Every Word Defined: Double-click any word in the AZ listing, and a menu of several dictionaries (and two encyclopedias) appears. Click any of the links for the word's definition.
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It rolls off the tongue really nicely and reminds me of snowmen gone awry.
abscond (ab-SKOND) to leave hurriedly and secretly, typically to avoid detection or arrest.
absolution (ab-sah-LOO-shen) 1. the act of absolving or the state of being absolved. 2. the formal remission of sin imparted by a priest, as in the sacrament of penance.
It has enough syllables to sound powerful and weighty while representing the sort of enlightened benevolence and hope of forgiveness.
abyssopelagic (ah-BIS-so-pah-lah-jik) of, like or pertaining to the depths of the ocean.
It refers to the bottom of the ocean how great is that? The sinister "abysso" recalls Tartarus, and overall conjures a gorgeous image of blind prognathous fish constellating the dark with the aching lambency of their bioluminescence.
acatalepsy (EY-kat-i-lep-see) 1. incomprehensibility; a word much used (in its Greek form) by the later Academics and Skeptics (Carneades, Arcesilaus, etc.), who held that human knowledge never amounts to certainty, but only to probability, and who advocated a suspension of judgment upon all questions, even upon the doctrine of acatalepsy itself. 2. uncertainty in the diagnosis or prognosis of diseases. 3. a weak understanding; mental deficiency.
It sounds like a medical condition, but it describes most humans and our path through life.
accoutrements (ah-KOO-ter-ment) 1. personal clothing, accessories, etc. 2. the equipment, excluding weapons and clothing, of a soldier.
acolyte (AK-ah-lite) 1. one who assists the celebrant in the performance of liturgical rites. 2. a devoted follower or attendant.
acquiesce (ak-wee-ES) to consent or comply passively or without protest.
It's as beautiful as snow, or a child's curiosity.
adumbrate (AD-um-brat) 1. to give a sketchy outline of. 2. to prefigure indistinctly; foreshadow. 3. to disclose partially or guardedly. 4. to overshadow; shadow or obscure,
1. I stumbled upon this word awhile ago and I've been entranced by this word ever since. Aegis has at least these five meanings that I know
of: 1) the shield or breastplate of Zeus or Athena, bearing at its center the head of a Gorgon. 2) a large collar or cape worn to display the protection provided by a high religious authority. 3) the holder of a shield signifying the protection provided by a religious authority. 4) protection; support [e.g., They have the aegis of Caesar.]. 5) sponsorship; auspix. Some people pronounce aegis like AY-jis, but I've heard the proper pronounciation is EE-jis which, in my opinion, is the most euphonic pronounciation.
2. This is a great word and I saw it referenced on a national geographic program awhile back. The scholar referenced a Roman soldier's shield as "the Roman Aegis"... as if it was its proper name... just thought it was kind of neat.
aesthetic (es-THET-ik) 1. relating to the philosophy or theories of aesthetics. 2. of or concerning the appreciation of beauty or good taste. 3. characterized by a heightened sensitivity to beauty.
affable (AF-ah-ble) 1. easy and pleasant to speak to; approachable. 2. gentle and gracious.
My roommate asked me to repeat the word. She had never heard it before. I was describing
George W. Bush. Ha!
affinity (ah-FIN-i-tee) 1. a natural attraction, liking, or feeling of kinship. 2. relationship by marriage. 3. an inherent similarity between persons or things. 4. a relationship or resemblance in structure between species that suggests a common origin. 5. the attraction between an antigen and an antibody. 6. an attraction or force between particles that causes them to combine.
I think this word is graceful and is perfect for substituting words such as "like" and "attracted to."
agape (ah-GAH-pay) 1. love as revealed in Jesus, seen as spiritual and selfless and a model for humanity. 2. love that is spiritual, not sexual, in its nature. 3. in the early Christian Church, the love feast accompanied by Eucharistic celebration.
It's crisp, lively, and fun to say. As with many of the best words, it sounds like its definition.
alexithymia (ah-lek-sah-THI-mee-ah) inability to describe emotions in a verbal manner.
This word is defined as an inability to verbally express or describe an emotion. It's beautiful to the ear and perfect for when you're feeling tongue tied.
amalgamate (ah-MAL-gah-mate) 1. to combine into a unified or integrated whole; unite. 2. to mix or alloy (a metal) with mercury.
amaranth (AM-ah-ranth) 1. any of various annuals of the genus Amaranthus having dense green or reddish clusters of tiny flowers and including several weeds, ornamentals, and food plants. Also called pigweed. 2. an imaginary flower that never fades. 3. a deep reddish purple to dark or grayish, purplish red. 4. a dark red to purple azo dye.
This is perhaps the most euphonious word I know of. An imaginary, undying flower; its definition does not disappoint.
ameliorate (ah-MEEL-yah-rate) to make or become better; improve.
I like the rhythm and sound, makes me sense hope and breathe easier.
anacoluthon (an-ah-kah-LOO-thon) An abrupt change within a sentence to a second construction inconsistent with the first, sometimes used for rhetorical effect; for example, I warned him that if he continues to drink, what will become of him?
That a single word describes such a slippery concept is a delight.
anathema (ah-NATH-ah-mah) 1. a formal ecclesiastical ban, curse, or excommunication. 2. a vehement denunciation; a curse. 3. one that is cursed or damned. 4. one that is greatly reviled, loathed, or shunned.
anemone (ah-NEM-ah-nee) 1. any of various perennial herbs of the genus Anemone, native chiefly to northern temperate regions and having palmately lobed leaves and large flowers with showy sepals. Also called windflower. 2. a sea anemone.
This word just sounds beautiful and is wonderful to say.
animadversion (an-ah-mad-VUR-zhen) strong criticism; a critical or censorious remark.
annihilate (ah-NI-ah-late) 1. to destroy completely; to reduce to nonexistence; to defeat decisively; vanquish. 2. to nullify or render void; abolish.
This word renders all other synonyms moot. Imagine to be destroyed, by nothing more than a word, from a friend or an enemy, betrayed by someone you love. It is utter, and nothing is more poignant.
antediluvian (an-tee-di-LOO-vee-en) 1. extremely old and antiquated. 2. occurring or belonging to the era before the Flood.
Before the flood, or before the deluge. Rolls off the tongue.
antilogy (an-TIL-oh-jee) 1. a contradiction in ideas, statements, or terms. 2. a contradiction between any words or passages in an author.
apocalypse (ah-POK-ah-lips) 1. any of a number of anonymous Jewish or Christian texts from around the second century BC to the second century AD, containing prophetic or symbolic visions, especially of the imminent destruction of the world and the salvation of the righteous. 2. great or total devastation; doom. 3. a prophetic disclosure; a revelation.
apodyopsis (ap-oh-di-OP-sis) 1. the act of mentally undressing someone. 2. imagining women naked; undressing women mentally.
apolaustic (ap-ah-LOS-tik) devoted to enjoyment.
apollonian (ap-ah-LO-nee-an) characterized by clarity, harmony, and restraint; serene, calm.
apoptosis (ap-op-TOH-sis) 1. a type of cell death in which the cell uses specialized cellular machinery to kill itself. 2. a cell suicide mechanism that enables metazoans to control cell number and eliminate cells that threaten the animal's survival. 3. cell death.
Such an interesting term, as it is cellular suicide or sacrifice for the betterment of the whole organism.
apostasy (ah-POS-tah-see) abandonment of one's religious faith, political party, principles, or a cause.
apotheosis (ah-poth-ee-OH-sis) 1. exaltation to divine rank or stature; deification. 2. elevation to a preeminent or transcendent position; glorification. 3. an exalted or glorified example.
apotropaic (ap-ah-troh-PAY-ik) intended to ward off evil.
appersonation (ap-PER-so-nay-shen) the delusion that one is a famous person.
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apposite (AP-ah-zit) strikingly appropriate and relevant.
Beautiful to say, and self-descriptive.
apricity (AP-ris-i-tee) the warmth of the sun in the winter.
archipelago (ar-kah-PEL-ah-go) 1. a large group of islands. 2. a sea, such as the Aegean, containing a large number of scattered islands.
The pronunciation has a whimsical tone to it that makes me love saying it.
ardent (AR-dent) 1. expressing or characterized by warmth of feeling; passionate. 2. displaying or characterized by strong enthusiasm or devotion; fervent. 3. burning; fiery. 4. glowing; shining.
argent (AR-jent) 1. a metal tincture used in heraldry to give a silvery appearance. 2. Silver or something resembling it.
It's just a beautiful way of saying that something is silver. Argent is so much more satisfying than silver, which has that sneaky, sibilant si sound in the beginning.
armamentarium (ar-mah-men-TAR-ee-um) 1. the complete equipment of a physician or medical institution, including books, supplies, and instruments. 2. the complete range of materials available or used for a task.
assuage (ah-SWAJ) 1. to make (something burdensome or painful) less intense or severe. 2. to satisfy or appease (hunger or thirst, for example). 3. to pacify or calm.
It sounds so cool...., and how it's spelt looks awesome for how it sounds. just everything about it and its meaning. also "epiphany" is one of the best words as well so good you have it :)
asthenic (as-THEN-ik) extremely thin or wasted.
ataraxia (at-ah-RAK-see-ah) calmness or peace of mind; emotional tranquility.
I love it because it sounds intriguing.
atavistic (at-ah-VIS-tik) of, pertaining to, or characterized by atavism; reverting to or suggesting the characteristics of a remote ancestor or primitive type.
This word has an almost brutal quality to it. It comes in very handy when discussing The Wicker Man.
A mean word that means as it sounds, and a fluid pronunciation in keeping with its etymology: black bile.
audacity (auh-DAS-i-tee) 1. fearless daring; intrepidity. 2. bold or insolent heedlessness of restraints, as of those imposed by prudence, propriety, or convention. 3. an act or instance of intrepidity or insolent heedlessness.
auric (OR-ik) of, relating to, derived from, or containing gold.
autodidact (aw-toh-DI-dakt) a self-taught person.
Being a largely self-taught person on most things, I like the word, because it describes the kind of person who wants to learn and understand. It is not commonly used, but it will be a joy to find by autodidactic persons who are perusing your website in search of new words. I love your website!
avalanche (AV-ah-lanch) 1. a fall or slide of a large mass, as of snow or rock, down a mountainside. 2. a massive or overwhelming amount; a flood.
The avalanche is powerful, destructive, yet majestic and beautiful. The word avalanche has all these qualities, because it paints the picture in the head at first hearing.
avuncular (ah-VUNG-kyah-ler) 1. of or having to do with an uncle. 2. regarded as characteristic of an uncle, especially in benevolence or tolerance.
It's an adjective that describes someone who has characteristic of an uncle, especially in benevolence or tolerance. It has a great, warm sound that helps carry the meaning.
axiology (ak-see-OL-ah-jee) the study of the nature of values and value judgments.
azure (AZH-er) 1. a light purplish blue. 2. the color blue. 3. the blue sky.
bailiwick (BAY-li-wik) one's particular area of activity, interest, or authority.
balustrade (BAL-ah-strad) A rail and the row of balusters or posts that support it, as along the front of a gallery.
banausic (bah-NOH-sik) merely mechanical; routine. 2. of or relating to a mechanic.
bathycolpous (bath-ee-kol-pus) deep-bosomed.
