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Young Writers Society
Do you smell that?
Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:33 pm
: To describe a physical odor coming from something.
E.g: When he came home for the holidays and wrapped his arms around us, his adventures washed over us in smells of sea salt and saffron.
: To describe an atmosphere or impression
E.g: The whole ordeal stunk of pretentiousness with a subtle undertone of betrayal.
Ten's Grading System:
(What those fully numbers are for.)
Each word has a number [
] and a word [
] next to it.
The number beside it links to Ten’s Grading System, based on how easy it is to use. The word in colour refers to how common the word is used.
1: You could stick this anywhere and it would still make sense.
2: Don’t put the cat in the custard and you’ll be alright.
3: You need to speak English to get this one.
4: This is in between three and five.
5: As a writer, you should put this somewhere.
6: Get a second pair of eyes to check this one is right.
7: Gosh you’re getting brave.
8: It doesn’t matter how you use this, because nobody else knows how to use it either.
Casual: Used in every day conversation.
Common: Almost everyone knows what this means.
Fancy: For usage in poetry and impressing teachers.
Specific: Normally you’d have to be an avid reader, or interested in a particular topic to know what this means.
Rare: Save these ones for fancy poetry.
Deceased: I haven’t heard this one used since the sixteen hundreds.
The Vocabulary List:
This word is most commonly used to name a bunch of nice smelling flowers, but it’s also used when refering to the different smells of wine, and can be stretched out to other drinks. You have to make sure you get the context right though, otherwise a bottle containing a bouquet of red grape and aged cranberry will look more like a wilting vase than a delicious drink.
Incense is a funny little word. It’s something burned, but doesn’t always refer to those little sticks you buy from tourist shops. It can be anything from tealeaves to barbecued meat.
I say it’s a funny word because as a noun it describes a very appealing smell. The other lesser used meaning is that as a verb it means to enrage or to make someone angry. Since the latter isn’t commonly known, just make sure you put it in the right place and it’ll be fine.
Aroma is more often used to describe pleasant smells that linger in the background, as opposed to the stronger, more prominent odors.
Scent is used to describe a desirable, and sometimes subtle smell. This could be the faint scent of flowers coming in through the window. It could also be used to describe a scent that you would want to follow, like when hunting animals.
Stench is Scents evil twin brother. It’s used to describe something completely undesirable and often overpowering. A scent would lure you in. A stench would turn you away.
Whiff is more of an informal word. It describes a fleeting smell, something slight and brief, like when you’re walking through a crowd and you get a faint whiff of someone’s perfume or body odour.
Odour is a Canadian/uk thing. If you live anywhere else it’s probably an Odor. An odour characteristically reminds you of something. It’s the odour of bread, or of rotting vegetables. Grandma’s house has a distinctive odour. So does the undertakers.
Fetor is something strong and disgusting, and most commonly refers to urban stinkies like fumes and pollution.
Fragrance is a sweet and pleasant smell. It’s commonly, but not always, used for something that smells on purpose, like washing powders, soaps, air fresheners, that kind of stuff.
I can’t really figure out what this one is. It could refer to the musk plant, which I’ve never actually smelt. It also is the name for the ‘pungent and greasy glandular secretion of a deer’ which apparently must smell alright because it gets turned into perfume. I reckon the best way to figure this one out is to go to a perfume shop and check it out for yourself.
Perfume is a little like fragrance, in that when you describe a person’s perfume it’s generally assumed that this is something they have applied and denotes that it’s something that smells on purpose.
Redolence is something that reminds you of something else, usually something nice. Like how a fishmongers in the city might carry the redolence of the fresh sea air.
Whichever way you look at it, stink is bad. A stink is something wretched and doesn’t have much other meaning.
I’ve marked this one a 6* because it’s another one of those fussy ones that has a lot of meanings, even in the same context. It could mean the wind in the air, and so a wind of dried rose petals might mean that the wind is full of the smell of dried rose petals. It could also be the opposite, since wind also means an inclination or trace (often of something subtle or untold,) and so would mean that there is a subtle smell or dried rose petals that would tell you that there is someone who smells of roses hiding nearby.
The essence of something is usually the most powerful part of a substance, and is linked to the word ‘essential.’ It’s something that the substance wouldn’t be the same without. Like, the essence of rosemary in grandma’s scotch broth. Essence of frog doesn’t always mean that it’s a frog been through a blender, it means it’s the strongest tasting part of the frog.
A tang usually refers to something with a very strong or sharp taste- however, it doesn’t have to be a strong smell. You can meet a man who smells like soap, cologne, and a tang of motor oil. That doesn’t mean he smells like motor oil, but that the motor oil has a strong or distinctive enough smell that when you get too close, you know he works in a garage.
A spoor is a smell that you follow, like a trail of something. It tends to refer specifically to the tracking of an animal.
You'll never get the hang of words by memorising word lists. The best way to learn them is to use them. So here are a few challenges for you.
Write each word in a sentence.
Choose a word and correctly use it in the strangest context possible.
Fit as many as you can into a 100 word piece of flash fiction.
Choose one of the more difficult words. Use it in a random conversation and observe the reaction.
Create three pretentious insults and three cheesy compliments.
If you complete any of the challenges, post them below!
Any extra words to add, or know of any variations, feel free to pm me and I'll edit the list.
It's unsettling to know how little separates each of us from another life altogether.
— Wes Moore, The Other Wes Moore
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