By the Wind Grieved

By the Wind Grieved
“O lost, And by the wind grieved, Ghost, Come back again.” Thomas Wolfe

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Word Games and Panlexicon

As the Millennials say, "My bad." It has been over a month since I have blogged. Seems that writing a book gets in the way of all sorts of fun activities. 

One activity I do indulge in, however, is thinking about and searching for the perfect word, not only for the book I am currently working on, but for passwords, user names, puns, snippets of email exchanges, and so on. 

One of the best I have come up with in the last year or so is "Palabramor" as my twitter name. In case you don't speak Spanish, that combines "palabra" or "word" and "amor" or "love." Cute, huh? Too bad only Spanish speakers will recognize my wit.

In this vein, I have been playing with the idea of a business name for quite some time that would incorporate all the writing services I offer, not just the memoir ghostwriting. Any writer will recognize the amusement value of such an enterprise. What fun it is to play with words. I suspect that most will also soon realize, after a Google search or two, how difficult it is to come up with something really original. 

I came up with a long list of names involving words connected to "word" or "writing" that I ended up discarding because someone had already appropriated them, either for a writing site or other business: Wordsmith; Scribe; Logos; Lexi-com; Lexis; Lex-Play; Grammatica; Grammarian; Textbroker, and so on.

I became discouraged and gave up the search for the time being.

One night a couple of weeks ago, I found myself cogitating, once again, on possible names as I lay in bed trying to divert my thoughts from more worrisome subjects. Earlier that day I had seen an ad for the new movie Panopticon. I thought, "opticon," what a great word. Now, what word for "word" could I combine with that for a business name? I came up with "PanLexicon." I was so excited that I couldn't sleep. I got up to Google it.

Sadly, the word was already being used. Happily, it belongs to a fabulous online thesaurus created by web developers Ben Sheldon and Rebecca White that uses cloud visualization to provide not just a few synonyms, but a of them. It makes finding the exact word with just the right shade of meaning simple. Each word in the cloud can be clicked on to go to a whole new cloud of associated words, and as with cloud visualization in general, the most common terms appear in large letters while more nuanced words appear smaller.  

I have been a real hold-out for the traditional text when it comes to writing resources, keeping my MLA Handbook, Oxford Dictionary and Roget's Thesaurus close at hand, but Panlexicon has won me over. It now holds a place on my Bookmarks bar. 

Oh, as for a business name? I am taking all suggestions!


  1. Thanks, Jeanne, for the online Thesaurus! I love it. I'll let you know if I think of a good name for you.

  2. Jeanne, what a wonderful discovery! I always have a thesaurus open on my computer when writing, but the process is usually laborious. Panlexicon is simple to use and lends to the creativity of finding just the right word. It is now bookmarked! Thanks, Jhere

  3. Thanks for the comments. I was excited when I found this resource too. I had learned about cloud visualization when I was studying the field of digital humanities, and to see it put into practice in such an effective way was great. Amanda, I already got a name from Shelley: lexicognoscenti :-) I would love to see what you come up with!

  4. Very cool resource. Thanks, Jeanne!

  5. Very cool resource. Thanks, Jeanne!

  6. how about using something that incorporates your name, Jeanne, in some way, perhaps using a Latin derivative.

  7. how about incorporating your name, Jeanne.