Much of my day is spent telling small people to use their words, and my evenings are spent bending words to my professional whims. So a Five for Five topic titled Words is my idea of a blissful respite in the sun-drenched meadow I know so well.


I have an unreasonable affection for archaic words that offer the positive for a common modern negative.
I love finding ruthful people,
and feckful friends,
kempt hair,
speakably bad films,
concerting ideas,
friends with peccable taste,
corrigible scamps,
sufferable books,
terminable lectures,
bridled passion,
flappable colleagues,
furled flags,
ruly children,
thinkable results,
and wieldy furniture.

It’s the contrarian in me, I think.

I also adore coined words. Not the Faulknerian togethercobbledwords that just show how alcohol addles the human brain, but genuinely new words that desperately need to be included in our language. The best coined word ever from my eldest child is yestertime. He used it whenever something happened longer ago than yesterday. Because, and he is correct in this and should be inducted into the lexicography Hall of Fame, many, many things did happen in yestertime.

I want to see a painting of yestertime.

Most people react to the sound and sensation of words. I love to say ping pong over and over again. Makes me happy. So does spork. In fact, a spork might be my desert island companion, because it’s both useful in varied culinary instances *and* delightful in conversation.

My friend hates the word moist. But she loves the words slacks and pork. I’m plotting to have her birthday cake read “Moist Pork Slacks!” so she’ll have to choose repulsion or reluctant acceptance. And so we can be featured on Cake Wrecks.

So. To entertain me and give me fodder for your birthday cake, please use your words to tell me your favorite and least favorite words.


27 thoughts on “Words

  1. I love words and what you did here with yours is nothing short of wonderful. Your post is absolutely delightful! It’s interesting but I know of two others who hate the word, “moist”. Why is that I wonder?

    Favorites: languorous, fluid, salient, nebulous
    Least favorite: Hierarchical (because it just sounds odd, and I could never say it),

    • Justine, those are great! I find it fascinating that people have such strong reactions to words. Moist sounds silly to me, but probably not to a chef.

  2. My kids are great wordsmiths too, but their 2-language mixes make it hard to share. Yestertime is truly beautiful.

    In my previous life as a biologist, my very favourite words of all, which are just so much fun to say over and over, were “endoplasmic reticulum”. Thanks for a reason to write that and say it in my mind as I do. It’s been a while since I’ve found much need for it in conversation…

  3. One of my favorites, completely overused by me – “clearly”.
    Least favorite by far – causes spontaneous recoil – the “c” word. I will not explain further.

    Love the yestertime. My boys all had their made up words – oldest was “stink” when he meant “I think”. Middle guy called alligators “applegators”. At the moment I cannot recall my youngest’s (does that make me a bad mom)?

    • Daryl, she’s clearly a genius because they are not tight and are obviously socks made to be worn as pants. For those with or without a butt finger.

  4. Oh, I love your list of archaic words. Now and then I’ll be reading some classic novel and stumble upon a word like that, and realize I’ve never considered alternate versions of the root word. Such fun discoveries! I don’t know if I have a single favorite word, but I’ll pick one anyway. Plummet. I don’t always love its meaning, but I love to say it. And don’t get me started on names. Just as you love archaic words, I love archaic names. My alma mater had a wealthy early grad (developed the process for refining aluminum and founded Alcoa), who was (ahem) a lifelong bachelor, and donated the funds for an auditorium upon his death. It was named after his mother, Sophronia Brooks Hall. Upon learning that, Sophronia instantly became one of my favorite names, and by extension one of my favorite words. :-)

  5. Love love love “yestertime.” Oh my goodness, it’s yar.

    Oddly enough, I also knew someone who hated the word “moist.” Either we know the same person or maybe they should start a club! And no WAY am I telling you my favorite and least favorite words after I saw what you planned for your friend’s birthday cake!

    Ok, ok, that’s just an excuse. Truth is, I just cannot commit to final choices; there are simply too many beautiful and horrible words to choose from…that’s just a commentastrophe waiting to happen.

  6. Matt, you are adorable and I love your crush on Sophonia’s son.
    Plummet. Now I just need your least favorite and I have our Valentine’s cake…

  7. What fun!

    I love yestertime too! My baby came up with Whobody.

    I don’t out and out hate any words, and I love to many. Maybe I’m not discriminating enough. I like the fierce strong guttural words that come with emotion built in and those long elegant cerebral words.

    • Kate, your child is a genius! Whobody was one of my words as a toddler. “Whobody called, mommy?” is my mom’s favorite.
      I’m a fan of strong guttural words, too, most of them obscenities…

  8. I like “yesteryear”, “redolent” and “chickadee”. I like “plummy” when it describes someone’s voice or accent. Not a fan of “snog”.
    Good post!

  9. You don’t know snog? I learned that from Bridget Jones’s Diary. So the day you spent laughing at me after I admitted that I loved that book? Ha! :D

    • Cyn, did I mock you for Bridget Jones? Shame on me. I couldn’t stand the damned thing, but if I’d spent more time on it I would have known snog.

      I wholeheartedly apologize if I mocked your taste in fiction. De gustibus non est dispustandum.

  10. WAIT! Where did my comment go. Damn. I know I said something really clever the first time I commented, yesterday. Argh. Hmm… lemme try again. OK. So, I love the word sesquipedalian. It’s one of those words that doesn’t seem at all to mean what it means. Until you say it again, and it’s so very perfect.

  11. “According to my calculations” is the key phrase in my house right now. I love the inquisitive look that comes with the words. My favorite word used in my house right now is akventure – stated and spelled exactly as such. There’s even a bit of phlegm behind it. Don’t all great adventures come with phlegm?

  12. This was such a fun read!
    I dislike the word ointment — my husband will say it once in a while out of the blue to bug me.
    I love the word mellifluous and just looking at it gives me a melodic boost, but alas, it feels slightly pretentious when I use it.

    (OK…this is my 3rd attempt at leaving this message — not sure where the other two went)

    • Belinda, I’m sorry your comments got eaten, but I’m glad you persisted because ointment is a delightfully awful word. You’re right that mellifluous is wonderful (you need more friends who don’t think it’s pretentious).

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