2 Nov 2012

What's your favourite word?

So you may be aware that we're on holidays in Victoria's spa country. It is...well it is just so civilised. We've only been here a day, but already we've eaten too much lovely food, had wonderful massages, drunk Moët, seen lots of nature, done some walks, visited a second hand bookshop, drunk coffee, read books and played billiards. Bliss.

One of the best things about being together as a family is just enjoying each other's company. This afternoon we've been discussing favourite words. As you do. Mine's obstreperous. I first learned it reading Ted Greenwood's story about an obstreperous kite, and I've loved it ever since. Jemimah's is tied between antidisestablishmentarianism and floccinaucinihilipilification, both contenders for English's longest word. Her Daddy's is prestidigitation. And his reason is just because. Purulent is my least favourite. Ewwww. Suppurating, which means the same is pretty yucky as well.

So now it is over to you. Do you have a favourite word? Do you have a reason for why you like it? If so, do tell. I'd like to hear your least favourite as well. If you can say without dry retching that is.

Have I told you that I think it is really cool that my iPad knows to put the umlauts on Moët? That's a cool word too, I reckon. Umlaut. So much better than a pair of dots.



  1. I have long loved the word salubrious. Why? I think because it sounds the complete opposite to what it means! I remember laughing hard when a cousin called someone a salubrious character. He meant shifty, sneeky and was quite miffed when told its true meaning.

  2. Your favorite word is PURULENTO, that is how we say it in Spanish, or SUPURANTE? Yes, they sound Ewww. They make me think of a pimple full of pus. Not my favs.

    Your daughter is ANTIDESESTABLICIONISMO in my language.

    Your husband is PRESTIDIGITACIÓN... that sounds and feels better!

    My favorite English word is PUMPKIN. The P and K are never together in my language. It sounds orange, fun, and fully round.

    In Spanish I have never thought of my favorite... I will now, LOL.

  3. When I was a kid, I used to love the word Yugoslavia. I loved the way it sounded and felt to say. There isn't an easy way to slip that into conversation, especially now that Yugoslavia broke up.

    It's a simple and short word, but I love the word "game" as in..."Who's game for an adventure?!" It's not particularly interesting or fun to pronounce, but I love the feeling of being game. (I first learned of this definition of the word "game" when reading Nancy Drew as a girl.)

    I dislike the word phlegm, and the spelling of it is ugly too. :)

  4. Lately, my favorite word(s) have been nefarious and glorious...haha.

    For SOME reason, I keep using nefarious...like "watch out for some nefarious person around that corner" or "they have nefarious plans in mind" etc...

    Glorious I overuse SO much..."glorious muffins, glorious sunset, glorious moment", you get the drift. I don't know why I've taken to these words lately.

    I can't pick one word that is my favorite though...I do like plethora quite a bit though...hmmm....now you have me thinking! :)

    You vacation sounds GLORIOUS!!! :D

  5. YOUR vacation (or holiday ;) ) not YOU :)

  6. they call me mommy... NEFARIOUS sounds glorious, LOL.

    I agree CM in the city.. phlegm, flema for us, has an even more insidious spelling in English. And I share that cozy feeling of being game too! I need to comment in your blog, but I love what you wrote about self deprecating humor.

    I realize how satisfying Latin words that end in ous sound to me.

    And what about TWADDLE, ladies? I once told my friend Stephanie about not wanting to translate the word into Spanish because it is so peculiar, she told me that it was very SATISFYING word to her. I agree.

    I have too many words all of the sudden, your post open a can of worms or a Pandora's box, Jeanne. I now realize the word FOE, as in friend or FOE is dear to me. That is because I see it in history, hymns, and for long I did not know what it meant, it simply evoked old English in my mind.

    Chagrin is a very visual word...

    Ah, language, words. So rich, so fascinating.

  7. Sylvia, purulent is my least favourite word, not my favourite!!

    Chagrin is a good word. Salubrious and nefarious are cool too.

    I do not like meaty when referred to books. Bleugh. Only a big steak is meaty.

  8. I love words, so picking a favorite is difficult. If I had to pick just one, it would be supercilious. Or superfluous.
    I used to use inane a lot as a kid, because I liked being able to insult silly people without them knowing. ;) I'm nicer than that, now, though.

  9. Oops... I did not read well. Yes, how could purulent be your favorite word ever!

    What do you mean by meaty in regards to books? I only meant twaddle as a word sounds fascinating.

  10. Moet's a pretty cool word, too, Jeanne. (Notice the lack of umlaut. I don't have an iPad.) I have a few words I like, but that one that pops to mind now is celestial. Tell Jemimah that Miss Priss *love* the anti- word, too! (It's too long for me to type right now.)

    My least favorite word is mucous. Which is similar to phlegm on many levels, isn't it?

    Silvia, when one uses "meaty" to describe books and such, one can mean lots of things: long, full of meaning, absorbing, deep, etc. As in, "Anna Karenina is a meaty book." But I agree with Jeanne: meaty is a steak. Not a book.

  11. Ellen, I know what meaty means, and I do not like it applied to books either... my question is that I do not know why Jeanne mentioned that she does not like meaty applied to books. I only mentioned twaddle as a so CMish sounding word, so satisfying to say, no, we do not read that TWADDLE.

  12. lol I love words. In English just the sound & look of serendipity makes me happy. In Gaelic file [with a doovie~dackie over the E has lots of lovely connotations for me. And in French Rien says it all!

  13. For me right now 'rest' is my favourite word lol! I know that's not what you were asking for but I'm being cheeky:)

  14. Sorry, Silvia! Of course you know what meaty means! I'd like to hear Jeanne's explanation, too....

  15. Ellen, PLEASE, do not apologize. This internet is killing me, LOL, I cannot put intonation or facial expression.

    It could have PERFECTLY be one of those I did not know. English is sooo wonderful that every day I learn new words. I know you natives too, but to give you an example, I did not know until recently what being game meant, but I heard it in context and figured it out. We say something similar in Spanish about something that has much in it as being full of meat. But again, many common phrases and words I still don't know or don't know WELL all that they encompass.

    I only did not know why Jeanne replied to me saying she does not like meaty when applied to books, and I do not know if her comment had anything to do with me saying I like how twaddle sounds... LOL I am making a big mountain out of a small grain! LOL.

  16. Your comment about twaddle ( a fine sounding word, I must say) just reminded me that I dislike meaty when pertaining to books. That's all, Silvia.

    Wouldn't it be nice to be sitting together in reality with lots of facial expression and lots of lovely tea and coffee and having this chat! One day...

  17. Absolutely. I would be much more fun. BTW, I am reading Is that a fish in your ear?, which I wanted to do since you mentioned it, and I am enjoying it very much.

    Hugs, Jeanne.

    Ah. My girls are classy, their favorite word is supercalifragilisticoespialidosus.

  18. Favorites:
    "potentilla", ""behoove", "height", "irregularly" "Managua, Nicaragua" is always fun to say...

    I love "height" because it doesn't have an "H" at the end, like length, width, breadth... it's different!

    I love words. I can get lost in the repetition of them, the meanings, the spellings. I love how a certain word can start to look weird the more you ponder it, so that eventually you aren't sure if you've spelled it correctly after all... amazing words, language. Love it all!

    Thanks for your exceedingly interesting post!

  19. Ooh, yes, behoove is good! Nicaragua is too. It is funny the way words start looking wrong if you use them too often. Even really simple ones.

  20. Great words. Submit them to favoritewords.com and see if you find people with the same favorite words there.


I'd love you to leave me a message. Tell me what you like - and what you don't. Just remember that this is what we do in our family - it doesn't have to be what you do in yours...