This word stood out to me when I was reading Anthony Burgess' profoundly eloquent novel, The Wanting Seed. Based on it's location in the sentence, there was no possible way of deriving the meaning from context (i.e. ...golden auburn hair, verdant eyes, bathycolpous). Perhaps it was the word's odd spelling, so mirabile dictu, or it's confounding pronunciation, but I had to know more. I found out that the word was derived and written, as if phonetically, straight from the Greek word "bathykolpos" meaning, deep-bosomed. These linguistic antics are common practice in Anthony Burgess' diction. Now, unfortunately, I do not have the book in my possession from which I could reference the page, and I understand that is of the utmost necessity in determine the validity of a request such as this. Take my word cum grano if you must, but I assure you, this fantastically anticlimactic word is there.
(a humorous side note) Just recently a jock at my school, known for his outstanding athleticism and stamina (but not his intelligence), was deservedly slapped by a girl after he commented crudely on her, shall I say, "wholesome breasts". I thought, should I ever have the audacity to do such a thing, as wretched as it is, I'd turn to bathycolpous. Not only has the message not changed, but it has become so incalculably confusing and odd, I doubt the recipient would understand what I'm saying, and in her dumbfounded state of utter confusion, I can make my getaway, unslappèd and spoken. Now, the word, as much as I appreciate it, is honestly beyond the English language's ability to describe how pretentious and pointless it is. To use this in any scenario, and I mean ANY scenario, is a sure fire way to either anger someone through the noxious fumes of a created air of condescension, baffle them irreparably as to why you might use such a word, or alert them that you might be going through a medical emergency by your unintelligible speech. I simply enjoy this word for it's outright ridiculousness, but approach as more of a novelty item than I would an item of function. Thank you for reading.
bauble (BAU-ble) 1. a showy, usually cheap, ornament; trinket; gewgaw. 2. a jester's scepter.
I just like the way it rolls off your tongue and isn't spelled "bobble." It's just...cute.
bereft (bi-REFT) 1. deprived of something; lacking something needed or expected. 2. suffering the death of a loved one; bereaved.
I think it means that feeling of being so empty, you'll never be full again...;-)
betwixt (bi-TWIKST) between.
I love the juxtapose of old and new langages, its medieval charm feels like your casting a spell mid sentence. It never fails to make me smile.
bilious (BIL-yes) 1. of, relating to, or containing bile. 2. characterized by an excess secretion of bile; of or relating to gastric distress caused by a disorder of the liver or gallbladder; sickly. 3. resembling bile, esp. in color. 4. having a peevish disposition; bad-tempered.
bliss (BLIS) 1. extreme happiness; ecstasy. 2. the ecstasy of salvation; spiritual joy.
This word just says happy, peaceful, carefree. Next time someone asks you how your are doing tell them you are blissful or are experiencing a state of bliss.
boeotian (be-OH-shen) stupid; dull.
borborygmus (bor-bah-RIG-mes) a rumbling noise produced by the movement of gas through the intestines.
botryoidal (BOT-ree-oid-el) shaped like a bunch of grapes.
Great word, that most do not know how to properly pronounce, it's fun though.
brouhaha (BROO-ha-ha) an uproar; a hubbub.
bumbledom (BUM-bel-dom) 1. official pomposity and stupidity. 2. the dominion of an overbearing parish officer, the arrogance of parish authorities, the conceit of parish dignity.
More than any other word I can think of off the top of my head, bumbledom sounds exactly like what it means. I also enjoy the fact that it is derogatory, albeit playfully, towards bureaucrats exclusively.
bungalow (BUNG-ah-low) 1. A small house or cottage usually having a single story and sometimes an additional attic story. 2. a thatched or tiled one-story house in India surrounded by a wide verandah.
Just say it slowly with the emphasis on the first syllable; if you don't giggle a little I don't know what to say.
cabal (kah-BAL) 1. a conspiratorial group of plotters or intriguers. 2. a secret scheme or plot.
cachinnation (kak-ah-NA-shen) a loud, hard, convulsive laugh; a guffaw.
cacology (kah-KOL-ah-je) bad choice or use of words.
cacophony (kah-KOF-ah-nee) 1. jarring, discordant sound; dissonance. 2. the use of harsh or discordant sounds in literary composition.
callipygian (kal-ah-PIJ-ee-en) having beautifully proportioned buttocks.
cantankerous (kan-TANG-ker-es) 1. itempered and quarrelsome; disagreeable. 2. difficult to handle.
Say it. It just rolls off the tongue, right? Also, it brings great enjoyment to say to someone if you are mad at them, "You are so cantankerous" or "Stop being such a curmudgeon (another excellent word)" when they don't know what it means but certainly aren't going to let you know that they don't. :)
catachresis (kat-ah-KRE-sis) the incorrect use of a word or phrase.
caterwaul (KAT-er-wol) 1. to utter long wailing cries, as cats in rutting time. 2. to utter a similar sound; howl or screech. 3. to quarrel like cats.
I love the sound of the word, as well as the emotional connotations ... it's haunting.
cataclysm (KAT-ah-kliz-em) 1. a violent upheaval that causes great destruction or brings about a fundamental change. 2. a violent and sudden change in the earth's crust. 3. a devastating flood.
caustic (KOS-tik) 1. capable of burning, corroding, dissolving, or eating away by chemical action. 2. corrosive and bitingly trenchant; cutting. 3. causing a burning or stinging sensation, as from intense emotion.
I love the way this word sounds bitter and acidic just like its meaning.
The sound makes me think of a sensational experience, but it actually means to be severely critical of others!
charisma (kah-RIZ-mah) 1. a rare personal quality attributed to leaders who arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm; personal magnetism or charm. 2. an extraordinary power, such as the ability to perform miracles, granted by the Holy Spirit.
The word charisma has cast a distinct feel on my mind. A unique feeling of something inexpressible.
chauvinistic (shoh-vah-NIS-tik) 1. aggressively or fanatically patriotic; jingoistic. 2. convinced that men are superior to women.
A beautiful sounding insult, something I rarely come across.
cherish (CHER-ish) 1. to treat with affection and tenderness; hold dear. 2. to keep fondly in mind; entertain.
What a beautiful word, to hold one dear.
chimera (ki-MIR-ah) 1. an organism, organ, or part consisting of two or more tissues of different genetic composition, produced as a result of organ transplant, grafting, or genetic engineering; a substance, such as an antibody, created from the proteins or genes or two different species. 2. an individual who has received a transplant of genetically and immunologically different tissue. 3. a fanciful mental illusion or fabrication. 4. monstrous creature of Lycia in Asia Minor, which was made of the parts of multiple animals.
An interesting word and sounds far better than nightmare etc. I also like the words legerdemain and otiose. The latter can be used to describe many people on this over crowded planet of ours
chimerical (ki-MER-i-kel) 1. created by or as if by a wildly fanciful imagination; highly improbable. 2. given to unrealistic fantasies; fanciful.
3. of, related to, or being a chimera.
chthonic (THON-ik) of or relating to the underworld.
chuckle (CHUK-el) 1. to laugh quietly or to oneself. 2. to cluck or chuck, as a hen.
cicatrix (SIK-ah-triks) a scar left by the formation of new connective tissue over a healing sore or wound.
I love the sibilance of its sound ... its elegant yet fun.
cinephile (SIN-ah-file) a film enthusiast.
circa (SUR-kah) in approximately; about.
I like the word "circa," but it is misused more often than it is used properly. It is properly used concerning dates, but is popularly used as a synonym for "approximately."
circuitous (ser-KYOO-i-tes) being or taking a roundabout, lengthy course.
The word I love is circuitous. I love it because at first glance it looks rather hard and industrious ... like circuit-us. But, in fact, it is not pronounced like that and is really very melodious. (another fine word, by the way). It sounds like sir-quoo-it-us. Pretty! I use it every chance I can.
clandestine (klan-DESD-tine) done in secret; needing to be concealed.
I am absolutely in love with this word, it simply has everything! It offers a quite elegant glow and has a very proper appearance. Clandestine may be pronounced slightly different than what a standard reader could expect. To be honest the word, as if in itself, has been a "clandestine" to me.
clatterfart (KLAT-er-fart) a chatterer; babbler.
clishmaclaver (KLISH-mah-klay-ver) casual chat or gossip.
It sounds so much more interesting than "gossip" or "idle talk."
coccyx (KOK-siks) a small triangular bone at the base of the spinal column in humans and tailless apes, consisting of several fused rudimentary vertebrae; tailbone.
cockalorum (kok-ah-LOR-em) 1. a little man with an unduly high opinion of himself. 2. boastful talk; braggadocio.
concatenate (kon-KAT-i-nate) to connect or link in a series or chain.
It's just fun to say and fits with the definition as the word itself sounds like a concatenation of different syllables that have been concatenated together!
conglomerate (kon-GLOM-ah-rat) 1. a corporation made up of a number of different companies that operate in diversified fields. 2. a collected heterogeneous mass; a cluster. 3. a rock consisting of pebbles and gravel embedded in cement.
I love it. It has a thick feel to the mouth.
connoisseur (kon-ah-SUR) 1. a person with expert knowledge or training, especially in the fine arts. 2. a person of informed and discriminating taste.
It doesn't sound like what it means. .. It's cute!
consort (KON-sort) 1. a husband or wife, esp. of a monarch. 2. a companion or partner. 3. a ship accompanying another in travel. 4. partnership; association. 5. a group; a company. 6. an instrumental ensemble.
contumely (KON-too-mah-lee) rudeness or contempt arising from haughtiness; insolence.
conundrum (kah-NUN-drum) 1. a riddle in which a fanciful question is answered by a pun. 2. a paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma.
There's something about the sound of the word, and the simple meaning of an unsolvable riddle.
copious (KOH-pee-es) 1. yielding or containing plenty; affording ample supply. 2. large in quantity; abundant. 3. abounding in matter, thoughts, or words.
Such a fun word to use and can be used so often too! Defiantly my best word!
coprolalia (kop-rah-LA-lee-ah) 1. the uncontrolled, often obsessive use of obscene or scatological language that may accompany certain mental disorders. 2. foul speech.
coprolite (KOP-rah-lite) fossilized excrement.
cornucopia (kor-nah-KO-pee-ah) 1. a goat's horn overflowing with fruit, flowers, and grain, signifying prosperity. 2. the horn of the goat that suckled Zeus, which broke off and became filled with fruit. In folklore, it became full of whatever its owner desired. 3. a cone-shaped ornament or receptacle. 4. an overflowing store; an abundance.
corpulent (KOR-pyah-lent) excessively fat.
What else could it mean but excessively fat? It conjures an image of a many-chinned 1800s Englishman, seated in front of a table full of rich,
cortege (kor-TEZH) a train of attendants, as of a distinguished person; a retinue. 2. a ceremonial procession; a funeral procession.
It's a procession, especially of a funeral. Great word, rare and wistful.
couth (kooth) refinement; sophistication.
Feels regal when used correctly.
crepuscule (kri-PUS-kyool) twilight; dusk.
crestfallen (KREST-fol-en) dispirited and depressed; dejected.
