Guest Blogger Day – Phyllis Burton on Words



The power of words has always fascinated me. Many words have multiple meanings and I feel that writing about these differences could be fun and informative: the raw material is never-ending.

Take the word ‘CATACLYSM’ for instance. Open up a dictionary or a Thesaurus and what do you find?

Inundation, misfortune, rift, upheaval, overflow, spillage, spill, deluge, overwhelming engulfment, The Flood, the Deluge, washout, misfortune, misadventure, disaster, calamity, catastrophe, and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” …and many others.


The passengers were eating their breakfast and chatting happily to their family and friends when the tsunami struck the ship. The huge, frightening wall of water engulfed it completely giving the crew no possibility of taking any sort of evasive action, even if such action would have been possible. The tidal-wave’s sheer unexpectedness gave no time for panic: damage to the ship was total and terminal. The waves finally crashed over what was left. Its infrastructure shivered and strained as the lash of the violent sea continued its deadly aim. A constant stream of detritus ebbed and flowed in the furious water: a lone shoe, a soggy newspaper, a briefcase, a doll with blonde hair and vivid red lips and a woman’s jacket still sporting the remnants of a white carnation. These icons of civilisation were now nothing more than flotsam and jetsam.

The last painful paroxysms of a once beautiful ship were extinguished, as she slid irrevocably beneath the waves. The sea boiled for an instant and steam hissed from the now defunct boilers. Timbers groaned and pieces of metal grated as the ship prepared itself for a new life on the sea-floor. An eerie silence fell upon the scene. It was as if the ship had never been.

Due to this cataclysmic happening, 250 people were destined to be caressed and consumed by the deep with only its inhabitants for company.”


Ah, I’ve just spotted my next word…


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If you would like to sample Phyllis’ words take a look at her book Paper Dreams which is available at Amazon UK and US.

But how do you treat your words? Do you think you have all the words you need, or do you like to find new ones and challenge yourself by finding their proper use?


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