mores, fetid, fabulation & malign


  • mores: traditions totally accepted in a culture
  • fetid: smelling very badly
  • malign: to speak lies of someone, harmful gossip
  • fabulation: noun of fabulate (verb) – to tell made up stories


  • mores: customs, conventions, practices
  • fetid: stinky, odorous
  • malign: slander, libel, abuse
  • fabulation: tale, fable

Notes: words found in C.K. William’s “Dirt” and “The Dress”

Reference:, the Atlantic online and Edutopia

Words used in context (my flash fiction):

The fabulations the group spun regarding the old spinster was fetid garbage that revealed the true character of the group — not the aging woman. The mothers had chastised them for maligning her with reckless words, but the youth were unwary and unwavering in their libel, sometimes whispered, sometimes thunderous. The neighborhood’s mores was unquestioned, the other children not wanting to attract the group’s judgement.



Definition: fighting with something that isn’t real, the struggle against an imaginary foe

Synonyms: mock fight

Notes: noun, plural = sciamachies, Greek root “skia” = shadow, also written sciomachy or skiamachy


Word used in context (my flash fiction):

Melissa restlessly flopped like a dying trout, her eyes wide and dry. Her lungs gasped for air in the muggy room. Sleep would not come no matter how she tried to coax her limbs to relax and her mind to still, and she could not get comfortable. Her bed was unforgiving. At first, she had tried nestling under the covers. Too hot. She rejected the sheets, flinging them off in frustration. She tried to straighten her spine, moving her shoulder blades and hearing them pop, pop. She needed a better chair at work. Maybe one with more lumbar support. The room was so quiet, except for her body. Pop. Pop. Melissa sighed and stared at the dark void that was her bedroom ceiling.

You’re stupid.

She shook her head absently as if to clear the voice.

How can anyone love you?

She was fighting herself in an insane sciamachy. Her exhaustion and diffidence joined together into one internal heckler that assailed Melissa. She knew it wasn’t real. These nagging fears were just projections of her subconscious; they were her inner doubts that bubbled and boiled to the surface when she wasn’t careful. She just wanted peace. And sleep.


Definition: a cheap, small object that has little significance

Synonyms: trinket, novelty, doodad

Word used in context (my flash fiction):

The woman sat, her fingers alternated between feverishly rapping on the table and then grasping a minuscule bauble, a novelty worry stone. Her heartbeats were random flutters, an awkward cadence.