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Friday, 8 February 2013

Friday Five: My Five Favourite Words

The pen is mightier than the sword, so it's said, and I completely agree. I love words. I love the sound and feel of them, and I love their power to paint pictures and stir emotions. I've collected a few over the years (as you do) but there are some that are more than strings of letters to me- they are emotive, rich and almost a physical version of onomatopoeia.

We all use words daily (unless you've taken a vow of silence, obviously) and writers obsess over them more than most (and probably more than is healthy) but have you ever stopped to consider their beauty? Even without going into the fascinating details of their origins, derivations and uses, words have a joy to them, a life of their own, that I'd like to invite you to share.

So, without further ado, here are my top five:

 1. Cwtch

A Welsh word, meaning (I think) a small cupboard or coal-store, but more commonly used as a synonym for cuddle or snuggle. I love cwtching: the very sound of it is cosy and comforting. When it's raining outside and you're feeling tired or poorly, only a nice cwtch on the sofa will sort you out. Thank you, people of Wales, for the most perfect word I've ever known.

2. Susurration

A quiet murmur of sounds, like the hum in a theatre before the play begins or the gentle whispers of nature you find in a field in the middle of nowhere. Some people find complete silence unsettling or a commotion unnerving, but a susurration is always soothing.

3. Marvellous

It's the long "aaarrr" that does it for me. You can put so much gusto and enthusiasm into it (cake? Maaarrrvellous!) or even sarcasm (train delayed? Maaarrrvellous...) Try it. Lovely, isn't it? I hope you'll say it at least once today. I hope even more that you say it about something good.

4. Voluptuous

Traditionally used as a polite way to describe a lady with ample curves, this word rolls off the tongue like the gentle waves of flesh it describes. It's a very satisfying word to say aloud, and might save you getting into bother when describing ladies with generous assets... 'ahem'

5. Picturesque

A golden word, full of character, that smells of roses and log-piles; any setting that can be described as "picturesque" is immediately a place I want to visit. Plus, there is the added bonus of being able to pronounce it "picture-skew" and then giggle more than is necessary. I do this, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Did I miss your favourite? What words would be on your list? Let me know in the comments below. No vulgarities, please- I'm saving those for another Friday Five ; )


  1. I knew cwtch would be in there but I've not heard susurration before. That's a bit of a paradox (right word?), because I would have heard of susurration but not know it was called that. I love words too but I'm like Hilda Baker and use them all in the wrong context. Jon's mum was the same, she used to make us laugh so much with the things she said and not know why we were laughing. My Claire does it too, one of her best was when she went to the doctors saying when she walked her shins hurt and she thought she had shin shingles (shin splints), :D

    1. "Shin shingles"- still chuckling. I remember my mum telling me about a woman at work who had a row with the boss and ended with, "What do you take us for? Croutons?" before sweeping out, oblivious to the fact that cretins and croutons are very different indeed... I love it when people get their mords wuddled too ; )

  2. Lovely words. Okay, I'll play, starting with eloquence which fits right in with the game. When a person has a beautiful, persuasive way of speaking, they have eloquence. Love the word, love the concept.

    Diaphanous, which basically means filmy, but there's no comparison between the two in terms of sound.

    Serendipity, when by accident, you come across something pleasing, that's serendipity. It just rolls off the tongue.

    Quintessential, meaning most essential, is a satisfying word to say out loud.

    I'll end with ephemeral, meaning short lived, but sounds so much better.

    1. I can't believe I missed serendipity from my list! Gah! Love that word. Also, I'll now spend the next ten minutes saying "eloquence" to myself quietly, because I love the feel of it. It makes me stand up straighter, too. Great words! xxx


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