As a wordsmith, words are my tools, my medium of expression, my paintbrush, my musical instrument. My food, my ideas-generator, my passion. So how can I have any favourites? To state a preference for a word implies it has a greater value in my eyes than others.
Sure, we all love pretty words like “flair” and “duckling”, and handsome words like “lair” and “dark.” Then there are cute ones like “poultice” and “sub-woofer.”
It’s a bit like asking a parent which is her favourite child. If you’re a parent, or have owned more than one pet, you know what I mean.
Perhaps if I were in an idle mood, I’d say my favourite would be “shopping.” Which would lead to “regalia.” Why? Because “shopping” implies for me not Giordano, which is The Gap of Southeast Asia, but rather traipsing the corridors of glamour where Tod’s and Jimmy Choo reside.
So “regalia” leads to royalty which leads me to “ermine,” the heraldic (signifying a coat of arms) winter fur of the stoat, (now there’s a cutie-pie of a word) which then leads me to land on “mink.” Ah, that’s a beautiful one, huh.
Then there’s a slew of ordinary words which have acquired upgrades with the prevalence of online social media. “Friend” and its counterpart “Unfriend.”
Refresh used to simply mean revitalize, now it means to update a page onscreen. It’s interesting that before Twitter, “tweet” wasn’t a real word, just like “font” was only created when Apple computers featured fonts in its word-processing programs.
Back to favourites. Liking a word doesn’t mean I use it often. The opposite is true. I mean, who wears ermine nowadays? I hardly wear boots, but I love the way it sounds, and I never wear suede, though I love the idea of it and the actual thing.
Yes, like most women who like clothes and dressing up, I love suede when it’s shoes. But I have a theory that never fails to prove itself in my life:
Whenever I wear suede shoes, it always, always rains. Always.
What’s your favourite word? And why? Does it evoke images, memories, people in your mind? What about a least favourite word?