Do the collocations 'shapeshifting fears' and 'shapeshifting dreams' make sense? I'm trying to say something like 'changeable/fluid/turbulent fears and dreams', but in a poetic way.

  • 2
    If you're trying to write with imagery and metaphor, then it doesn't have to be a common way of expressing a situation. I would say that I would understand your phrases in a poetic context.
    – Esther
    Commented Jun 27, 2022 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


Probably not.

"Shapeshifting" tends to mean willingly changing shape. It refers to conscious entities that change shape, and in most cases they change shape because they want to. It doesn't refer to to fluids or fluid-like things that change shape on their own.

So "shapeshifting fears/dreams" means fears or dreams that are conscious and choose what shape to take, which is probably not your intent.

THAT SAID, if you're writing poetically, then you don't need to worry about the common meaning or what words collocate, and you can just go ahead. It doesn't sound strange, if that's what you're worried about


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