Thursday 10 November 2022

What are your favourite words?

Mine include dusk, oblivion and sepulchre. Melancholy choices and melancholy is another very beautiful word. I like the rather pompous words magniloquence, subliminal and serendipity.

I learnt just now that one John Koenig in his 'The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows' created the word vellichor and said that it meant the strange wistfulness of second hand bookshops "which are somehow infused with the passage of time". I don't consider it a word. Rather American to imagine one can create words, but Shakespeare invented lots and Sir Thomas Browne coined the words electricity, computer, hallucination, pathology, follicle, hallucination, illustrative, participating, ruminating, selection, transgressive, undulation, and variegation.

Scherzando Lucus-Box suggested berserk, filigree and verdigris.

Colin Cavendish-Jones suggested: marmoreal, pellucid, corybant, petrichor, sunset, lollygag, crimson, greengage, woebegone, glacial, liminal, iridescent, epiphany, defenestrate, patrician, snollygoster, sockdolager, absquatulate, footling, hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia.

Not many Anglo-Saxon words except dusk and greengage.


  1. struthious and crepuscular

  2. Subtle, jejune and nadir

  3. The Romanian writer Patapievici created some waves in Romania when he causally used such words as pusillanimous and obsequious in interviews.
    I suppose you know the origin of the word "serendipity". The name "Vanessa" is another example of an invention by a writer.

    1. Yes I know the origins of those two. Invented by Horace Walpole and Jonathan Swift.

  4. Incandescent, irridescent, nonchalant, enchanting, medieval, raffish.

  5. Pencil and silver

  6. Dominic Johnson, a very clever friend, wonderfully suggested: Plinth. Petrichor. Plangent.

  7. Righteous. Now that is a word.