The Language of Love

Do you have a favorite phrase or is that just me? I know you probably have a favorite word---everyone has a favorite word, and definitely a least favorite one as well---but I think I might be just that much of a geek that I even have a favorite combination of words too.

Although it turns out I'm in good company. J.R. Tolkien, for instance, was apparently obsessed with the phrase "cellar door." I did quite a bit of reading about this on Wikipedia this afternoon---honestly, it was either that or unload the dishwasher---and it was really quite endlessly fascinating. See, there are certain words, Tolkien believed, that, when uttered out loud, are "more beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful." 

(You should go and read that Wikipedia entry by the way, if only for the part about another man who loved the sound of "cellar door" so much that he even made a habit of visiting restaurants where the waiter asked him if he'd like "salad or..." because it sounded so similar to his beloved linguistic combination.)

The power of language is a funny old thing: when I worked at my old job at the magazine in Charleston, Pretty Coworker Elle and I had a running list of our favorite and least favorite words. The list was posted on the wall in our office, and everyone who visited peered at it and offered up their own suggestions. A little while before I left, though, the list suddenly disappeared overnight---was someone that grossed out by the word "moist" that they tore it down in repulsion?---and no-one could figure out what happened to it.

Then one day last year, in the middle of some sort of office renovation, my friend Pete found it, shoved---against all odds---into the bottom drawer of an old disused desk. He lovingly uncrumpled it and brought it to me in California last fall, where it now sits reverentially in the drawer of my bedside table. When some people need cheering up, they watch Oprah or eat ice cream. When I need cheering up, I look at my list.

Though it's a little too exhaustive to transcribe in its entirety, entries on the "words we love" side include brouhaha, tantamount, tupelo, erstwhile, fisticuffs, flapjack, and chipolata. "Words we hate" is almost twice as long and features almost every horrific abomination of language you can imagine, including (but certainly not limited to) bowel, squirt, hump, phlegm, weft, chowder, nub, glob, goiter, wad, chunky, polyp, bulbous, turgid, and mung bean.

(No, no, it's fine, I'll wait here while you go puke over there in that trash can.)

Asking people their favorite word has long been a decidedly dorky pastime of mine, along with keeping a mental catalog of everyone's answers. My sister Susie, for instance, likes "alfalfa,' while my pal Nathan is fond of "archipelago." One of my brothers likes "ransack" and the other is keen on "canal," while my second favorite English teacher in high school was firmly a fan of "serendipity."

As for my favorite word---well, it changes every week. My favorite phrase, though, that's easy: it's "armored car." I couldn't tell you why I love it, except to say that it sounds so beautiful when spoken aloud. Kind of like "cellar door," I guess, but somehow even better. 

In her 1946 poem "Sleeping Standing Up," Elizabeth Bishop wrote of "the armored cars of dreams, contrived to let us do so many a dangerous thing"  and I think of that line often, those armored cars of dreams that simultaneously keep us safe and hold us back. On my walk to work in the mornings, skirting San Francisco's Financial District,  I'll sometimes see a stocky bullet-proof van sitting outside a bank, and I'll whisper "armored car" out loud, just softly, just under my breath like that. And even though I know it's stupid, the very fact that I've had a chance to say it---my favorite phrase in the English language, the extraordinary combination of two ordinary words---will always mean it's shaping up to be a pretty okay day.

Aug 27, 2008

My favorite word, Creole in origin, is "lagniappe". An unexpected boon, a little surprise.

The word I hate the most is the C-word. AB Chao of Hashai, I know, really dislikes "moist".

I have an abiding love for the word (sorry, my dad was in the military) for "clusterfuck".

Bill Buchanan
Aug 27, 2008

Favorite phrase? Easy. Sleeps dark and silent gate.

Favorite word? Also easy. My name when spoken by my wife.
Second place: Vellum.

Least Favorite phrase? "you'll feel a little sting . . ."

Least Favorite word? quid (yes I know it's a form of currency and all . . . but it still sounds green and sticky)

Camels & Chocolate
Aug 27, 2008

Why is it everyone always loathes "moist" so? Not saying it's my favorite word in Oxford, but when did it become the cool thing to cringe at the mere sound?

I don't have a favorite phrase that I can think of but words I love include: pedantic, eponymous, opulent, ostentatious, many others that are not coming to mind this very moment.

