Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vocab Builder: F

Welcome to the sixth in the Vocab Builder series. Last week we covered the letter E. This week, for those not following the pattern, we will look at the letter F.

A strong vocabulary allows you to select the precise word for what your trying to say.Whether you're a funambulist entertaining a crowd or or if you're flyting, you should have a strong vocabulary.

Last week it was commented that it is all very well knowing these words but one mustn't show off vocabulary for the sake of it. Remember if you want to use these words make sure you are using them correctly and because they are the right word for the job. Let's start:


Meaning:  idle/ineffectual

Sentence:  I couldn't live a lifestyle that was fainéant.

Origin:  French. Fait-nient means 'do nothing' in French and comes from 'faindre' meaning 'to feign'

Discussion:  This word is very nice though sounds more lavish than its meaning. Be sure if you use this word it fits the tone of the piece and don't use it in a Fantasy book where the French language never existed as it is very obviously French.


Meaning:  relating to the west win / mild

Sentence:  Crossing the ocean was helped by the favonian breeze.

Origin:  Greek. 'Zephyros' is Greek for 'West Wind' and comes from 'zephyr' meaning 'gentle breeze'

Discussion:  Avoid using this word if you are talking about strong westerly winds. Although technically not wrong the word also means 'mild' and so should not be used for extreme weather. I think it fits in fantasy writing as many worlds depend on sea travel and so favonian is a useful word to have.


Meaning:   Involving/holding trust in/for another

Sentence:  Banks have a fiduciary duty to handle our money properly, but many fail on this basic front.

Origin:  Latin. 'Fidere' means 'to trust' in Latin.

Discussion:  Fiduciary is often used in financial situations but it is not limited to such. Any trusting relationship is fiduciary. I think this word is suited to more formal pieces, but the word is not too uncommon to use generally.


Meaning:  an exchange of personal abuse in the form of verses

Sentence:  The two poets fought with flyting.

Origin:  Scottish. 'Flyte' is an old verb meaning 'to contend' and is the base of 'flyting'.

Discussion:  This word tends to be found in Scottish and Northern English places, though is used around the world. It has a very specific meaning and no other word I can think of that means exactly what it does. Remember it is a noun and not a verb, even if it may sound like it is. The verb form is 'flyted'.


Meaning:  musty/stale OR untidy/unkempt appearence

Sentence:  The library smelled frowsy. OR A frowsy man entered the room.

Origin:  Unknown

Discussion:  I like the word. It may not be that common, but it has it's uses. If you are wanting to draw attention to the shabbiness of a character then putting frowsy along with other adjectives will help.


Meaning:  sooty / obscure/murky / dark/dusky colour

Sentence:  The lights went out flooding the room in fuliginous darkness.

Origin:  Latin. 'Fuligo' is Latin for 'soot'

Discussion:  I have never heard this word in use without looking for it. Probably best steer clear of it unless your readership has a very large vocabulary. I think it sounds clumsy which is kind of appropriate. I may sound negative towards this word, but I have included it so you know what it means and can impress your friends!


Meaning:  tightrope walking OR a show of mental agility.

Sentence:  The performer impressed with astounding funambulism. OR The spelling challenge was ripe with people showing of their funambulism.

Origin:  Latin. 'Funambulus' is Latin for 'Tightrope walker' and comes from 'funis' meaning 'rope' and 'ambulare' meaning 'to walk'

Discussion:  This is my favourite word on the list. Would I use to describe a tightrope walker in my own works? No. Simply because saying 'tightrope walking' gives a far better image than 'funambulism'. I would give it to a character with funambulism in the more modern sense as it fits the character.

So there you go. Seven words beginning with F.

Please post in the comments below. Perhaps have a go at using all 7 words or discuss the 'F' words further. If you found this post interesting or useful please share it using the social media tools below or send links to people you think may be interested.

Matt B


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