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I was recently writing some internal dialogue for a character in a story. The character speaks about his past experiences and wants to describe that since he has had many negative experiences with people in his past, he now has a fear of social interaction.

I wanted to express this as:

"All of my negative experiences have ??? and now manifest themselves as this inescapable fear of social interaction."

There is a word I'm looking for to go in this space, but I can't seem to find it. I have searched through many entries in the thesaurus, but nothing expresses quite my desired meaning. The words or phrases closest to what I want are "pile together", "coalesced", "combined together", "merged together", "clumped together"

I'm almost positive there is a specific word I'm looking for. The word I'm looking for is more literary than "piled together" or "clumped together", but indicates that the resulting thing is negative or unpleasant (which is why "coalesce" doesn't seem quite right)

Any ideas?

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  • have conspired against me
    – Jim
    Apr 17, 2018 at 5:06
  • how about amalgamated?
    – Xanne
    Apr 17, 2018 at 5:42
  • Your term coalesced fits well.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 17, 2018 at 5:43
  • 2
    "Accumulated" "built up" "come together" "reinforced each other" -- tame but appropriate
    – Bathrobe
    Apr 17, 2018 at 10:47
  • 1
    cohere, cement, come together, accord, crystallize, congeal
    – lbf
    Apr 17, 2018 at 13:50

8 Answers 8

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Coalesced seems good to me. If you want a negative connotation, snowballed is usually negative. Festered has a different meaning but still fits the context well. Amassed is most likely the word you were thinking of, but to use it you would need to restructure the sentence.

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https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/agglomerate

IMHO, you're looking for 'agglomerated'. Conglomerate is a more uniform mix, whereas agglomerate is more irregular, less homogenous, still accretive, but far less orderly. Seems to represent people more closely.

In Geologic terms, anyway. Hope this helps.

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If amalgamated is the closest to what you were looking for so far, there are a few others that are similar. (I know you said you already looked at a thesaurus but I'll list them here anyway.)

  • assembled
  • consolidated
  • integrated
  • combined
  • fused
  • merged
  • converged
  • incorporated
  • united
  • gathered
  • allied
  • grouped
  • concentrated
  • linked
  • joined

I can't think of a single word like these that, on its own, also implies something negative. (Although the image I have is of Seth Brundle's transporter accident in The Fly—or Frankenstein and his stitched-together cadavers.)

Then there are mutated and metastasized. (Of course, those don't imply a conjunction.)

Later: How about congealed, coagulated, or curdled?

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    I chose "merged" but you already have it listed here.
    – GEdgar
    Apr 17, 2018 at 19:01
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"Concatenate," is a verb that means "linked together in a series or chain," (MW) which seems to be what you're trying to get at. It also seems to fit with the elevated vocabulary level of manifest and inescapable.

Example of usage from https://wordsinasentence.com/concatenation-in-a-sentence/

The student’s concatenation of the words ‘air’ and ‘plane’ formed the word airplane.

"Crystalize" to cause to take a definite form (MW), might also work.

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I was reading a book, waiting for a train, and came across what sounds like the best word so far. I am presenting it as a separate answer.

entangled

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Mrs. Ballfan suggested accreted

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accrete

"I'm typing it right now, sweetheart"

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I personally like "All of my negative experiences have crystalised into this inescapable fear of social interaction."

This uses both the definition of "form or cause to form crystals." (Many small experiences coming together to make one thing.) But it also uses the wider definition of "make or become definite and clear." and

Solidify might be a good alternative in a similar vein.

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jell/gel

To take shape and achieve distinctness : become cohesive m-w

(Of a project or idea) take a definite form or begin to work well. Lexico

If a vague shape, thought, or creation gels, it becomes clearer or more definite.
Even if her interpretation has not yet gelled into a satisfying whole, she displays real musicianship. Collins

All the negative stereotypes of violence, anger, intellectual weakness, and criminality jelled into an awareness of the consequences of a people repeatedly pushed to the periphery of society. ref.

At home in the evenings after reading bills, I'd ask God for wisdom to know the right thing to say. This went on for more than a week, and nothing was jelling. Nervousness was starting to set in. ref.

We had several, yes sir, but I do not recall anything by that time --the thinking has been pretty well jelled on this 95-percent-debt matter... ref.

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