What thoughts first came to mind when you read the title? Depending on your age and other factors, you might have read Uncle Tom’s Cabin in school or maybe you simply recognize the title as a book about American slavery. No matter the thoughts it may provoke, the author’s (Harriet Beecher Stowe) mission was to, “exhibit [slavery in the U.S.] as a living dramatic reality. She endeavored to show it fairly, in its best and its worst phases.”

This blog post isn’t about slavery or race relations in America, but it is about discovering unique words that we no longer or seldom use anymore and a brief review of the word “uncle tom.”

Reading classic novels is a great way to expand your vocabulary. As a proofreader and copy editor I have the luxury of using a thesaurus almost daily, which also helps with learning new words. Often times writers use the same repeated words or phrases in a document when more variety in word choice is needed. I look for these and other issues during my copy editing services. Feel free to take a look at my website to learn more https://tgproofing.com/proofreading-copy-editing-services/

Here are a few words I chose to highlight from the book. I hope you will find these words interesting and seek to use them in your next writing. 

  • dilettante – one who dabbles in an art or field of knowledge (American Heritage Dictionary)
  • restive – stubbornly resisting control (Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary)
  • expiate – to make amends for (Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary)
  • valise – suitcase (Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary)
  • pertinacious – adhering resolutely to an opinion, purpose, or design (Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary)
  • stentorian – extremely loud (Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary)
  • providence – God as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny (Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary)

Whenever you write anything, make sure you understand the meaning and even the history behind the words. Also, just because a term is used frequently in culture doesn’t mean everyone is using it right. Take for example the word “uncle tom,” there are several meanings for this phrase, here are a few: (1) an insult towards an African American who doesn’t line up with liberal ideology; (2) an African American who is not angry at people of European descent; and the most common one as defined by Merriam Webster, (3) a black person who is overeager to win the approval of whites. However, if you read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, you undoubtedly discover that these definitions do not define Tom. Tom was a righteous and devout Christian that was loyal and did no wrong. He stood up to an evil master with his life on the line and died a martyr. So, the next time you use a word or phrase in your writing, consider its full meaning. Seek out help if you need assistance with clarity in your documents.

Until next time, 

Take care and God bless! 

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