I recently read an article about ‘power words’. These are words that apparently evoke strong positive emotions in people. In no particular order, the words are- You, Money, Save, New, Easy, Love, Discovery, Results, Health, Proven, Guarantee and Free.. Do these words ring a bell? Very likely they do, since we are bombarded with advertisements that use atleast one and often more than one of these words.
For no other reason than that my thought process is rambling, this article got me thinking about my personal list of pleasing words. This is not a post with a message, or coherence, or indeed anything that may make it interesting to anybody. I am simply listing here some of my favorite English words ( I’m sure any avid lover of the language has such a list in his/her mind, and a good number have it in their blogs as well. So this post lacks novelty as well as reading value)..There, the disclaimer is in place and I can now write with a clean conscience.
1. cicerone – A soft, musical word that should have meant something more profound than it does..it refers to a museum-guide.
2. mellifluous – Unlike the previous word, this one does have a meaning to match up to its tone.
3. tintinnabulation – A word I like for its goofiness 🙂 A word that GRE test takers would recognize if they ever got beyond the first 30 word lists in Barrons.. I didn’t, but a hard-working friend of mine brought it to my notice. Who would use such a word in conversation or even in a book?? A google search reveals that Edgar Allan Poe did use it, in a poem-
“To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells –
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells. “
Heck, going by the above, writing poetry looks like a viable career option 🙂
4. elven – J. R. R Tolkein rules!! He had an absolute gift for inventing words that sound beautiful to the human ear. Anybody who has read Lord of the Rings would agree. There is something so utterly magical, so ethereal, so achingly lovely about the word ‘elven’. When I am traveling by train at night, and I see small clearings in the midst of trees, illuminated by a single lamp, I’m reminded of JRR’s elven world ( in particular, the night that Frodo and his friends spend with the elves in the forest). If a single word could lift me out of mundaneness and into the realms of happy imagination, it is this..
5. bliss – I guess perfect happiness by any other name would sound as sweet 🙂 Even if ‘cabbage-head’ or ‘mushroom’ or ‘sycophant’ was used to describe perfect happiness. Though for the most, language has evolved wisely – words that sound nice mean nice things.
6. billowing – I imagine clouds moving rapidly across the sky, like they show in tv serials to indicate the passage of the day. I’m not even sure if that’s what the word really means, but that is what it means to me ( in the spirit of Humpty-Dumpty in ‘Alice of Wonderland’- “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean”.)
7. dryad – meaning wood-fairy. An obscure word that I have seen in use only in L. M Montgomery’s books. Again, it conjures up visions of something other-worldly..I seem to have a weakness for such words.
8. lilt – one of the prettiest, jolliest words ever ..it has got such a nice twang to it.
9. rustling – this word makes me think of flowing new silk dresses and newspapers and trees swaying in a powerful breeze..all pleasant recollections.
10. coy – a tiny word that conveys so much 🙂
I’ve also just realized that I love the words gossamer and cobwebs and shimmer, but I think I’ll stop here. The complete list would leave everybody craving for less, and even I might get bored reading it again.
Now, to finish this winding post on a balanced note. A word that I thoroughly hate the mention of – sumptuous..especially when used in the context of food. It is totally irrational..how a foodie like me can dislike a word that means a lot of food 🙂 but so it is.
( Thanks Sis, for loyally reading to the end of this post 🙂 You’re the best! And anybody else who finished reading this self-indulgent piece, thanks even more.. you weren’t forced to read this, unlike my sister 🙂 Do leave a comment with your favorite words! )