Posted on May 4, 2012
When I was little sometimes I used to read the dictionary. I found my favourite word this way; “sesquipedalianism”. Doesn’t it sound elegant? Wouldn’t you be impressed if you head that? I haven’t ever had cause to use it until now but it still gives me pleasure. It means, wonderfully appropriately: “given to using long words”.
I came across a website dedicated to people’s favourite words and was pleasantly surprised to find that “sesquipedalian” is admired by other people too. I have never actually heard anyone use this word or seen it in natural use so I wonder how the others know it. Surely there can’t be many dictionary-readers out there.
My flatmate asserted without hesitation that his favourite word was “conundrum”. When pressed for a reason, he explained that he liked the way it was said. And then that the fact he liked it without knowing quite why it sounded so good was itself a conundrum.
I once asked a Japanese student of English what her favourite word was, and she replied “Rainbow”. That’s a nice one, I think. My favourite Japanese word is “Yappari” meaning “I knew it!” I think it’s mostly the sound that I like; strong and dynamic.
According to various studies Britain’s favourite words in seem to be either “serendipity” or “nincompoop”. I really hope it’s the former. Nincompoop? I can’t stand it! It sounds like something disgusting although actually it’s a playground insult.
Well I hope you solve the conundrum of your favourite word in the lexical rainbow of the English language. Just don’t be a nincompoop and choose nincompoop!