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5 Wonderful Words That Make Me Smile

Monkeys roam Qixing Gongyuan

I like words. Some words, though, are gross. In fact, we talked about disgusting words a couple of weeks ago.

But the English language, fortunately, is not only comprised of nastiness. Yes, it does indeed have some beautiful words that either flow off the tongue or bring humor to the part of the brain that deals with humor (I’m not a science major, so work with me here).

With that in mind, today I present to you five words that make me smile. May we begin?

Monkey: I dare you to not laugh at the thought of a monkey. Who doesn’t love monkeys? I dare say that monkeys are the Jerry Seinfelds and Will Ferrells of the animal kingdom. Any animal that scratches its armpits, screams belligerently, and slings poo at passers-by is cool in this guy’s book.

Abyss: Sure, it’s a morbid word that means a vast area of nothingness. Sure, it’s a sad word that’s kind of hopeless sounding, like “The flying kitty cat misjudged its landing and its kitty cat soul plummeted into the feline abyss.” But it sounds cool, so I like it.

Leisure: I don’t know why I like this word. When I hear it, I think of an elderly gentleman with a top hat and cane taking a “leisurely” stroll through a downtown square. Also, leisure suits are kind of funny.

Fizzle: What a delightful word. “Fizzle” is a great example of onomatopoeia (a cool word in itself), which is a word that sounds like what it’s describing. “The fireworks fizzled out.” But it also has a negative meaning, like “The Atlanta Braves fizzled at the end of this season.”

Epiphany: This word sounds cool. But it’s also a word you can use if you want to seem smart. “As I relaxed on my veranda with a cappuccino in hand, I had an epiphany: ‘Given the right tools and encouragement, kitty cats can fly’”

I’ve got to be honest. I had a harder time finding words I like than words I hate. Don’t know why that’s the case. Maybe I’m just a pessimistic kind of guy.

What about you–what are your favorite words?

P.S. A virtual high five to you if you can complete a sentence using all five words.

(Photo: Andrew Turner/Flickr)

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29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Love this! I use the word epiphany a lot…maybe not a good thing, but it’s highly specific.

    I love patina, provenance, peregrination (hard to slip that one into a sentence!), riposte, portmanteau, pelisse.

    September 30, 2011
    • Wow. I think all of those are hard to slip into a sentence.

      September 30, 2011
  2. Blair #

    That’s so funny. I JUST took a leisurely stroll and had this epiphany about a monkey whose hope completely fizzled when he tumbled into an abyss. Sad day for the monkey.

    By the by, I love the words whimsical, winsome, delightful, enchanted and endearing to name a few. I have a friend who loves zesty and balm.

    September 30, 2011
    • Well played! Virtual high five to you, Blair!

      September 30, 2011
    • I love wistful and wisteria.winsome is nice too. alluring is another word i like a lot. my favourite word though is darkling i think, being coined by Keats!:)

      February 4, 2012
  3. While in my leisure suit, my epiphany fizzled out as I mentally approached the abyss of monkey wisdom.

    So I guess that means it is a sentence about a man stuck in the 1970′s who at one time thought monkey’s could do many things, but realized he was wrong.

    A few of my favorite words: britches, skivvies, and the prefix über. I’m sure there are more, but I can’t think of them.

    September 30, 2011
    • Haha. Nice. Virtual high five!

      September 30, 2011
  4. Awaiting his meaning of life epiphany, the monkey spent a leisurely afternoon flinging his fizzling poo into the abyss.

    I agree with your list, which is amazing. And I have to agree, good words are much harder to come up with. I like to think that it’s not because of pessimism but because we react more strongly to words we hate.

    September 30, 2011
    • Fizzling poo sounds kind of nasty, but great sentence.

      September 30, 2011
  5. I love the following words, but there is no way on God’s green Earth I am going to even try to put them into one sentence:


    September 30, 2011
  6. I somehow like “saturation bombing”.
    Also, I love to say “aircraft” instead of “plane”.

    September 30, 2011
    • “Aircraft” is a good call. Flows off the tongue.

      September 30, 2011
  7. The deep South, especially Cajun country is good for lots of fun words. Who can’t like muffaletta? Or gumbo (especially in Little Feat’s “mighty rad gumbo”)? Or for that matter, Louisiana (properly pronounced LOOZ-ie-anna, not Lou-WHEEZY-anna). There’s a river near the Louisiana/Mississippi (there’s another one!) border named the Tchouticabouffa (CHEW-ti-ca-boof-a). Gotta love it.

    Then there’s Poughkeepsie (puh-KEP-see). Not in the deep South, but there’s a Faulkner connection (which might explain Sound, come to think of it). A reporter supposedly asked Faulkner where he got his ideas. [Stupid, STUPID question, but I digress.]

    “Poughkeepsie,” Faulkner replied.

    “Poughkeepsie?” the reporter asked, astonished.

    “Sure,” Faulkner said, “Every six weeks I send them 25 bucks and they send me six ideas.”

    If it’s not a true story, it should be.

    And let’s not forget dessert.

    September 30, 2011
    • Funny stuff!

      September 30, 2011
  8. I love your words! And I agree that it is more difficult coming up with words you love.

    I love “winsome” like Blair, and I think of it whenever I see Kate Winslet, whose last name I love.

    I also love “paddling” used when referring to wading; it’s a term my grandmother used and I think of her when I go paddling in Lake Ontario.

    Other favourite words: tremble and delicious, which both sound like what they describe.

    September 30, 2011
  9. i like capricious, soul, mundane

    October 1, 2011
  10. FBT #

    I like abyss – it’s a lingering memory from my emo teen days of reading too much Keats.

    Other than that I love pernicious – from Macbeth (and I always – every time – say that quote silently in my head when I see/think/hear that word)..

    And awe and ewe – it’s almost as if they’re not really proper words, just sounds.

    October 1, 2011
  11. Glad to see a more positive list of words! The other week, your “Words I Hate” list had actually inspired me to create a “Words I Love” list…

    Anyway, love your blog! Look forward to more posts!

    October 2, 2011
  12. As the monkey’s ephiphany began to fizzle, his sense of leisure tumbled into the abyss of boredom.

    October 7, 2011
  13. My word of today is petrichor Love it. In a hurry, but I will return to read your blog, right up my street!

    October 8, 2011
    • Petrichor is a great word. Always reminds me of the awesome smell it represents.

      December 20, 2013
  14. I am so glad you didn’t include “serendipitous” in your list. Everyone always seems to say that when asked for their favourite word.
    I like “chocolate”.

    April 18, 2012
  15. And “ephemeral”

    April 18, 2012
  16. I agree with “abyss,” and second Blair’s inclusion of “whimsical.” I have also always enjoyed the words “exquisite,” and “quotidian;” even though “quotidian” carries an unpleasant meaning. I simply find both words quite euphonious. Ironically, the word “euphonious” I do not find euphonious in the slightest.

    November 21, 2013
  17. I love the word tumble, twiddle and catch (just because of its sound). Oh and love, because of its meaning and its sound. I especially like to use love to address someone, like sweety or bro.

    December 20, 2013
  18. Elise Berwick #


    April 10, 2014
    • Elise Berwick #

      Not sure what happened with my first attempt!

      April 10, 2014

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