Ailurophiles and Inglenooks.

This list by linguist Robert Beard has been making the rounds for ages; as someone who loves words, I always take a moment to scroll through whenever I see it on a blog or Tumblr feed. Recently, I looked for interviews with Beard to find out what exactly makes a word beautiful - turns out, it's simple: "It's the sound and the meaning and the way they fit together," he tells Bucknell University. 

He likes petrichor ("the smell of earth after rain") and gossamer and lagoon; personally, I'd add alphabet and lollipop and kaleidoscope. What words do you love?

Find Bucknell's interview with Robert Beard, here

More words: 
-Completely accidental - and often very beautiful - haiku.
-A blog devoted to "strange and lovely words" (like jentacular, which means "relating to breakfast.")


  1. Chatoyant is pretty amazing.

    I like 'cinnamon'. :)

  2. Thats so beautiful... the first word means "cat-lover" and this exactly what Bambi and I are...
    so nice...

    if you like to meet our really wonderful cat lasagna...
    just check this out:

    He was the inspiration for our own blog!

    Love from sunny Germany and the fatcatconnection

  3. This is a lovely list!! Thank you, I hadn't seen it!

  4. love this. my faves: chatoyant, lissome, opulent. and i would add to the list: milk, billow and cadence.

  5. Love all of these words, and it's definitely hard to pick a favorite! It would be so fun to create illustrations of the words so that they represent the meaning :)
    thanks for sharing!

  6. Oh I love words! Right now my favourite word is an Italian verb used in the imperative form (assecondela! indulge it!) In English I've always liked loquacious and audacious and allegory and incandescent and indolent and serendipity (all except the last have Latin roots). It's not surprising that so many of these lovely words are essentially Latin. I speak French and Italian (my husband is Italian). Having a solid vocabulary of words that exist in English but that are not necessarily in common parlance comes in handy to communicate when I don't know the exact word in Italian (usually I can just add an extra vowel at the end or change a vowel and that will do, e.g., bucolic is bucolico; effervescent effervescente; furtive is furtivo (in fact a theft in Italian is a 'furto'); indolent is indolente, etc. One of my favourite words in French is "un souci" (a worry) from which insouciance is derived (insouciant is also used in French).

  7. Camila, "cinnamon" is such a good one :)

    Sarah, Lasagna is adorable!

    Max, billow, yes.

    Chloe, it would! Such a great idea.

  8. Steph, I love it all! Your entire comment made my inner word nerd so happy :)

  9. ooh it was fun reading everyone's favourite words, I'd only be cheating by stealing other - need to find my own :)

  10. That first list of words has so many good ones! I think I've just realized as I read those words that my obsession with British television and movies and in particular period shows/films has much to do with the words they frequently use. It's just romantic and fun to listen to. I like poppycock, honey, lovely and darling, too.

  11. Thanks, Shoko. I am completely, madly passionate about words and always enjoy yours!

  12. that actually makes sense. i have always loved words for their sounds and when they match what you have in mind as a meaning for them it is perfect!

  13. I love this list! I'm so taken with wafture; I had no idea it was a word. I've always loved perpetuity, lilt, effusive, and gadzooks :-)



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