What Makes My Favourite Word My Favorite Word
Before today, I’d never thought about a favorite word. I have a favorite football team. I have a favorite TV show. If I’m in the right mood, I have a favorite book and a favorite movie. At one time I had a favorite color and a favorite number. But I’ve never had a favorite word.
A book blog at The Guardian is asking its readers to send in their favourite words. My first reaction was that websites will make a list of anything. Lists attract readers. Lists encourage interaction with the website that compiles the lists. But this is a little different. At least The Guardian didn’t just make up its own “Top Ten Favourite Words” list like some bloggers or websites would do. Readers can send in their contributions for the Edinburgh book festival of author’s favourite words (I live in the United States and have no idea what that is).
It’s already gotten started. One etymologist in the article had two favourite words: “palpable” and “infectious.” A couple of the obscure words mentioned were “sprunting” and “wamblecropped.” I’m guessing that some people like to show off when they have a long, obscure word they know that nobody else knows. That’s fine. I used to pretend to have read books that I never read, so I can’t gripe about people who show off their vocabulary.
I’ve just decided that my favorite word is “shlock.” It’s short. It’s also obscure, but most people can figure out what it means without being told. It fits my personality. Most of what I read is schlock. Most of what I write is schlock. In fact, I might change the name of my blog from Dysfunctional Literacy to Schlock. It’s shorter and probably easier to remember.
I like the sound of that.
I wasn’t even sure my word was a real word until I looked it up. I just found out the word “schlock” has two spellings (also “shlock”). I know a word is a real word when the dictionary has two spellings for it.
I like “schlock” because it sounds like a four-letter word when it isn’t. I don’t think a mom will wash out her kids’ mouths with soap for saying “schlock.” She might for saying “cr##” or “sh##” but not for “schlock.”
When I check out a bunch of recent bestsellers from the library, I say to the librarian, “Here’s my schlock for the week.” Sometimes they smile. Sometimes they look annoyed. Sometimes they’ll argue and say one of the books is actually pretty good.
There’s a fast food restaurant called Schlotzky’s, and I’ve never been there. You’d think if I liked the word “schlock,” I would try out a restaurant that sounds like my favorite word, but I’m a bit reluctant. I’m not suggesting that Schlotzky’s is schlock. I know several people who really like Schlotzky’s.
When most people think of a favorite word (especially in the Guardian’s comments section), it seems like they just pick out long, obscure words and claim that’s their favourite. But a favorite word should say something about a person. There should be a connection between you and your favorite word. It should be more than a word, just like “schlock” is more than a word for me. It’s almost a state of mind… or state of being.
It’s kind of weird that I’d have such high standards for a favorite word when my favorite word means “something of low quality.” It might even be ironic (but I’m not sure).
Keeping that in mind, what is your favorite (or favourite) word?