What is your favourite word?

There’s a beauty in language in that when you ask someone what their favourite word in English is the results

There’s a beauty in language in that when you ask someone what their favourite word in English is the results are eclectic, poetic and exotic.

Emeritus Professor Roly Sussex is someone with a long-standing love affair with language, but not just English; he also speaks German, French, Russian, Polish, Czech and Latin. He regularly talks about words, their meanings and their heritage on a podcast with ABC radio.

A quick whip around the Starts at 60 office revealed some unusual favourites.

Onomatopoeia meaning the formation of a word by imitation of a sound made by or associated with its reference, such as cuckoomeowhonk or boom.

Consulate the premises officially occupied by a consul.

Relish which is both a noun (liking or enjoyment of the taste of something; related to cookery, such as something savoury or appetising added to a meal; or a pleasing or enjoyable quality) and a verb (to take pleasure in; to have taste of flavour; or to be agreeable).

Serendipity the aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident; good fortune; luck.

Ubiquitous meaning being everywhere, especially at the same time.

Kerfuffle a fuss, commotion.

Many words are seemingly chosen because they are fun, playful, quirky or lexically (a word of Greek origin that essentially means ‘of or relating to items of vocabulary in a language) appealing.

You might also be drawn to your favourite word from another language, which according to Babbel is much like a love for food from other cultures. The exotic sounds and the way a foreign word rolls off the tongue can draw you in and create a certain romanticism, even if the word is offensive or ill-meaning.

Everyone can — and does — have an opinion.

What is your favourite word and why? Share with us

  1. Susan Bell  

    BORBORIGMI, the the name for the sound your stomache makes when it gurgles. ALAR means the growing of wings i.e. My heart did alar with joy. REVERSTENTIALISM A deliberate and provocative act of aggression by an inanimate object against a human being i.e. You open a cupboard and a tin falls out and lands on your foot, a bed sheet tangles itself around your ankle making you fall.

  2. Lorrayne  

    ‘Equus’, Latin for ‘horse’.
    My favourite animal. Have been a rider all my long life.
    They’re just magnificent creatures, & can sense how a human’s feeling, very easily.

    My life would feel very depleted, in many ways, without them.


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