Looking for the word

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby linguoboy » 2021-05-02, 14:33

Woods wrote:The wrinkle between the nose and the mouth

“philtrum”

Or if that is a wrinkle, is there a term for the area between the nose and the chin?

Everything from the parting which defines the mouth to where the nose begins is called the “upper lip”. A moustache, for instance, is defined as hair that grows on your upper lip.

man-in-law

I wanted to use it for somebody's husband that she's been married with for 20 years without having the feelings for it. Would that pass, or is the expression already taken?

It’s not already taken but it sounds off to me because “in-law” is used for every relationship you have by marriage except your spouse. There are lots of other expressions which connote a lack of warmth in this context. Bureaucratic terms like “legal spouse”, for instance. The simplest way would be to call him a husband “in name only”.

Third one - beauty when talking about a man's physical appearance? If a woman is beautiful and a man is handsome, can it be talked about his beauty or should it rather be his handsomeness?

The notion that men cannot be called “beautiful” is rooted in toxic masculinity. People who reject this (and the sexism of having distinct terms for male and female beauty) freely talk about the “beauty” of men.
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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-05-02, 15:06

linguoboy wrote:
Woods wrote:The wrinkle between the nose and the mouth

“philtrum”


I have understood the first question differently, so just in case:

This is a philtrum:
Image

This is a nasolabial fold, or in common language also called a laugh line (and more commonly used in the plural since typically they are symmetrical on each side of the face, nasolabial folds if you want to be technical like in a medical context, or laugh lines otherwise).
Image

The term laugh lines is sometimes used to refer to wrinkles at the corners of the eyes instead of (or in addition to) the lines near the mouth, although the ones around the eyes can also be called crow's feet. If you want to use the term laugh lines but need to remove any doubt about which kind of laugh lines are being referred to, you can say laugh lines around the mouth.

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-05-02, 17:51

Linguaphile wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Woods wrote:The wrinkle between the nose and the mouth

“philtrum”

I have understood the first question differently, so just in case:

(...)

This is a nasolabial fold, or in common language also called a laugh line (and more commonly used in the plural since typically they are symmetrical on each side of the face, nasolabial folds if you want to be technical like in a medical context, or laugh lines otherwise).

(...)

If you want to use the term laugh lines but need to remove any doubt about which kind of laugh lines are being referred to, you can say laugh lines around the mouth.

Yes, I'm looking for the line marked on the second picture!

Nasolabial fold is waaay too medical. I need it for a self-help book (casual + novel-like style). If philtrum wouldn't work because people wouldn't understand, this won't work because it would completely violate the registry. I think next time I should mention the kind of text it's meant for :)

Why nasolabial by the way? I somehow miss the element which lets me know that it's the folds between the nose and the lips and not something that is inside both of them. But maybe I'm not used to medical speak.

"Laugh lines" sounds like it! However, the text is more negative, concerning, talking about aging and distress which causes those to appear. So this laugh lines is a little bit opposite in feel to the meaning of the sentence. Any idea how to say that in a different way? In my draft it's "the wrinkle surrounding the area between the nose and chin." It's way too long and is it even understandable and idiomatic?



linguoboy wrote:
Woods wrote:man-in-law

I wanted to use it for somebody's husband that she's been married with for 20 years without having the feelings for it. Would that pass, or is the expression already taken?

It’s not already taken but it sounds off to me because “in-law” is used for every relationship you have by marriage except your spouse. There are lots of other expressions which connote a lack of warmth in this context. Bureaucratic terms like “legal spouse”, for instance. The simplest way would be to call him a husband “in name only”.

The registry is more like a novel. What about just "husband in words" / "husband in name," / "husband in something else" without "only?"


linguoboy wrote:
Woods wrote:Third one - beauty when talking about a man's physical appearance? If a woman is beautiful and a man is handsome, can it be talked about his beauty or should it rather be his handsomeness?

The notion that men cannot be called “beautiful” is rooted in toxic masculinity. People who reject this (and the sexism of having distinct terms for male and female beauty) freely talk about the “beauty” of men.

