Friday, February 10, 2012

"These are a few of my favorite things..."

And by "things," I mean "words." Or maybe my favorite things are words. Well, at least a few of my favorite things are.

Hey, you were warned, I told you Quettandil means Word Lover. And not only that, but it's Quenya for Word Lover. Which means I don't just love words, I love them so much I need a fictional language to express my love. Yeah.

And Melanie had already taken Book Lover in Quenya, Parmandil.

It's funny to me now that I once thought I loved words in foreign languages, and of course I loved books, but English words weren't anything special. Ha. That was never true. Well... maybe when I was three? I doubt it. I'm still much more interested in foreign languages than in using my linguistics training for various applications in English, but... that's not the same thing.

Anyway, on to the point.

Last month Shannon Hale did a lovely "These are a few of my favorite words" post. She asked us to give her words we love in the comments, "Words you like the look of, words you like to taste on your tongue, words whose meanings are unique and fun, whatever you like."

I commented several times.

I sort of tried not to. But then I'd comment, and then I'd think of more... I probably just should've collected them all on paper, first, but I was Excited. Asked for my favorite words! What an opportunity! My brain wouldn't turn off. After the commenting I drove down the highway with my voice recorder at hand, to catch the words flitting by.

Ooh, "flitting."

I digress.

Yay, "digress!"

It occurred to me that I really should do my own post about favorite words. Because, I mean, I named my blog Quettandil. And... yeah. It'd not only be appropriate, but also FUN and EASY.

I knew my favorite favorite favoritest words, the awesomest words ever. But reading other people's comments and thinking about it, I remembered there are other fun words too, words I do like the sound or feel of, words I like to play with even if I don't devote entire blog posts to just them and them alone. Er, half blog posts.

I shall start with them and work up to the most awesomest awesome EVAR. (Ironic that in a blog post about favorite words I keep repeating other words over and over, even if they really aren't my favorites... um.)

Actually, I shall start with some fun words that other commenters on Shannon Hale's post got to before I made it to the party (okay, so I wouldn't have thought of all of them without their help, but they are Good Words and I Approve):

Scrumdiddlyumptious (I don't see it in the dictionary, but it ought to be.)
Laconic ("Once, in flight school, I was even laconic.")

And some great ones people posted after me, so I obviously didn't think of them, but they ought to be included with my favorite words, really I just forgot:


Words from my voice recorder, after I gave up on commenting: A few of these are ones other people said before me -- the difference is, I love these words so much, I wouldn't mind being repetitious, I'd post them anyway. Either that, or, well, I was driving, and I couldn't remember for sure what had already been said.

Crotchety (Especially in that one episode of Babylon 5... "This cannot be a real word.")
Perfidy and perfidious
Sensical (Dictionaries will be adding it any day now, just you wait.)
Mosey ("Plus he gets bonus points for using the word 'mosey.'")

And finally, the words I actually posted in my original comments. In roughly reverse order.

Eschew obfuscation.
Solstice (Especially because of Marian Call's song "Perilous Road" and the phrase therein, "the sad solstice sun.")
Cacophony ("That's pretty, what's it mean?")
Soporific (Thank you, Beatrix Potter... and my mother.)
Somnambulating (Marian Call again, awesome use in "Coffee by Numbers.")
Hyperallergenic (Yeah, I made that up. I have a hyperallergenic pie I make sometimes. It's delicious.)
Couth (Normally "uncouth," but does recognize "couth," and even includes a sample phrase of "to be lacking in couth." There you have it.)

And now we're getting to my few favoritest favorite. Before we do that, so as not to be anti-climactic later... LET'S SWITCH LANGUAGES! No really. It'll be fun. Pleeeeaaase? Hey, I'm the one writing this blog post, and I decide. We're doing it.

In Spanish:

Calabazas (Squashes, as in pumpkins and such.)
Anteojitos (Spec-tacles! Come to think of it, I also like the word "spectacle." Whether that's in spite of Peter's mockery of my glasses, or thanks to. "Anteojitos" is the diminutive of "anteojos," or "before-eyes," or "glasses.")
Rascacielos (Scrapes-heavens. Er, um, sky-scraper.)
Rompecabezas (Breaks-heads. A puzzle.)
Osos mohosos (Moldy bears. Who wouldn't love moldy bears, let alone rhyming moldy bears?!)
Hablaba (Was talking. Blah, blah, blah, blah...)

In Japanese:
[I might be spelling a few of these wrong, as I learned them via audio lessons, but I'm pretty familiar with the standard romaji (Roman alphabet) spellings and rules, so I think if there are things I have wrong, it's mostly in where to put the word divisions -- sometimes there isn't a big difference between a suffix and a particle.]

