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Is the word unease more archaic or formal than the word uneasiness? I am used to the latter, but the former surprises me. Is there a rule how to choose the best one in similar pairs of words?

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Actually, I've never heard "uneasiness" used. Perhaps it varies regionally. No matter the reason, if the two words are both easily understandable, as in this case, I'd imagine either would be fine.

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Sometimes there are double forms of words as uneasiness and unease. My spontaneous answer would have been that "uneasiness" is more common. But Google Ngram shows that both noun forms are used.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=uneasiness%2C+unease&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cuneasiness%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cunease%3B%2Cc0

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