Slattery’s Vocabulary of Horror

Here are some intriguing words that may be of interest to writers of horror or to writers in general.   Most come from   I hope to be posting more from time to time.  Every field has its own jargon.  The writing of horror should have its own.  I have taken these from two or three sources.


hadal:  adjective:  1. of or pertaining to the greatest ocean depths, below approximately 20,000 feet (6500 meters).   2. of or pertaining to the biogeographic region of the ocean bottom below the abyssal zone.   Hadal entered English in the mid-1900s, and comes from the name Hades, the Greek god of the underworld.


de profundis  adverb:  out of the depths (of sorrow, despair, etc.).  De profundis means “out of the depths” in Latin. It is the opening of Latin translation of Psalm 130 which continues “Out of the depths I cry to you.” Today the term can be used as a phrase to convey sadness or as an adverb.


isolato  noun:  a person who is spiritually isolated from or out of sympathy with his or her times or society.


mordacious adjective:  1. sharp or caustic in style, tone, etc.  2. biting or given to biting.


topos  noun:  a convention or motif, especially in a literary work; a rhetorical convention.


Anacoluthon (an-uh-kuh-LOO-thon) noun: 1. A construction involving a break in grammatical sequence, as It makes me so—I just get angry. 2. An instance of anacoluthia.


Catachresis (kat-uh-KREE-sis) noun: Misuse or strained use of words, as in a mixed metaphor, occurring either in error or for rhetorical effect.


Apophasis (uh-POF-uh-sis), noun: Denial of one’s intention to speak of a subject that is at the same time named or insinuated, as “I shall not mention Caesar’s avarice, nor his cunning, nor his morality.”


Palter (PAWL-ter) verb: 1. To talk or act insincerely or deceitfully; lie or use trickery. 2. To bargain with; haggle.  3. To act carelessly; trifle.


 Questions?  Comments?



2 thoughts on “Slattery’s Vocabulary of Horror

    • Amarok is very cool. Have you looked into legends of Arcadia in Greece about the origin of werewolves? That’s a cool story you may be interested in. I’m guessing you probably have already as you are delving into Inuit mythology.


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