This is the marriage of two already beautiful words into one, and the resulting
meaning (dejected, droopy, sad) is conveyed perfectly with both eloquent sound and
poetic imagery--like a down-and-out lapwing lowering its noble head in grief.
cuckold (KUK-old) a man married to an unfaithful wife.
curl (KERL) 1. something with a spiral or coiled shape. 2. a coil or ringlet of hair. 3. a treatment in which the hair is curled. 4. the act of curling; the state of being curled. 5. a weightlifting exercise using one or two hands, in which a weight held at the thigh or to the side of the body is raised to the chest or shoulder and then lowered without moving the upper arms, shoulders, or back. 6. any of various plant diseases in which the leaves roll up.
It's as if the tongue fondly cradles this word and lets it roll over slowly. I am not surprised that Michael Ondaatje extolled it (calling it "such a slow word") in The English Patient. It's also vivid; it ladles out a feeling of webeing, comfort, and satiety.
curple (KER-pul) buttocks; rump.
cusp (KUSP) 1. a point or pointed end. 2. a pointed or rounded projection on the chewing surface of a tooth; a triangular fold or flap of a heart valve. 3. a point at which a curve crosses itself and at which the two tangents to the curve coincide. 4. the point of intersection of two ornamental arcs or curves, such as the inner points of a trefoil. 5. either point of a crescent moon. 6. a transitional point or time, as between two astrological signs.
dearth (DURTH) 1. a scarce supply; an inadequate amount. 2. a shortage of food; a famine.
It's a classy-sounding word for something quite commonplace. See the strange looks you get when you announce that there is a dearth of beer, and the shock once everyone finds out what you mean! It has such a lovely round sound to it, too.
debacle (di-BAH-kel) 1. a sudden, disastrous collapse, downfall, or defeat; a rout. 2. a total, often ludicrous failure. 3. the breaking up of ice in a river. 4. a violent flood.
I love this word! I love the way it feels on my mouth when i say it. I also love that its clear its meaning is a bad thing. it just sounds so right!
decadence (DEK-ah-dence) 1. a process, condition, or period of deterioration or decline, as in morals or art; decay. 2. a literary movement especially of late 19th-century France and England characterized by refined aestheticism, artifice, and the quest for new sensations.
The strength of this word is incredible as are the images it has the potential to conjur!
defenestrate (dee-FEN-i-strate) to throw out of a window.
defile (di-FILE) 1. to make filthy or dirty; pollute. 2. to debase the pureness or excellence of; corrupt. 3. to profane or sully (a reputation, for example). 4. to make unclean or unfit for ceremonial use; desecrate. 5. to violate the chastity of.
Saying this word does bring just that! Delectation.
delicatessen (del-i-kah-TES-en) 1. a shop that sells cooked or prepared foods ready for serving; 2. ready-to-serve foods such as cheeses, cold cooked meats, and salads.
denouement (DAY-noo-man) 1. the final resolution or clarification of a dramatic or narrative plot; the events following the climax of a drama or novel in which such a resolution or clarification takes place. 2. the outcome of a sequence of events; the end result.
I remember first hearing this word in ninth grade. It seemed like such a lovely word to sum up what was a lovely story.
diaphanous (DI-af-ah-nes) 1. of such fine texture as to be transparent or translucent. 2. characterized by delicacy of form. 3. vague or insubstantial.
Pretty and evocative; the texture of light above running water, or something.
dicephalous (di-SEF-ah-les) having two heads.
discombobulate (dis-kom-BOB-yah-late) to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate
disingenuous (dis-in-JEN-yoo-es) 1. not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating. 2. pretending to be unaware or unsophisticated; faux-naïf.
A great word to describe deceit. It implies one is not as ingenuous or innocent as might first appear. Interesting that it can be confused with the word "ingenious" which means inventive. One can imagine a disingenuous person being quite clever and inventive.
dodecahedron (doh-dek-ah-HEE-dren) any polyhedron having twelve plane faces.
It's almost musical.
dollop (DOL-op) a shapeless mass or blob of something.
doryphore (DOR-ee-phor) one who draws attention to the minor errors made by others, esp. in a pestering manner; a pedantic gadfly.
It fits a real need and the etymology is delightful as well. From the OED: 1952 H. NICOLSON in Spectator 22 Aug. 238/1 Often have I tried to supplement my vocabulary by inventing words, such as 'couth', or 'doriphore', or 'hypoulic', feeling that it is the duty as well as the pastime of a professional writer to make two words bloom where only one bloomed before. in Ibid. 17 Oct. 500/1 The doriphore..is the type of questing prig, who derives intense satisfaction from pointing out the errors of others. 1960 Age of Reason xii. 223 Boileau was so hurt by this reproof on the part of a female doryphore that he never set foot in Reuilly again. 1960 Daily Tel. 9 Dec. 19/3 The idiomatic implications of such a word as doryphore in his [sc. Sir Harold Nicolson's] own text is left for the ignorant to guess. (It means a Colorado beetle and, hence, a pest.) 1970 Times Lit. Suppl. 4 June 615/3 The editor..must..shrug off the pricks of professional doryphores. 1989 New Yorker 3 Apr. 99/2 When [the editors]..took me to lunch, they were rigidly abstemious, lest they fuddle their minds and give hostages to subsequent doryphores on returning to work.
dystopia (dis-toh-PEE-ah) 1. an imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror. 2. a work describing such a place or state.
The opposite of a Utopia, usualy a city or empire in the future clad in ruin and poor living conditions. My personal definition for it, the phrase I think best describes the true meening is: An empire of failed perfection.
eburnine (EB-ur-nine) of or pertaining to ivory.
One of my favourites. It has a very unmistakable elegance and precision, and
fits completely the smoky yet definite image of ivory.
ecdysiast (ek-DEZ-ee-ast) a striptease artist.
ecstasy (EK-stah-see) 1. intense joy or delight. 2. a state of emotion so intense that one is carried beyond rational thought and self-control. 3. the trance, frenzy, or rapture associated with mystic or prophetic exaltation.
Dude, pick it. It's not the drug, man. It's the word.
effervescence (ef-er-VES-ence) 1. to give off bubbles of gas. 2. to issue forth in bubbles. 3. to show enthusiasm, excitement, liveliness.
It is a light and airy word which reminds me of the vitality of life for some reason.
efficacious (ef-i-KAY-shes) producing or capable of producing a desired effect.
effusive (i-FYOO-siv) 1. unrestrained or excessive in emotional expression. 2. profuse; overflowing.
egregious (i-GREE-jes) conspicuously bad or offensive.
eleemosynary (el-ah-MOS-ah-ner-ee) of, relating to, or dependent on charity.
empress (EM-pris) 1. the woman ruler of an empire. 2. the wife or widow of an emperor.
It's something I can't really explain; this word just says power. It makes me think of Cleopatra, the ultimate empress. And the word itself sounds great: Empress! (You should hear the word in Portuguese: Imperatriz. It's beautiful.)
enigma (i-NIG-mah) 1. one that is puzzling, ambiguous, or inexplicable. 2. a perplexing speech or text; a riddle.
Such a "serious" sounding word. So much better than "mystery."
ennui (on-WEE) boredom; listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest.
ensoul (en-SOL) 1. to endow with a soul. 2. to place, receive, or cherish in the soul.
enunciate (i-NUN-see-ate) 1. to pronounce; articulate. 2. to state or set forth precisely or systematically. 3. to announce; proclaim.
It's great because you must enunciate to properly pronounce enunciate.
ephemeral (i-FEM-er-al) lasting for a markedly brief time. 2. lasting or living for only a day, as certain plants and insects do.
Dazzling, blurry, perfect and yet not at all. That's what the words remind me of. The actual definition is: A short period of time, lasting only a day or a night.
epicaricacy (EP-i-kar-ik-i-see) taking pleasure in other's misfortune; schadenfreude.
This word has caused a lot of discussion of late on a couple of forums that discuss these sorts of things. It's an English word, albeit probably an inkhorn term, for a concept that isn't supposed to have a word in English. quoting Nathan Bailey's An Universal Etymological English Dictionary, which is a very olde dictionary indeed (1721): "Epicharikaky from the Greek words or roots for 'upon', 'joy', and 'evil': 'A Joy at the Misfortunes of others'".
epiphany (i-PIF-ah-nee) 1. a Christian feast celebrating the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi; January 6, on which this feast is traditionally observed. 2. a revelatory manifestation of a divine being. 3. a sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something; a comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization.
eponymous (i-PON-ah-mes) of, relating to, or constituting an eponym, derivation of a name of a city, country, era, institution, or other place or thing from that of a person.
Flows off the tongue.
equestrian (i-KWES-tree-an) of or relating to horseback riding or horseback riders.
I don't know why, but I've always loved the word equestrian. Denying its true meaning, it has always made me feel as though I were underwater.
equinox (EE-kwah-noks) 1. either of two points on the celestial sphere at which the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator. 2. either of the two times during a year when the sun crosses the celestial equator and when the length of day and night are approximately equal; the vernal equinox or the autumnal equinox.
This word is one of my favourites because of the unique sound.
escapade (ES-kah-pade) an adventurous, unconventional act or undertaking.
both because of the sound of it and the implications of fun adventure
esoteric (es-ah-TER-ik) 1. intended for or understood by only a particular group; of or relating to that which is known by a restricted number of people. 2. confined to a small group; not publicly disclosed; confidential.
It just rolls off your tounge...es-pi-on-age
It sounds wonderful, important, and somewhat magical!
ethereal (i-THIR-ee-el) 1. characterized by lightness and insubstantiality; intangible. 2. highly refined; delicate. 3. of the celestial spheres; heavenly; not of this world; spiritual. 4. of or relating to ether.
I love the way it sounds, how it looks, and its connotations.
etiolate (EE-tee-i-late) 1. to cause (a plant) to develop without chlorophyll by preventing exposure to sunlight. 2. to cause to appear pale and sickly; to make weak by stunting the growth or development of.
eunoia (yoo-NOH-ee-ah) It comes from a Greek word meaning "well mind" or "beautiful thinking." It is also a rarely used medical term referring to a state of normal mental health. In rhetoric, eunoia is the goodwill a speaker cultivates between himself and his audience, a condition of receptivity. In book eight of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle uses the term to refer to the kind and benevolent feelings of goodwill a spouse has which form the basis for the ethical foundation of human life (from Wikipedia).
This word is the shortest world in the english language that contains all 5 vowels. It
means beautiful thinking, or as a medical term it means a healthy mind. I first found it
in Aristotle's Nichomechean Ethics in book 8. Nichomechean ethics was written as a guide to Aristotle's son as to how to achieve a happy life, the good life. Book 8 focusses on friendship and eunoia is one of the bases needed for a trusting friendship between husband and wife. I think it's a beautiful sounding word, with a beautiful meaning and
euphony (YOO-fah-nee) agreeable sound.
euphoria (yoo-FOR-ee-ah) a feeling of great happiness or webeing.
evanescent (ev-ah-NES-ent) vanishing or likely to vanish like vapor.
i love the sounds of this word, and how the way it sound gives you such a great idea of what it means
eviscerate (i-VIS-ah-ate) 1. to remove the entrails of; disembowel. 2. to take away a vital or essential part of. 3. to remove the contents of an organ. 4. to remove an organ from a patient.