I have no idea but that's what we've been taught in English classes. So it doesn't sound unidiomatic or feminising to you if I call a man beautiful? What's the difference in nuance with "handsome"? What if I call a woman handsome? Are you sure you're not being too politically correct / reformist when you say that? I stick to established speech and traditional gender roles. Except that I really like "they" and use it a lot more than "he or she".


linguoboy wrote:People who reject this (and the sexism of having distinct terms for male and female beauty) freely talk about the “beauty” of men.

Is that a trend in the US or common in the English-speaking world?

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-05-02, 19:20

Woods wrote:Nasolabial fold is waaay too medical.
...
Why nasolabial by the way? I somehow miss the element which lets me know that it's the folds between the nose and the lips and not something that is inside both of them. But maybe I'm not used to medical speak.

If nasolabial fold is too medical, you'd really not like its more formal name, nasolabial sulcus. :D But I agree with you, nasolabial fold is too formal. It's not what people would normally call it in conversation unless the conversation involved a medical context (such as cosmetic surgery).
Nasolabial means "pertaining to the nose [naso-] and lips [-labial]. So it is the fold (or more formally, sulcus) that pertains to both the nose and lips - in other words, in this case it is the fold that runs from the nose to the upper lip (more or less).

Woods wrote:"Laugh lines" sounds like it! However, the text is more negative, concerning, talking about aging and distress which causes those to appear. So this laugh lines is a little bit opposite in feel to the meaning of the sentence. Any idea how to say that in a different way? In my draft it's "the wrinkle surrounding the area between the nose and chin." It's way too long and is it even understandable and idiomatic?

Laugh lines is indeed what I would use. Despite the word "laugh" and the possible implication that they are caused by laughing too much, they are actually caused by aging (at least when they appear permanently on the face rather than just showing up when one smiles) and the terminology doesn't necessarily have a "positive" connotation either. If you google "laugh lines", the majority of the results you'll get are along the lines of "how to get rid of laugh lines". They're considered a negative thing, at least in some contexts, and this is just what they're called.

Woods wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Woods wrote:man-in-law

I wanted to use it for somebody's husband that she's been married with for 20 years without having the feelings for it. Would that pass, or is the expression already taken?

It’s not already taken but it sounds off to me because “in-law” is used for every relationship you have by marriage except your spouse. There are lots of other expressions which connote a lack of warmth in this context. Bureaucratic terms like “legal spouse”, for instance. The simplest way would be to call him a husband “in name only”.

The registry is more like a novel. What about just "husband in words" / "husband in name," / "husband in something else" without "only?"

"In name only" is a common phrase that means what you are trying to say, and its register is appropriate for a novel. "Husband in name only" is what I would use. The other phrases you suggested ("husband in words", "husband in name" etc) are not as idiomatic and don't sound as natural to me or convey the meaning as clearly. I'm not sure why you would want to avoid using the word "only". It's key to what you are trying to convey: that he is her legal spouse but nothing more. (I suppose you could say it that way as well: "her legal spouse but nothing more" or maybe "her husband in name but nothing more".)
If you wanted something involving "law" it might be "her husband by law but nothing more". (Note that I've changed it to "by law" rather than "in law".)
Still my preference would still be "her husband in name only".

Woods wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
Woods wrote:Third one - beauty when talking about a man's physical appearance? If a woman is beautiful and a man is handsome, can it be talked about his beauty or should it rather be his handsomeness?

The notion that men cannot be called “beautiful” is rooted in toxic masculinity. People who reject this (and the sexism of having distinct terms for male and female beauty) freely talk about the “beauty” of men.

I have no idea but that's what we've been taught in English classes. So it doesn't sound unidiomatic or feminising to you if I call a man beautiful? What's the difference in nuance with "handsome"? What if I call a woman handsome? Are you sure you're not being too politically correct / reformist when you say that? I stick to established speech and traditional gender roles. Except that I really like "they" and use it a lot more than "he or she".

