A sesquipedalian post

There’s almost a countless number of words in the English language. And yet, as humans we’re still able to pick out one that we call our favorite. It could be a word that’s long and not many people know what it means, like antidisestablishmentarianism. It could be a word that’s just plain nonsense, like Mary Poppins’ favorite, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I’ve always been fond of words that describe other words, like onomatopoeia, the use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects they refer to (buzz), and portmanteau, a word formed by merging two different words (brunch). There are so many lovely vowels in onomatopoeia.

My favorite word, however, is exquisite. I couldn’t tell you exactly why, except I’ve always thought that the meaning and the way it rolled off my tongue were just that — exquisite. Plus it’s a combination of such ubiquitous (another good word) letters as ‘e’ and ‘s’ but also the often neglected letters, ‘x’ and ‘q’.

This morning I read a fascinating article from Merriam-Webster Online, People’s Top 10 Favorite Words. If you’re interested in the whole thing, here it is:


But I’ll give you the rundown here:

  1. Defenestration (a usually swift expulsion or dismissal)
  2. Flibbertigibbet (a silly, flighty person)
  3. Kerfuffle (disturbance, fuss)
  4. Persnickety (fussy about small details)
  5. Callipygian (having shapely buttocks)
  6. Serendipity (luck that takes the form of finding valuable things)
  7. Mellifluous (having a smooth, rich flow)
  8. Discombobulated (upset; confused)
  9. Palimpsest (something with aspects apparent beneath the surface)
  10. Sesquipedalian (characterized by the use of long words)

I love some of these words (I have to tell you, any time I see the word kerfuffle, it makes me giggle, and takes the sting out of a potentially bad situation). But some of them I don’t agree with (palimpsest is just very awkward to me, it makes me think of the word pimple, and I think mellifluous is actually very hard to say and doesn’t flow well).

What’s your take? Are these your favorite words too? If so, tell me why! If not, what is your favorite word, or am I completely crazy for putting thought into this? Leave a comment!


3 thoughts on “A sesquipedalian post

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