1. I love this word because you rarely hear it, but it describes almost everything said by me and my friends.
2. You already have this word, but i like it because it has all the vowels in alphabetical order ... especially if written "facetiously."
fantastical (fan-TAS-ti-kel) 1. quaint or strange in form, conception, or appearance. 2. unrestrainedly fanciful; extravagant; bizarre, as in form or appearance; strange; based on or existing only in fantasy; unreal. 3. wonderful or superb; remarkable.
Love the sound and meaning of the word :)
fastidious (fah-STID-ee-es) 1. possessing or displaying careful, meticulous attention to detail. 2. difficult to please; exacting. 3. excessively scrupulous or sensitive, especially in matters of taste or propriety.
It's just so upper crust.
faux pas (foh-PAH) a social blunder.
I think it speaks for itself. Such a word deserves to be on your list. I use it often it easily slips into my conversations without thought.
febrile (FEB-rel) of, relating to, or characterized by fever; feverish.
fecund (FEE-kund) 1. capable of producing offspring or vegetation; fruitful. 2. marked by intellectual productivity.
feral (FER-el) 1. in a wild state, especially after having been domesticated. 2. resembling a wild animal.
It sure is better than saying wild.
first of all
"First of all" to mean "first." Notice how rarely anyone says "second of all"?
fisticuffs (FIS-ti-kufs) 1. a fistfight. 2. the activity of fighting with the fists.
flibbertigibbet (FLIB-er-tee-jib-it) a silly, scatterbrained, or garrulous person.
folderol (FOL-dah-rol) 1. foolishness; nonsense. 2. a trifle; a gewgaw.
fond (FOND) 1. having a strong liking, inclination, or affection. 2. affectionate; tender. 3. immoderately affectionate or indulgent; doting. 4. cherished; dear.
It is a sweet word.
foofaraw (FOO-fah-ro) 1. unnecessary things added for ornamentation; excessive or flashy ornamentation; frills. 2. a fuss over a trifling matter.
foppish (FOP-ish) of, relating to, or characteristic of a fop; dandified.
Its synonym, "dandified," is just as cool.
frangipani (fran-jah-PAN-ee) 1. any of various tropical American deciduous shrubs or trees of the genus Plumeria, having milky sap and showy, fragrant, funnel-shaped, variously colored flowers. Also called temple tree. 2. a perfume derived from or similar in scent to the flowers of one of these shrubs or trees. 3. also fran·gi·pane (FRAN-jah-pan) a creamy pastry filling flavored with almonds.
It's just so odd, but it does help conjure the fragrance and the foreigness of the flowers it denotes.
gallivant (GAL-ah-vant) to roam about in search of pleasure or amusement.
garçonnière (gar-son-NYER) a bachelor's apartment or quarters.
gargantuan (gar-GAN-choo-en) of immense size, volume, or capacity; gigantic.
Gehenna (gi-HEN-ah) 1. a place or state of torment or suffering. 2. the abode of condemned souls; hell.
It's a word for hell like haven is a word for heaven.
gelid (JEL-id) very cold; icy.
Just an odd word I don't see enough that recalled stumbling into while reading the dictionary once when I was 12. I never forgot the word and seldom see it used. Neat how it is similar in meaning to the word gelato.
gesticulate (je-STIK-yah-late) to make gestures especially while speaking, as for emphasis.
gigglesome (GIG-el-sum) prone to giggling.
glisten (GLIS-en) to shine by reflection with a sparkling luster.
Doesn't the word just shine when you say it?
globule (GLOB-yool) a small spherical mass, especially a small drop of liquid.
I love the way it rolls off your tongue when pronouced -- try it!
Godspeed (GOD-speed) success or good fortune.
grandiloquent (gran-DIL-ah-kwent) using high-flown, pompous, bombastic words and expressions.
The word itself is dignified and poised; besides, isn't it funny to have a big, impressive word about big, impressive words?
guacamole (gwah-kah-MO-lee) a thick paste of mashed avocado, often combined with citrus juice, onion, and seasonings and usually served as a dip or in salads.
Perhaps too common, but so much fun to say. If you do not have fun saying it, you are most likely mispronouncing it.
guffaw (gah-FAW) a hearty, boisterous burst of laughter.
This definition made me laugh out loud in fourth grade, while everyone was quiet and reading.
gumption (GUMP-shen) 1. boldness of enterprise; initiative or aggressiveness. 2. guts; spunk. 3. common sense.
First saw this as a name of a cleaning product, I couldn't stop laughing at the word. It reminds me of very stubborn people that stick at something no matter what, like gum on a surface.
ichor (EYE-kor) 1. the rarefied fluid said to run in the veins of the gods. 2. a watery, acrid discharge from a wound or ulcer.
ichthyophagous (ik-the-OFF-ah-ges) feeding on fish.
ignominious (ig-nah-MIN-ee-es) 1. marked by shame or disgrace. 2. deserving disgrace or shame; despicable. 3. degrading; debasing.
Just sounds great, rolls off the tongue.
immolate (IM-ah-late) 1. to kill as a sacrifice. 2. to kill oneself by fire. 3. to destroy.
Admittedly at first grasp, it is a dark word, but I believe it to be not fully justified until further inspection. It's basis is fire, which is in itself life, yet of course it means to sacrifice one's self and ultimately, death. Immolate brings forth an emotion I believe to be described as beautifully depressing -- an emotion I see becoming more and more popular in people within this world.
inchoate (in-KOH-it) 1. in an initial or early stage; incipient. 2. imperfectly formed or developed.
idiosyncrasy (id-ee-oh-SING-krah-see) a peculiarity of physical or mental constitution or temperament; a characteristic belonging to, and distinguishing, an individual.
I like it because it feels like a dignified word for a social position that isn't usually viewed with dignity.
impervious (im-PUR-vee-es) 1. incapable of being penetrated. 2. incapable of being affected.
How much more confidence would we have in Superman if he changed his name to Impervious Jackson?
incarnadine (in-KAR-nah-dine) 1. having the pinkish color of flesh.
I love this word, which Shakespeare uses in Macbeth: "No, this my hand will rather / the multitudinous seas incarnadine / making the green one red."
He uses it as a verb (to make red) rather than an adjective, but that's Shakespeare for you. "Multitudinous" isn't a bad word, either.
incognito (in-kog-NEE-toe) with one's identity disguised or concealed.
It relates to anything which fails to do what it intends to do, such as a sentence without any purpose. I have no idea how it is actually meant to be pronounced, but I say it 'in-fel-i-SEE-shus'. It is amusing to ask people to try and say it. They normally pronounce it infelicitiously.
infundibular (in-fen-DIB-yah-ler) 1. relating to any of various funnel-shaped bodily passages, openings, structures, or parts. 2. funnel-shaped.
Just a lovely word to say. It is a word to describe something as funnel shaped, so it is quite difficult to weave into sentences.
inimical (i-NIM-i-kel) 1. injurious or harmful in effect; adverse. 2. unfriendly; hostile.
I absolutely love using this word, it just slides off your tongue. It means hurtful, or someone meaning to hurt. It is a great word to use!
insatiable (in-SA-sha-ble) impossible to satiate or satisfy.
insidious (in-SID-ee-es) 1. working or spreading harmfully in a subtle or stealthy manner. 2. intended to entrap; treacherous. 3. beguiling but harmful; alluring.
It's a word that looks shady, but there is the implication that it describes someone that is also intelligent. Corrupt yet cunning.
insouciant (in-SOO-see-ant) marked by blithe unconcern; nonchalant.
I just think it's an amazing word. It isn't even in every dictionary and some people think it's spelled wrong. It means "carefree," basically. It makes me reminisce my childhood!
Such a powerful word, it can change lives! I resonate with this word, it feels good in my mind and heart. I say it to myself every day to keep me on track in making the most of my life, my time here
on earth, my relationships, my choices, my conduct, etc. "Intentional" has such an inspiring,
honorable, direct, active sound to it too -- truly a call, like that of a snare drum leading the march -- serious, solemn, dignified, victorious. I believe integrity is always victorious, no
matter how the circumstances appear. Just happened upon your site while looking for the number of words in the English language that describe emotions, a factoid that I thought might illustrate the range of human experience I refer to in a suicide prevention talk. I've always been a fan of
vocabulary but need to build mine, and look forward to investigating The Best Words and Vocabula
Review. Thank you!
intertwingularity (in-ter-TWING-yoo-lar-i-tee) Intertwingularity is a term coined by Ted Nelson to express the complexity of interrelations in human knowledge.
"Everything is deeply intertwingled" (Ted Nelson). This word is about all knowledge being interrelated. It makes me think of webs and cross-sections and networks (and just try saying it aloud) -- I love it.
iridescent (ir-i-DES-ent) 1. producing a display of lustrous, rainbowlike colors. 2. brilliant, lustrous, or colorful in effect or appearance.
It's just such a gorgeous word.
isocheim (I-so-kime) a line connecting places on the earth having the same mean winter temperature.
I've always liked the way "isocheim" sounds.
isthmus (IS-mes) 1. a narrow strip of land connecting two larger masses of land. 2. a narrow strip of tissue joining two larger organs or parts of an organ; a narrow passage connecting two larger cavities.
jejune (je-JOON) not interesting, dull, empty; childish; lacking in nutrition.
jocularity (JOK-yah-lar-i-tee) joking speech or behavior
jovial (JOH-vee-al) full of or showing high-spirited merriment.
I've always been a huge fan of the word "jovial"... It sounds about as accurate a word can be considering it's definition and rolls off the tongue in a familiar way while remaining slightly foreign in its pronunciation ... that and I liken myself a rather jovial gent.
juxtaposition (juk-stah-pah-ZISH-en) the act or instance of placing side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.
It sounds cool and not too many words begin with a "j". I use it in all literary papers
(plus, it's pretty much the same word in all languages).
kakistocracy (kak-i-STOK-rah-see) government by the worst or least qualified citizens.
kaleidoscope (kah-LIE-dah-skop) 1. a tube-shaped optical instrument that is rotated to produce a succession of symmetrical designs by means of mirrors reflecting the constantly changing patterns made by bits of colored glass at one end of the tube. 2. a constantly changing set of colors. 3. a series of changing phases or events.
It is such an original word that I can't help but love it.
katabatic (kat-ah-BAT-ik) relating to or being a wind produced by the flow of cold dense air down a slope (as of a mountain or glacier) in an area subject to radiational cooling.
kerfuffle (ker-FUF-el) a disorderly outburst or tumult.
kismet (KIZ-met) fate; fortune.
kleptocrat (KLEP-tah-krat) a ruler who uses political power to steal his or her country's resources.
lacerate () 1. to rip, cut, or tear. 2. to cause deep emotional pain to; distress.
Maybe it's too "common" but since i was young i've always loved the sound of this word.
when i think of lacerated flesh, i see blood being drawn by ribbons being pulled lightly across skin...it doesnt sound so bad haha. :)
lachrymose (LAK-rah-mos) 1. weeping or inclined to weep; tearful. 2. causing or tending to cause tears.
It's just a beautifully sad word. If all the words for despair were this pretty no one would be sad for long. Oh, and it's relation to Mozart's Mass in D minor gives it some chilling back story.
lackadaisical (lak-ah-DA-zi-kel) lacking spirit, liveliness, or interest; languid.
lagniappe (LAN-yap) 1. a small gift presented by a storeowner to a customer with the customer's purchase. 2. an extra or unexpected gift or benefit.
