Last Updated: May 15, 2013. The newest Best Words are in red.
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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.
(ah-KOO-ter-ment) 1. personal clothing, accessories, etc. 2. the equipment, excluding weapons and clothing, of a soldier.
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
(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.
Amadeus (am-ah-DEY-es) a male given name.
Means "loved by god" and is Mozart's middle name. This is a word that needs to be sang.
amalgamate (ah-MAL-gah-mate) 1. to combine into a unified or integrated whole; unite. 2. to mix or alloy (a metal) with mercury.
A perfect way to describe blend, merge, or mix, especially metallurgy.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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-NO-sik) merely mechanical; routine. 2. of or relating to a mechanic
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.
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. ill-tempered 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.
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.
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
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.
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."
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 well-being, 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.
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.
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 well-being
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.
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.
ichthyophagous (ik-the-OFF-ah-ges) feeding on fish
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
incongruous (in-KONG-groo-es) 1. lacking in harmony; incompatible. 2. not in agreement, as with principles; inconsistent. 3. not in keeping with what is correct, proper, or logical; inappropriate
indefatigable (in-di-FAT-i-gah-ble) incapable or seemingly incapable of being fatigued; tireless.
It means persistent, I was so surprised that this was a word that I used it to think I was insulting people when actually I was complementing them.
indemnify (in-DEM-nah-fi) 1. to protect against damage, loss, or injury; insure. 2. to make compensation to for damage, loss, or injury.
ineffable (in-EF-ah-ble) 1. incapable of being expressed; indescribable or unutterable. 2. not to be uttered; taboo.
The consonant combination is so fun to say!
indubitably (in-DOO-bi-tah-blee) unquestionably; without doubt
This is my favourite word for its slightly circular nature -- if something really can't be described by words then calling it ineffeable won't get you any closer. It also sounds like a swear word.
ineluctable (in-i-LUK-tah-ble) unable to be resisted or avoided; inevitable
infelicitous (in-fi-LIS-i-tes) 1. inappropriate; ill-chosen. 2. not happy; unfortunate
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.
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
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
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.
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?
loathsome (LOTH-sum) arousing loathing; abhorrent
Saying this word slowly really gets the message across. Love it.
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
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.
nullipara (nah-LIP-er-ah) a woman who has never given birth
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.
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.
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 (pi-TREE-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
pilgarlic (pil-GAR-lik) a bald-headed man
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
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."
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
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.
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.
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
sagacity (sah-GAS-i-tee) the quality of being discerning, sound in judgment, and farsighted; wisdom.
Just love how it sounds; the meaning is something we can all strive for.
salacious (sah-LEY-shes) 1. appealing to or stimulating sexual desire; lascivious. 2. lustful; bawdy
Sexually referenced; lascivious. Sounds sneaky!
salient (SA-lee-ent) 1. projecting or jutting beyond a line or surface; protruding. 2. strikingly conspicuous; prominent. 3. springing; jumping.
The "s" sound at the beginning is elegant and wispy, leading into a series of vowels that roll across the tongue, and finishing with a clear, humble consonant.
Essence of God. used in Cormac McCarthy's The Road. not used recently in any other literature.
salubrious (sah-LOO-bree-es) conducive to health or well-being
sanctimonious (sangk-tah-MOH-nee-es) feigning piety or righteousness
It is rather effective and tends to stop people speaking if you use it in reference to what they are saying, and it just generally rolls off the tongue quite nicely
sarcophagus (sar-KOF-ah-ges) an above-ground stone coffin, often inscribed or decorated with sculpture
scalawag (SKAL-ah-wag) scamp; rascal; reprobate
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?
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
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
sialic (sigh-AL-ik) having or having the characteristics of saliva
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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A Definition a Day
meniscus(mah-NIS-kes)n.the curve in the upper surface of a liquid close to the surface of the container or another object.
Robert Hartwell Fiske's Dictionary of Unendurable English
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.
The point of this collection is to show that the language can be written with grace and polish — qualities that much contemporary writing is bereft of and could benefit from. Read these examples of elegant English, and from each you might glean some turn of phrase, some device of rhetoric, some clarity of expression, some novelty of thought that, in more contemporary writing, you seldom will have noticed.