I found myself thinking about favorite words today. There exists, sometimes, a word as sweet or prickly as the thing it names or a word that brings to mind the opposite of its meaning. Here are a few of mine.
- The unrelated slap-dash and haberdashery
The somewhat misleading shoehorn
The ever-so-nasty carbuncle, which is not like a barnacle (and is not to be confused with the lesser-known furuncle, which sounds like a word invented for a raised-by-wolves story)
The evocative spitfire
The sophisticated svelt
The pointy-edged complication and its softer cousin, impediment
The expansive (or explosive) catastrophic
The decreasingly-popular adjective lantern-jawed
There are so many words out there that you can nearly always find one that fits your point perfectly. I advocate universal Thesaurus use whenever you write.
Often I’ll compose a sentence intended to convey something only to discover that it fails. The words mean the right things but don’t evoke the right mental picture. I click over to my favorite Thesaurus site and look up the words that don’t fit.
Invariably, I find or am reminded of a word that makes my language center stand up and say, “Yes!” The cadence of a sentence and the layout of a paragraph live and die by the words you choose. Put some variety into your vocabulary, and please share some of your favorite words with me.