Our Favorite Words

by | Jan 26, 2009 | Writer's Relief Staff | 24 comments

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Greetings from the staff of Writer’s Relief!

We enjoy getting to know our clients—and you know we always like to have a little fun with words. So we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite words. Please tell us your favorite word by posting a reply!

Chris: Windfall. I like the way it sounds.

Christine: Banshee and sanguinolency.

Frank: Persevere.

Hermine: Friend. I find it a very comforting word.

Jessica: Shenanigans. I like the way it sounds, and that’s how I live my life.

Joe: Erudite, because pretentious is my middle name.

Jon: Please, because it gets a lot of people to do things.

Justin: Yawp. I’ve always wanted to shout my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world, a la Walt Whitman.

Kriste: Onomatopoeia. I love the definition (words that sound like what they are, like swoosh, zap, etc.), and the word onomatopoeia is fun to say; I think so anyway!

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Kristin: Ersatz, defined as “being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation” by Merriam-Webster. I heard this word for the first time in a Marilyn Manson song and just thought it was the coolest, rarely used word I’d ever heard. I love the sound and spelling of it because it looks and sounds made up. I try to use it as much as possible in everyday conversation because it’s so often appropriate and applicable and yet so neglected.

Lisa: Crepuscule. Such a gross word for something so very lovely: twilight. (No, not the book!)

Margaret: Prestidigitation.

Meg: Serendipity—to discover something when looking for something else. Isaac Asimov said about serendipity: “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’, but ‘That’s funny…’”

Pamela: Electromagnetic.

Priya: Biophilia. It is the natural human tendency to interact and be close with other living organisms in nature. I first learned it from one of my favorite books, The Future of Life by American biologist E.O. Wilson.

Ronnie: Grace. My second favorite word is antidisestablishmentarianism because I remember my grandfather teaching it to me before I started going to school. He thought it was an important thing for me to know.*

Sasha: Squalor. Even though it means disgusting and dirty, it makes me think of one of my favorite (and beautiful) places: Manasquan.

Sonia: Phantasmagoria.

Steve: Fuligin, both a color and a textile having that color, associated with the Guild of Torturers in Gene Wolfe’s book The Shadow of the Torturer. The color is described as “blacker than black” and also as “the color of soot.”

Wendy: I’m feeling somewhat partial to serendipity for its meaning, as well its pronunciation. Such a blithe, lyrical sound!

* Ronnie’s note: “Two people chose serendipity. Isn’t that serendipity-ous (LOL)!”

24 Comments

  1. Gia

    Passion. It’s what drives us.

    Reply
  2. Eleanore Lee

    Oleaginous — having the nature or qualities of oil. Oily, unctuous.

    My great grandfather, a Vermont dairy farmer, named all his cows. His favorite was named Oleaginous Richness.

    Reply
  3. Sara

    pickle – you can be in it or eat it. Either way it’s a funny word.

    Reply
  4. Lyn Nave

    One of many favorites:
    Bumptious: a combination of pushy and obnoxious. Someone you know springs to mind, no doubt.

    On serendipity:
    I met my husband by an act of deliberate serendipity. I’ve written a personal essay about it which I may try to get published at some point.

    Reply
  5. Lydia

    Yummy: You can’t say it without smiling.

    Reply
  6. Allison

    I love the word "cleave" because it has two opposite meanings -"to cling to" and "to split". The word "oversight" is another example of this.

    Reply
  7. loren stephens

    I like oxymoron, and I love "beige". For any of you who saw Dame Edna she pondered, "I wonder where beige has gone." Staring out into the audience she saw a woman in beige and said, "Oh there it is." Another of my favorites thanks to Dame Edna is the Mizzie Section as in the miserable section of a theater, restaurant, etc. My husband and I always make sure that we never sit in the Mizzie section if at all possible

    Reply
  8. Connie

    Prattle..I love this word and know many people that prattle. (my sister is one) Wow, can she prattle.

