As it says in the headline, looking for a word that represents "the art of writing" in the same way that 'oratory' in some sense represents the "the art of speaking".


She had great _______.

BONUS: Obviously a noun, but is there a specific grammatical term for words like these? If so, what is it?


The poor example above has caused unnecessary confusion because a noun doesn't fit the sentence. Have left unchanged so responses still make sense.

Better example:

His oratory was legendary. Her _______ was legendary.

  • oratory specifically refers to the act of eloquently speaking in public. As much as I'd love to see it in person, I don't think people are going about writing in front of a live audience. Nevertheless, the concept still remains quite interesting, and I'd personally advise rephrasing the title to something along the lines of "What is the equivalent of silver tongue in writing?".
    – VTH
    Sep 3 '18 at 9:35
  • 5
    Your sentence doesn’t seem to match. “She had great oratory!?!”
    – Jim
    Sep 3 '18 at 15:38
  • @VTH Writing is often intended to be eloquent, cogent and persuasive. Open letters may be a case. Pamphlets also are intended to be persuasive, either politically or in some other way. An example is Thomas Paine's famous pamphlet distibuted to the people of the 13 Colonies, persuading the people to separate from Great Britain. Pamphleteer is often used for one who advocates for causes through persuasive writing. Pamphleteering is the act of this. But I don't know that there's a word generally for what the OP is asking.
    – Zebrafish
    Sep 3 '18 at 17:04
  • 2
    I do not believe there is an equivalent word.
    – WS2
    Sep 3 '18 at 20:32
  • Her writing was great. So simple, really. She had great wordsmith skills.
    – Lambie
    Dec 3 '18 at 20:04

How about ‘penmanship’?

As in ‘she had great penmanship’.

This word means ‘the art or skill of writing by hand.’

Bonus: I’d say these kinds of words are ‘art forms’, and belong with other ‘art forms’ such as fine art, dance, poetry, pottery, performance, theatre, etc.



  • 1 : the art or practice of writing with the pen
  • 2 : quality or style of handwriting
  • penmanship is usually used for journalists :)
    – Ubi hatt
    Sep 3 '18 at 20:25
  • 2
    I thought of penmanship, but I don't believe it has anything to do with the content of what's written, but rather the physical skill of writing using your hand. Merriam-Webster definition 2 says: "quality or style of handwriting". I'm unsure if "quality" here can refer to the content of the writing or the just the appearance of the writing itself.
    – Zebrafish
    Sep 3 '18 at 21:20
  • 1
    On the other hand, if we consider that oratory is the art of speaking, and penmanship is the art of writing, we seem to have a match, and penmanship would be the perfect word. Not sure if this is what the OP meant though.
    – Zebrafish
    Sep 3 '18 at 21:23
  • 2
    I think penmanship is much more likely to be used for calligraphers than for journalists… and they have broadly nothing in common. Sep 3 '18 at 23:56
  • 1
    The etymology of ‘penmanship’ derives from ‘copyist, clerk, scrivener’ from the 1690’s so perhaps being able to write back then was something of a marvel! Imagine watching the pen moving gracefully across the page, if you were unable to do that yourself. etymonline.com/word/penmanship Writing then, emerged as a tool to get things done - to write a contract, make an agreement. Or from even earlier than that, writing was the occupation of monks making illuminated manuscripts. Perhaps creative writing and the materials to do it, are a relatively new luxury!
    – Jelila
    Sep 4 '18 at 0:45

You are asking for a noun, but your sentence doesn't seem to fit noun in the place of the blank-space.

I'd suggest you to use adj. + noun to describe a person with great writing skills.

Eloquent (adjective) ODO : Fluent or persuasive in writing or speaking.

Wordsmith (noun) M-W : a person who works with words; especially : a skillful writer.

Example use: She is an eloquent wordsmith.

  • 1
    "She had great prose." Sep 3 '18 at 19:37
  • Apologies, it was a bad example. I've added a better one. adj. + noun is an easy solution but less satisfying.
    – kavmeister
    Jan 16 '19 at 7:04
  • Eloquence is the noun derived from "eloquent". However it both it and the adjective refer to both the written and the spoken word so, as you say, you would have to specify which you meant, perhaps by saying "She had great eloquence when writing"
    – BoldBen
    Jan 19 '19 at 3:06
  • 1
    Wordsmithery fits the blanks, and is a real word, although it is kind of funny sounding.
    – samgak
    Feb 18 '19 at 2:42
  • @samgak That's exactly the ballpark for the ideal word: balance of oratory vs wordsmithery. But it is a bit wieldy. Any synonyms for this?
    – kavmeister
    Mar 6 '19 at 17:36


The quality of being a writer.


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