I love your word list! There are a lot of good Cajun words which I didn't see on the list. Here's one. Lagniappe means 'A little something extra'. Great word.
lambaste (lam-BASTE) 1. to give a thrashing to; beat. 2. to scold sharply; berate.
lambent (LAM-bent) 1. flickering lightly over or on a surface. 2. effortlessly light or brilliant. 3. having a gentle glow; luminous.
I love the "softly glowing" sound of this word and all it evokes.
laminar (LAM-ah-ner) composed of, or arranged in, laminae.
Moves across the lips like a skip-stone across water.
lascivious (lah-SIV-ee-es) 1. given to or expressing lust; lecherous. 2. exciting sexual desires; salacious.
Shakespeare used the word like punctuation in "Othello."
lethologica (lee-tho-LO-gi-ca) 1. the inability to remember the right word. 2. a psychological disorder that inhibits an individual's ability to articulate thoughts by temporarily forgetting key words, phrases, or names in conversation.
It's that state of being where you can't remember the word you're looking for. I find it tremendously interesting that I can remember the name for the situation that I'd be in, but not the simple word I'd be looking for.
libertine (LIB-er-teen) 1. one who acts without moral restraint; a dissolute person. 2. one who defies established religious precepts; a freethinker.
I came across the word while researching a paper on sexual ethics. I think it is a very interesting word because of its definition, and because I am sure some use it negatively, I find it to be engaging.
limpid (LIM-pid) 1. characterized by transparent clearness; pellucid. 2. easily intelligible; clear. 3. calm and untroubled; serene.
Its prefix comes from a much more luminous and lyrical word for water than the angular and tinny "aqua." Its own sound provides the liquidity from which it arises. A most beautiful word!
lissome (LIS-em) 1. easily bent; supple. 2. having the ability to move with ease; limber.
A simply beautiful and mellifluous word.
loam (LOM) 1. soil composed of a mixture of sand, clay, silt, and organic matter. 2. a mixture of moist clay and sand, and often straw, used especially in making bricks and foundry molds.
Something about the sound of it is oddly comforting.
logomachy (lah-GOM-ah-kee) 1. a dispute about words. 2. a battle of words.
What could be more pertinent to a website that determines what the best words are?
loquacious (lo-KWA-shes) very talkative; garrulous.
I have loved it since I was a child and my teacher wrote it in my school report. The word sounds as if only the well spoken would be loquacious. The rest of us poor plebs would merely be chatty.
louche (LOOSH) of questionable taste or morality; decadent.
The very sound of it conjures decadence.
lubricious (loo-BRISH-es) 1. having a slippery or smooth quality. 2. shifty or tricky. 3. lewd; wanton; sexually stimulating; salacious.
I am an interventional radiologist. This word is commonly used to describe characteristic of certain guide-wires which, once moistened, develop a very useful slippery coating. Delving a little further into its definition, things become a little more interesting:
1. arousing or expressive of sexual desire; lustful; lecherous.
2. (of a surface, coating, etc.) having an oily smoothness; slippery.
3. unstable; shifty; fleeting.
The latter brings to mind, Zoltan Karpathy, the Hungarian count from My Fair Lady. "Oozing charm from every pore, he oiled his way around the floor..."
Hope it makes the cut!
lucubrate (loo-KYOO-brate) to study diligently; to write in a scholarly way.
lugubrious (loo-GOO-bree-es) mournful, dismal, or gloomy, especially to an exaggerated or ludicrous degree.
Just say it; hear it in your ears. It's luscious.
lumpenproletariat (lum-pen-proh-li-TAR-ee-it) 1. the lowest, most degraded stratum of the proletariat. Used originally in Marxist theory to describe those members of the proletariat, especially criminals, vagrants, and the unemployed, who lacked class consciousness. 2. the underclass of a human population.
machiavellian (mak-ee-ah-VEL-ee-en) 1. of or relating to Machiavelli or Machiavellianism. 2. suggestive of or characterized by expediency, deceit, and cunning.
I love the way this word sounds, and the history of the origin of this word is quite interesting.
machination (mak-ah-NA-shen) 1. the act of plotting. 2. a crafty scheme or cunning design for the accomplishment of a sinister end.
majuscule (mah-JUS-kyool) a large letter, either capital or uncial, used in writing or printing.
A beautiful word describing a beautiful thing.
malacophonous (mal-ah-KOF-i-nus) having a soft voice.
mammiferous (mah-MIF-er-es) having mammary glands.
masticate (MAS-ti-kate) 1. to chew (food). 2. to grind and knead (rubber, for example) into a pulp.
Because it sounds like masturbate and everyone thinks it is a dirty word.
matutinal (mah-TOOT-en-el) of, relating to, or occurring in the morning; early.
This word has a French root, which to me seems rare. The only time I have ever seen it used was in The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse.
maudlin (MOD-lin) effusively or tearfully sentimental.
This was one of my mom's favorite words.....she would always say, "Oh God, don't be so maudlin!" I love this word.......
megalomaniac (meg-ah-lo-MAN-ee-ak) 1. a person with a psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence. 2. a person who has an obsession with grandiose or extravagant things or actions.
melancholy (MEL-an-kol-ee) 1. a gloomy state of mind, esp. when habitual or prolonged; depression. 2. sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness. 3. the condition of having too much black bile, considered in ancient and medieval medicine to cause gloominess and depression; black bile.
mellifluous (mah-LIF-loo-es) sweetly flowing; smooth and sweet.
mendacity (men-DAS-i-tee) a lie; falsehood.
mephitic (mah-FIT-ik) of, relating to, or resembling mephitis (an offensive smell; a stench); poisonous or foul-smelling.
A glorious word I use often to describe gym socks and other befouled items.
meretricious (mer-i-TRISH-es) 1. attracting attention in a vulgar manner; plausible but false or insincere; specious. 2. of or relating to prostitutes or prostitution.
This word is both fun to say and interesting in meaning: although it sounds complimentary, it in fact tawdry or prostitute-like, from the Latin meretrix, which means whore.
merkin (MUR-kin) a pubic wig for women.
metanoia (MET-ah-noi-ah) a profound, usually spiritual, transformation; a conversion or awakening.
It's such a pretty, powerful word to describe a pinnacle event in a person's life.
miasma (mi-AZ-mah) 1. a noxious atmosphere or influence. 2. a poisonous atmosphere formerly thought to rise from swamps and putrid matter and cause disease; a thick vaporous atmosphere or emanation.
micturate (MIK-cha-rate) to eliminate urine; to pee.
Solves the problem of a polite way to describe "making water."
milquetoast (MILK-toast) one who has a meek, timid, unassertive nature.
A humorous word I've seen used by George Saunders in CivilWarLand in Bad Decline. The word "milquetoast" is a testament to how popular culture affects our language given that it is supposedly derived from a comic strip.
misanthropy (mis-AN-thra-pee) hatred or mistrust of humankind.
misogyny (mi-SOJ-ah-nee) hatred of women.
moist (MOIST) 1. slightly wet; damp or humid. 2. filled with or characterized by moisture. 3. tearful.
I love the way it rolls out of the mouth, across the lips round and full, and with a crisp ending. It is a luxuriant, sensuous word.
monophagous (moh-NAF-ah-ges) eating only one kind of food.
mooncalf (MOON-kaf) 1. a fool. 2. a freak.
This is a very outdated word meaning a foolish person or someone who spends a lot of time daydreaming. It can also be a derogatory word, in the sense of someone with a birth defect of some kind. No one ever uses it any more, but I like it.
mulct (MULKT) 1. to penalize by fining or demanding forfeiture. 2. to acquire by trickery or deception. 3. to swindle or defraud.
murmuration (mur-mah-REY-shen) 1. an act or instance of murmuring.
2. a flock of starlings.
mustachioed (mah-STASH-ee-ode) having a mustache, esp. a luxuriant mustache.
The only word in the English language that rhymes with pistachioed.
myopic (my-OP-ik) 1. pertaining to or having myopia; nearsighted. 2. unable or unwilling to act prudently; shortsighted. 3. lacking tolerance or understanding; narrow-minded.
myriad (MIR-ee-ed) a vast number; originally, ten thousand.
Originally Greek for 10,000 (one hundred hundred; Remember that one million can be expressed as one hundred hundred hundred), the word now practically synonymous with "plethora."
myrmidon (MUR-mi-don) 1. a member of a warlike Thessalian people who were ruled by Achilles and followed him on the expedition against Troy. 2. a faithful follower who carries out orders without question.
I've always liked this word: It's mellifluous even somewhat onomatopoeic and it's always relevant.
mythomania (mith-oh-MAY-nee-ah) a compulsion to exaggerate or tell lies.
nadir (NA-dir) 1. a point on the celestial sphere directly below the observer, diametrically opposite the zenith. 2. the lowest point.
nebulous (NEB-yah-les) 1. cloudy, misty, or hazy. 2. lacking definite form or limits; vague. 3. of, relating to, or characteristic of a nebula.
Nebulous is an intriguing word that adds excitement in conversation and in text.
necromancy (NEK-roh-man-see) 1. the practice of supposedly communicating with the spirits of the dead in order to predict the future. 2. black magic; sorcery. 3. magic qualities.
The "necro" words seem all to lead into the ultimate ending: necrobiosis, necrolatry, necrology, necrophobia, etc. But this one has a special feel to it because it relates to the future as well as the past.
nefarious (nah-FAR-ee-es) infamous by way of being extremely wicked.
It gives me a thrill whenever I say it, and makes me think of a dashingly dark and wicked man with a waxed mustache and black cape.
nepenthe (ni-PEN-thee) 1. a drug mentioned in the Odyssey as a remedy for grief. 2. something that induces forgetfulness of sorrow or eases pain.
nescience (NESH-ee-ence) absence of knowledge or awareness; ignorance.
With the number of ignorant people in this world, nescience serves as both a tool to detect them as well as describe their mental state. And if mispronounced you get knee-science, which is fairly amusing in itself.
nihilistic (ni-ah-LIS-tik) 1. believing all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. 2. rejecting all distinctions in moral or religious value and repudiating all previous theories of morality or religious belief. 3. believing that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement. 4. having the delusion that the world or one's mind, body, or self does not exist.
noctilucous (nok-ti-LYOO-kes) shining in the night.
Shining at night. I think it's simply cool.
nuance (NOO-ans) 1. a subtle or slight degree of difference, as in meaning, feeling, or tone; a gradation. 2. expression or appreciation of subtle shades of meaning, feeling, or tone.
A unique and highly descriptive word.
nugatory (NOO-gah-tor-ee) 1. of little or no importance; trifling. 2. having no force; invalid.
It confuses someone when you call them this while insulting them, lol. I personally like
to add Inu (Japanese for dog) as the follow up word, then walk away shaking my head leaving them wondering.
obtuse (ob-TOOS) 1. lacking quickness of perception or intellect; characterized by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity; not distinctly felt. 2. not sharp, pointed, or acute in form; blunt.
octogenarian (ok-tah-jah-NAR-ee-an) a person between 80 and 90 years of age.
