the factions

In the Divergent trilogy and film, factions are societal divisions that classify citizens based on their aptitudes and values. The factions are Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent), Abnegation (the selfless), and Candor (the honest). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote for the rest of their lives with after taking a placement test.

How Veronica Roth came up with the faction names
I have been asked in the past if I made up the words for the faction names. I didn't, but I did intentionally choose unfamiliar words, for an assortment of reasons. One of them is that I wanted to slow down comprehensions of what each faction stands for, so you learn as much by observing as by the name of the faction itself. Another is that the definitions of the more obscure words are more specific, in interesting ways. And a third is-since I'm being honest here-that they sound cooler.

People have also commented that the faction names are different parts of speech-three nouns (Candor, Amity, Abnegation) and two adjectives (Dauntless, Erudite). (For the record, I love this kind of grammar consciousness.) I am aware of that, and it was something I thought about in revisions. The reason for the discrepancy is that each faction chose their own names independently, just as they wrote their own manifestos independently (to a certain extent, anyway). Keeping that in mind, I tried to pick the words that made the most sense for each faction without considering the other factions too much.

Abnegation: 1. to refuse or deny oneself (some rights, conveniences, etc.); reject; renounce. 2. to relinquish; give up
I like the verbs in that first definition: "refuse," "deny," "reject," "renounce"-active forms of stripping things from your life. As opposed to "relinquish," "give up" in the second definition-which are more passive.
Amity: 1. friendship; peaceful harmony. 2. mutual understanding and a peaceful relationship, especially between nations; peace; accord. 3. cordiality
It's not just about banjos and apple-picking. It's about cultivating strong relationships and trying to understand each other. Oh, Amity.
Candor: 1. the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression; candidness. 2. freedom from bias; fairness; impartiality.
That definition helped me flesh out Candor more, particularly in the second book, INSURGENT. The faction, is not just trying to develop honesty-they're also trying to develop impartiality.
Dauntless: fearless, undaunted. (Undaunted: courageously resolute, especially in the face of danger or difficulty; not discouraged.)
It's those two definitions ("fearless" and "undaunted") that I found so fascinating. Being fearless and being undaunted are two different things. And the characters in DIVERGENT struggle with that distinction.
Erudite: characterized by great knowledge; learned or scholarly
The word "erudite" focuses on knowledge rather than intelligence-intelligence being something you're born with and can't necessarily control, and knowledge being something that you acquire. I find that interesting, given what I know about Erudite.