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.


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.


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…