Some favourite words

One of the most beautiful things about reading, I think, is how it allows you to gather information, and the primary form of this information is the words themselves. When I was young I would sit there with a book far too complicated for me – my favourite was a collection of the whole works of Shakespeare that stood on my parent’s book shelf – and sound out the words quietly, trying to transform them in the air into beings. Some I inevitably got wrong, but it didn’t really matter; I had learned more words, and that was all I wanted.

After reading “Matilda” and then watching the film (on repeat), I was captured by the plot line that she read the dictionary, and began to do the same. I would pick up my illustrated children’s dictionary when at a loss for something to do, and make my way through the letters, adding more words to my vocabulary as I went. I’m sure this all either sounds overly sweet or simply odd, but I was quite a lonely child in a lot of ways, and the creatures and comforts I could summon around me with knowledge helped somewhat.

As an adult I don’t tend to use a dictionary, mainly because I really cannot spell at all, so trying to search for words when I have no idea what letters might come next is an absolute nightmare. I have the habit of changing my word or even my sentence to make it work, and whilst spell check is a wonderful gift to the next generation, I have bad connections to trying to make it work otherwise. My father, trying no doubt to help me, would refuse to give me assistance with spellings and make me look them up in the dictionary, but would get frustrated when I was unable to spell. I could give words and definitions well beyond my age group, but I remained incapable of spelling, and still do now. I’m not embarrassed of it any longer and still firmly believe that intent with wording is much more important than success. My son is now ten and, similar to how I was as a young child, has been using words that you wouldn’t expect for many years. I’ve told him frankly I don’t care how he spells them; that the use of them is the important bit, and that I’m proud of him for trying. His spelling is better than mine by natural talent, and whilst I’m relieved, I still strongly believe that content quality is not based on ability to spell alone.

So with spelling put to one side (although I will try to spell correctly here), here are a few of the words that have grabbed me over the years of reading and writing. They’re a random collection, but each one makes me smile just because of the word, when spoken aloud or written down.

Octopus
I can’t explain why I like this word. It’s just a nice word. It looks almost artistic with the balance of letters. The animal itself is quite beautiful too, but the ups and downs and of the letters makes it quite a lovely word

Anticipation
This word always makes smile, and not just because of the mild obsession I had with The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a teenager. It’s such a fun word. The three letter ‘i’s make it look fun, I can’t explain why. And the meaning of the word gives it so many possibilities when it comes to uses.

Observant
Maybe it’s the ‘o’ next to the ‘b’ but this feels to me like it does exactly what it says, as if it’s watching and taking notes. I know that words don’t actually take notes, but it’s kind of an adorable word. Like the above, it can be used in so many situations, and it’s just an all out great word.

Mittens
If any word sums up a wave of winter vibes, it’s mittens. It makes me think of takeaway coffee warming hands, of soup, and of robins in the garden. It’s a brilliantly happy word, making everything feel suddenly cosy and comfortable.

Inevitable
I’m not one to be sold on fate exactly, but inevitable says that fate has got a hold of any situation, and whatever comes next had no competition to stand up to the world. It’s almost soothing, but definitely a work of magic in its own way.

Flabbergasted
I’d like proof there is a word anywhere better than flabbergasted. It’s just great. It’s a word you can see in your minds eye, that look on a person’s face when it is the perfect description. I’m smiling just writing about it. “His face showed how totally flabbergasted he was”. I love it.

Xenotransplantation
Okay so this one I might need to explain a bit. When I was twelve or thirteen, we read “Pig Heart Boy” at school. Naturally it brought up a lot of discussions, which I imagine is why it was picked, but it also brought up a lot of spellings. As I’ve said, spelling is not my strong point, and I spent all week working on learning this word fluently. By the end of that week I wanted more excuses to use the word. I promise I didn’t created this post just for this word, but…

So, there you have it. A few words that I love. This post has been so much fun to write and has left me with a huge smile on my face, without wishing to sound entirely cheesy. I think sometimes we can get so sucked in to thinking about the use of words in a sentence or paragraph that we can overlook the quality of the word itself. Because there really are some brilliant words out there.

I’d love to hear from you about what some of your favourite words are. Please let me know in the comments!

4 Comments

      1. I’m so glad I could get 5 mins this morning to read this, because it’s very funny and adorable! Your story is very wholesome, and honesty, who cares about spelling? (Apart from spellcheckers, but that’s their job anyway.)
        “I can’t explain why I like this word. It’s just a nice word.” That’s such a relatable feeling.
        You have a wonderful imagination and way to picture words (I loved all of your explanations!) So funny how you described Observant (as if it’s watching and taking notes) and the reason why you love Xenotransplantation!!
        I have had a post in my drafts for some days already about words I’ve picked up from books and use on a daily basis, and whenever I publish it, I’m going to link back to this post, if you don’t mind it. I really enjoyed it!

        Like

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