I like words.
Words are like the raw ingredients for both bombs and chocolate souffle.
They cut, they burn, they soothe, they heal, they inspire — they give us cliche, overstatement, and bombast.
I like the sound of words like elucidate, onslaught, phylactery…
I like the clarity of meaning in words and phrases like penultimate, oxymoron, limiting factor, critical mass.
The words whose misuse has been annoying me most lately are reticent, infer, and literally.
So… What words do you like the sound of? The clarity of meaning of?
What words would you like to hear people use more often?
Misuse less often?
All opinions welcome!
Cara King, author of MY LADY GAMESTER, which contains the word “phylactery”
I don’t like how decimate–to reduce by one-tenth–has come to mean obliterate.
I love the words interstital and internecine. And feral. And solipsistic. And puerile. Ah, I could go on all day!
Words I adore include effervescent, delectable, superb, elegant, decorative, exquisite, and incomparable.
Words I detest include dirt, dust, lint, and “sorry but we’re all sold out for Spider-Man.”
Bertie, ever beau
I’m currently enamored of *delitescent,* and *peregrinations,* which I discovered in Pam Rosenthal’s The Slightest Provocation.
Words that have been totally trashed and are now useless are *ultimate* and *paradigm.*rmvmnh
I’m fond of botheration, and roundaboutation.
Of course this isn’t typical usage but one of my pet peeves is when historical romance authors use a fancy word incorrectly, such as sensibility as if it meant good sense or epitaph instead of epithet. I think the funniest blooper I’ve read was the use of bullocks instead of ballocks. That hero had some pretty unusual stuff in his breeches…
Elena… That was superb. 🙂 🙂 🙂
My source for laugh-out-loud bloopers is Richard Lederer and his books.
In recent days I came across an author talking about “sweatmeats” and “tooth drawrer” in the same sentence, as in too much of the former would mean a visit to the latter.
One of my favorite humorous word books is “The Superior Person’s Book of Words.” It’s full of unusual words, but the funny part is the way the author uses them in a sentence.
I remember one time when I was a senior in high school I said “Cease this futile dialogue!” to some friends of mine who were arguing. It succeeded in putting a stop to their argument, as they both united in pointing out to me that normal people don’t say things like “Cease this futile dialogue!”
One word I wish I’d never learned the correct usage of is “comprise.” It’s misused constantly, and now I always notice when it is.
It’s a great word to say out loud
Megan, I totally agree with you on decimate! Drives me batty!
Bertie dear, perhaps I’ll take you to see Spider-Man tonight. I suspect it will be less crowded than it was over the weekend.
Elena, I feel just as you do about historical authors who use words they think sound “old-fashionedy”, and then use them wrong. I recently came across “penultimate” used to mean “really, really ultimate.” Um, NOT!!! :-O
I don’t have any words that I like off hand, but I do have a number I love. . .
6.67×10^-11 — the gravitational constant.
Why I love this darn number, I don’t know. I just know that the first week in astronomy class, when I had the shock of my life, that there was math in astronomy (LOL) there was some 6 digit number that he said we were going to see in our sleep we will use it so much. Alas, it’s a number that came later that I remember and just like. I don’t know, don’t ask me. 😉