Monday, March 27, 2006
These are a few of my favorite words
I once read an article discussing essay questions on college admission applications. Most of the questions made my head hurt, but this one made me smile: "What is your favorite word and why?"
GEEK ALERT!!! I confess I actually had a favorite word as a kid, though I doubt it would have won me any college acceptance letters. The word was "aardvark." I still like it. How cool to have a word beginning with a double "a." And it sounds cool too, the way the second syllable echoes the first. It means, literally, earth pig. It's a creature something like an anteater or an armadillo. (Armadillo is a cool word, too.)
I've collected other words over the years. Brangle for example. It's archaic now, but it means to wrangle or squabble--which are also two pretty fun words to say or read. Mugwump, a synonym of sorts for poohbah. Hoity-toity. Namby-pamby. Shrubbery. Snark.
Language is one reason I like writing Regency-set historicals. The Regency period of England was a time of wonderful words. You could call someone a fool or you could call him a nodcock, a paperskull, a lobcock, or a cods-head. Beef-witted. A cabbage head. Ninnyhammer. Someone with more hair than wit.
Occasionally, I'll get too enamored of a word when I'm writing. One reader pointed out I'd become a trifle too attached to the word "trifle" in my first book, so I did a search and destroy for it in my second.
So...am I the only word geek here? Anyone else out there have a favorite word to share?