Also, brouhaha rocks. Though I've never managed to work it into a story, sadly.

Aug 28, 2008

I love the word investigate -- I think it might be my favorite. I also like raveling, pedestrian, and crackle a lot.

As for hated words, nothing can surpass thumb. Ugh. Thumb. It's horrible.

Aug 28, 2008

I've always liked "defenestration", because there is a specific Latiny word for such an odd situation. Mostly I don't dislike words, but your list of unpleasant ones... it was rather nauseating to read them all together like that.

Aug 28, 2008

My favorite word used to be precipice, but an ex boyfriend ruined it for me. Purfling is a nice word.

A word that I dislike is affluent. Especially when someone puts the stress on "flu." Af-FLU-ent. But I don't like the way the word looks eitehr. It's just wrong in every way.

I've also grown to dislike the word "museology," simply because I have had so many people ask me what instrument I play after using it.

Aug 28, 2008

Spelunking. I can't even type it without grinning. It just sounds so fun and mischievous. The word totally has a sense of humour. I also like marmalade. The word, not the condiment.

My favourite phrase is Worcestershire sauce, most especially when mispronounced by a North American.

I have many least favourite words. Moist is one of them. I also hate flaccid, panties, marmite, and Guelph. Okay, Guelph isn't a word, it's my university town. But I still think it sounds like an unfortunate disease one could contract.

Aug 28, 2008

These days I'm awfully fond of "kerfuffle," "anthropomorphic," and "austere."

I am decidedly NOT fond of "mealy" and "lithe".

Aug 28, 2008

The production company behind 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' is Celador, and it's name was inspired by Tolkien's fondness for the phrase. Apparently there is a Nebraskan band named Cellador, also named from it.

The beauty of 'cellar door' explains my love of the plant name 'celandine' (and Wikipedia tells me Tolkien mentions celandines in Lord of the Rings).

My sister-in-law becomes terribly upset by the mention of the word 'membrane', which I think is delightful (but then I also think 'moist' is rather nice).

'Arse' is by far the most satisfying swear word to utter, but I don't know how well that works for those with an American accent.

(Sorry, Holly. I think this is my first comment on your site and I lower the tone with talk of quiz shows and bottoms.)

Aug 28, 2008

Ooh, my favorite word changes all the time too. Recently: spindrift, and closely related (aurally speaking), spendthrift. A favorite phrase comes from C.D. Wright's "More Blues and the Abstract Truth": "toenail to tailhole." It's about how a cat cleans itself, and actually the sense of the words isn't that pleasant, but I'm completely smitten by the symmetry of its sounds.

Great post!

Aug 28, 2008

Though I am totally loving all of these lists, and I probably have words to love and loathe, your geeky confession needs to be trumped.

I have a favorite prime number. (And I'm not even a math teacher.)

Aug 28, 2008

My roommate and I were (or are, we just don't live in the apartment anymore) like that. When we were doing homework in our rooms one of us would yell out the others' name to get her attention and then yell out a word. We had a huge list and half of them were words we didn't like but thought was funny (moist, for example). I brought home popito after my sister's bachelor party at a tapas restaurant: Oh, mon cherie, you are my popito!

My mom's favorite words are confetti, kaleidoscope, and tumbleweed.

Aug 28, 2008

My favorite word? Espionage.

Aug 28, 2008

Well then! I had no idea that I wasn't alone in my loathing for the word moist. My family thinks it's hilarious to say it over and over to me and watch me cringe. I also have issues with the words tinkle and belch. My favorites are snarky and chicanery. Double bonus points for using both well in the same sentence.

Aug 28, 2008

My favorite word is "punk." I love how you have to spit it out, how people are usually so animated when they say it. "This punk tried to ..." You can see the red face, the wild gesticulations already, right? It's effective and amusing, all at the same time.

My least favorite is "milk." Something about that combination of the vowel and those three particular consonants together is displeasing to my ear.

Aug 28, 2008

I don't have a favorite phrase right now - there are too many that I love - and my favorite word changes pretty often. I am a HUGE fan of q words, though - queen and quack and andy word with that same crisp "k" sound (cake, too, which I happen to love eating as well as saying). But at the moment, I am in love with the word "splendid" - another nice, crisp-sounding word, so old-fashioned!! This is mostly because of this Mountain Goats song here: (though I don't know what's up with Thor or whoever in the video part, just listen to the song). I swoon when he sings "you are brave, you are splendid" and vow every time I listen to say "splendid" more often (but never do).

