46 words to savour (and why they're so tasty)
Gosh, how I love words. My favourites are delicious to whisper, or yummy to shout. Using them makes me feel happy.
Today there are 46 of them (listed below for your delectation), tomorrow there'll probably be more. I wondered why these particular words seem special to me. Then I worried whether the magic would be lost if I saw its workings. Then I asked Mr Google anyway.
Phew. All he told me was some new words with lovely ideas inside them. (There was plenty of jargon too, but I spat that stuff out).
Beyond the cellar door
Some words and phrases are just easy on the ear. They’re mellifluous, from the latin for flowing honey, meaning sweet sounding or musical. Or, they’re euphonious, sounding smooth or agreeable.
There is an idea that words can be beautiful whatever their meaning. A famous example is cellar door - a sweet song of a name for a shutter.
"Most English-speaking people ... will admit that cellar door is 'beautiful'." J.R.R.Tolkien
Oops, and there was me wanting to be like most people.
Looking at my words, it seems my kind of beautiful always has pleasant resonances. Those mellifluous cellar doors have spiders behind them, and worse. They didn't make my list, nothing spooky or unkind or wistful or even dull did.
On the tip of my tongue
Mouthfeel is the way food or drink feels in your mouth, and is applied to words too. Icky as it is to say, it expresses a useful idea.
Folks, science is pretty sure that our faces enjoy making some sounds more than others.
My list reveals my face's preference. All those pouting ‘ooo’ sounds, the many lip-smacking ‘umps’. But not a nose-wrinkling 'oi' in sight.
Sense and sensibility
Here comes the next idea: the sound of words carries meaning in itself. *Onomatopoeias crash into the blog, hooting and cackling, before zooming out again.*
Sonicky was coined by Roy Blount Jr to describe those words which somehow just sound right for their meaning, like, for example, willow.
Ideophones, sounds describing an idea, are common in other languages. In Japanese, doki doki is an excited heartbeat.
And the sound of my words really does fit their meaning, to me at least. What could be more crumpetty than a crumpet?
Words are joining up my instinct and memory, making links between my senses, their sound calling to mind a picture, a spice, a perfume, sensation. Hurrah.
Only when I see them all together do I notice how many of my words sound almost nonsensical, or practically rude. There is rhyme and repetition, some childish delight. Sorry about that (not sorry at all).
Here's hoping you enjoy these most delectable words, and that they remind you of your own favourites. Bon appetit!
(This list excludes swearwords, because they deserve their own.)
Blueth (obsolete suffix, but I loves it)
Smashing (for Tony, who provided the pic )
Hungry for more words?
Here are a couple of lovely menus (oh yeah, stretched that metaphor right to the end).
Just English, Hundred Best Words
Buzzfeed, 32 of the Most Beautiful Words