Kawaii (Because. No, I'm not saying that's what it means... never mind.)
Kara (Uh, 'cause of the above... this one actually does mean "because." And it goes at the end of the sentence, and it has a nice sound, all open and fully pronounced as AW vowels, but still choppy and short at the end, and with that nice little flip of the tongue on the "r.")
-chan (Does that count? Of course it does. I say so.)
Hajimemashite (I love Japanese words. They have such wonderful sounds, they just roll off the tongue. After a bit of practice. They're a little tricky if you're not familiar with Japanese pronunciations, but I'd be happy to say them for you, anytime. Just ask. Or don't, I still might. As Melanie said, "I feel like you're a CD.")
Arigatou gozaimashita (A past tense of thank you, for thanking someone about something completed, like having you over for dinner last night, a thing that is very important to remember to do the next day. Thank them, I mean. The next day.)
Shichi ji ni (A phrase, not a word, but the combination of sounds is so great! The first "i" is barely pronounced. It means, "at seven o' clock.")
Watashi tachi wa

And a couple others from a phonetics class that I can't spell without the International Phonetic Alphabet. I don't remember what languages they're from. But trust me when I say they are AWESOME. One... would be something like, "amagomamumu," but the first and last two "m"s are "voiceless," kind of like a whisper (in practice, like you're sniffing out your nose in the middle of the word...), and those two "u"s are nasal. And the other one... if you pretend my upside down question marks are glottal stops (the sound in "uh-oh" between "uh" and "oh"), it'd be wa¿aha¿ayo¿o. IIRC. And one of those two, no joke, means "don't laugh." Seriously. I think the other is "two barrels of sour cream," unless that was what that other word meant, the one I can't remember because I couldn't pronounce it, with all the ejectives and consonant clusters.

And now.


Oligoglot ( doesn't have it. This is why is so, so depressed. Not only does a book by the name of Le Ton beau de Marot have it, it also has a chapter entitled "How Jolly the Lot of an Oligoglot." Causing me to fall in love. With the word and the book.)
Transmogrify (Calvin and Hobbes, of course. Via Ron.)
Spelunker (Via Ron.)
Antepenultimate (Remains my most popular post by far, whether I link to it or not. Though really, it contains a sad missed opportunity -- instead of saying, "the antepenultimate syllable," I should've said "the antepenult." Since that's a word, too.)

I'd worry that I built this up too much and made it anti-climactic, but really. Apokolokyntosis! (Uh, yeah, that link is different than the last one. And now that I click on the link from the link, I remember that really it should go on "defenestrate," not "apokolokyntosis," but there is a connection, so... Uh, it makes sense. Really.)

Now, because there are so many delicious, savory, delightful words out there, I'm sure I've missed some important ones, even after this lengthy list.

What are some of your favorite words?


Marcy said...



Memories of Light said...

Why couldn't you have included a spoiler warning in this otherwise wonderful wordotopia?

Because "irascible" really is better with a "k" sound, and now you've taken that from me forever.

Marcy said...

Oh, I'm so sorry! I would have if I'd realized, but somehow I thought I was the only one who didn't know. Because I assume silly things like that.

I kept looking up my words as I wrote, because even though my spelling is normally excellent I was a bit terrified of MISSPELLING one of my favorite words -- how embarrassing that would be! And that's when I found out. If can be trusted in this regard. Ooh, let's hope not.

Tim said...

Ubiquitous has always been my favorite word. But you already mentioned it. And good call on the Japanese. One of my favorite languages.

aelthwyn said...'ve already got so many good ones, and there are so many words afterall, it's quite overwhelming, I could never figure out what my favorites are, so here are a few that are good anyways......
poignant (I'm so glad the g is silent, which I didn't know and thought it was terribly ungainly)

lasselanta said...

No, you were right about the meanings of the phonetics words, I think. The Abaza tongue twister meant "you (fem. sg.) pinch me." If my memory serves me. It was something like ch-ch-p-q-qwit. All of those four first consonants were ejective, and it was considered one syllable by the Abaza.

Also, my word verification is "viasodis." That ought to be a word.

Marcy said...

Well, I deleted "irascible"'s parenthetical comment, in case it's a spoiler for anyone else, though I should've done so earlier. Memories of Light, shall we delete or edit your comment as well, for the same purpose? I'm not trying to delete all criticism... :)

Thanks, Tim! Glad you like ubiquitous and Japanese!

That is the trouble with favorites and long lists of things and such, you're right Andrea, it is overwhelming. Thank you for posting some anyway! Good choices! I *especially* like fie and wend. And vesper and vanquish. :) "Poignant" must be from the Norman Conquest, and we actually kept some of the French pronunciation, or some such... hmm. Though I think of "gn" with a silent "g" more in Italian than French... (Why "g," of all things, would be the marker for a more palatalized "n," I have no idea...)

