Tuesday, December 8, 2009


What is your favorite word? Not the word you use most frequently -- the word that makes you smile when you say it. My son's favorite word is “glossary”. He didn't know what it meant, but liked the way it sounded when he said it. That's what I mean -- the kind of word that feels good in your mouth and tickles your tongue. A good word has a trill to it like music. Hey, that's a nice one – “trill”.

I love words; not a big surprise from someone who dreams of one day making a living with them. But with writing, the words are spelled, not spoken – it's not the same. I have to imagine the words on the page being said aloud, or at least wait until I'm alone in the house so my family won't think I've lost it. The other downside to writing is that I don't seem to be able to use most of my favorite words in my work: “existential”, “sanctimonious”, “reciprocity”. Although I did actually manage to squeeze “carnivorous” into a story recently.

Others I can't even fit into conversation, at least not the sort of conversations I have. “Perpetuate” is hard to slip into a chat about play-dates, isn't it? If only I knew a “philanthropist” to refer to or even knew what “pedagogy” meant. And who could I possibly describe as “nubile” without being laughed at? Unfortunately, as this point in my life, I have no need to use the word “aphrodisiac”.

Of course, every once in a while, there is a “calamity” in my life, or an “ignoramus”. I did have to “eradicate” the ants from my kitchen a few weeks ago. Yesterday I told the clerk at Best Buy that something was “prohibitively” expensive. He didn't smile when I said it, but I did. Oh, and on Friday, my boss went “ballistic” when I asked him if I could have a few days off around Christmas.

My daughter told me that her favorite word is “kitty”. I asked her why, but she just shrugged. Then my son leaned over and whispered to me, “I thought she was going to say 'makeup'”. So did I.

What's your favorite? You don't have to tell me, but I'm betting that the next time you say it, you'll think of me ... or not.


  1. My favorite word, that sadly I've only managed to use once in conversation, is "persnickety". It is fun to say and hear. I giggle everytime I hear it. It's one of those special words that describes a friend or foe without a judgemental aire.

    Peyton's is "baby". She is obsessed with anything to do with babies and familes - she does not descriminate among species, animal, vegetable or mineral.

  2. Your post reminded me of my son (15 years) he loves to repeat words, phrases, and even makes up some of them. I've figured out that he does this if he finds the particular word or phrase funny. I think he likes the sound of his own voice too.

    I used to have the habit of using the word "actually" a lot, but I've tried to cut back.

  3. makeup, lol.

    My favorite word is timergy. As in, I'm tired, and it's late, I just don't have the timergy for your right now.

  4. turbidity

    It has limited applications in everyday life, so I just say it when I need to smile :)

  5. Okay, I had to look up/laugh at everyone's choices. Well done.

  6. A wonderful woman who teaches writing at a local college read this piece to her class (she asked first and I happily said yes) and had them all do an assignment on their favorite word.

    Does that mean I'm responsible for part of their grade? Oh, boy.

    Sorry to all the students who received less than an "B". To those students who received an "A", I take full credit.