If you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve probably heard me say it a hundred times, I love words. The dictionary describes a word as ‘a sound or a combination of sounds, or its representation in writing or printing, that symbolizes and communicates a meaning and may consist of a single morpheme or of a combination of morphemes.’ A morpheme is ‘a meaningful linguistic unit’ but let’s not get bogged down by definitions.
I’m fascinated by their ability to paint pictures, sculpt images and create worlds and experiences. I’m amazed at their power to evoke emotions, arouse empathy, provoke anger and jealousy, instil confidence and inspire courage. Words are intrinsically endowed with the potential to heal and hurt, build up and tear down, to help and to hinder.
It is impossible to count the actual number of English words but there are at least 250,000 and possibly up to 750,000 words in current usage. However out of these hundreds of thousands of words, I have a few favourites and I will share some of them with you.
Discombobulate – a verb meaning ‘to throw into a state of confusion’. It’s not one I use in casual conversation but I just love the cadence of the word.
Infinitesimal – an adjective meaning ‘immeasurably or incalculably minute.’ Such a large word for something so small, I love the irony of it.
Bumptious – an adjective which means ‘crudely, presumptuously or loudly self-assertive.’ This word is extremely onomatopeic, it sounds exactly like what it means.
Mellifluous – an adjective meaning ‘flowing with sweetness and honey’ or ‘smooth and sweet’. This is another word that sounds to me like its meaning.
Dulcet – an adjective which means ‘pleasing to the ear; melodious.’ This word makes me smile whenever I hear it.
Onomatopeia – a noun. ‘The formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.’ I first heard this word in Oral English class in secondary school. I’ve been in love with it ever since.
Sesquipedalian – a noun. ‘Given to or characterized by the use of long words.’ I tell you, whoever came up with this word is a genius and has a fantastic sense of humour! A long word to describe one who uses long words .
Sanguine – an adjective and a noun meaning ‘cheerfully optimistic, hopeful or confident.’ I love this word because it describes me to a ‘t’.
Tautology – a noun. ‘Needless repetition of the same sense in different words; redundancy.’ I heard this word bandied around quite a bit when I was growing up and for a long time, I didn’t believe it was an actual word. I thought it was made up. I’ve since come to appreciate not just its ‘bona fidelity’ but also its meaning.
Defenestrate – a verb which means ‘to throw out of the window.’ This word makes me laugh. I have visions of certain people being defenestrated and it sets me off.
These are just some of my favourite words. I will hopefully share some more in another post. I hope you’ve enjoyed these.
What are your favourite words and why?
Thanks for stopping by and tara for now.