Beautiful Words…100 of Them!

As someone who has studied other languages (French, Spanish, and Russian), I love the physicality of words. When you speak either French or Russian, your whole lower face gets a workout. It’s as though you’re tasting the words as well as speaking them.

Happily, English has words like that as well. Consider the following:

• impecunious
• circuitous
• mellifluous
• exsanguinate
• ebullient
• flummery

Words like these are not only fun to use, they’re fun to say. The feel of some even reflect their meaning. Impecunious has a tight, stingy feel to it. Mellifluous rolls off the tongue. Flummery feels a bit foolish as it escapes you.

I was trolling the internet, just looking for articles on felicitous (there’s another one!) words, and came across a delightful site: The 100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language.

Writers, Readers, Word Lovers, do yourselves a favor and check it out! I had a blast just trying to pronounce some of them. And I thought there were several that should have been on the list.

How about you? I’ll share my words after some of you share yours.

9 Responses to Beautiful Words…100 of Them!

  1. Avatar
    Lindsay Harrel November 9, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    Ooo, fun!

    I love the word “succulent.” It just feels juicy and full of flavor to say.

    • Avatar
      Sally Bradley November 9, 2011 at 9:05 am #

      I’m with Lindsay. I always feel like I need to wipe my chin when I see that word. Evidently just the sight of it gives my mouth a workout.

      After looking through the list, I found I kept going back to “brood.” Which is weird. Not necessarily a happy word. It made me think of Mr. Rochester and Darcy. But it made me see that I’ve always preferred words that sound like their meaning. They create that picture or emotion without us even trying.

      • Avatar
        Mary Young November 9, 2011 at 11:22 am #

        Didn’t notice “brood” on the list (I skimmed it quickly), but when I saw it in your comment, my first thought was procreation. Brood hen, brood bitch, brood mare, etc. I’ve used it that way for so long I’d forgotten it was also a verb.

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    Janet Ann Collins November 9, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    I subscribe to the newsletter at http://wordsmith.org and get a new word every day. Other word lovers would probably enjoy that too. The newsletter is short except for the weekly one of people’s comments and links to news stories about language.

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    Katherine Bolger Hyde November 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Not sure how beautiful they are, but two of my favorite words are “sequacious” (intellectually subservient) and “widdershins” (counterclockwise). I also love “mellifluous,” which perfectly lives up to its name.

    BTW, je parle un peux de Français, и тоже говорю по русский. Yo hablo un poco poquito español from years of living in New Mexico. 🙂

  4. Avatar
    Glenda Fowlow November 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    Cacophony! I can imagine the noise in my brain when I say it.

    Symphony. Can’t you hear the violins, cello, and trumpet all pitching in with the woodwind instruments?

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    Patrick November 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Karen, great post. I love words. It is one of the reasons why I am among the minority who does not text. I believe it facilitates the dumbing-down of the language, especially among teens. I also read the KJV because to me it represents the English language at its finest although this has led to some acrimonious debates among my peers. One of my favorite exercises is Word Power in Reader’s Digest.

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    Anita Mae Draper November 9, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    I remember when I first fell in love with words. It was in Grade 5 and we were learning about synonyms. I don’t recall any particular fascination for the word synonym although it must’ve been a new one to me. However, I relished the word melancholy.

    True, melancholy is just another word for sad, yet something in me resonated with that word. Perhaps it was my sad childhood. Or my sad lack of friends. Or my sad lack of money. But when I thought of the word melancholy, grief and depression made sense. Sad was just plain old sad. Melancholy ached. So much pain in that drawn out word.

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    V.V. Denman November 10, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    I learned the word “murmuration” last week. After watching this clip, it’s one of my favorite words now. http://vimeo.com/31158841

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