Synonyms for “Works”
Several words available to writers seeking to succinctly refer to the entirety of a person’s artistic or literary works are listed and described in this post.
Canon, often confused with cannon, is from the Greek noun kanon, “meaning rule,” and has multiple meanings. In this context, it refers to a body of works generally accepted or approved as categorized together. As the word pertains to franchises of content in multiple media within popular culture, such as Star Wars films, television series, books, and so on, it is used to describe a piece of content or an element within such content that is considered authentic, as opposed to a work or an element thereof not (or no longer) authorized or sanctioned by the copyright holder, or a parody, or a piece of fan fiction (unsolicited, freely distributed amateur-produced content).
A similar word is corpus, which has several meanings but refers in this context to the body of work produced by a writer or all the works that pertain to a particular subject or category; the word, directly borrowed from Latin, means “body” and is cognate with corporal, corporation, corps, corpse, and other words.
Opus, from the Latin word for “work” (also the basis of operate), most often refers to a single musical composition or a set of compositions—opera is, along with opuses, simply a plural form of opus—but it also applies loosely to one work or all works by an artist or a writer. The artistic or literary effort considered the best produced by a particular person is referred to as his or her magnum opus; that phrase, directly adopted from Latin, means “great work.”
A related word is oeuvre, the French descendant of opera; it pertains to the body of works produced by a particular artist or writer. (Oeuvre is the basis of “hors d’oeuvre,” directly taken from the French synonym for appetizers; the phrase literally means “outside the work,” referring to the fact that such delicacies are traditionally served before the first course of a meal or between courses.)
Output is a prosaic synonym describing what has been put out, or produced, by someone.
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