Saturday, November 24, 2007


par-o-no-ma-sia: (noun) the use of a word in different senses or the use of words similar in sound to achieve a specific effect, as humour or a dual meaning; punning.

"Paronomasia" is a real word; "paronomania" is not. It comes from the Reginald Hill book Dialogues of the Dead and is defined as "a clinical obsession with word games". But I prefer "paronomania", even if I'm not clinically obsessed with anything. I just like words. I like the way they sound, the way the come together to form things of great beauty and intense ugliness, the way they do (or don't) rhyme, the way they can express so much with so few syllables. Like I said, I'm not clinically obsessed but I like the idea of being a bit manic when it comes to words.

The saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words. Then, as we go about our days, the images we see all around us create thousands of words for us. And each one of those words has a definition, made up of other words. And they are everywhere, informing us, guiding us, enlightening us. But mostly defining us.

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