This word is used to describe a person between the ages of 80 and 90 years old. It is interesting that such a word exists
odious (OH-dee-es) repugnant; hateful.
officious (ah-FISH-es) meddlesome; unnecessarily or obtrusively ready to offer advice or services.
oleaginous (oh-lee-AJ-i-nes) 1. of or relating to oil. 2. falsely or smugly earnest; unctuous.
A word that seems to coat the inside of one's mouth, much like oil would. Great way to describe Cristiano Ronaldo.
olecranon (oh-LEK-rah-non) The large process on the upper end of the ulna that projects behind the elbow joint and forms the point of the elbow.
omphaloskepsis (om-fah-loh-SKEP-sis) contemplation of one's navel.
oneiric (oh-NI-rik) of, relating to, or suggestive of dreams.
It's not a common word, but has a beautiful sound nicely related to its meaning
oniochalasia (oh-nee-oh-cha-LAY-see-ah) buying as a means of mental relaxation.
onomatopoeia (on-ah-mat-ah-PEE-ah) a word or a grouping of words that imitates the sound it is describing, suggesting its source object, such as "click," "buzz," or "bluuuh," or animal noises such as "oink," "quack," or "meow."
ophidian (oh-FID-ee-an) of, relating to, or resembling snakes.
opulent (OP-yah-lent) 1. having or exhibiting great wealth; affluent. 2. characterized by rich abundance; luxuriant.
... conjures up chandeliers, velvet and decadence..
orison (OR-i-sen) a prayer.
This word meaning "prayer"is beautiful in it's sound and meaning.
ostentatious (os-ten-TAY-shes) 1. intended to impress people or attract their admiration, in a way that you think is extreme and unnecessary. 2. always trying to impress people with how rich, important, skillful, etc. you are.
It's beautiful, and it's such a smooth word, and it seems to fit with its
definition and not to at the same time. *sigh*
This is a Sioux or Creek word that is frequently used in my family. It means crooked or unbalanced. A picture hanging on the wall might be pajuxy. I've tried to search online to verify the spelling, but haven't had any luck. I use this word around friends and no one ever asks me the meaning...they all seem to just understand. It is fun to say and helps our family stay in touch with our roots. Enjoy.
(PAL-ee-ah-tiv) tending or serving to palliate. 2. relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder without effecting a cure.
panacea (pan-ah-SEE-ah) a remedy for all diseases, evils, or difficulties; a cure-all.
panache (pah-NASH) 1. dash; verve. 2. a bunch of feathers or a plume, especially on a helmet.
pandiculation (pan-dik-yoo-LA-shen) yawning and stretching (as when first waking up).
It reminds me of work!
panegyric (pan-i-JIR-ik) a eulogistic oration or writing; formal or elaborate praise.
Panthalassa "universal sea," such as that which surrounded Pangaea.
Panthalassa, a noun: the great, primordeal ocean that existed along with the super-continent Pangea. Just like pangea was an amalgam of all landmass on the planet, Panthalassa was the amalgam of all the world's oceans; in essence, a super ocean.
I suppose this word might be disqualified for being a place name, just like Constantinople, although I argue that this word qualifies because unlike Constantinople, you can get away with using the word by simply refering to 'any massive collection of a singular fluidic substance' with a bit of poetic license. I've used the term 'panthalassa' to describe giant clouds of converging hydrogen gas in outer space, for example, and I describe the world as becoming more of a 'panthalassa' of cultures with the rapid transit of information we're seeing.
The phonetics of the word perfectly match what it means: just the name 'pan-thal-ass-ah' evokes the spirit of something primordial, yet tropical.
Please, do a favor to this facinating, aesthetic, and criminally little-known word by adding it to your best words list.
paramour (PAR-ah-moor) a lover, especially one in an adulterous relationship.
I love this word mainly because it gives a classy name to something common.
paraphernalia (par-ah-fer-NAL-yah) 1. personal belongings. 2. the articles used in a particular activity; equipment. 3. a married woman's personal property exclusive of her dowry, according to common law.
parsimonious (par-si-MO-nee-es) excessively sparing or frugal.
A seemingly nice way to call someone a cheapskate or a tightwad.
pataflafla (PAT-ah-flah-flah) a four-note pattern with flams on the first and last notes.
peculiar (pi-KYOOL-yer) 1. unusual or eccentric; odd. 2. distinct from all others. 3. belonging distinctively or primarily to one person, group, or kind; special or unique.
It's not long or uncommon, but just listen to it: "Peculiar." Isn't that such a peculiar word? I just love it.
pedigerous (pi-DIG-er-es) bearing or having feet or legs.
penchant (PEN-chant) a definite liking; a strong inclination.
Just use it a sentence and you'll know why. Not a very uncommon word, yet still exclusive. It really sends the message in a graceful way. (I can't possibly praise a word more than this, its embarassing.)
penultimate (pi-NUL-tah-mit) next to last.
penumbra (pi-NUM-bra) 1. a partial shadow, as in an eclipse, between regions of complete shadow and complete illumination. 2. the grayish outer part of a sunspot. 3. an area in which something exists to a lesser or uncertain degree. 4. an outlying surrounding region; a periphery.
The word for the center portion of a shadow edge has a mystical ring to it when you say it, the whole of the word starts at the end of the tongue and just leaps from your mouth when you finish it.
perambulate (pe-RAM-byah-late) walk through, about, or over; stroll.
peregrinate (PER-i-gri-nate) to journey or travel from place to place, especially on foot.
Great word which means to wander.
perfidy (PUR-fi-dee) 1. deliberate breach of faith; calculated violation of trust; treachery. 2. the act or an instance of treachery.
perseverate (per-SEV-er-ate) to manifest or experience perseveration: uncontrollable repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder; the tendency to continue or repeat an act or activity after the cessation of the original stimulus.
This word specifically refers to the act of repeating an action or word beyond its usefulness. A child who perseverates, for instance, will draw a line from one edge of the paper to the other, and go on drawing past the edge of the paper.
perspicacious (pur-spi-KAY-shes) having keen judgment or understanding; acutely perceptive.
petrichor (PEH-tri-kor) the distinctive scent that accompanies the first rain after a long warm dry spell.
It is so uncommon a word it is not found in many dictionaries.
phalanges (pha-LAN-jeez) a bone of a finger or toe.
phalanx (FA-langks) a compact group of people.
phantasmagoria (fan-taz-mah-GOR-ee-ah) 1. a fantastic sequence of haphazardly associative imagery, as seen in dreams or fever; a constantly changing scene composed of numerous elements. 2. fantastic imagery as represented in art.
philander (fi-LAN-der) 1. to carry on a sexual affair, especially an extramarital affair, with a woman one cannot or does not intend to marry (used of a man) 2. to engage in many love affairs, especially with a frivolous or casual attitude (used of a man).
This is my new favorite word!! I can't believe it's an actual legitimate term.
philippic (fi-LIP-ik) 1. any of the orations of Demosthenes against Philip of Macedon in the fourth century BC. 2. any of the orations of Cicero against Antony in 44 BC. 3. a verbal denunciation characterized by harsh, often insulting language; a tirade.
Simply said, I love this word and its meaning. Just say it then read the meaning. I also love the interesting history behind the word as well.
philogyny (fi-LOJ-ah-nee) fondness for women; uxoriousness.
phobophobia (fo-bah-FO-bee-ah) a morbid dread or fear of developing a phobia.
phosphene (FOS-feen) a luminous image produced by mechanical stimulation of the retina, as by pressure applied to the eyeball by the finger when the lid is closed.
pilgarlic (pil-GAR-lik) a bald-headed man.
platitude (PLAT-i-tood) 1. a trite or banal remark or statement, especially one expressed as if it were original or significant. 2. lack of originality; triteness.
It's cuter and more sophisticated than "cliché," and makes me think of philosophical times in Rome.
plausible (PLAU-zi-ble) 1. seemingly or apparently valid, likely, or acceptable; credible. 2. giving a deceptive impression of truth or reliability. 3. disingenuously smooth; fast-talking.
pleonasm (PLEE-ah-naz-em) 1. the use of more words than are required to express an idea; redundancy. 2. a superfluous word or phrase.
plethora (PLETH-er-ah) 1. a superabundance; an excess. 2. an excess of blood in the circulatory system or in one organ or area.
plutomania (ploo-toh-MAY-nee-ah) a passion or craving for wealth, obsession with money; delusion that one is wealthy.
1. I just learned this word the other day. It's a form of precipitation/fog that only happens if the temperature is at or below 0° C and the humidity is near 100% It's a midwestern U.S. type of precip. The word comes from a Native American term (cannot remember the tribe!) and means "white death."
2. In Northern Nevada, Pogonip is a common word and is used to describe the moisture frozen on trees, bushes and shrubs. It most commonly occurs during periods of freezing fog and gives an eerie yet beautiful quality to the surrounding landscape. Although I do not have an actual origin for you, I can tell you that the Paiute and Shoshone Tribes of the Western Great Basin have used this word for a long time. We say that it is a Paiute word but that is just because they are the tribes that reside locally in Northern Nevada. It does not necessarily mean that they were the fist to use it in that context.
I don't know why this condition was called "White Death" (Pogonip) but many believe it was due to the freezing fog effect of killing the vegetation while others believe that pogonip was a warning to the Native Americans that it was time to move to a winter location before the snows fell.
poltergeist (POL-ter-gist) a ghost that manifests itself by noises, rappings, and the creation of disorder.
A fun word seen more and more in newspapers and magazines.
poltroon (pol-TROON) a contemptible coward.
polymath (POL-ee-math) a person of great or varied learning.
pompous (POM-pes) 1. characterized by excessive self-esteem or exaggerated dignity; pretentious. 2. full of high-sounding phrases; bombastic. 3. chracterized by pomp or stately display; ceremonious.
I love this word; it's so sophisticated.
Tell someone the word and its meaning and watch them start poppysmicing away!
porphyrophobia (por-fi-ROH-foh-bee-ah) fear of the color purple.
portentous (por-TEN-shes) 1. of the nature of or constituting a portent; foreboding. 2. full of unspecifiable significance; exciting wonder and awe. 3. marked by pompousness; pretentiously weighty.
prandial (PRAN-dee-al) relating to a meal, esp. dinner.
precipice (pre-si-PIS) 1. an overhanging or extremely steep mass of rock, such as a crag or the face of a cliff. 2. the brink of a dangerous or disastrous situation.
This has been my favorite word for many years! It means to be on the edge of something like the edge of a steep cliff or like "she was on the precipice of stardom."
prelapsarian (pre-lap-SAR-ee-an) of or relating to the period before the fall of Adam and Eve.
Hey, this is a great word. It means since the fall of man going back to Adam and Eve. We have an excuse for all our failures! Blame Adam and Eve!
prestidigitation (pres-ti-dig-i-TAY-shen) 1. performance of or skill in performing magic or conjuring tricks with the hands; sleight of hand. 2. a show of skill or deceitful cleverness.
sleight of hand, magic tricks performed as entertainment, pickpocketing ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from French, from preste 'nimble' + Latin digitus 'finger' + -ation. Easily the most difficult word to say that I know.
To me it implies a "fullness" of light that is very appealing.
rendezvous (RHAN-day-voo) 1. a meeting at a prearranged time and place. 2. a prearranged meeting place. 3. a popular gathering place.