Aug 28, 2008

I keep a running list of Good Words in the back of my Moleskine and actually had occasion to email the list to a friend yesterday. Current favorites include malarkey, derring-do, fractious, gormless and the phrase 'loaded for bear.'

Aug 28, 2008

I like aesthetic. That sth combo with the hard c at the end-- boffo! Actually I hate the word boffo. I'll have to give some thought to my favorite phrase. This is a lovely post, btw.

Aug 28, 2008

One of my favorite words has always been "periwinkle." I think it's because I have a visual image when it's said.

I also love the word "squish." Not too deep there. And "elan."

I wonder if someone did some sort of study that analyzes what your favorite word says about you (like the Rorschach inkblot test for vocabulary)?

Aug 28, 2008

My sister hates the word moist, it makes her visibly cringe any time it's uttered in her presence. I have no problem with it or the C word, unlike most women. My "bad" word is the T word. OY. Unless it's accompanied by the word waffle, if you add waffle to the end of the T word suddenly I don't mind it so much. Isn't that odd?

I have so many favorite words; I'd have a hard time whittling them down to just a few.

Aug 28, 2008

My favourite word: snafu

My favourite phrase: crumb bum

Aug 28, 2008

I don't believe I have a favorite phrase, but my favorite word to say is raspberry, but you have say it rasp-berry, with emphasis on the p. Yes, I know this is not proper and I don't say it in everyday conversation, but when I see a berry I quietly say to myself rasp-berry.

Aug 28, 2008

Least favorite word, hands down, is: panties.
Dear God, I loathe that word.

My favorite words change often but I find these four are always in the running: stellar, discombobulated, percolate and fabulous.

Aug 28, 2008

My favorite word: loquacious! Probably because it's descriptive of me. :)

I, too, am not a fan of 'moist,' 'panties,' or any term related to 'vomit.' Yuck.

Mrs. Who
Aug 28, 2008

I love the words buckle and Tuatha. I pretty much loved all the words in the elvish language in the "Lord of the Rings" movies. Something about that "th" sound with your tongue between your teeth.

I hate any rude word for female parts. Just make me cringe.


Oooh, Fun! I love the "ous" sound at the end of words.

Some of my favorites: apropos, malapropism, diaphanous, gregarious.

Can't think of any I particularly dislike except vulva. It is to close to vulgar for me.

Aug 28, 2008

least favorite word: underpants. and my mother persists in using the word when asking if the kids in the family (who are all in their thirties, I should add) would like underpants for christmas.

A former roommate of mine loved to emphase the "LIT" part of "literally" it sounded more like "LITrooly".

I also dislike "moist". not sure why. a friend said it says "moist cake" to her....but I still cringe.

favorite words: lemon drops

Aug 28, 2008

Add to hated words list:


Aug 28, 2008

My favorite word(s) are tea & cream. I guess I like the "ea" combination.

And least favorite word of all time? Gristle. GAH.

Aug 28, 2008

Oo oo... This is a great post! I first heard about the "cellar door" thing years and years ago, and it really does make one think about - and be more aware of - the sounds that come out of our mouths, rather than just the words.

Favorites: lily pad & mud puddle. They "feel" very nice to me when I say them out loud.

Also very good: bugger (NOT BOOGER; see below), quark, caboose, sprocket, cognac, ambiance. (I also really like the word "knickers", which oddly enough, was added to my hillbilly vocabulary via this very website!)

Least favorites: BOOGER, tasty, fecund, titular, enigma.

I agree that fisticuffs & archipelago are really good ones, and so is marmalade! Also, someone mentioned "Worcestershire sauce", and that one surely deserves some sort of fabulous phrase award. It would be a toss up between "polyp" and "goiter" though for the gold medal in the EWW category.

Actually, I don't know... "wad" is giving me the oogies pretty bad now, too.

Great post! You never fail to make me smile!

She Likes Purple
Aug 28, 2008

My husband isn't really a reader or a writer or good with any set of vocabulary words, but he is great with a broken car engine and being gentle with my bison-like pregnant belly, so he's got some things going for him. When we first started dating, we were looking at something (in his kitchen, I think) and he blurted out, "Well that's just so catawampus." And it wasn't a word I had ever heard before, but the fact that he was using it (correctly I came to find out) was so charming. It's not the softest-sounding word, but I love it. Always will.

