Sunday, June 24, 2007

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WORDS


After reading my previous post, Lila from Indigo Pears suggested printing a list of the 10 Most Beautiful Sounding Words in the English Language.
I did an Internet search and found some lists, many way longer than 10 (try 223!). The first list I found was The British Council's list of the 70 most beautiful words in the English language, topped by "Mother", and containing other words with beautiful concepts behind them, like liberty. I had to refine my search to most beautiful SOUNDING words.
Louis Funk, author of "30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary," proposes these: Asphodel, Fawn, Dawn, Chalice, Anemone, Tranquil, Hush, Golden, Halcyon, Camellia, Bobolink, Thrush, Chimes, Murmuring, Lullaby, Luminous, Damask, Cerulean, Melody, Marigold, Jonquil, Oriole, Tendril, Myrrh, Mignonette, Gossamer, Alyssum, Mist, Oleander, Amaryllis, Rosemary.
Poet Louis Untermeyer says, "The most musical words seem to be those containing the letter "L". I think, offhand, of such words as Violet, Lake, Laughter, Willow, Lovely, and other such limpid and liquid syllables."
Annie Dillard, in "A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek," wrote: "My friend Roseanne Coggeshall, the poet, says that 'Sycamore' is the most intrinsically beautiful word in English."
Here is reporter, editor and author Willard R. Espy's list of the 10 most beautiful words: Gonorrhea, Gossamer, Lullaby, Meandering, Mellifluous, Murmuring, Onomatopoeia, Shenandoah, Summer Afternoon, Wisteria. I would have to strike Gonorrhea because of the bad association connected with it. And Summer Afternoon -two words - is cheating! He's taken them from this quote by Henry James: "Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
I've drawn some favorites of mine from among the lists: Cadence, Caress, Cherish, Diaphanous, Dulcet, Ebullient, Effervescent, Eglantine, Ethereal, Evanescent, Glistening, Grace, Languorous, Lilt, Lustrous, Nevermore, Redolent, Renaissance, Scintillate, Susurrus, Tintinnabulation, Whisper.
But where is my "Thistledown"? It's not even on the list of 223, and now my head is swimming with words and I must stop. But thistledown is on some list, somewhere. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't read this post and not add some more words to the ones already swimming in your head...kitten, puppy, passion, limpid, cuddle, beloved, bubble, soul, lover, sensual, nibble, puddle, darling, affinity, butterfly, woman, prayer, memory, moonbeam, myriad, infinite, blossom, flowing, purring, shimmer, silver, realm, blessed, tender, delicious, wedded, perfume, twilight, lullaby...and please forgive me if I have repeated any of those words already mentioned.

Victoria

Gemma said...

Happy Fairy Day!
beautiful words including thistledown.

Carmen said...

Mariposa = butterfly

lila said...

Coming by on Monday morning to wish you "Happy Birthday"!
You are a dear and treasured friend.

Carmen said...

Happy Birthday Dear Julie!!!

Hoping something shows in your email and make you happy. Keep checking! LOL

caroline said...

Hi Celtic Woman,

I found your blog on Lila's spot. This is just wonderful! I feel a sense of magic just looking at the colors and images.

I really enjoyed reading your biography or whatever you call it. I printed out your list of books to take with me to the library next time.

Here's my contribution: luminescence

miss*R said...

hi sweet Julie - slowly, slowly I am coming back to commenting.
I don't know what my favourite 10 words would be... I will think on that...
hope your birthday was delightful! xo

Autumn said...

A little "pea" told me it was your birthday. I hope it was a joyous one.

"Early Bird" said...

I'm here from Pea's blog to wish you a Happy Birthday!
:)

AnnieElf said...

Hi Julie. My all time favorite word is "peruse". I just love the way that word feels as it bursts from my throat and then flows across my lips.

miss*R said...

so, here are some of my favourites - middle earth (yes, I know that is two) - ancient, wisdom......pixie, nymph, toadstool.... and my favourite of all favourites - magick, cause what is life without it?

nonizamboni said...

Hope your birthday was wonderful! I like your 'thistledown' too.
[Gypsy is a favorite of mine.]