Frankly, it just rolls off your tongue in a delightful way. Next time, instead of saying "meet up" or "hang out," unfurl the word "rendezvous."
repellant (ri-PEL-ent) 1. serving or tending to repel; able to repel. 2. inspiring aversion or distaste; repulsive. 3. resistant or impervious to a substance.
It's elegant, avoiding the guttural sound of "disgusting" while preserving the meaning.
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resplendent (ri-SPLEN-dent) splendid or dazzling in appearance; brilliant.
An excellent response to, "How are you?" and "How do I look?"
reticulate (ri-TIK-yah-lat) resembling or forming a net or network.
reverie (REV-ah-ree) 1. a state of abstracted musing; daydreaming. 2. a daydream.
reverberate (ri-VUR-bah-rate) 1. to resound in a succession of echoes; reecho. 2. to have a prolonged or continuing effect. 3. to be repeatedly reflected, as sound waves, heat, or light. 4. to be forced or driven back; recoil or rebound.
It practically vibrates as you say it.
rhomboidal (rom-BOID-el) shaped like a rhomboid or rhombus.
ribaldry (RI-bal-dree) coarse language or humor.
ricochet (RIC-ah-shay) to rebound.
rive (RIVE) 1. to rend or tear apart. 2. to break into pieces; cleave or split asunder. 3. to break or distress (the spirit, for example).
rivulet (RIV-yah-lit) a small brook or stream; a streamlet.
rodomontade (rod-ah-mon-TADE) pretentious boasting or bragging; bluster.
schadenfreude (SHAD-en-froi-dah) pleasure derived from another's misfortune.
schlong (SCHLONG) a sizeable penis.
schussboomer (SHUS-boo-mer) a fast downhill skier; someone who skis down a mountain very quickly and skillfully.
The pronunciation is similar to the sound of skis slicing through snow.
scintilla (sin-TIL-ah) 1. a minute amount; an iota or trace. 2. a spark; a flash.
scintillation (sin-til-LAY-shen) 1. the act of scintillating; sparkling 2. a spark; flash; twinkling. 3. a brilliant display of wit. 4. the twinkling of the stars caused by turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere.
It sounds like it glitters; it's almost onomatopoeia.
scobiform (SKOB-i-form) having the form of, or resembling, sawdust or raspings.
Fun to say, though perhaps rare. It means "having the appearance of sawdust."
scree (SKREE) 1. loose rock debris covering a slope. 2. a slope of loose rock debris at the base of a steep incline or cliff.
scrump (SKRUMP) British: to steal fruit from an orchard or garden.
It means to steal fruit, especially apples. I love its whimsical sound. It's such a pleasant euphemism that, if I ever did meet a convicted scrumper, I might be tempted to like them more than any non-scrumping individual I know.
scuppernong (SKUP-er-nong) 1. muscadine. 2. a cultivated variety of the muscadine grape with sweet yellowish fruit; a wine made from this grape.
It just sounds like it's from the American south, doesn't it?
scurf (SKURF) 1. scaly dry skin that has been exfoliated, such as dandruff.
2. a loose scaly crust coating a surface, especially of a plant. 3. any of several fungal diseases of plants.
When watching the movie Amelie, "scurf" was used briefly. If you're interested, the quote was "Without you, today's emotions would be the scurf of yesterday's." I adore that quote, and find it euphoric. If you concur, I believe scurf is a word definitely worthy of acceptance onto the list.
P.S. I love reading The Vocabula Review, especially the commentary, yet, I cannot agree on moist being a nice sounding word; it's so egregious in my opinion.
scurrilous (SKUR-ah-les) 1. given to the use of vulgar, coarse, or abusive language. 2. expressed in vulgar, coarse, or abusive language.
sempiternal (sem-pi-TUR-nel) 1. enduring forever; eternal. 2. having no known beginning and presumably no end.
This word is absolutely amazing. Not too many people know it, seeing as it was first known in the 15th century, but there's just something about it. It's seems more deep and insightful then just saying eternal or everlasting.
senescence (si-NES-sence) growing old; aging.
sequacious (si-KWA-shes) 1. persisting in a continuous intellectual or stylistic direction. 2. disposed to follow another or others, as a leader; slavishly unthinking and uncritical.
I love the word. SEQUACIOUS. It's such a nice sound. Also (am I allowed 2?): squit -- silly speak. Hope these are good words -- I like them and I use them whenever I can...
serendipity (ser-en-DIP-i-tee) 1. the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident. 2. the fact or occurrence of such discoveries. 3. an instance of making such a discovery.
The shape of the word in your mouth makes you believe everything will come out okay.
sesquipedalian (ses-kwi-pi-DAY-lee-en) 1. given to using long words. 2. (of a word) containing many syllables.
shibboleth (SHIB-ah-lith) 1. a word or pronunciation that distinguishes people of one group or class from those of another. 2. a word or phrase identified with a particular group or cause; a catchword; a commonplace saying or idea. 3. a custom or practice that betrays one as an outsider.
sidereal (sigh-DIR-ee-el) 1. of, relating to, or concerned with the stars or constellations; stellar. 2. measured or determined by means of the apparent daily motion of the stars.
This word really paints a pretty picture in your head & it's fun to say because it's not pronounced the way it's written.
siderodromophobia (si-der-oh-droh-moh-PHO-bee-ah) fear of trains, railroads, or train travel.
simplicity (sim-PLIS-i-tee) 1. the property, condition, or quality of being simple or uncombined. 2. absence of luxury or showiness; plainness. 3. absence of affectation or pretense.
Not only is it simple and pretty, it is also something to be learned. If everyone learned the word and loved it as I do, the world might be a simpler place.
sirocco (sah-ROK-oh) 1. a hot humid south or southeast wind of southern Italy, Sicily, and the Mediterranean islands, originating in the Sahara Desert as a dry dusty wind but becoming moist as it passes over the Mediterranean. 2. a hot or warm southerly wind, especially one moving toward a low barometric pressure center.
From the Arabic 'east wind', a sirocco describes a hot desert wind, the word itself having the hiss of blowing sand and the c's create an air of dustiness.
skulk (SKULK) 1. to lie in hiding, as out of cowardice or bad conscience; lurk. 2. to move about stealthily. 3. to evade work or obligation; shirk.
It's sharp sound is perfect accompaniment to its definition. Also, the occurrence of the "skull" sound adds a hint of malice.
skullduggery (skul-DUG-ah-ree) crafty deception or trickery or an instance of it.
I love this word because it's a mouthful, but its sounds go together wonderfully. It means a trick or a scheme... a bit of skullduggery.
sluice (SLOOS) n. 1. an artificial channel for conducting water, with a valve or gate to regulate the flow; a valve or gate used in such a channel; a floodgate. 2. a body of water impounded behind a floodgate. 3. a sluiceway. 4. a long inclined trough, as for carrying logs or separating gold ore
v. 1. to flood or drench with or as if with a flow of released water. 2. to wash with water flowing in a sluice. 3. to draw off or let out by a sluice. 4. to send (logs, for example) down a sluice.
I think it's among some of the best words because if you were to "sluice" anything the sound would be the same as pronouncing the word. It just has such a mouthsome taste! (And I know mouthsome's not a word, but it fits. :)
smorgasbord (SMOR-gus-bord) 1. a buffet meal featuring a varied number of dishes. 2. a varied collection.
soliloquy (sah-LIL-ah-kwee) 1. a dramatic or literary form of discourse in which a character talks to himself or herself or reveals his or her thoughts without addressing a listener; a specific speech or piece of writing in this form of discourse. 2. the act of speaking to oneself.
It fits into your mouth and has a fun, quirky meaning.
solipsism (SOL-ip-siz-em) the belief that the self is the only reality.
somnambulism (som-NAM-byah-liz-em) sleepwalking.
somnambulist (som-NAM-byah-list) sleepwalker.
sophomoric (sof-ah-MOR-ik) 1. of or characteristic of a sophomore. 2. exhibiting immaturity and lack of judgment.
Sophomore is an oxymoron in a single word. It combines sophos (wise) and moros (foolish), and I like to think it meant that a student at that level is not as smart as he or she believes.
soporific (sop-ah-RIF-ik) 1. inducing or tending to induce sleep. 2. drowsy.
sough (SOU) a soft murmuring or rustling sound, as of the wind or a gentle surf.
A soft, windy word that caresses the cheek and gently teases the tongue.
spatula (SPACH-ah-lah) a small implement having a broad, flat, flexible blade that is used to mix, spread, or lift material.
A thin flat scoop or lifter. Has a quite unique sound. Great word for scrambling.
splendiferous (splen-DIF-er-es) splendid.
Splendiferous just sounds so cool. In a conversation, would you rather say "that's awesome!" or "that's splendiferous!"?
splenetic (spli-NET-ik) 1. of or relating to the spleen. 2. affected or marked by ill humor or irritability.
sprocket (SPROK-it) 1. any of various toothlike projections arranged on a wheel rim to engage the links of a chain. 2. a cylinder with a toothed rim that engages in the perforations of photographic or movie film to pull it through a camera or projector.
steatopygian (stee-at-oh-PIJ-ee-ah) having an excess accumulation of fat on the buttocks.
stentorian (sten-TOR-ee-en) very loud.
struthious (STROO-thee-es) of, relating to, or resembling an ostrich or a related bird; ratite.
suave (SWAV) smoothly agreeable and courteous with a degree of sophistication.
It's lovely to say and just sounds as elegant as its meaning.
sublime (sah-BLIME) 1. characterized by nobility; majestic; of high spiritual, moral, or intellectual worth. 2. not to be excelled; supreme. 3. inspiring awe; impressive.
It's a beautiful word. Please add. I love your website. I never understood the joy of a new word until recently!
succumb (sah-KUM) 1. to submit to an overpowering force or yield to an overwhelming desire; give up or give in. 2. to die.
supercilious (soo-per-SIL-ee-es) feeling or showing haughty disdain.
It's awesome! If someone is supercilious, they are full of contempt, arrogance and pride. Just rolls off your tongue...right?
superfluous (soo-PUR-floo-es) being beyond what is required or sufficient.
surreptitious (sur-ep-TISH-es) done or acquired by clandestine means.
susurrus (soo-SUR-es) a soft, whispering or rustling sound; a murmur.
I find it to be a beautiful word, in the way it looks and sounds, as well as its meaning. It brings me to a place of peace where I can imagine lying in a hammock, shaded by the trees, listening to leaves rustling and the whisper of long grass as it sways in a warm summer breeze.
swashbuckler (SWOSH-buk-ler) 1. a flamboyant swordsman or adventurer. 2. a sword-wielding ruffian or bully. 3. a dramatic or literary work dealing with a swashbuckler.
sycophant (SIK-ah-fant) a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.
One of my favorite words; it slithers off the tongue.
synecdoche (si-NEK-dah-kee) A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword).
It's just cool that there's a word for this.
syzygy (SIZ-ah-jee) 1. either of two points in the orbit of a celestial body where the body is in opposition to or in conjunction with the sun. 2. either of two points in the orbit of the moon when the moon lies in a straight line with the sun and Earth. 3. the configuration of the sun, the moon, and Earth lying in a straight line. 4. the combining of two feet into a single metrical unit in classical prosody.
tadpole (TAD-pol) the limbless aquatic larva of a frog or toad, having gills and a long flat tail.
