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.