Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Word lovin'.

I came across this article about word attraction today and it got me thinking. (There's another article here about the opposite effect of word aversion in general and the word "moist" in particular which is also quite interesting.)

It's true that I love words. A lot. And I love coming across those dollar-vocabulary words like "ebullient" and "viscosity" (words like "thither," "felicity," "mischance"!) and sharing them with friends, family, casual acquaintances and even, occasionally, strangers on the street. I know other people have favorite words (my sister's favorite word being "perforated." Which, you have to admit, is a pretty dang cool word).

My grandpa used to have fun teaching us words that were disproportionately long for our size. Nothing quite as funny as a two-year-old trying to say "hypothetical." And given a little more time, I'm sure we'll be trying to get the Little Guy to say things like "anticipatory repudiation" or "temerity."

Probably some of the reason why I love Amazon PayPhrase suggestions so much is because they tend to include awesome words. I mean, "metallurgical?" Come on! That's good stuff right there! (Today's PayPhrase: Elliespen's Scarlet Equity. I don't know what it means, but I like it.)

But my favorite word is not a majorly complicated five-syllable word. ("Polysyllabic" is a great word, though.) It is, however, pretty much the most amazing word in the English language:


How can you not love that word? It looks and sounds exactly like what it is. Let's take another look.


Ahhhh. Gotta love it.

I also enjoy its cousins, "ajar" and "askew." And many, many other words, some of which are fancier and more impressive to the lay ear.

But "askance" will always be first in my heart, lexically speaking.

Let's celebrate Day 17 with awesome words! Please list some of your favorite words in the comments so we can all share the joy and beauty of vocabulary.


Barb @ getupandplay said...

One of the funniest and most memorable moments of all my (many, many) years of English classes involved a pronunciation showdown between two of my classmates over the word "timbre." I have loved it ever since.

Rachel said...

Your links are to the same page, just so you know. I really want to read the word attraction article but can't find it.

Toni said...

I love the word "clandestine". I will also list words I can't say very well:
jewelry and oil. I guess it is my Southern accent.:)

elliespen said...

The links are fixed. Sorry about that!

Barb -- I have always wondered about the pronunciation of timbre, which is why I don't think I've ever said it aloud in my life. But I do love the way it looks.

Toni -- Ooh! Yes! Clandestine is a great word. It shows up in PayPhrases fairly often, too.

Lost in Translation said...

Serendipitous (I incidentally hate the movie Serendipity, partially because it thrusted the word "Serendipity" into common usage).


Quintessential (used properly, of course).

Chartreuse (no, really . . . what a cool sounding word to mean yellow-green).



Pithy. (I especially liked when I told the Trial Ad competitors I judged in October to "Be ye pithy.)

Katie E. said...

I love so many words!

Pulcritude (because it means the opposite of what is should) for starters.

Abscond, particularly when used in the context of Batman (which is how I learned it for the GRE. I should probably share my big box of GRE vocab with you. It's a beautiful thing).

Fusty, especially in the first paragraph of The Bell Jar.








Idiotic (my go-to insult used to be "idiotic idiot").

Catholic in its non-religious sense.

Philology. (Trust me, I'm a philologist!)

And so, so many others.

(Why do I think in lists instead of paragraphs these days? Is it perhaps Technical Writing's fault? The evidence would support this theory.)