It's very simple yet evokes the same kind of charm that childhood curiousities do.
taint (TAINT) 1. to affect with or as if with a disease. 2. to affect with decay or putrefaction; spoil. 3. to corrupt morally. 4. to affect with a tinge of something reprehensible.
tarradiddle (TAR-ah-did-el) 1. a petty falsehood; a fib. 2. silly pretentious speech or writing; twaddle.
tatterdemalion (tat-er-di-MAL-yen) a ragamuffin.
tenebrific (ten-ah-BRIF-ik) 1. serving to obscure or darken. 2. gloomy; dark.
tergiversate (ter-JIV-er-sate) to equivocate; to change sides.
termagant (TUR-mah-gent) a quarrelsome, scolding woman; a shrew.
thew (THYOO) 1. a well-developed sinew or muscle. 2. muscular power or strength.
Muscle or strength. Rather onamatopoetic, no?
threnody (THREN-ah-dee) a poem or song of mourning or lamentation.
tintinnabulation (tin-ti-nab-yah-LA-shen) the ringing or sounding of bells.
tintinnabulum (tin-ti-NAB-yah-lum) a small, tinkling bell.
The word is rhythmic and naturally descends in pitch as you say it. It's a musical word.
titillating (TIT-i-layt-ing) 1. stimulating from light touching; tickling. 2. pleasurably, superficially, or erotically exciting.
Most people understand what this word means, even if they have never heard it before. It's a word of strength.
tittle (TIT-el) 1. a small diacritic mark, such as an accent over an e or dot over an i. 2. a tiny amount; a jot or whit.
I love this word because once you hear it you become addicted to telling everyone what it means.
tmesis (TME-sis) separation of the parts of a compound word by one or more intervening words; for example, where I go ever instead of wherever I go.
The interjection of one word inside another, for example, absobloominglutely.
topsy-turvy (TOP-see-TUR-vee) 1. upside down. 2. in a confused or chaotic state.
I just think its a great word, makes me laugh every time i hear it!
torpid (TOR-pid) 1. deprived of the power of motion or feeling; benumbed. 2. dormant; hibernating. 3. lethargic; apathetic.
tramontane (trah-MON-tane) 1. a person who lives beyond the mountains. 2. A foreigner; a stranger. 3. A cold north wind in Italy.
transmogrify (trans-MOG-rah-fie) to change into a different shape or form, especially one that is fantastic or bizarre.
Means to change or alter greatly by humerous or grotesque effect. I like the humerous effect side. It is so cool to transmogrify any ordinary event into something hilarious. The word just sounds funny.
triskaidekaphobia (tris-ki-dek-ah-FO-bee-ah) an abnormal fear of the number 13.
troglodyte (TROG-lah-dite) a cave dweller; recluse.
truculent (TRUK-yoo-lent) 1. aggressive and defiant. 2. displaying great anger and inclined to fight; belligerent.
Pugilistic; aggessively assertive; belligerent. Like crushing glass in your mouth!
tryst (TRIST) a secret meeting between two people who are having a romantic relationship.
This one of my favorites!
tuxedo (tuk-SEE-doe) a man's dress jacket, usually black with satin and grosgrain lapels, worn for formal or semiformal occasions.
I really like the sound of this word!
twinkle (TWING-kel) 1. to shine with slight, intermittent gleams, as distant lights or stars; flicker; glimmer. 2. to be bright or sparkling, as with merriment or delight. 3. to blink or wink the eyes. 4. to move about or to and fro rapidly and gracefully; flit.
It's a perfect ideophone. It's not an onomatopoeia. It's graceful. It has texture.
ubiquitous (yoo-BIK-wi-tes) being or seeming to be everywhere at the same time; omnipresent.
ululate (UL-ya-late) to howl, wail, or lament loudly.
Cats are not the only things that wail.
unctuous (UNGK-choo-es) 1. characterized by affected, exaggerated, or insincere earnestness. 2. having the quality or characteristics of oil or ointment; slippery. 3. containing or composed of oil or fat. 4. abundant in organic materials; soft and rich.
It's slick, oily (like a used car salesman).
usurp (yoo-SURP) 1. to seize and hold (the power or rights of another, for example) by force and without legal authority. 2. to take over or occupy without right.
undulation (un-jah-LAY-shen) movement in waves; a wavy, curving form or outline.
uxorious (uk-SOR-ee-es) excessively fond or submissive to one's wife.
valedictorian (val-i-dik-TOR-ee-en) the student with the highest academic rank in a class who delivers the valedictory at graduation.
It's so...mysterious. Kind of majestic, like a name in ye olden days.
valetudinarian (val-i-tood-en-AR-ee-en) a sickly or weak person, especially one who is constantly and morbidly concerned with his or her health.
I have not yet found a doctor who can define the word.
valley (VAL-ee) 1. an elongated lowland between ranges of mountains, hills, or other uplands, often having a river or stream running along the bottom. 2. an extensive area of land drained or irrigated by a river system. 3. a depression or hollow resembling or suggesting a valley, as the point at which the two slopes of a roof meet.
A sweet word, one that hints of greenness, beauty, and rest.
verisimilitude (ver-ah-si-MIL-i-tood) 1. the quality of appearing to be true or real. 2. something that has the appearance of being true or real.
I love all the syllables. And then there is the subtle shading of meaning; not truth, but seeming to
be the truth. That opens complex possibilities.
verklempt (ver-KLEMPT) overcome with emotion.
It says it all and speaks for itself. Just the sound of it expresses the feeling.
vertigo (VUR-ti-go) 1. the sensation of dizziness; an instance of such a sensation. 2. a confused, disoriented state of mind.
vespers (VES-purs) 1. the sixth of the seven canonical hours; a worship service held in the late afternoon or evening in some Christian and Jewish churches; the time of day appointed for this service. 2. evensong. 3. a service held on Sundays or holy days that includes the office of vespers.
The sound is smooth and soft. I try to put into words what a word means but find myself sorely lacking. Suffice it to say that I love this word.
vicarious (vie-KAR-ee-es) 1. felt or undergone as if one were taking part in the experience or feelings of another. 2. endured or done by one person substituting for another. 3. acting or serving in place of someone or something else; substituted.
virago (vi-RA-go) A loud-voiced, ill-tempered, scolding woman.
What a fantastic insult!
vitiate (VISH-ee-ate) 1. to reduce the value or impair the quality of. 2. to corrupt morally; debase. 3. to make ineffective; invalidate.
vituperate (vie-TOO-pah-rate) to rebuke or criticize harshly or abusively; berate.
voluptuous (vah-LUP-choo-es) 1. giving, characterized by, or suggesting ample, unrestrained pleasure to the senses. 2. devoted to or indulging in sensual pleasures; directed toward or anticipating sensual pleasure; arising from or contributing to the satisfaction of sensuous or sensual desires.
volatile (VOL-ah-til) 1.evaporating readily at normal temperatures and pressures. 2. tending to vary often or widely, as in price. 3. inconstant; fickle. 4. lighthearted; flighty. 5. ephemeral; fleeting 6. tending to violence; explosive. 7. flying or capable of flying; volant.
The combination of sounds is as exciting as the meaning of the word itself...like an explosion.
weanling (WEEN-ling) a child or animal newly weaned.
whimsical (HWIM-zi-kel) 1. determined by, arising from, or marked by whim or caprice; unusual, playful, and fanciful. 2. erratic in behavior or degree of unpredictability.
Just such a light, carefree word! Reminds me of lazy summer days
willow (WIL-oh) any of various deciduous trees or shrubs of the genus Salix, having usually narrow leaves, unisexual flowers borne in catkins, and strong lightweight wood; the wood of any of these trees.
yeoman (YOH-man) 1. an attendant, servant, or lesser official in a royal or noble household. 2. a petty officer performing chiefly clerical duties in the U.S. Navy. 3. an assistant or other subordinate, as of a sheriff. 4. a diligent, dependable worker. 5. a farmer who cultivates his own land, especially a member of a former class of small freeholders in England.
I first read "Yeoman" in The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle (as well as "Yesternight" which I am very happy is on this
list) and it has always felt soft in my mouth. It has a down-to-earth feel and meaning.
yesternight (YES-ter-nite) last night.
I love this word because it follows seamlessly from "yesterday." I first heard the word from my daughter Kathy when when she was about 4 years old. In her mind the transition was a natural flow from "yesterday."
zaftig (ZAF-tig) 1. full-bosomed. 2. having a full, shapely figure.
zany (ZA-nee) 1. one who plays the clown or fool in order to amuse others. 2. a comically wild or eccentric person. 3. a secondary stock character in old comedies who mimicked his master. 4. a professional buffoon; clown. 5. a silly person; simpleton. 6. a slavish attendant or follower.
Zeitgeist (ZIT-gist) the spirit of the time; the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation.
zephyr (ZEF-er) the west wind; a gentle breeze; something that is airy or insubstantial.
zugzwang (TSOOK-tsvahng) A situation in a chess game in which a player is forced to make an undesirable or disadvantageous move.
Love the sound of it. When playing chess it means being unable to move without sustaining a significant loss.
segue (which obviously belongs in the Worst Words list)
drismal (occasionally useful but hardly worthy of the "Best" designation)
food (among the starving, perhaps so; otherwise, no)
leet (slang for "good" or "great," apparently, and idiotic, certainly)
procrastinate (which has nothing whatever, neither meaning nor music, to recommend it only a procrastinator could love procrastinate)
C.H.O.G.M. ("Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting" or CHO-gum. "I know, it's an acronym, but say it. Go on, it's the most fun word to say. I nearly named my first born CHOGM. CHOGM, CHOGM, CHOGM")
constantinople (proper names are no more welcome than acronyms, "cool to say" though Constantinople may be)
cuntiferous (swear words and scatology belong in a Worst of the Worst Words list; only people as offensive, as humorless, as this word would ever use it)
diarrhea (or "diharrea," as the nominator spells it, does not "sound pretty")
and/or (whether you believe this expression is useful or distasteful, in no circumstances is it a Best Word)
putz and schmuck (derivations aside, both words are insulting, mean-spirited, and slangy)
floccinaucinihilipilification (though, as its nominator says, this is supposedly the longest word in the English language, it has nothing else scarcely even its length to support its being a Best Word)
fracas (too dreadfully common to be justly regarded as a Best Word)
cafeteria (no one who has eaten in a cafeteria could possibly consider this a Best Word)
metamorphis (metamorphosis is certainly a good word, perhaps even a Best Word, but metamorphis, as the nominator spells it, is not)
chocolate (taste, some people have yet to learn, differs from sound or sense)
freal ("meaning, 'for real'; it sounds strange, but I like it," the nominator strangely writes)
Scarcely Used Words, a database of more than 2000 words, and their definitions, that appear randomly, is available to Vocabula Review subscribers.
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The essential guide to writing succinctly
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A Compendium of Mistakes in Grammar, Usage, and Spelling with Commentary on Lexicographers and Linguists
Today's popular dictionaries often fail to define words correctly or to distinguish between them; some dictionaries even maintain that one word means the same as another simply because people who do not know the correct meanings of the words confuse them. Robert Hartwell Fiske's Dictionary of Unendurable English a supplement to whatever dictionary you own or use is an attempt to combat this nonsense, to return meaning and distinction to the words we use.