Also svelte.

Aug 28, 2008

Oh I love those types of lists! Recently the word "tarnation" popped into my head, and I can't seem to get it out. I used to love the term "rigor mortis" until a guy I was dating asked me if I'd ever seen a body in such a state, which reminded me that he had found his mother dead not too long before, and I felt like an I dated him for five years to make up for it.

Aug 28, 2008

I cringe every time I hear belly.

Exacerbate twists my ear and sounds rather dirty.

I like the way al-u-MIN-i-um is pronounced in the UK. (Every time someone ended a sentence with a-LUM-i-num within my sister's and my hearing, we would answer with the Muppet's Ma Na Ma Nah song: "Pah pah mi na ma".)

Did you ever notice that when you hear a language and you don't understand it that after you learn the meaning of the words, it sounds completely different?

Liberal Banana
Aug 28, 2008

I work at a law enforcement agency so I could talk about armored cars all day long and not seem nuts. Jealous much? But let me just say, it sounds much better with a British accent. "Ahmahed cahs." Try saying it with an American accent, with that sharp "r" sound. "Arrrrmerrred carrs." Not so pretty now, is it?

"Moist" definitely makes me want to gag.

On a very recent Colbert Report, he said the phrase "discarded heart parts" and it sounded so funny that he even repeated it. "Discarded heart parts." Hee hee hee...

Aug 28, 2008

Favorite: nonetheless It's three words in one! I think it's the best thing ever.

Least Favorite: nipple ugggghhhhh.

Aug 28, 2008

Also, although my comment format makes it appear as if I have a very poor grasp of the English language, I promise I did put breaks in there - I'm not sure why they didn't show up.

NONETHELESS, my comment looks wonky. And nevertheless, I am going to proceed on. I DO love those words! Even if the paragraph breaks didn't come through :)

Aug 28, 2008

I'm quite fond of the word "fusternut" - a word I think I may have made up. Though it sounds like the kind of word that could go either way for most people.

Aug 28, 2008

It's not "armoured car"?

I need to keep a list, but I love serrated, listless, barnacle, terse, sundry, and on and on.

All-time worst word is smegma.

Aug 28, 2008

I used to really like the phrase "shampoo cocktail," but now I'm all about "threshing machine." Say it out loud. Threshing machine. So satisfying.

Aug 28, 2008

I despise the word cuddle. Ditto snuggle. The ex-boyfriend and I tried to think of any better word or phrase but couldn't come up with anything. His suggestion of "holding" just devolved into a discussion of football penalties as double-entendre.

Aug 28, 2008

I haven't given favorite words/phrases and worst words/phrases much thought. But after reading all the comments my husband and I came up with a few:

He likes "blighter", "aloo gobi", and "aluminium" (as previously mentioned with the emphasis on the MIN). He also likes "elvish" and "Belegost". We both really like "Chamonix", which we pronounce as "SHAW-mah-nee".

I like the phrase "Bootstrap's bootstrap" LOL.., especially if it is slightly whispered. It always makes me giggle. I also like "brisingr" from Eragon.

Hub-E just said he kindof likes the word "mushroom". I also just realized that I like the word "whisper" and "whispy", "whiz" (as in how smart a person is, not that they have to take a whiz). Quiz is sortof nice too. As is Cuisinart. Hmm... I'm seeing a pattern here. Endeavor is also nice.

I don't like chalky, mucous, and balk.

Aug 28, 2008

I'm with Kelli on "panties." It's such an awful word and I cringe when I hear it.

I was a little confused with "armored car" but after the explanation I think it's beautiful. I'm sure I'll never look at one the same way again.

I'm trying to bring back "lousy" as in "This place is lousy with hookers." Except that I hope I'm not actually in a place where I would have to say this. But you get the idea.

Aug 28, 2008

Wow, some of people's favorite words and phrases are so...romantic!

And I hope you weren't looking at ME when you mentioned someone hating the word "moist" enough to steal your sign. Harumph.

