A Modicum of Wordplay

I love sunset, and so do crepuscular creatures great and small. Photo taken by Sarah KramerLee

Yesterday, Kathy over at Lake Superior Spirit celebrated the word “fallow” among other things. (Congratulations Kathy, on the wise words of a blind man and your popularity at the magazine).

Isn’t fallow a lovely world?

Today, as I seem to be intent on accomplishing nothing, and busy getting in my own way I began to think about words, and how wonderful words really are.  I’ve written about words in past posts in this blog, and of course I use lots of words in order to write, but today I feel like celebrating words that scintillate or titillate the tongue. Words that you feel good saying, or words that inspire images and emotions. Of course, as soon as I decided to do this, words slipped from my mind leaving me unable to express a single idea.

So I turned to friends on Facebook and asked them what their favorite words were. Several responses are not suitable for this post (but hilarious anyway). Others reminded me of the wonder of language of all types.

Here are some of people’s favorites, with definitions from Wordnik.com (The definitions themselves provide some lovely words. I bold all the words that make me happy):

  • Ort:
    1. n. A small scrap or leaving of food after a meal is completed. Often used in the plural.
    2. n. A scrap; a bit.
  • Popinjay:  A vain, talkative person. (Also a parrot)
  • Bosh: nonsense
  • tosh: foolish nonsense; twaddle, balderdash
  • Curmudgeon: An ill-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions. [I need to use this more often]
  • Crepuscular:  [This one seems very popular, it’s fun to say so several people selected it]
    1. adj. Of or like twilight; dim: “the period’s crepuscular charm and a waning of the intense francophilia that used to shape the art market” Wall Street Journal).
    2. adj. Zoology Becoming active at twilight or before sunrise, as do bats and certain insects and bird
  • Bastante: (Spanish): enough, plenty, quite
  • Plethora: [This happens to be one of my favorites as well]
    1. . A superabundance; an excess.
    2. n. An excess of blood in the circulatory system or in one organ or area.
  • Yesterday, Sarah had an assignment to find synonyms and antonyms for the word vivacious and one of the words she came up with was bubbly which makes me feel bubbly all over.

What are some of your favorite words, in any language? 

Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets, two of the greatest curmudgeons I know.

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23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. termitespeaker
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 17:42:34

    I have to say, I do like Curmudgeon! I’ve used it in a couple of post titles, in fact, including Some Curmudgeonly Quibbles about E-Readers.
    And Ort … In my future history, I use a lot of changed words to indicate that English is not spoken identically to the way we speak it now. You know about the Oort Cloud – that region of space in the distant edges of our solar system which is filled with various kinds of icy debris. It was named after a Dutch astronomer, Jan Oort, who discovered its existence. By the 28th century, folk entomology has changed that region to The Orts – bits and pieces left over from the formation of the solar system. Makes sense!


  2. http://jesterqueen.com
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 17:52:46

    Yay! I was Ort and Popinjay. I love both because they have archaic meanings and sound good in the mouth.


  3. Julie Frayn
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 19:41:43

    Serendipity. Reminds me of Dipity Do…


  4. Cathy Ballou Mealey
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 20:10:42

    “Saucisson.” I’m instantly in Bordeaux!

    You can hear it pronounced here: http://www.forvo.com/word/saucisson/


  5. termitespeaker
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 20:32:20

    Oh, I thought of one I like – epiphany!


  6. thelifeofjamie
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 20:36:09

    plethora is a fun one…can be used normally or with a definite sarcastic tone…


  7. Andra Watkins
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 21:23:24

    Crepuscular reminds me of one: craptacular. Not a word, but I don’t care. I use it all the time in conversation. :)


  8. termitespeaker
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 09:04:00

    I’m a member of the Language Creation Society and there’s one person in there who is particularly adept at fabricating words. Just the other day he used “ungothroughsome” in this sense: “Some writers find creating conlangs an ungothroughsome mystery.”


  9. Kathy
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 11:21:48

    Hmmm, I read this the other day and thought I’d already commented! (I’m a fallow field already, lol.) Plethora is a personal favorite, Also popinjay because I was thinking of the parrot that kissed my mom five years ago on her 75th birthday. I wonder if he was vain? :)


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