Okay, thanks Sharon! Do you remember which is which? Is wa¿ha¿ayo¿o "don't laugh" and amagomamumu "three barrels of sour cream"? I think you're right about "you (fem. sg.) pinch me." And, though in my memory it's written in IPA and it's weird to see "ch" instead of "t∫" (roughly), I think you're mostly right about the word? Though maybe there was a "k" as well as a "q" in there, and some non-ejectives mixed in with the ejectives, to make it extra tricky to say? I don't remember. I should find my notes...

Nice word verification. It ought. For some reason it reminds me of another good word, verisimilitude.

Marcy said...

Comments from facebook, which I thought should be here so all the favorite words would be together, one big happy family:

Melanie: "Oh, what delectable words!

Pontificate. Skedaddle. Azure. Blubberous. Moist. Hoopla. Frankincense. Earnest. Loopy. Dignity. Humdrum. Boisterous. Happy-go-lucky. Limpiaparabrisas. Pobrecito. Ashita. Whinny. Pooh. Nefarious. Minion. Sycophant. Draconic. Synecdoche. Mho. Algorithm. Fractious. Monotonous. Wunderbar. Namarie. Elbereth. Whithersoever. Whence. Withers. Sclera. Auburn. Autumn. Zizzer-zazzer-zuzz. Grandiose. Diabolical. Aether. Celestial. Mimsy. Vorpal. Snicker-snack. Galumphing. Snorkel. Aragorn. Estel. Laurelindorenan. Tinuviel. Chaim. Querida. Corpsified. Misty. Shimmer. Tigana. Heroic. Faerie. Fey. Bane. Hurdy-gurdy. Nemesis. Rambunctious.

...Okay, time for me to restrain myself from sitting here typing all night...

And of course penultimate, defenestrate, and apokolokyntosis. Really. You took all the best words. Of course, I think you also taught me all those words to begin with, so I guess I should forgive you."

Beth: "So if you like Quibble, do you like the Quibbler? ;) My go-to word of awesomeness is rendezvous :D Loooove it! Oooh, and prognosticate, poppy-cock, so many good ones! Another one I like is hulla-bulloo ;D I like to pronounce the end of Onomatopoeia as poe-ee-a X) But, it's so sneaky cuz it isn't! Incorrigible... oligadendricites! (I'm sure that's not how you spell it if it's even a word, but boy does it sound cool! I remember talking about antepenultimate with you once! Haha... befuddled!"

Melanie: "Wait! Marcy, did I ever teach you the word zenzizenzizenzic! It's a word! Archaic, but real! ♥"

Ron: "Two 'via Ron' designations in the top six... sweet!"

Ron: "Sometime I'm going to have to go through these lists and make sure I know all the definitions... I might end up with some 'via Marcy' and 'via Melanie' notes if I ever make a list."

Melanie: "‎...How could I forget??


Melanie: ‎"(Also, Marcy, no really... did I tell you about zenzizenzizenzic?)"

Me: "Ah, yes, 'delectable.' You know, Melanie and Beth, you really ought to post those words in the comments on my original post, so they can all be together. (Happy and cuddly, together forever...) Otherwise I might have to steal my favorites of your favorites and post them *myself*. So there. :)

Ooh, yes, limpiaparabrisas and desafortunadamente, how could I forget?! And, well, you made me think of others. I started writing down more words on the cover of an old bulletin. It's at home and I am at work, but later I'll add another comment with those words.

Oh, but Melanie, technically I took antepenultimate, but not penultimate! You can still have that one!

Tee hee. The Quibbler. I like the concept of it! I'm not sure if I'd like reading it... :) Ooh, and rendezvous is good. Looks like, based on, the word you want is 'oligodendrocyte.' Nice. :) So yes, it is a word, and I'm guessing based on the pronunciation you spelled it pretty well!

Wait, what, zenzizenzizenzic? You didn't! Cool!

Actually, Ron, I think technically I should have also designated 'defenestrate' as 'via Ron!' So you get even MORE.

But I would not mind some 'via Marcy' notes. :)"

Marcy said...

Me: "Also, Melanie, you should have put 'Chaim' right next to 'Corpsified.' It would've amused me. Well, corpsified already amused me, but once I looked up/remembered what chaim means... ('L'chaim' is just barely different enough...)"

Melanie: "Zenzizenzizenzic! It means the eighth power of a number! Zenzic meant the square of a number, and zenzizenzic meant the square of the square, the fourth power, and zenzicube meant the sixth power, and zenzizenzizenzic meant, oh, how glorious. It's totally in the 30+ volume unabridged Oxford English Dictionary. I saw it with my own two eyes. In a physical copy."

