New Word #9: Word Replacement

As a non-native speaker, I’ve always felt uncertain and insecure of my language. Just listening to my accent and looking at my Asian face, people may dismiss me or disqualify me right away, without giving me a chance to prove myself. I think a lot of people are like me, considering the number of non-native speakers around the world, who work with English, interview in English, communicate in English, have a career in English. There are many ways to deal with this problem to help people understand you better. Here is one way to show people your capability and knowledge quickly. I call it the “word replacement” method.

There are many replaceable words. In this post, I will concentrate on words that are health related. This method is just to use a more difficult word to replace a more commonly used word. It sounds rather silly, isn’t it? However it is a statement–although I know you may think I am no good with English, but I know difficult words as much as you do. For example, if somebody looks sad, you can say “let me cheer you up and don’t be morose.” If somebody is eating a lot of vegetable, you can say “prebiotic is good for your health.” However don’t overdo it–too many long words can be annoying.

  1. too worried about health -> hypochondria
  2. cold ->hypothermia
  3. expert -> esoteric
  4. hardness to breathe -> asphyxiation
  5. steal -> kleptomania
  6. sad -> morose
  7. cold -> bronchial pneumonia
  8. vegetable -> roughage, probiotics and prebiotics
  9. high blood pressure -> hypertension
  10. see a doctor -> spell out the doctor’s specialty like cardiologist, dermatologist, pediatrician, gynecologist etc.
  11. allergy ->anaphylactic shock
  12. expert on food -> gourmet, food connoisseur
  13. too much food -> gluttony
  14. anxious -> neurosis
  15. try to be slim by not eating -> anorexia, bulimia
  16. fear of being fat -> obesophobia
  17. somebody being too clean -> a germaphobe
  18. smoke -> emphysema
  19. hardworking -> diligent, assiduous
  20. careful -> meticulous, fastidious

There are a lot more words like these, and please let me know if you have ever replaced a word with another one to make your point.

As my dear online friend Herb pointed out to me yesterday that you cannot directly replace the words as they are shown. Attentions have to be paid on how to use and when to use. Also some words may be too strong to be offensive. So be careful when you use a replacement. If you like to know more details, please either give comments or send email to me. English is quite subtle in a lot of places and sometimes just a little variation can throw people off. As a non-native speaker, I am always very careful in the usage.

Also if you like to share a language gaffe you observed or discuss about a language replacement, I will be very interested. LOL. Live and learn.

17 thoughts on “New Word #9: Word Replacement

  1. I wonder how that process works, people discounting others based on their looks alone. I mean, I am sure I have done it, too, but it is interesting when you think about it. About the words, I am sure there is a time for the special, more intelligent sounding words, and a time for simplicity, too. I loved how you added – but do not overdo it because it could be annoying. Hahahaha. Where are you from in Asia?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting. Yes, I often has to memorize some difficult words to throw out there to make a statement–non-native speakers are not stupid and easily dismissed. LOL. I hope I didn’t overdo it since I don’t want to alienate people. If anything, I yearn for popularity. I am a Mongolian and I grew up near the steppe of Gobi Desert. I am writing about my growing up experience right now in something entitled “South Of The Steppe”.


      1. I am surprised that English is the only language that has thesaurus. I would figure other European languages would have them as well, but doesn’t. Maybe it’s because English is a hodgepodge of languages? I don’t know.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Well, I don’t know and don’t take my words for it. I am only asking if that is the case. LOL. Other language may have thesaurus too, but it may not be so essential for writing as it is for English i guess.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I have the opposite problem of stumbling over certain words like “anticipation” (it comes out “anticipitation”). So I search for simpler words to convey the same meaning. You obviously love words and your second language vocabulary is more advanced than many of us who know only English.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Tell me about it. That happens to me a lot, but in a different direction. Whenever many syllables are present, my mind starts to have the urge to cut down one or two syllables. LOL. Thank you for the praise, but I know my weaknesses and writing the post is one way of dealing with it. 😜😁😊


  3. I often do it to avoid repetition of the same word. And I do it when I’m writing poetry if I want the line to have a certain rhythm. A different word may fit in better with the metre – as long as its meaning is equally appropriate. Often words have the same meaning according to the dictionary but they can have subtly different connotations. Oddly enough I’ve just used the word “morose” in something I’m writing at the moment. (I haven’t published it yet.) I chose it in preference to “sad” because “morose” seems to suggest there’s some grumpiness alongside the sadness – but that may just be my take on it!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow, yes, morose is a more grumpy word than sad. LOL. I can feel it. And it has a good rhyme to it. Writing poetry is a great way to enjoy words. And that’s so true that English has this uncompromising requirement to require a new word (with the same meaning) while the same word will do. Why is that? Other languages don’t have such requirements. English is very whimsical. LOL.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s