You can refer to a man's beauty or a woman's handsomeness. Some people do, some people don't. It doesn't necessarily indicate feminism or other -isms. Sometimes when a person describes a woman as "handsome" they are emphasizing a kind of "non-feminine" beauty about her; she looks nice but not in an especially feminine way.
If you have concerns and want to make sure no one thinks you are taking some sort of "stand" on it, there is always still the word "handsomeness", and nothing wrong with using it. In a novel, when describing a man, I would say that it is probably the most "neutral" because it has been quite standard for a long time and therefore its use won't draw much attention to your word choice.
I'm not sure whether that is what you are trying for or not.

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-05-04, 7:45

linguaphile wrote:Laugh lines is indeed what I would use. Despite the word "laugh" and the possible implication that they are caused by laughing too much, they are actually caused by aging

So the text is about continuous distress and how as a result, "The wrinkle surrounding the area between the nose and chin has appeared." At least that's how it stands now. If I change that to "laugh lines", I don't like how it sounds - because there's nothing about laughter or positive emotions here. Is my version too clumsy? Or is it because I'm not native and I can't see how the sense of laughter has disappeared and given way to the image of the actual thing?

Also some additional creativity is welcome in that text. What if we replace "laugh" with a synonym or an antonym which will give a darker connotation?


linguaphile wrote:"In name only" is a common phrase that means what you are trying to say, and its register is appropriate for a novel. "Husband in name only" is what I would use. The other phrases you suggested ("husband in words", "husband in name" etc) are not as idiomatic and don't sound as natural to me or convey the meaning as clearly.

I very orten take a word away from common expressions, mostly because I'm trying to shorten something and it feels more important to make the phrase shorter than to convey the meaning clearly. Especially in text messages, but also in longer texts. I'm wondering if that would sound very odd and unidiomatic to a native.

And that all goes communicated to non-natives, since we all speak English but hardly anyone has grown up with it as their main language.

One of these days, I was even concerned when I had to write something to a person from England, I was like damn, that person is actually from an English-speaking country - I've got to double-check what I'm writing :D

(by the way I don't know I just did that thing I mentioned about leaving a word out as I wrote "to a native" and not "to a native speaker."

Also I often leave out the preposition from a phrasal verb. That would probably also be understood but sound incomplete?


linguaphile wrote:I'm not sure why you would want to avoid using the word "only".

Simply for reducing the amount of words. The sentence is too long. It breaks its symmetry. It draws too much attention to the husband not being a good one, when it's just a side thing. It's a long sentence about something else and this is extra information. I'd rather leave just "husband," because "husband in name only" is too much. But if something like "husband in name" was enough, I'd include it. It is much better to depict the husband as a bad one. But the main thing in the sentence is not what kind of husband he was but what has happened to her. So that balance should be preserved.

From all the phrases we've mentioned only "husband in name" feels like a fit. But if it's strikingly unidiomatic, it's going to be just "husband." Something is lost, but better this than shifting the focus of the sentence.

Also, the "only" implies that he was failing his obligations as a husband altogether. I want to imply that he was not a good husband, but not that he was not acting like a husband at all. So, the meaning becomes different as well.


linguaphile wrote:You can refer to a man's beauty or a woman's handsomeness. Some people do, some people don't. It doesn't necessarily indicate feminism or other -isms.

To me (as a non-native who's spent two months in an English-speaking country total), pretty for a man sounds non-native, and handsome for a woman - like you're trying to imply that there's something masculine about her or she's not a real woman. There was one girl who called me pretty and I thought "hm, she's Finnish - she has some small gaps in her English."


linguaphile wrote:Sometimes when a person describes a woman as "handsome" they are emphasizing a kind of "non-feminine" beauty about her; she looks nice but not in an especially feminine way.

Okay, so basically what I've thought. I'm also curious what linguoboy would say about her views.


linguaphile wrote:If you have concerns and want to make sure no one thinks you are taking some sort of "stand" on it, there is always still the word "handsomeness", and nothing wrong with using it. In a novel, when describing a man, I would say that it is probably the most "neutral" because it has been quite standard for a long time and therefore its use won't draw much attention to your word choice.

How did it come to be that men and women started to be called handsome or pretty / beautiful with different words?


linguaphile wrote:I'm not sure whether that is what you are trying for or not.

