Photo by jppiI am a logophile and occasionally a logolept. I find certain words irresistible for their nuanced meanings, the images they can evoke, and often for how they sound when spoken aloud or even just rolled around in one’s mind.

Take the word crepuscular, meaning “of, pertaining to, or resembling twilight.” While there are plenty of words that have a much lovelier sound to them, I like the way crepuscular crinkles around in your mouth when you speak it. So to, it calls to mind images of soft, purple skies, fireflies emerging from hiding, and an evening’s first glimmer of stars.

If you study another language, it can be easy to fall in love with a word even before you know its meaning. When I was learning Russian, I adored the word tramvai (трамвай). It seems to make your whole head vibrate when you speak it. What does it mean? Streetcar. Can you image a non-native English speaker enjoying the sound of a word like “bus”? Amusing, no?

So, with very little rhyme or reason, I present a list to you of some of my favorite English words. Some I chose for their sound, others for their meaning, and a few for both.

Got any favorite words you care to share?

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