Wednesday, February 29, 2012

These are a few of my favorite words...

So, in my head, the title to this post is being sung to the tune of "These are a few of my favorite things..." but that might not have come across right away. So now I've told you and you can now have that song stuck in your head, too.

You're welcome.

There is much hubbub made about people's LEAST favorite words. A recent survey I read said that the most hated word in America is "moist." A survey of a lot of really important people my sisters corroborated this finding and lead my sister to literally put her hands over her ears and make gagging noises until I stopped talking about it.

But, I wonder- what about favorite words? For all the love of words and their correct usage, I don't feel like we talk about this topic enough. Sure, there's a whole website: MyFavoriteWord.com, but so many of the words on there are simply not practical. Seriously, when was the last time you needed to use the word "vexillology?" (the academic study of flags- which, by the way, sounds incredibly dull)

I am a lover of words. I particularly love that words have very specific, and sometimes nuanced, meanings.

For instance, people often use the word "supposedly" when they really mean "ostensibly." Yes, supposedly is a real word, and they're pronouncing it correctly (unless they are saying "supposably," in which case it's still a real word, but they're using it incorrectly). However, they mean to say something a little more specific that what "supposedly" can convey.

"Supposedly" is not wrong, per se, but there's a word out there that is a better fit.

Thus, I love the word "ostensibly." It is often the best word to accurately convey what I'm trying to say. 

I also love the word "vernacular." It's not used very often, but I don't know why. Especially as writers, you would think this term would be bandied about a lot. It encompasses slang, colloquialisms, idioms and jargon into one all-inclusive term regarding everyday language. This one word means something very specific regarding a whole slew of words that we use together on a regular basis.

So, what about it?

What are some of your favorite words? Especially ones that don't get used often!

33 comments:

  1. I love "vernacular"! "Eclectic" is another one of my favourites, and "plethora"...I just like the way they feel when you say them. Is that weird? Haha!

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  2. I totally got the reference from the title!
    I love the word "albeit". Something about the spelling and how crisp it feels when I say it.

    I know a lot of people that hate the words "moist" and "smear". I enjoy saying them for the torture aspect, because I'm a great friend like that.

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  3. I like the word compunction. I don't get to use it that often in my day-to-day, but can occassionally sneak it into a case note or two. Jared and I love to point out when someone uses a "good" word. It is a game to us. So many great words don't get used that is for sure. I think I need to start reading my thesaurus. Hehehe.

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  4. I love "toothsome", which means palatable, pleasing, or sexually alluring. Although, if I heard someone described as toothsome, alluring isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

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  5. I love words from other languages that are able to give more than the English choices - schadenfreude, the malicious pleasure in other people's suffering is phenom. Karoshi - death by overwork, an actual statistical cause of death in Japan. Raconteur - someone who can tell anecdotes skillfully and in an amusing way. I also love the characters that make some words in Chinese - for example, to write "mother love" a specific type of love, you would write the characters for love and pain.

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    Replies
    1. Raconteur is funny to me because so many people think this word means "a person who does reconnaissance" or "to do reconnaissance." I try very hard not to correct people's grammar/word usage (unless asked to do so in editing), but this one makes me chuckle every time it is incorrectly used. Which is A LOT.

      And I remember you talking about Chinese characters in HS, and that's fascinating to me, too, though I am, admittedly, completely useless in using Chinese words at all.

      But, overall, a big, fat, YES to this comment. I don't think a lot of people realize how many "foreign" words they use on a regular basis.

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  6. Deep down, I love these kind of words. The words that look or sound like they mean something completely different.

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  7. Compunction is an excellent, excellent word. I LOVE being able to sneak good words in. You probably have way more excuses to do so than I do, though!

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  8. Yay! I'm so glad somebody got the song all on their own!

    Albeit, nevertheless, and aforementioned are absolutely beautiful words. I love the combined-word-sound of them.

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  9. Plethora is such an awesome word!!! And while I love the Three Amigos, I have to admit, that movie almost completely ruined that word. Any time I use it, somebody inevitably chuckles and repeats it with a Mexican accent. *le sigh* But it is another example of one of those words that means exactly what people mean to say when they actually say something else.