Yes, definitely. I was just wondering if the noun "beauty" has also been reserved for women as its adjective counterpart. If it wasn't, I could use it rather than "handsomeness" because the latter sounds a little bit like viewed from a woman's perspective - he's handsome and she appreciates that. I'm not a woman so I'd like to stay as neutral as possible.

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby linguoboy » 2021-05-04, 15:39

Woods wrote:So the text is about continuous distress and how as a result, "The wrinkle surrounding the area between the nose and chin has appeared." At least that's how it stands now. If I change that to "laugh lines", I don't like how it sounds - because there's nothing about laughter or positive emotions here. Is my version too clumsy?

I would say so. Using the singular makes it sound like the person only has one, which would be bizarre. And it doesn't really "surround the area"; laugh lines "run" from your nose to your mouth or chin.

Woods wrote:Or is it because I'm not native and I can't see how the sense of laughter has disappeared and given way to the image of the actual thing? Also some additional creativity is welcome in that text. What if we replace "laugh" with a synonym or an antonym which will give a darker connotation?

As linguaphile said, they don't actually come from laughter. You could try to distance your description from those connotations by saying something like "Her/His laugh lines appeared, but there was nothing funny about them".

Woods wrote:I very orten take a word away from common expressions, mostly because I'm trying to shorten something and it feels more important to make the phrase shorter than to convey the meaning clearly. Especially in text messages, but also in longer texts. I'm wondering if that would sound very odd and unidiomatic to a native.

Judging from some of the feedback you've gotten here from native speakers, I think you can safely conclude that the answer to that is "It does".

Woods wrote:Also I often leave out the preposition from a phrasal verb. That would probably also be understood but sound incomplete?

Depending on the verb, it might change the meaning completely. Sometimes the particle (they're not actually "prepositions" if they don't act as the heads of prepositional phrases) only indicates aspect or aktionsart and can be left off without causing confusion, but not always.

(My last sentence is an example of this: It you remove "off", the sense of the verb changes from "to omit" to "to retain". That is, it reverses it completely.)

Woods wrote:
linguaphile wrote:You can refer to a man's beauty or a woman's handsomeness. Some people do, some people don't. It doesn't necessarily indicate feminism or other -isms.

To me (as a non-native who's spent two months in an English-speaking country total), pretty for a man sounds non-native, and handsome for a woman - like you're trying to imply that there's something masculine about her or she's not a real woman. There was one girl who called me pretty and I thought "hm, she's Finnish - she has some small gaps in her English."

Well, your impression is wrong. Women get called "handsome" and men get called "pretty" or "beautiful" even by native speakers. This is not a matter of being "politically correct", nor is it a recent phenomenon; I can find you plenty of examples from 19th-century authors if you like. "Pretty boy" is even a fixed expression in English.

You're reminding me why I urge those seeking mastery of a language to read as much native prose in it they can--especially if they're not in a situation where they can regularly speak to native speakers. That's how you get a real feel for usage and good style.
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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-05-05, 11:23

linguoboy wrote:You're reminding me why I urge those seeking mastery of a language to read as much native prose in it they can.

We're doing it as much as we can, but of course we also use other languages and we do tons of other things beside reading.

That being said, what are your most favourite books? (if you want to share - and especially ones that stand out with the author's writing skills?)

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Rí.na.dTeangacha » 2021-05-05, 15:09

I've got one:
The other day, I had an appointment to meet a friend with my wife at noon, but close to the time he sent me a message to tell me he would be delayed. At noon, I was still in bed, because I now knew the appointment had been delayed slightly and felt no need to get up just yet. My wife, who was already out of bed and getting ready, said to me "Cê tá abusando da sorte!", which literally means "You're abusing the (i.e. your) luck!" in reference to the fact that I got lucky with the delay of the appointment and was "abusing" that luck by staying in bed. I don't know what I would have said in a similar situation in English. "You're lucky the appointment was delayed, otherwise you'd be late!" or something to that effect, but I can't think of something natural-sounding that is as concise and generic as "Cê tá abusando da sorte!". Any ideas?
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Re: Looking for the word

Postby azhong » 2021-05-05, 16:55

linguoboy wrote:
Woods wrote:... I'm wondering if that would sound very odd and unidiomatic to a native.

