Twisted, concealed words

I was particularly intrigued by thinking about words that conceal or twist the real meaning behind them, especially when we describe people. Thinking about this phenomenon in writing or about writing is an interesting (seriously interesting, not odd interesting) avenue to take. I came up with these examples:

“This is good, but…” (At least for me, I remember using this with my sister to not totally rip apart her writing as a whole by starting with a halfhearted compliment before getting into how I really feel)

“An instant classic” (I’ve seen this used to describe good books that we don’t know if will last the test of time or be critically acclaimed by many)

“Tough” (To me, it means more multi-layered, which will take more analysis to understand a piece of writing)

“Descriptive” (Sometimes can be used to just describe a use of a lot of words when it really means simply trying to describe with detail)

“Cryptic” (I’ve heard it be used to describe writing that had ‘darker’ — dark is one too — subject matter that made the listener/reader uncomfortable)

“Literally” (I’m guilty of this. Do you mean figuratively?)

“Simple” (Usually used negatively, like a less complimentary version of calling someone just ‘nice’)

One thought to “Twisted, concealed words”

  1. I definitely agree with the use of the word “literally”. It has become such a commonly used word in speech, that it is said without consideration of its actual meaning. I feel as if it has developed into the same category as the word “like”, where it is used without saying anything at all.

    With regards to “This is good but…”, I have used it in the exact same way when helping my younger sister with her writing. It allows someone to make a blanket statement without providing any insight into the actual content or style of writing.

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