Aug 28, 2008

I have much stronger feelings about words I dislike than words I like. I hate all words that conjure up images of disgusing bodily functions (I feel physically ill from reading your list of hated words). However, my greatest word-related pet peeve is abbreviations that end in the letter "o" ("combo," "info," "depo"). I find them utterly offensive.

Aug 28, 2008

Favorite: Fabulous or delicious. Not sure why, I just love them.
Least favorite: Too many to count!

Aug 28, 2008

Dani -- I love the idea of bringing back old words that have fallen out of use! I'm singlehandedly trying to bring back "swell" myself -- so much better than "awesome" for describing something you really, really like.

Aug 28, 2008

I love the phrase, "So good."

Aug 28, 2008

Ugh, moist, crotch, panties, and bud. Four most hated words in the english language. Mr. E will start saying them and I'll have to scream and run out of the room. Terrible.

I don;t know if I have a real favorite word, but I have always been enamored of the word moxie. My favorite made up word is "Spangladesh." And I love it when people say "My stars!" in a southern accent. Snicklefritz is a pretty great word, we called Eli that before he was born, and my mom still calls him that. And I am very fond of Love Pants as a term of endearment.

So many great words. And now every time I see an armored car I will think of you, whispering softy, to yourself. Lovely.

Aug 28, 2008

Jeanette, I totally agree on the aluMINium pronunciation.

I love ubiquitous, soliloquy, succinct, haphazard, filamentous... hmm, since these are just off the top of my head, maybe I should be listing them, as well.

Also: ooh, my lord, smegma. What an awful word. I couldn't think of a worst word for this comment, even as I was reading previous comments, but I think smegma may have done it.

Aug 28, 2008

The editor geek in me loves this post, Holly. My favorite words include: supercilious and humdrum. I love saying those words over and again.

Least favorite: doily. Ugly, ugly word. I ruled it out of my vocabulary long ago and haven't needed it since.

My favorite phrase comes from an ee cummings poem: "most mad and moonly."

Anyway, thanks for the post.

Aug 28, 2008

I feel like you are James Lipton, interviewing all of us on "Inside the Actor's Studio," (am I the only person who loves that show?) asking the famous questions developed my Bernard Pevo.

I too detest the adjective for wet,
(that starts with M. ) Horrible. Especially when put together in a phrase with a women's undergarment, specifically one that rhymes with "aunties."

As for my favorite word, I cannot pick just one, but I must admit that I love any word when uttered from the mouth of a Brit.

I have a very (perhaps American) love of the British vernacular, and when you speak, I feel you give a majesty and an intelligence to our kindred language.

Aug 28, 2008

I don't have a favorite phrase, but I have one that I dislike immensely: "WAX POETIC" - f-ing hate it.

My favorite word right now (it changes often) is "PERSNICKETY" - love it, love it, love it!

Aug 28, 2008

I can't stand the way the word 'queue' is spelled. It just bothers me.

I love the word prestidigitation.

Aug 28, 2008

My favorite phrase changes pretty often. However, my favorite word has remained unchanged for years - "meander."

I love what it means, the action, the sound... it makes me warm & fuzzy.

And I often ask people what their favorite word is. I think it says a lot about a person.

Aug 28, 2008

I love saying "wisps" (or any other word that ends in "sps" for that matter). Clasps, wasps, crisps... I love that sound.

One word I can't stand - blog. It's just so ugly. I never tell people a have a blog. I have a WEBSITE.

Aug 28, 2008

Is it equally geeky to have a favorite time? Because I do. I get a little rush of happiness whenever I happen to see a digital clock proclaiming 4:44. (Although I can admit to being a little LESS happy when it's 4:44am.)

As for favorite words and phrases, I've always liked 'impermeable' and 'That dog don't hunt'- not actually sure why.

Aug 28, 2008

My favorite word has to be "asshole." It may not be the best sounding word, but it certainly is useful.

"Tampon" definitely makes my list of unpleasant words.

My favorite phrase is, "It wasn't me!"

Aug 28, 2008

When I was 12 and had to catch an early bus to junior high school, I programmed my alarm clock to go off at 6:29am. This is because at exactly 6:30am each morning an advertisement would come on the air for British Caledonian Airways. And I could not get out of bed until I had heard the spokeswoman say "British Caledonian Airways" in her soothing, nay -- dulcet -- English accent. It made my day go better.

Come to think of it, dulcet is a pretty great word too.

