Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Most Beautiful Words in the English Language

This website has compiled a list of the 100 most beautiful words in the English language.

There are many good words in there, but few that make me swoon lexically. (Lexically is a word, because I say so.) Some of my faves from their list are chatoyant, champagne, and chiaroscuro, which are hardly English. Also, I think eschew and fugacious are hideous words, but they're in the top 100.

I wonder too, how much meaning influences our love of a word? Are gossamer, effervescent, and halcyon really pretty words, or are they pretty because of the images they conjure? If effervescent meant "sewage-drain", and gossamer meant "blood-stained", would we elevate these words so much?
"Listen, I can fix it for ya, but it'll take a couple o' days before the toilet drains properly into the effervescent."
"The forensics team had left, leaving McBain alone with his thoughts and the gruesome gossamer walls."

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