Judging from some of the feedback you've gotten here from native speakers, I think you can safely conclude that the answer to that is "It does".

Linguoboy is seldem heartwarming, is he not, with his pistal-n-ball humour? This is his typical text style, not especially to you. Do not get hurted, Woods.(Sometimes I wonder if he had a lonely, hard childhood...) :)

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-05-05, 17:17

azhong wrote:Linguoboy is seldem heartwarming, is he not, with his pistal-n-ball humour? This is his typical text style, not especially to you. Do not get hurted, Woods.(Sometimes I wonder if he had a lonely, hard childhood...) :)

I think we have a similar style. I like straightforward people and she definitely is one. Maybe I'm a little bit softer than her most of the time, except when I'm not and I become even harsher, so at the end it's about the same. I like the unattenuated critique, and that's why I very often turn to her directly and say that I'd like to hear what she in particular has to say about some of my questions.

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-05-07, 15:12

Painting icons

In Bulgarian / Russian, apparently iconostasis is painting or decorating with icons the whole of a church's interior. I need a more generic term for the works of an artist who does that, but also paints icons in the tradition of orthodox christianity which are not necessary part of a whole church's design. I thought of "iconography," but that doesn't seem to relate that much to the actual painting but more to the result of it / collections of such art etc.?

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby linguoboy » 2021-05-07, 15:36

Woods wrote:In Bulgarian / Russian, apparently iconostasis is painting or decorating with icons the whole of a church's interior.

I thought иконостас was specifically the wall covered with icons that divides the sanctuary from the rest of the church (what in other Christian sects is called an "altar screen").

Woods wrote:I need a more generic term for the works of an artist who does that, but also paints icons in the tradition of orthodox christianity which are not necessary part of a whole church's design. I thought of "iconography," but that doesn't seem to relate that much to the actual painting but more to the result of it / collections of such art etc.?

"Iconography" has a completely different meaning. It's either the symbolic features associated with particular figures or genres (e.g. "Buddhist iconography") or its the study of these images and features. We would just say "icons". "What does he do? He paints icons."
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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-05-07, 19:37

Woods wrote:
azhong wrote:Linguoboy is seldem heartwarming, is he not, with his pistal-n-ball humour? This is his typical text style, not especially to you. Do not get hurted, Woods.(Sometimes I wonder if he had a lonely, hard childhood...) :)

I think we have a similar style. I like straightforward people and she definitely is one. Maybe I'm a little bit softer than her most of the time, except when I'm not and I become even harsher, so at the end it's about the same. I like the unattenuated critique, and that's why I very often turn to her directly and say that I'd like to hear what she in particular has to say about some of my questions.

Linguoboy. As far as I know, linguoboy uses masculine pronouns.

linguoboy wrote:
Woods wrote:In Bulgarian / Russian, apparently iconostasis is painting or decorating with icons the whole of a church's interior.

I thought иконостас was specifically the wall covered with icons that divides the sanctuary from the rest of the church (what in other Christian sects is called an "altar screen").

My understanding is that an iconostasis can either be a wall covered with icons (usually dividing the sanctuary from the nave, as linguoboy said) or a portable screen covered with icons which could be at the front of the church or elsewhere. (Technically anywhere, since it is portable.)
I don't think they normally cover the whole interior but I suppose if they did, all the walls would be considered iconostases.

linguoboy wrote:
Woods wrote:I need a more generic term for the works of an artist who does that, but also paints icons in the tradition of orthodox christianity which are not necessary part of a whole church's design. I thought of "iconography," but that doesn't seem to relate that much to the actual painting but more to the result of it / collections of such art etc.?

"Iconography" has a completely different meaning. It's either the symbolic features associated with particular figures or genres (e.g. "Buddhist iconography") or its the study of these images and features. We would just say "icons". "What does he do? He paints icons."

