In response to Concinnity

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 synonymous with the harmonious composition of rational discussion. Only one of the six most “relevant” synonyms really even appeals to me. According to these are arrangement, chord, composition, melody, tune, and unity. It’s a bit odd that harmony didn’t also make the cut, another favourite word, but, hey, what do I know?

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

It’s been a while since I’ve played the Thesaurus Game with anyone. I’ve forgotten some of the tricks to playing it well. Looking at the synonyms for Concinnity reminded me that one of those tricks is choosing the right synonym.

You need to consider what kind of synonyms your partner’s going to receive as options. Think of it this way: if you give them a word which has very few if any inspiring synonyms, well, your partner’s going to be uninspired, and in return you’re likely going to get an uninspiring word to work with in their reply. I also learned over the years to pick synonyms as much for where they might lead as for how interesting the word itself was. It’s fun to try and nudge the game toward a particular theme or narrative, or stir up a bit of intrigue or literary conflict, perhaps share an inside joke with your playmate.

What’s really interesting is watching how much your partner might be resisting this.


chant, inflection, lyric, music, refrain, thememore synonyms



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 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”. Of course, I’ll ask the player before doing that, just in case you’d prefer not to.

Come Out and Play!

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