It’s probably no surprise to anyone that writers love words, and I’m no exception. I have words I like, words that annoy me, and a few that stand out as favourites. Here are ten words that I think are some of the most beautiful in the English language…
Meander has always been my favourite word: I love the meaning (totally appropriate to my own life, I might add) and how saying it sounds like its meaning. Meander is also a name for a winding border design formed by a continuous line:
I first heard this word on the X-Files episode “Eve” and it became an instant favourite. What an elegant way for a vampire to tell their victim they want to suck their blood. Keep it classy!
But if bloodletting is too messy for you, there’s always…
I love that there’s a word that describes something so specific. And it’s fun to say–go ahead and try it. Lexico also offers an additional, informal, definition: “to remove or dismiss someone from a position of power or authority.” Clearly a useful word on numerous levels.
I guess I really enjoy onomatopoeical words because susurrate is another one that sounds like its meaning. Every time I hear it I picture gentle breezes in gardens. You could even say the word is…
It just rolls off the tongue.
Sometimes it’s not the word itself, but where you learned it. Any Buffy fan will recognize “effulgent” as the word that earned William (AKA Spike) the mocking derision of several douchey Victorians for his “bloody awful” poem. Personally, I think the real crime was rhyming “’tis grown a bulge in’t” with effulgent, but the man was lovesick–he had bigger things to worry about than mediocre poetry. Effulgent actually has a lovely meaning and I think it needs to be put to use more often. Just watch the rhymes.
I like all versions of this word: luminesce, luminescent, luminescence. It’s a pretty word with a fun meaning–who doesn’t like glowing things (bio-luminescent mushrooms, for example)?
You can say you talk in your sleep, or you can use a word that makes you sound like a character from Shakespeare. Am I a sleep talker? No, my good sir; I am a somniloquist. Prithee stay the night and mark my somniloquay!
Magic, sorcery, enchantment–I like them all, but I think “ensorcell” best captures the awe and beauty of the beguiling arts.
There’s a delicacy inherent in the word frangible that’s lacking in the more prosaic fragile. Anything can be fragile, but only the most vulnerable are frangible. Or maybe that’s just me.
What do you think? Did I miss your favourite word? Share in the comments…
Aspasía S. Bissas