    Ponder..Pondering sounds very sophisticated compared to just thinking. (Sometimes it seems over used though)

    Google…I google everything. Who’d thought google would become an action verb.

    Reply
  9. Sandy Breazeale

    I love the word "winsome" for many reasons…but airy, floating, delightful, beautifully attractive without heaviness or intimidation is what this word represents or "feels like" to me.

    Reply
  10. lisa harris

    I love the word deep and the word blue.
    Exa. Go into the deep blue of your heart and find God, or a memory of God, or water and the cleansing power of letting go.

    Reply
  11. Richard

    For me some of the best words aren’t English, and some aren’t even real words. To wit,
    [i]stummling[/i] (Dutch), in which the u is pronounced more like the oo in foot – used in much the same way one would surreptitiously, but without malice, refer to someone as a moron or an idiot
    [i]felderkarb[/i] – a word made up for the original Battlestar Galactica TV series, used in much the same way one would use the word ‘crap’, and
    [i]gvarkh![/i] – a word made up for the old "Ewoks" cartoon show on TV, and which is wholly applicable in much the same way as a certain English four-letter expletive

    Reply
  12. susan

    One of my favorite words (many) is whispers. I am deaf, but how this word looks and its meaning means a lot to me…it gives me a feel good feeling as my husband who can hear loves to whisper in my ear. I feel tickling and sometimes a sound which is lovely.

    Reply
  13. Cicely

    my favorite word is defenestration-the act of throwing someone or something out of a window. I like the way it rolls off the tongue.

    Reply
  14. Patricia E.

    quidnunc, (from Latin meaning What now?)a newsmonger, gossip, inquisitive person. Can’t you imagine a "quidnunc" knocking at your door?

    Reply
  15. karen

    miasma has a beautiful sound that rolls around your mouth, quite at odds with its definition (noxious exhalations, dangerous foreboding).

    Reply
  16. Wendy F.

    I love the word peckish for its sound and meaning. It just adds flair to a description.

    Reply
  17. Ginny Fry

    "mishmash" This word can describe many end-products put forth by committees (for instance, a camel, which everyone knows is a horse designed by a committee.)

    Reply
  18. Penny

    fuzzy– I love how it sounds and how it feels!!

    Reply
  19. H. Pudelwitts

    Dank- meaning dark and or shallow, also a bad smell
    I like it because is sinister and meaning full and dank just sounds better than "dark"

    Reply
  20. Sandra Lloyd

    "Delectable" always sounds more delicious to me than "delicious"!
    "Muse" for its for its sound & various meanings but also because I love the image of a Muse looking over my shoulder.

    Reply
  21. Sandra Lloyd

    "Delectable" always sounds more delicious to me than "delicious"!
    "Muse" for its for its sound & various meanings but also because I love the image of a Muse looking over my shoulder.

    Reply
  22. Writer's Relief Staff

    Posted for Jan H.

    I guess my favorite word would be: submission. It seems to have a duel purpose in life; although, it basically means the same thing.

    Reply
  23. Writer's Relief Staff

    Posted for Dorothy S.

    On Sesame Street years ago, Ernie was saying all of his favorite, musical, lovely words to Bert, who looked absolutely lost. Then Ernie asked Bert what his favorite word was. After a long pause Bert muttered, "Linoleum?"

    That scene makes me laugh to this day. I know some "linoleum" people.

    Reply
  24. Eli Langner

    "Mondegreen" – word for a misheard lyric, coined by Sylvia Wright. As a child, she misheard part of the poetic line: "They hae slain the Earl of Murray, and layd him on the green" as "Lady Mondegreen." There are wonderful cartoon books of mondegreens, such as, "When a Man Loves a Walnut."

    "Coconut" – I like how this sounds like hollow coconut shells being struck with a mallet. I also like to eat coconut, which makes the word doubly enjoyable.

    Reply

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