Jessy: "Your list would not be complete without this sketch... "

Me: "Ah, thank you Jessy! I was totally going to link to that in one of my comments, but I forgot. And you tracked it down for me! I shall have to move it to the original post as well. Ah, yes, it was Melanie's 'blubberous' that made me think of it (beyond thinking of it as I was writing)... I was going to explain that there were some awesome words in the sketch that I didn't post because... because I didn't want to post ALL of the words from the sketch? Because I should just post the sketch itself? Because some of them wouldn't be my favorites, except that they always make me think of the sketch, and smile? Anyway. ::trots off to watch::"

Me: "There's also this Dr. Demento version:

Not as good visually, as it's just pictures and not live performance, but the sound quality is a little better, a little less echo-ey. And maybe it's just because it's easier to hear, but I like the rhythmic part at the end a little better in this version. Can even make out new words."

Me: "I saw that -- didn't have an entry, but it had a link to an encyclopedia. Awesome. A physical copy is even better. But of course, my favorite is your statement, '...and zenzizenzizenzic meant, oh, how glorious.' ! :D"

Melanie: "‎256 is the zenzizenzizenzic of 2.

It's my very favorite word. Well, maybe. I mean, apokolokyntosis! XD"

Me: "We shall forever be indebted to Kristin Cashore for that one. :)"

Me: "And now you're making me think of Jayne. 'It is my very favorite word. I call her... well, I call her by her *name*, of course -- zenzizenzizenzic.'"

Melanie: "Well, yeah, that's the tone I always use when I say, 'It's my very favorite ______.' :)"

Melanie: "I think sometimes I call her 'Zenzy.'"

Me: "Well, yeah.

And... then I saw your next comment. Hadn't seen the email notification first. Cracked me up. Well done."

Me: "I'm gonna go copy these comments to my blog now."

Marcy said...


I must add more words!

I sorta feel like I should start a new page on my blog for favorite words, that I can keep updating. But... I guess comments will do.

Quenyan and Sindarin names, for which I mostly blame Melanie's comment, making me think of these... and making me wander through The Silmarillion again, looking for them:
Lúthien and Githoniel (Not nearly as good as Tinúviel and Elbereth, but... oh well.)

These words OUGHT not to be favorites, but I smile whenever I hear them outside of their, um, original context:

And, well, then...


Other Mandarin:
Xie xie (The "x" is pronounced like "sh.")

Claro que sí
Concha (I'm probably biased by the sweetbread which also goes by this name. Mmmm.)
Periférico (In southern Mexico at least, most of the bigger cities have a street called the Periférico that goes around the edge of the city.)
¿Más más que menos o más menos que más? ("More more than less or more less than more?" Sra. Ternes' answer to "más o menos," "more or less." I know it's not fair to give a favorite sentence in a post about favorite words, but I can't help myself.)

La boîte
Le pauvre

Sorairo (Sky-blue.)
Kuruma ("Wheels," or car. Vroom.)
Mononoke ("Spirits of things," and I love the fact that the major content word, "spirit," is just that little "ke" at the end.)
Ishoo ni
Futari (Again, that "u" is barely pronounced, if at all. Sounds kind of like something a cat would say...)
Hanabi (Fireflower -- fireworks.)
Chotto, matte, kudasai. (Again for the sounds. Roughly means, "Wait a moment, please.")

Marcy said...

Doom [Because everything sounds better with "of Doom" added to the end: Popsicle of Doom, Asphalt of Doom, Kitties of Doom (or perhaps Doom Kitteh), Book of Doom, Sun of Doom... well, okay, maybe not that last one.]
Fancy (The British version, as a verb.)
Nemeses ('Cause Melanie didn't take the plural.)
Snicken (Okay, this one is made-up. But I love it so much! It arose during Historical Linguistics class. As the past participle of "sneak," rather than... "have sneaked?" "Have snuck?" "We have *snicken* into the room.")

Marcy said...

Oh, and phantasmagorical. Because it keeps getting stuck in my head. And souretomo (sp.?), because it used to. The Japanese word for "or," if it's at the beginning of a sentence. Otherwise it's "ka." Not to be confused with "ka" at the end of a sentence, which turns it into a question. Though one could argue it's the same word, and just generally signifies uncertainty. Which is why it turns "itsu," "when," into "itsuka," "sometime."

>_> I should probably stop, now.

aelthwyn said...

I have come across a need to use a word which does not have, but I think should (and it perhaps did/does exist at some point somewhere, perhaps not exactly in english?) although I don't know quite how it ought to be spelled. There is the word haughty, but I need it to be a noun: haughture? Isn't that a word? *shrug* I'm sure I could just use arrogance, but...I don't want to.

lasselanta said...

Andrea, I think it's hauteur. (To be said with a sniffy French accent, of course. But I think it really is an English word.)

Marcy said...

Foist! How could I forget foist? And foible!