*Cue Julie Andrews singing on a mountaintop.*
Once you’re done imagining that and ignoring the fact that it’s the wrong song slapped on top of the wrong scene, come take a look at a few of my favorite words.
As a writer, words are the tools of my trade. I play favorites with my trade tools. I admit that without shame. There are some words that I just love to say, write, and read. I love their sounds, I love their meanings, I love the way they look on a page. My favorites combine some or all of those elements. Often, they are not particularly complex. I tend to like simpler, cleaner things, though I can appreciate a good wind-snatcher. You know, the kind of words that at least two breaths and six pronunciation attempts to say, but usually, those fall into another category for me. Those tend to be my flip-side words, but some simpler words have burrowed their way into that list. Those are the ones that I hate irrationally and will not use. Maybe some day I’ll make a post about them. Actually, that probably will happen. But for now, these are my favorites:
I wasn’t kidding when I said I like simple. “Silver” is one of those simple words that I love. It’s a surprisingly soft word, sounds wonderful falling off your tongue, looks good on the page, and brings up some nice mental images ranging from pretty, sparkly trinkets to cold, unforgiving emptiness. Versatility in connotation is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned. Makes the word so much fun to play with.
This is one of those words that I actually don’t use a lot, but it still makes my list of favorites. It sounds like the name of a villain. Maybe not a particularly clever villain, but he or she does what they can to live up to the standards of evil. The actual meaning is biting or caustic, especially when related to humor. Or it has something to do with dying fabric. I don’t know who decided to make this word mean those two things, but the first definition is generally what I go by. This is another word that’s just fun to say, and I do like the way “mordant” looks on paper. Or in this instance, a computer screen.
Is it considered biased if it’s my birthday month? Probably. Do I care? No. I like “November” as a word because–once again–it has a lovely sound. It’s a very soft, flowing word, just rolling right off the tongue. It also brings to mind images of falling leaves, and that crisp, clear weather I’m used to seeing when the seasons are on the cusp of changing. Fiery leaves and the smell of autumn at the beginning of the month, bare tree branches and winds carrying the promise of snow at the end. I see the change happening within the word itself, and hear it when it’s spoken aloud. I’m a nerd for November.
I honestly don’t know why I’m drawing to “nightmare.” No one really enjoys nightmares, I don’t think, unless you’re a horror writer with a pressing deadline and you’ve being drawing a blank for months, but that’s a pretty far reach, I think. There’s something about the word, though. It has strong connotations, draws up an amorphous but powerful image in my mind every time I see or hear it, and just demands to be whispered with something close to fear in your voice. As if it will come to haunt you if you don’t placate it now. I like it.
I almost want to stomp around screaming “I AM ZEUS!” whenever I see this word. It’s one of those words that manages to sound powerful without using any really hard letters. Even the “D” can be glossed over to get a softer sound, but you don’t look at this word and think “wimpy” or “pushover.” You just don’t. A good strong word that doesn’t need guttural stops or overly-complicated pronunciation demands to catch your attention.
This is another one of those Looks Good-Sounds Good words for me. I like the flow of the syllables, and even though a certain Toy Story quote comes to mind, it brings up other images more often than not. Like the “nightmare” associations, these are amorphous and difficult to describe. I get a bright color and vast distances, though. That much I can say. Beyond that, “infinity” is just… kind of a fun word.
This one I’m very picky about. It has to be the past tense verb. Other forms do not make it on to my favorites list. “Echo” is just a tad too short to be fun to say, and I really like the verb form of the word. It has a surprising amount of dynamism. Also, unlike in “thunderous,” the “D” here adds a harder sound to the end of the word, giving it a more definite stop, which is a enjoyable sort of irony, all things considered.
I could go on with more of my personal favorites but this feels like a good place to stop. Maybe I’ll do a second installment if anyone wants to see it. More likely than not, I’ll post some hated words before I do that. Because let’s face it, there are just some of those words.