There’s that old chestnut of a curse: “May you live in interesting times.” These times are certainly interesting, but I think the word Duplicitous describes a fair bit of what makes them interesting. And I wouldn’t curse anyone with a life lived in duplicitous times.

The manipulative deceit which marks even the most casual-seeming conversation whenever it strays into topics of hyper-partisanship is marring friendships, relationships and family cohesion. It doesn’t take long for this to boil over into anger, even hatred, and the conditions which produce regrettable statements.


Foible is one of those awkward words. Awkward in its voicing, in the sound of it, and in its meaning. I sat with the word for a bit, hoping for some poetry… but it’s not a word for which the lyrical comes running. (In the category of “Rhymes with Foible”: deubel, greubel, loibl, roybal. I’m not even going to bother looking those up.

It’s not even a word with very much oomph to it. A foible or two hardly makes one a sociopath or felon. On the contrary, unless they’re hurtful or malicious, it’s often the minor weaknesses and eccentricities which make for an interesting character.


Such a bunch of bold and often self-consciously multi-syllabic synonyms for “furtive”, a word entirely devoted to going unnoticed. The time and racket required to put some of these synonyms to voice would put all but the most stealthy spies at risk of discovery, or elimination.

And then there’s Sly. An incision. A silencer. A whisper out of the darkness. A three-letter utterance without even  an anchoring vowel. The word itself is a hiss, a diversion for the covert “y”.


The synonyms for privacy open up a number of tasty possibilities, words which I often use as themes in my writing and poetry: solitude, isolation, peace, quietness… they appear so often it’s possible to consider them emblematic.

What fascinates me about this collection of synonyms is the interplay of meanings for those of us in recovery or, perhaps more broadly, those of us on the path of spiritual or personal growth. These are the words of practice, a pursuit which navigates darkness and the light, seeks to know each while, ultimately, learning the balance which brings insight and meaning.


“Clandestinely” is a whole mouthful of flagrant consonants and syllables for a word intended to connote undercover, off-book, and prohibited activities. It reeks of spy craft and people acting in bad faith or at risk of discovery with all the nasty ramifications of exposure.

The secretive subterfuge undermines any benevolent intent. Clandestinely is a label of taint. Love affairs, corporate secrets, black ops and conspiracy: the word itself is implication, an indication of moral corruption. As intrigue, it is only intriguing for the glamour and glory of fictionalized heroes.

[Move] Stealthily

Stealth is an invisibility cloak, or camouflage, quiet movement, or disappearing into a crowd. It’s flying under the radar, whether physically, figuratively, emotionally or socially. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of being still when prying eyes seek movement.

Stealth is the stuff of spies, war and games, of business and politics. Stealth is for the secretive, and those who would uncover secrets.


There is nothing aimless about a big cat on the prowl.

Imminent lethal intent. Focused. Targeted. Stealthy.

Although I understand completely why the various ways we use prowl made the list of roam synonyms, the word’s essential meaning makes it an antonym to every synonym since linger.

Prowl is a word with purpose, weapons locked. A black panther in the darkness, preparing to pounce.


Linger’s another one of those words that tastes good as you say it. It is as sensuous as the sensations of any moment it draws out. Lingering is just such a satisfying activity. Languorous, sensual… it evokes an awareness for a purposeful state of extended experience, to enjoy the moment… for just a little longer, a lingering touch, a lingering glance. Perhaps anticipation, to enjoy the tension of waiting for a moment yet to come, to teeter a bit on the edge of fulfillment. Sometimes to bask in consummate satisfaction. Always an expanded experience of the present.


I wasn’t overly fond of the “most relevant” options for synonyms (abide, combat, confront, continue, curb, defy, endure, forgo, maintain, prevent, refuse, repel, and thwart) so I dug a little deeper into the thesaurus and found a couple entries with a bit more appeal: persevere and persist. Both these words evoke a proactive alternative to resistance. I’m going with persist partly because it rhymes with resist.


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 thesaurus.com 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.


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…