I recently put out at Facebook post to ask my friends what their favorite words were, and the results were far better than I could have imagined. The "struggle" of writing is real—I've talked to a couple of my artist friends recently about feelings of "not being good enough" or coming up dry for words. It's frustrating, and in a previous post, I address ways to combat those feelings. Now I have another tactic. For seeing these words, and writing the definitions for them, sparked a kind reminder in my soul: that words are really, really fun. Words, and writing by indirect nature, are on our side. They exist for us to communicate and create bridges between our minds and hearts with the minds and hearts of others.
One of the reasons I took on this challenge was so that I could s l o w d o w n, and appreciate the details of the world that I felt like I was overlooking. This speedy mindset came with me into writing—autopilot happens. But slowing down means thinking thoughtfully about each word, and about the profound impact that it can have.
Also, this ended up being really, really, really fun. Though I knew most of these words, I went ahead and defined all of them, which was good because I was incorrect about some of the more "official" definitions. Epiphany, for example, I always thought meant that "ah-ha" moment, like when you realize you can use your conditioner for shaving cream, or when you remember that kid who played Ross's kid in Friends was ALSO in Big Daddy and was ALSO in Suite Life of Zach and Cody. But an epiphany technically is a noun that relates to a divine or supernatural being. So when you say you're having an "epiphany," you are having a moment so magically bizarre that it is relating to the divine.
I also found words that I knew through on a casual basis, but that I rarely used, and now love. Revelry refers to lively and noisy festivities, especially when these involve drinking a large amount of alcohol—WHY don't we use this more often? Come to my BIRTHDAY REVELRY, my TACO REVELRY etc, etc. Chthonic means subterranean, or the underworld, AKA the upside down... so naturally that evokes feelings of mystery and cravings for Eggo waffles. Oenomel refers to a Greek drink made from honey and wine, which are two of the sweetest things combined into one, and who wouldn't want to be drinking honey wine on the Greek isles with some mythological creatures and a handsome moped owner maybe, possibly named Chrisos?
I digress. I could on and on about words forever, and it's late, and Ian and are pretty much finished with a bottle of Trader Joe's Cherry Blossom, and we'd still like to build a fire before bedtime. If you're ever short on inspiration, need to add some tools to your box, or are simply looking for a dose of whimsy, please check out the list below.
voluptuous - relating to or characterized by sensual pleasure
bookkeeper - a person whose job is to keep records of the financial affairs of a business
balloon - the ability to appear effortlessly suspended while performing movements during a jump
bumblebee - a large hairy bee with a loud hum, living in small colonies in holes underground
melanzana - Italian, eggplant
ubiquitous - present, appearing everywhere
volition - the power of using one's will
deathstar - A number of fictional mobile space stations and galactic superweapons
onomatopoeia - a word that phonetically imitates, resembles or suggests the sound that it describes
sesquipedalian - long, multi-syllabic
superfluous - unnecessary, more than enough
ballyhoo - extravagant publicity or fuss
tomfoolery - foolish or silly behavior
defenestration - the act of throwing someone/something out of a window
unconditional - not subject to any conditions
existential - concerning existence
ethereal - extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world
satire - the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices
phenomenon - a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question.
fruit loop - a vibrant, singular piece of cereal (or a silly person)
beluga - white whale in the arctic or sub-arctic
oubliette - a secret dungeon with a trapdoor in the ceiling
terpsichore - of or relating to dance
mellifluous - sweet or melodic, nice to hear
wizened - shriveled or wrinkled with age
exegesis - critical explanation or interpretation of text
Pelaverga - an Italian grape wine
eloquence - persuasive speaking or writing
vellichor - strange wistfulness of used bookstores
Oenomel - Greek drink made of wine and honey
hullabaloo - commotion or fuss
quandry - state of perplexity or confusion over what to do in a certain situation
cannabis - a tall plant with a stiff upright stem, divided serrated leaves, and glandular hairs. Used to produce hemp fiber and as a psychotropic drug
cummerbund - broad waist sash, usually pleated
schadenfreude - pleasure derived from someone else's misfortune
surreptitious - kept secret, especially because it would not be approved of
aspirational - having or characterized by aspirations to achieve social prestige and material success
ne'er-do-well - a person who is lazy and irresponsible
curmudgeon - a bad-tempered or surly person.
prolific - present in large numbers or quantities, plentiful
audacity - willingness to take bold risks
awkward - causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience
y'all - you all
spatula - a broad, flat, flexible blade used to mix, spread and lift material" including foods, drugs, plaster and paints
intrinsic - belonging naturally, essential
shenanigans - silly or high-spirited behavior; mischief.
doppelgänger - a look-alike or double of a living person
balderdash - sense talk or writing, nonsense
umlaut - a mark used over a vowel, as in German or Hungarian, to indicate a different vowel quality, usually fronting or rounding
nefarious - wicked or criminal
syzygy - a conjunction or opposition, especially of the moon with the sun
zymurgy - is an applied science which studies the biochemical process of fermentation and its practical uses.
chthonic - concerning, or belonging to, or inhabiting the underworld
ouroboros - an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eat its own tail
incandescent - emitting light as a result of being heated
revelry - lively and noisy festivities, especially when these involve drinking a large amount of alcohol
antiquated - old-fashioned or outdated
lacrymosa - an Evanescence song, or "lacrimosa," which is Latin for weeping
iridescent - showing luminous color that seem to change when looked at from different angles
humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa - a reef triggerfish
discombobulated - disconcerted or confused
macabre - disturbing and horrifying because of involvement with or depiction of death and injury
infinitesimally - indefinitely or exceedingly small
epiphany - a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being
astronomically - of, or relating to, or connecting with astronomy