Word: verbatim

Pronunciation: vər-BAY-təm

Part of Speech: adjective; adverb

Definition: in exactly the same words as were used originally

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


I must give credit to Beth Teliho of Writer B is Me for reminding me to add this word to my list (even if she didn’t realize it). This is a word with which everyone who writes frequently should be familiar. Some writers often quote the sayings of others word for word, and when they do, they sometimes need to make it clear that said quote is not their own. Fortunately, there’s a word that fits that very need.

To cite a quote “verbatim” is to use exactly the same words as in the original. Likewise, a “verbatim” citation is a word-for-word passage. The word arose in the late 15th century and is rooted in the Latin noun verbum, meaning “word”.

While I rarely read the word in fiction, I have seen “verbatim” come up quite a few times in technical writing. Its Latin origin seems to make it a great word for academic composition, so you may want to consider that if you choose to work it into your stories. Whether you use it as a technical term for citation or a dialogue indicator of a particular character’s intelligence, “verbatim” is indispensable to any prolific writer’s vocabulary!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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