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An effective metaphor will help your readers understand, remember, and ___________ your idea.

I have been looking for a single word to fill in that blank that means "take interest in." Why? Perhaps because a single word will feel nicely parallel.

Thesaurus.com gives me synonyms for the sense of "enjoy" or "be fond of," such as admire, approve, cherish, love, fancy, relish, dig, etc. But the meaning I'm looking for is not really "enjoy" or "be fond of."

Synonyms for "interest," as in "attraction" or "curiosity" include concern, enthusiasm, and passion. But the verb forms of those nouns certainly don't work in my sentence, with "your idea" as the object. Nor do the verbs fascinate or involve.

Isolating the "interest" idea and using the verb form, I might say "An effective metaphor will interest your reader," but that means the metaphor itself is interesting to the reader, not the idea that it illustrates.

So... is there a single word for "take interest in"?

  • appreciate comes to mind, but I don't think it's quite right, either. – Barmar Jan 22 '15 at 23:59
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    engage, perhaps, although engage with would probably be clearer. – Joffan Jan 23 '15 at 0:21
  • Ideas interest people, amuse people, attract people, intrigue people, entertain people... but what do people do to or with ideas? I would fill the blank in with apply, but that is not exactly take interest in. It is more like the ultimate goal of ideas. – ScotM Jan 23 '15 at 0:26
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    @ScotM: yes... the answers below intersect with "interest" on some level (and I agree with the voters that "appreciate" comes closest) but none perfectly convey "take interest in." Perhaps "taking interest in" is something that is not inspired, but comes from within. In my sentence the metaphor operates as an agent, facilitating something. And I wonder if the word "help" is somehow running interference. That is, we "help" as in "assist" someone to understand or remember, but do we assist someone to take interest in something? Perhaps that part just needs its own expression... – Rusty Tuba Jan 23 '15 at 17:04
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    @ScotM: The sense I'm looking for is that of curiosity. The idea that an effective metaphor will make a reader feel "oh, that's interesting, I want to keep reading." That seems different than "appreciating." – Rusty Tuba Jan 23 '15 at 17:27
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Try appreciate:

VERB

[WITH OBJECT]

1 Recognize the full worth of:

she feels that he does not appreciate her

(Definition and example from Oxforddictionaries.com)

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Merriam-Webster Dictionary online

pon•der verb \ˈpän-dər\ : to think about or consider (something) carefully

Full Definition of PONDER transitive verb

1: to weigh in the mind: appraise (pondered their chances of success)

2: to think about: reflect on (pondered the events of the day) intransitive verb: to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply — pon•der•er noun

Origin of PONDER

Middle English, from Middle French ponderer, from Latin ponderare to weigh, ponder, from ponder-, pondus weight — more at PENDANT

First Known Use: 14th century

Related to PONDER

Synonyms chew over, cogitate, consider, contemplate, debate, deliberate, entertain, eye, kick around, meditate, mull (over), perpend, pore (over), question, revolve, ruminate, study, think (about or over), turn, weigh, wrestle (with), beat one's brains out (about), chew on, cudgel one's brains (about), look at

Additionally, you might consider...

CONTEMPLATE transitive verb:

1) to view or consider with continued attention : meditate on (contemplate the vastness of the universe)

2): to view as contingent or probable or as an end or intention (contemplate marriage)

intransitive verb: ponder, meditate

Merriam-Webster Dictionary online

Ponder vs. Contemplate: an Ngram query

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    While I was pondering this post on my bed last night, the word ponder seemed like an appropriate option. The implication of appraise in its definition, and the historical association between weight and value, connect ponder to appreciate and interest in a subtle kind of way. – ScotM Jan 23 '15 at 16:49
  • I agree, @ScotM, ponder carries the additional connotation of contemplation, plus it's used less frequently though still not obscure. – user98990 Jan 23 '15 at 21:11
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There are two suggestions in this answer, embrace, and pursue.


An effective metaphor will help your readers understand, remember, and embrace your idea.

This suggests that your readers are helped to readily accept the idea.

: to hold someone in your arms as a way of expressing love or friendship
: to accept (something or someone) readily or gladly
: to use (an opportunity) eagerly
Merriam-Webster


An effective metaphor will help your readers understand, remember, and pursue your idea.

This suggests that your readers are helped to follow the idea further.

: to follow and try to catch or capture (someone or something) for usually a long distance or time
: to try to get or do (something) over a period of time
: to be involved in (an activity)
Merriam-Webster

  • I think this is the best answer so far. – Paul Senzee Jan 24 '15 at 1:18
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Some thoughts -

Grasp. Accept. Adopt. Espouse. Seize. Support.

With a connotation of theft -

Appropriate. Borrow. Steal.

I think the best, as mentioned in another response, is embrace.

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How about "consider" - as in: "think about"?

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Absorb, assimilate, share

Absorb: * verb: engage or engross wholly ("Her interest in butterflies absorbs her completely") * verb: take up mentally ("He absorbed the knowledge or beliefs of his tribe")

Assimilate: * verb: become similar to one's environment ("Immigrants often want to assimilate quickly") * verb: make similar ("This country assimilates immigrants very quickly") * verb: take (gas, light or heat) into a solution * verb: take up mentally

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After reading the elaboration of what you're after in your discussion with ScotM, it seems to me that engage with is the term that best fits your requirement:

An effective metaphor will help your readers understand, remember, and engage with your idea.

This option meets your stipulation that

"The sense I'm looking for is that of curiosity. The idea that an effective metaphor will make a reader feel "oh, that's interesting, I want to keep reading"."

The only minus point is that it is two words, not the single word you were hoping for. But otherwise, I think it's an excellent fit.

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