sex or violence or excessive use of foul language
    • Dark themes are OK. Promoting violence or criminal behaviour is not
    • This is emphatically not a forum for your political agenda or conspiracy theory
  • Be generous
  • Constructive criticism is welcome; personal attacks are not
  • It’s OK to be an adult, just remember there are kids in the audience too
  • Have fun

I hope you’ll also play the game with the synonyms other players provide. Just follow the rules above, using their synonym as the word. Post your new synonym as a reply to their comment. I’ve written a comment below as an example.

I can’t promise I’ll be able to “play” with every player out there, but I will respond to your comments as often as opportunity allows.

Also, every now and again I’ll pick especially good responses and post them as “guest posts”. I’ll ask the player before doing that, just in case you’d prefer not to. I took the comment I wrote below and used it to create a new word for people to play with.

2 Comments

  1. Melody

    It’s been a while since I’ve played the Thesaurus Game with anyone. One of the ‘tricks’ to playing it well is choosing the right synonym. And one of the tricks to choosing the right synonym is considering what kind of synonyms your partner’s going to get. You have to think of it this way: if you give them a word which has very few inspiring synonyms, well, your partner’s going to be uninspired, and you’re going to get an uninspiring word to work with in their reply.

    The aspect of Concinnity which makes it so uniquely elegant is the razor sharp concision of its meaning. There just aren’t a whole lot of words referring to the harmonious composition of rational discussion. Only one of the six most “relevant” synonyms (according to thesaurus.com, anyway) really even appeals to me. (It’s a bit odd that harmony didn’t also make the cut, another favourite word.)

    Still, that one word is Melody. And melody is just fine by me. It conjures up beautiful music, a beautiful name for a woman, and damn fine metaphor for just about anything that’s proceeding with a musical kind of grace. So, melody it is.

    I’ve created a new post for Melody from this comment here.

    Like

    1. One of Melody’s synonyms is Refrain which inspired this micro-poem:

      Refrain
      He thought to himself
      In the moment between
      Circumstance
      And the need to respond to
      Consequence
      So that the one thing
      He could not do was
      Refrain

      Like

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