Aug 28, 2008

I have so many favorite phrases, most of them from a poem called "The Pied Piper of Hamelin". My dad has the whole poem memorized and I tried to do the same when I was younger. My favorite phrase from the poem is "salted sprats".

They fought the dogs, and killed the cats,
and bit the babies in the cradles,
And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles,
Split open the kegs of salted sprats..."

It's too long to copy & paste here, but it's a wonderful poem.

Aug 28, 2008

Here's a bad one: fester

Aug 28, 2008

ugg, hate the word moist. There is a line in George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss that reads, "I am in love with moistness!"


Aug 28, 2008

I love words that have an M followed by a B. Umbrella, rumba, Mumbai, Ladysmith Mumbazo.

Aug 28, 2008

My favorite, favorite word is croissant but only when given a French pronunciation. I'm also very fond of progress (when the 'pro' part of the word is over stressed).

My least favorite phrase or combination of words is when something is referred to as "being a gas" (ie: "The movie was so wonderful, oh it was a gas"). That almost makes me stop and shoot pretend death rays from my eyes.

Aug 28, 2008

Favorite word lately: maceration

Least favorite word, always: hoagie

Aug 28, 2008

I also hate the word panties but I love the word underpants. Go figure.

My favorite word right now is shenanigans.

Aug 28, 2008

I love the name Olympia Dukakis. I utter it under my breath and smile.

Aug 28, 2008

Oh my god, STOP. Once I got the name "Olypmia Dukakis" stuck in my head and I couldn't get it out for WEEKS. It just went around and around in my brain: Olympia Dukakis, Olympia Dukakis, Olympia Dukakis. Now I try never to think of her for fear it might happen again. I think you might have started the cycle FROM THE BEGINNING. Noooooooooooooooooo.

Aug 28, 2008

I have so many favorite words. But the first one that came to mind was 'cup'.

Aug 28, 2008

Hmmm, it seems that my post didn't go through earlier today, so here it goes again.

Great topic, Holly!

I had written that my favorite word is insouciant because it sounds like what it is (happy-go-lucky, carefree) and reminds me of a lovely person whose last name is Soucy.

Also, you're all not alone with the "moist" dislike. Have you seen "How I Met Your Mother"? There's an episode where one of the main characters says she hates that word, and to drive her crazy, Neil Patrick Harris's character does a one-man play and uses the word "moist" hundreds of times. I'd link to it on YouTube if it were on there, but the episode is called "Stuff" -- season 2, episode 38.

Aug 28, 2008

Copacetic - 'nuff said.

Anne in SC
Aug 29, 2008

I know I have them both, but on the spot I can't recall them. I asked my daughter what were some of her favorite words (she says they "feel fun in her mouth") and she quickly outed with lollipop. That's a pretty good one.

I always kind of liked the spanish word I learned in class in highschool - pobrecito (po bray see toe). It basically means "poor little thing". But that one's never heard in my daily routine - it's just "fun in your mouth".

Anne in SC
Aug 29, 2008

You have to trill the "r" in the bray part of the word.


Since yesterday the word "higgledy-piggledy" has been stuck in my head. It's one of my favorite words.

Aug 29, 2008

This reminds me so much of a skit from Monty Python when they come up with "woody" and "tinny" woods. I have to admit, I like most of the woody words.

Aug 29, 2008

Detritus. Something about the accent on the "tri" makes it sound so appealing to me... I'm also very glad to see other people use and like the word wonky, because when I whipped that out at work the other day, my boss looked at me like I'd lost my mind. I have a special place in my heart for the word underpants, as well.

I'm not a fan of the words yeast, panties, bosom and undulating, but compared to my HATRED for the word extreme, (esp. when mutilated by a bad marketing campaign and spelled xtreme!) those words seem pretty tame.

For those of you who like the word aluminum, check out the Bare Naked Ladies song by the same name. I started singing it as soon as I read the first comment about aluminum.

Aug 29, 2008

Always the sign of a good blog when you enjoy reading the comments (all 75 of them) as well as the post.

I went down the list going "yep, yep, um... nope, oh yeah that one, yep..."

