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I’m trying to say in one or two words that all of a group of animals and people have taken a leap beyond their usual comfort zone for a reason. This is the context:

Some fish fly; some birds swim. Some people leave behind old restraints or habits. All are reaching for something, or escaping something. How can I describe that in a short label? I thought of escaping normality, or escape of some kind, but escape does not convey the reach that is also part of the phenomenon. Would intrepid fit this? What other possibilities are there?

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Consider venture forth or venture out

intr; often foll by out, forth, etc to embark on a possibly hazardous journey, undertaking, etc ⇒ to venture forth upon the high seas

Also possibly transcend

be or go beyond the range or limits of (a field of activity or conceptual sphere)

as in they transcended the usual limits of their lives.

  • I like transcend. I think I will work with that, and see how it fits/sounds with my poem. Very good suggestion. I'm going to put it on my "words to reuse" list, so I don't have to wrack my brain for a word that conveys a sense of lofty change. – Cindy Page Oct 28 '13 at 16:39
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Well, if you wanted one word, then 'transcend', as mentioned before is that word, meaning as it does:

'to rise above or go beyond the limits of' or 'to rise above or extend notably beyond ordinary limits'

However, I've got some phrasal verbs for you as well:

1.) break new ground, as in: While their brethren live and die in the water, members of the family Excoetidae, the flying fish, have broken new ground ,taking to the air in magnificent flight.

2.) reach new frontiers, as in: By the late Cretaceous period, birds were proving themselves to be the most successful group of animals. They could hold their own on land and take to the air where none could follow them. They were already unrivalled, when some of their number-pelicans, seagulls and the like- reached an entirely new frontier. The sea.

You could even use some ordinary words creatively. Take 'defy', for instance. You could have people 'defying old habits', or 'old addictions' or 'limitations'. And if you consider the general inability of birds to swim or fish to fly as 'limitations', then you could use 'chains' as a metaphor. Then, you could speak of pelicans 'breaking the chains that keep their brethren from the water' or 'snapping the chains' or whatever emphatic verb you choose.

Using the above approach, there's an endless number of ways you can express the idea you want. Have fun!

Credits to the on-line Merriam-Webster dictionary for defining 'transcend'.

Transcend. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/transcend

  • I like transcend, and will probably use it in my poem title, but I also like breaking or snapping chains. New frontier is also good. I will use these, if not in this present work, perhaps in my next poem. Thank you so much for these great suggestions. Your response is comprehensive for my purpose. – Cindy Page Oct 28 '13 at 16:44
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break·out (brkout)
n.
1. A forceful emergence from a restrictive condition or situation.
2. A sudden manifestation or increase, as of a disease; an outbreak.
3. A breakdown of statistical data.

Examples:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU_mRPpRIeQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EdAj83IARg

Example of usual phrases are

  • breakout of one's mold, habits, habitat, environment
  • birds breaking out from usual migration pattern or route

Compare with,

out•break (ˈaʊtˌbreɪk)
n.
1. a sudden occurrence; eruption: the outbreak of war.
2. a sudden manifestation: an outbreak of hives.
3. an outburst.
4. an insurrection, revolt, or mutiny.
5. a riot.

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defy convention
outre!

to break out of the mold

I want to break out of the mold and do something different with my life.

American Idiom: Break out of the mold

Have you ever had a desire to break old habits and change your way of living ? If so, you would understand this expression because break out of the mold describes doing something completely different or changing one's way of doing things. "Why don't we break out of the mold and go somewhere new on our holiday this year," Steven said.

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Spread your wings

This common expression means to go out into to the world and no longer live in the environment you were raised in and/or are most comfortable with.

  1. to start to do new and exciting things for the first time in your life
  2. to do new and different things

Leave the nest is based on the same allusion.

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