(Surprisingly, this posting dips into some hardcore mansex talk — this isn’t Randall Munroe’s point at all, but it happens that I will go there, so later portions of this posting are entirely inappropriate for kids or the sexually modest. Life is complicated.)

A recent xkcd cartoon:

Ah, this is known in the trade as elegant variation. Or thesaurisizing,  Be careful who you give a thesarus to.

From my 12/23/16 posting “and the art horse you rode in on”, on the Tom Swift books:

A stylistic idiosyncrasy of at least some books in this series was that the author, “Victor Appleton,” went to great trouble to avoid repetition of the unadorned word “said”; elegant variation used a different quotative verb, or modifying adverbial words or phrases.

The idea is that Tom expostulated, or cried out plangently, or whatever. But almost never just said something.

And then my 7/4/11 posting “Thesaurisizing”.

But then — and here we go into X territory — from my 8/29/13 posting “Porn prosody”:

[about] the N – N compounds dick-pig and man-meat. The first I have heard in real life (though not often), to refer to a man who is an avid fellator (aka cock junkie). The second I have never encountered except in porn writing, where it’s one of a number of variants of cock or dick that writers use to avoid repeating these vernacular-standard terms; the strategy is a kind of “elegant variation”.

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