Monday, August 16, 2010

{tell me your favorite word}

The thing about being a Wordsmith (aka, Writer) is that you hang out with words a lot. 

Probably, I would venture to say, more than the average person.  If you're not spitting them onto a blank page, you're swirling them around in your brain, or flipping madly through a Thesaurus (which I've always thought should be the name of a bookish dinosaur) to find one, or possibly even staring at one in someone else's writing, and wondering how That Word came to be there and why.  Maybe sometimes you even take ages and ages to formulate a verbal sentence, because you know a word exists that will flawlessly express what you're trying to say, and you'd rather flounder around in the archives of your vocabulary than choose a word that is less than perfect.

These facts lead me to a specific conclusion, my dear Reader.  And that conclusion is that YOU have a favorite word.  I don't think I'm wrong.  Because I have a favorite word, too.  Shall we swap?

Here's mine:


[ih-maj-in] -ined, -in·ing.
–verb (used with object) form a mental image of (something not actually present to the senses). think, believe, or fancy: He imagined the house was haunted. assume; suppose: I imagine they'll be here soon. conjecture; guess: I cannot imagine what you mean.
5.Archaic . to plan, scheme, or plot.
–verb (used without object) form mental images of things not present to the senses; use the imagination. suppose; think; conjecture. 

I love everything about the word imagine.  I love it in ALL CAPS and I love it in lowercase.  I love it hand-written, and type-written.  I love it bold and italicized, and even in Impact Font, which I hate.  I love the way it sounds and the way it feels on my tongue.  I love what it means.  I love that it contains the word "mage" and the word "image" and almost the word "magic."

While I was at Chautauqua, Peter Jacobi said this about my word, and I almost fell out of my chair in a violent swoon of love: Imagination is the first of our senses we should take care never to let fall into disuse.  It is what makes us human.

(I'm even swooning now.) 

But that brings us to you, Dear Reader.  Because I know there is a word you love as much.  I hope you'll share it.  Because we could all use a bit more word-love in our lives.


  1. My favourite word is "thwarted" . . . .

    I like the sound of it in my ear and the shape of it in my mouth.

    I like the look of it on the page.

    It is simple, beautiful and full of devastating emotion.

  2. My fav is 'Indomitable'

    indomitable |inˈdämitəbəl|
    impossible to subdue or defeat : a woman of indomitable spirit.

  3. arpleopid: Love "thwarted". I agree with you wholeheartedly--and I love that it can be both comical and beautiful.

    Artemis: "Indomitable" is wonderful. I especially love the example of the definition--a woman of indomitable spirit. Fabulous! I want to be impossible to subdue or defeat!

    Ah, words! ("Words! Mere words!...what a subtle magic there was in them!...Was there anything so real as words?" -Oscar Wilde)

  4. Wow, you really made me try and think of my favorite word. I've decided on one, I don't use it all that often but I do enjoy it.

    My word is Horrified (definition below for everyone - even though I'm sure we all know the meaning!)

    1. showing or indicating great shock or horror: a horrified gasp; a horrified expression.
    2. accompanied or characterized by a feeling of horror: horrified interest.
    3. struck with horror; shocked: horrified and outraged spectators.

  5. I think "superfluous" is my favorite word... mostly because use of the word, in many cases (like YA Writing, which I do), is superfluous.

    unnecessary, esp. through being more than enough : the purchaser should avoid asking for superfluous information.

  6. Jen: I love the word "horrified". It's so expressive. And it can be both true to itself (horrifying), or absolutely hilarious, or even somewhere in-between. Great word.

    Giles: "Superfluous" is fantastic. Somehow, though, I think it requires a British accent. You're right, though; it's kind of a superfluous word, isn't it? Oh, that makes me giggle... good choice.

  7. In one respect, my most obvious choice is wordsmithing - this word and me, we have an affinity :)
    My other choice is
    halcyon (HAL-see-on)
    . calm and peaceful; tranquil.
    . prosperous; golden.
    Halcyon was the first word I remember being impressed by. It is a joy to say. I always feel my lips pull up into a smile, even while I’m preparing to read (it let alone say it): the halcyon days of youth.