    And no, I don't think it's weird to like the way words feel when you say them :)

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  10. Oh, man. I'd JUST reached the point where My Favourite Things was no longer in my head after someone sent me the lyrics Julie Andrews apparently sang to that tune at her 70th birthday. And now it's back. THANKS, GINA. (Honestly, there are far worse things that could be lodged in there, so it's fine)

    My favourites include juxtaposition, lackadaisical, petulant, sagacious and sanguine. WORDS ARE FUN, YO.

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  11. JUXTAPOSITION!!!! Another of my favorites!!! Gosh, I look for so, so many ways to shove this word into everyday conversations.

    And that doesn't make me sound like a nerd at all... :\

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  12. In my opinion, there are insufficient opportunities to use it once you leave high school. Which makes me sad. Which is part of why I used it in a blog post last week ;)

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  13. I get to use it when talking about books and fashion... and that's about it. Or, I should say, I get to use "juxtapose" more often than "juxtaposition." But, to me, words and their roots are all one and the same.

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  14. I'm a big fan of a good short and to the point word, pretty much anything that doesn't faff about when it comes to language. Mark Twain once said something that I always try to refer to when writing, especially fiction - “I never write metropolis when I get paid the same amount of money to write the word city".

    I tend to go through stages with words. I have a fave for a while and say it A LOT, and then forget an move onto something else. At the moment it's 'convey'. Probably because I'm spending a lot of time writing reports and training people!

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  15. It's true: the fancier word is not always the better word. And I've read a lot of (self-published) novels by authors who don't know this.

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  16. Catharsis, or cathartic, is one of my favorite words. The first time I heard it the image of a Greek God standing next to Zeus wielding a similarly striking lightning bolt popped into my head. Aforementioned is a great word as well. I actually used that in a post the other day.

    When I saw the title, even before I clicked into the post, I started singing along with it!!

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  17. I do love the word 'vernacular'. 'Verisimilitude' holds a special place in my heart, as does 'cacophony'.

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  18. Lackadaisical!!! How that word doesn't get used enough. I love it! Thank you for reminding me of it.

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  19. Aforementioned!
    I always feel very professional when I get to drop that into conversation.

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  20. Cacophony is another great example of an underused word. So many people use "loud" when they really mean "cacophony" or "cacophonous."

    Why "verisimilitude?"

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  21. Another very specific and wonderful word! Again, I think people use "therapeutic" when they really mean "cathartic." Therapeutic isn't wrong, necessarily, but cathartic is more accurate :)

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  22. I was totally singing it already when I read the title of your post. Great minds think a like. I love the word "redonk". It really isn't even a real word but I still love it. It is kind of an inside joke for my family but it can either mean really good or really bad. It is short for redonkulish (sp?), like ridiculous. Wow...as I am typing I am realizing just how dumb my response sounds but it really is a fun word to use. Try it. I think you will like it. I am a new fan of your blog just from reading this one post! :)

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  23. Confabulate is one of my new favorites. I really just can't use it enough in regular conversation. I love your blog and I lOVE using fancy words

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  24. I love smarmy. No other word quite fits when someone is being smarmy. I like eclectic, too. I like the word scintillate a lot, but never actually use it.

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  25. "Onomatopoeia" is one of my favorite words to say, but it's darn near impossible to work into a conversation. Other favorite words include, "awry," "consequently," "depraved," and "essence." I'm sure there are others, but now I'm trying to figure out how to use the word "onomatopoeia" naturally in a conversation today. Hmmm.

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  26. That is definitely one that does not get used in conversation past high school English classes. *sigh*

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  27. Ooooh... smarmy! That one is great, because it sounds like what it means (does that make sense?)

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  28. My husband uses redonkulous all. the. time! You don't sound dumb :)

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  29. Fancy words ARE fun, aren't they? :)

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  30. SandrasfiberworksMarch 4, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    As a writer I should have favorite words at the tip of my tongue! I think I like best their context in a sentence I know has been well written. Finding the perfect word to describe an emotion. Then that is my favorite word. Following now from the write on edge hop. Nice post.

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  31. I too like the word 'vernacular' and as for the vexillogy, although I never knew the word for it, as a child I loved looking through the picture plates of flags in an old, old dictionary. Words are beautiful things. :)

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