Last week I was working on a press release and came across reviewer comment using the term wordsmithing. For some reason this word falls into my list of annoying terms. I don’t know why, I guess it’s because I feel like I have to put on a worker’s uniform and dust off my anvil so I can smash that document into a shape and form.

The term wordsmithing is not a word. It’s a perfect example of how we like to take words and use them for our own purpose. The fact that it is incorrect gets lost and we as readers tend to absorb that word usage. Ideally we should say this needs to be rewritten or edited, not “needs some wordsmithing.”

The term wordsmith is an actual English language word that was created in late 1800s to describe a person who works with words and is especially a skillful writer. The only variation on wordsmith is wordsmithery; both of these words are nouns, not verbs.

What words are used in your profession that you don’t like? How are words being misused in your work?

Brian McDonald

Brian McDonald started Square Jaw Media to document strategies and techniques he had used over his experience working in marketing and communications since 1990. During this time Brian wrote about many of the exciting Raleigh social media events where great knowledge was being shared and tries to share some of the tips and tricks. . Read Brian's full bio.