Fester is definitely up there in the dislike column, but I would have to put 'Foist" up there ahead of it. Kinda a cross between fester and ... that other word.

jennifer in sf
Aug 29, 2008

Favorite phrases: Dread Pirate Roberts (preferably said by/like Andre the Giant) and Bob's your uncle. Luckily one of them is fairly easy to work into conversation

Favorite words: implacable, caper, ergo. There are really many, but those seem to be at the top right now.

Least favorite: scoop or snap used to describe buying things (as in "scoop up" or "snap up"). When I was a kid I HATED the word perch. I seem to have gotten over that.

Aug 29, 2008

Can I just say that being commenter number 78 or so really feels like no one is ever going to read it?

Favorite words, huh? Lugubrious.

Also, the capital of Burkina Faso has always been one of my faves: Ouagadougou. Ooo-wah-ga-DOO-goo.

No, I'm not kidding; look it up.

One of my favorite phrases? "Man up," or "cowboy up."

Of course, saying that to my daughters doesn't work as well.

Aug 29, 2008

I love the word "skeptical". From the Simon and Garfunkle song The Zoo... "Orangutans are skeptical of changes in their cages and the zookeeper is very fond of rum."

Also: gate. It sounds crisp.

Aug 29, 2008

Favorite words together would be "Garden Gate", it just inspires such lovely thoughts for me and feels so solid coming out. Words I love: Prowl, balloon, nebulous, sassafras, bumblebee... Dislike: tepid, chum, taint, clink, earwig, cluck...

Love this post!

Aug 30, 2008

I have two favorite phrases. In order of favoritness:
puppy biscuit
dental pick

Aug 30, 2008

I have always loved the word dungarees in place of jeans. Maybe because it reminds me of all my old relatives who are no longer around.

I don't actually say it aloud, but I think it all the time.

Aug 30, 2008

i am a longtime reader and this post really resonated with me. (today's) favourites: beyond, mon amour, dragonfly. (today's) least favourites: intravenous, sluggardly, blogroll. i also prefer some numbers to others. go figure.

Sep 01, 2008

What a great post!
I love the word 'miscellaneous'. It just seems so.. english! And the idea of what can
be hidden under misc. is just really magical to me!
As a phrase, i am currently obsessed with 'be that as it may'. And I like that the british say 'jumper' instead of the profane (and kind of disgusting, if you think about it) 'sweater'. And I should stop right there, because as commenter #84, i am not sure anyone really cares about my favourite words in french and german. But thank you for making me think about it Holly!

Sep 01, 2008

Bubblegum tounge!!!

It's been with me since John Mayer's "Your body is a wonderland".

Also, when I moved to England, I was totally in love with the word Twat. It's true!

And oh, I love saying 'November rain'.

Sep 01, 2008

I just today remembered another favorite word (even more than lugubrious):


Another? Conniption.

Sep 02, 2008

I love the word 'recalcitrant'... and I try to use it as often as possible. My two year old daughter also uses a phrase I love-- when she's eating something particularly delicious, she says it's "tasty good". It always makes me giggle. Or, if it is yucky, it's "tasty bad". Hee.

Sep 02, 2008

I second the vote for the word "blog". Hate it, can't even say it. I have also despised the word "Slacks" from the time I was a teenager. Don't say it near me, please. And "Treat". Not crazy about that work either.

I also have a favorite time - someone else commented on that. It's 6:26 am or pm. It's my birthday (month and date)and when I catch it on a digital clock, I just know "everything is going to be ok". Whatever that means!

I really like the image that the word "din" conjures up. A dark and romantic conversation where you can only hear each other over the din of the crowed room.

I also like conjure - just used it in the above sentence.

I have a favorite word in German - it's the word for Shoelace. Love it...sounds like "Schnooze enkel".

Sep 02, 2008

Oh my god, don't even get me started on my favorite words in German. I have more of them than I do English words. (Spreckels! It means "freckles." Schmetterling! It means "butterfly." Schicksal! It means "fate." Tapetenwechsel! It means "change of scenery." And on and on and on and on and on and on.

Sep 03, 2008

Love this subject! I have a few to add. My favourite word is the Quebecois word for a face cloth "barbouiette" (bar-bwee-ette). It just rolls off the tongue. I love the phrase "night swimming". It evokes so much imagery - I can almost feel the dark water rippling.

My other favourite line comes from a DMX song and is as hip as I am geeky:

"I like my joints heavily hashed, I like my bitches heavily assed."

Now that's poetry. :)