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What Makes My Favourite Word My Favorite Word

August 15, 2013
Scrabble game in final stages

What’s your favorite (or favourite) word? I’m pretty sure it’s not the same as mine! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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?

  1. I really like the word asylum. I don’t know why it just sounds really nice.

  2. Cadaver because it of the long a in it. I hate the word corpse, though.

  3. My favorite word? As Sarah Palin said, “I like all of ’em”.
    Seriously, English has over a million words at the last count, so no way I am going through all of them to pick a favorite. And that’s the only way I can be sure I’ve really identified a favorite word, rather than just something that popped in my head.

    • Didn’t Sarah Palin come up with “refudiate”? That’s a good word. If I had made up “refudiate,” that would have been my second favorite word (I have to stand by “schlock,” even if I didn’t make it up).

      • Sarah Palin … what a klutz! Ooo, now I think my favourite is ‘klutz’.

      • Agree, it was a good word. Still, “Schlock” is better, because you can use “schlock” in so many different situation.

  4. At the risk of sounding more immature and/or offensive than I’d prefer, I’ve always been a fan of the F word.

    Noun. Verb. Adjective. Adverb?

    The man got fucked over by the hot dog vendor. “What a fucking fucker!,” the man said, fuckingly.

    It’s versatile. And its versatility gives it merit. Despite its offensiveness.

  5. Plonker. Noun, self explanatory and able to be used very often.

    New french current favourites are ‘superzoot’ (probably spelt incorrectly) being an expression of dismay when something goes wrong, and ‘exactamo!’ meaning exactly but pronounced with such force and used surprisingly often by the french.

  6. Bliss. It’s just so much fun to say it. When I say it, I automatically feel it. But you have to stretch out the “ss” sound just a bit.

  7. cosmicbookworm permalink

    I don’t have an all-time favourite word. But English being my second language, I feel like a little child who’s still learning to talk sometimes, I’d have a favourite word (or five) for a period of time – usually words that weren’t familiar to me at the time – and then move on to the next. Right now, I’m liking schlock, I like the sound of the word and what I guess it means judging by the sound. So thank you for giving me a new favourite word. 😀

  8. ‘Pulchritude’ … such an ugly word for ‘beauty’, don’t you think? But then ‘lugubrious’ comes a close second.

  9. I don’t know if I have a single favorite word, but there are lots I like, like “tyromancy” and “verisimilitude”. Schlock is pretty cool.

  10. “Deign” is nice. I’m not sure if it’s my favorite, but it’s a good word to know.

  11. I like the word waffle. I like the ffle bit it sounds fluffy and light

  12. My favorite word: troglodyte. Sadly, it is not easily worked into conversation.

  13. Pedunculated. Fabulous sounding word. Unfortunately and fortunately I’ve not had much call to use it this year!

  14. mine is acquiescence

  15. veronica117 permalink

    My favorite word is tempestuous.

  16. Probably Serendipity or Insidious .,. I have no idea why.

  17. Stacy Porter permalink

    My favorite sarcastic word is delightful lol

  18. My favourite word’s ‘Magnificent’. The ‘cent’ part is the real charm to me 😀

  19. sunshinegills permalink

    Wicked, probably because I’m from New England. It’s universal for every situation.

  20. You have me literally in tears of laughter reading this shlock. LMAO. This piece was wholly entertaining to me. Great Job reflecting your personality!!! Very creative.

  21. Alouette. It’s the French word for lark. In Les Misérables it is the Montfermeuil villagers’ nickname for Cosette while she lives with the Thénardiers because she is thin and fragile. It also serves as a metaphor because alouettes are known for swooping back up again when they are close to hitting the ground as Cosette does when Jean Valjean adopts her.
    It’s also a cute song. And now you know part of the story behind the name of my blog.

  22. One word that I’ve recently discovered is “aporia”. I love the definition: a philosophical puzzle or puzzlement.
    Another favorite (because I can’t have just one) is “quiz” because of how many times it has helped me in a game of Scrabble!

  23. My favourite word has always been flabbergasted. It’s a word that more people should use regularly!

  24. I don’t know, but I really like the word ‘seriously’. It’s probably because of all the Harry Potter puns and because I use this word way too often…

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