Word: paramount

Pronunciation: PAR-ə-mount

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: more important than anything else; supreme

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


No, not the movie studio nor the city in California. Today’s Word of the Week is a good one to use for the most important things in your stories. Sometimes when you need to convey a tone of great urgency in your writing, adjectives like “vital” and “crucial” simply aren’t enough. For those events that just can’t wait, “paramount” may be exactly the word you need!

Something described as “paramount” is of the utmost importance. The word arose in the mid 16th century and comes from the Anglo-Norman French adverb paramont, meaning “above”. This adverb comprises two Old French roots: the preposition par “by” and the adverb amont “above”.

While it’s commonly used as an adjective for extremely important things or events, “paramount” can also be used to describe people with supreme power, such as a “paramount” chief. Based on its definition, I assume this word sits at the very end of the importance spectrum and thus should only be used for the most critical of events. If your characters tend to face situations that must be dealt with right away, you may have room for some “paramount” points in your stories!

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

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