Different Words For Different Nerds

I love words. Their sounds. Their many meanings. Their contradictions and misuse.

I enjoy learning new words. (Hence, my addiction to A-Word-A-Day) 

I certainly wouldn’t call myself a linguaphile. It’s merely a hobby.

Sometimes, I can be very literal. “Say what you mean. Mean what you say.” – a phrase I use all too often with my husband; I’m sure he’d agree. Other times, I look for hidden meanings and agendas. Sometimes I create something that isn’t there and let my imagination take flight.

The wonderful thing about words is that everyone has a favorite and for very different reasons. Different words for different nerds. That’s my motto.

Here are a few of this nerd’s favorites:

1. Marshmallow – Doesn’t it sound all soft and fluffy? I don’t even like marshmallows but I love the word. A little evidence of how tolerant I am.

2. Lethologica – The inability to remember the right word. Such a useful word. One I employ more often than I’d care to admit.

3. Onomatopoeia – I love the word and I tend to love the words it represents. Buzz, zip, click and clack. Perfect? No?

4. Hobgoblin – Sounds exactly like an impish, mischievous soul. Right? And it’s used in one of my favorite Emerson quotes: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

5. Elixir – Don’t know why I love this word. But when I describe my beloved Coca-Cola, I’ll often declare that it is “the elixir of the gods!” So, elixir stays on my list.

6. Plethora – I use this word quite a bit. So much so, that when my then 3-year-old told his grandmother that he had a plethora of toys to play with; She agreed.

7. Rumpus – “Let the wild rumpus begin!” – From what favorite children’s book? You tell me!

8. Brouhaha – A cousin to rumpus but a fun, appropriate sounding word, all the same.

9. Haricot Verts – Not an English word, but a wonderful phrase. My favorite in the French language. I just love the way it trips off my tongue, sounding so delicious and sweet, romantic and beautiful. Who knew a simple pile of green beans could sound so wonderful?

10. Skedaddle – Some say, “Hurry up!” Others say, “Chop chop!” or “Shake a leg!” Me? I’m always telling my kids, “Scoot, scoot, skedaddle!” Much more fun to say, don’t you think?

Any true  linguaphiles out there? Or hobbyists like me? Share a favorite word of yours in the comments below. I need to add to my treasure trove.

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20 Comments

Filed under Because I'm Curious

20 responses to “Different Words For Different Nerds

  1. Aubergine – Love the way it sounds and it’s my favorite color. The veg isn’t too bad either.

  2. Where the Wild Things Are? If not, I’ve been labouring under a misconception for years. I like autopsy. And lacunae. And poppy. And scurrilous. And staccato. And stiletto. I just read a few of the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries, and I love how she always works in the ‘word of the day’ from her calendar (cause, ya know, it’s too hard to get educated when you can hear everyone’s thoughts, but she’s still keen on self improvement).

  3. Ack! I love this post!! The word-nerd in me is swooning 😉

  4. I personally favor ‘perspicacity’ or ‘perspicacious’. I guess we’re all word nerds at heart, eh? 😉

  5. idiosyncraticeye

    I think you’ve covered quite a few of mine there. Brouhaha is from the French is well, I’ve not met its usage in English before. I’m also liking the term ‘word nerd’, I’ll adopt that one too. 🙂

  6. Sorry to drag things into the gutter but, since I am guessing most of your readers are American, they probably won’t be too offended by this one.
    A favorite word of mine is…Bollocks, which is a minor English swear word referring to testicles.
    But it has so many other uses. For example:
    – “That’s a load of old bollocks!” means someone is lying
    – “That’s been bollocked up” means someone has totally messed something up
    – “That’s the dog’s bollocks” means it is the best (sic)
    – “Ahh bollocks!” – just a swear word, for example after hitting your thumb with a hammer.
    It really rolls off the tongue nicely…try it.
    Oh…and (sic) is one of my favorites too 🙂

  7. I love bollocks!!
    Actually, I love all of your words!

    I like “strumpet.”

  8. Taciturn. Proclivity.

    I used ‘insipid palavar’ on someone yesterday.

  9. Hobgoblin reminds me of E. E. Cummings’ ‘Hist Whist’:

    little twitchy
    witches and tingling
    goblins
    hob-a-nob hob-a-nob

    And rumpus (great word!) reminds me of “Rumpeta rumpeta rumpeta, all down the road” from The Elephant and the Bad Baby. Not the book you meant, I know…

  10. I use the word “apparently” a lot, since I do some ranting in my blog…”apparently” is good for sarcastic comments. I also like the word “alliteration” (which I love to use too, especially in titles!).

    Wendy

  11. LOL! I used this exact photo at the beginning of ABC Wednesday, Round 7! I love the photo and round 7 was my second time through selecting unusual words for the meme. It was quite the challenge. My favorite discovered word is: Nepenthe; meaning an elixir or potion that causes forgetfulness. If I ever have a sailboat, that will be its name. 🙂

    As for Let the wild rumpus begin, it’s, of course, from Where the Wild Things Are. Loved your post today.

  12. Let’s hear it for other word-worriers and word-warriors. There is a reason we have so many; they carry subtle distinctions, and often important ones.

    AND – they’re fun !!!

  13. Doesn’t the word MIASMA sound like it should have something delightful to do with summer breezes, chaise lounges, straw hats, and glasses of iced tea?

  14. I like the graphic on this post Jane. I love the word “panoply.”

  15. I love your words! They made me smile.
    I heart “rhythm” because it has no true vowels.

  16. Good words! I love marshmallow and hobgoblin. I’m fond of the word “jest.”

  17. Onomatopoeia is a delight, I agree. One of my favorite West Wing moments involves several uses and I delight in replaying it.
    I’m with Witchy on strumpet.
    I love saying “ping pong.”
    I love hurling “petulant.”
    I adore writing “incipient.” And “inchoate.”
    And I go way over my geek quotient trying to use the positive of lexical negatives. I try to add ruth where others are ruthless and to be thetical when others are antithetical. It’s a hobby, as is collecting malapropisms.

  18. Knish

    I like teaching my kids rejoinders that mean “you’re lying!” yet don’t sound as rude coming out of a little mouth. Like “my Aunt Fanny!”

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