Calling the work of an iconographer "iconography" is actually fairly common in an Orthodox Christian context, but not especially accepted usage outside that community.
I would call the artist an "iconographer" or an "icon painter", the activity he engages in "icon-painting" ("he paints icons", as linguoboy said) and the result of his work "icons".

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby linguoboy » 2021-05-07, 20:05

Linguaphile wrote:Linguoboy. As far as I know, linguoboy uses masculine pronouns.

Thanks. I wasn't going to say anything. I do prefer he/his/him but being misgendered amuses me more than it bothers me. Like you said, "boy" is right there in my name!

Linguaphile wrote:Calling the work of an iconographer "iconography" is actually fairly common in an Orthodox Christian context

Interesting! I've never come across this usage before. Is it more of a Greek thing? (Most of the Orthodox I've known have been Slavs.)
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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Linguaphile » 2021-05-07, 20:59

linguoboy wrote:
Linguaphile wrote:Calling the work of an iconographer "iconography" is actually fairly common in an Orthodox Christian context
Is it more of a Greek thing? (Most of the Orthodox I've known have been Slavs.)

No. Most of my exposure has been from a Russian Orthodox context as well.

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby azhong » 2021-05-08, 2:40

linguoboy wrote:
Linguaphile wrote:Linguoboy. As far as I know, linguoboy uses masculine pronouns.

Thanks. I wasn't going to say anything. I do prefer he/his/him but being misgendered amuses me more than it bothers me. Like you said, "boy" is right there in my name!

No matter what gender you are, what species you are Regardless of your gender, your species, you are nice and smart to me.
Me impolite but still curious, did you have an unhappy childhood? (You were born in your father's city but raised up in your mother's. There must be a story in it... I am so rude, asking your privacy in public...)

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby linguoboy » 2021-05-10, 17:54

azhong wrote:Me impolite but still curious, did you have an unhappy childhood? (You were born in your father's city but raised up in your mother's. There must be a story in it... I am so rude, asking your privacy in public...)

This is a really weird question! People in the USA move often (an average of once every seven years), so it really isn't unusual for someone to have grown up in multiple states. There doesn't have to be a "story" in it.

What my parents told me is that they decided they wanted to live near one extended family or the other. They tried living near my father's and it was kind of a disaster. (At one point his sister had an epileptic seizure and nearly crushed me.) So they decided to live near my mother's family instead. This was around the time my father started law school, so I don't know how much getting into Saint Louis University played a role. (Did he only apply to law schools in St Louis because they'd already made the decision? Or did he apply to several and studying there appealed to him more than the alternatives? He's dead now so I can't ask him.)
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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Woods » 2021-05-14, 10:09

The closest one-word synonym of "human rights"?

It needs to get you thinking in the same direction - it doesn't have to be an exact synonym. I'm thinking of "freedom," but that's not really it - I don't want the element of freedom from something, but freedom to be yourself and to do everything that you should be allowed to you - in other words basic human rights and freedoms, but expressed with one word.


And one more:

compass - metaphorically

As an instrument showing north that's clear, but I was surprised at the definitions of the abstract meaning of the word:

Oxford: the range or scope of something

Merriam: boundary, circumference, a circumscribed space, range, scope; direction (his moral compass)

Why range and scope? I was looking for something like a direction, guide - like Wegleiter in German, and thought compass fitted perfectly, but it seems I'm wrong :hmm:

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linguoboy
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Re: Looking for the word

Postby linguoboy » 2021-05-15, 12:50

Woods wrote:And one more:

compass - metaphorically

“lodestar”
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

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Re: Looking for the word

Postby Rí.na.dTeangacha » 2021-05-15, 18:59

Woods wrote:The closest one-word synonym of "human rights"?

It needs to get you thinking in the same direction - it doesn't have to be an exact synonym. I'm thinking of "freedom," but that's not really it - I don't want the element of freedom from something, but freedom to be yourself and to do everything that you should be allowed to you - in other words basic human rights and freedoms, but expressed with one word.


"rights", "autonomy", "self-determination"
(pt-br)(ga)(ja) - Formerly Ciarán12


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