Words Are Fun

Words are fun! You can put them in all sorts of orders and come out with beautiful books or with complete gibberish. Some might say that The Sound and the Fury accomplishes both of these. What I really want to go on about though are words that are fun to say. Or at least I think they are fun to say, or maybe just fun in general. I also asked someone else what words they liked, and I’ll stick them in here as a counterpoint to mine.

I will also include the definitions, of course. Typically when someone comes up to me here at the library and wants the definition or spelling of a word, I use the Internet to answer them. A quick Google search is simply faster than using a printed dictionary. Even when I am sure of the spelling of a word I will usually do a search and double check. I am a good speller.

However, for this blog I will go old school, mainly for fun, and use this for the definitions. Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, Unabridged, which dates from 1934. Before you ask, no, you cannot check it out, but you can use it here inside the library.

Note the copy of Moby Dick added for scale.
Note the copy of Moby Dick added for scale.

Colors

Considering how many colors there are (probably a lot more than you thought there were) it isn’t surprising some of them have fun names. There were many others I though of including, such as magenta or fuchsia, but one has to draw a line somewhere.

Vermillion (“a lively and brilliant red”). It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? The reds seem to have the best overall shade names.

Cerulean (“sky-blue”). Is it a color or some time of marine life? Sounds nice, though.

Chartreuse (“a color yellow in hue”). I’m not fond of the shade. It sticks out to me because it sounds so much more like a French name than a color. I think they used it on Blue’s Clue’s.

Azure (“resembling the blue color of the clear sky”). Pretty much just another way to say “blue”.

Blue sky
Totally different than every other blue.

Prismatic (“resembling the colors formed by the refraction of light through a prism”). When you can’t choose one color, choose a bunch. I may or may not have chosen this word because of this.

Blue is our first entry from my friend. I thought perhaps you might find it boring, so I looked through the various definitions given and found this one; “a pedantic woman; a bluestocking”. So then I asked myself what exactly was meant by bluestocking, and found it to be this: “a literary woman”. Well, that works quite nicely I think.

Animals

I love animals, but keep in mind that as with the colors above I am talking about the words themselves.

Dromedary (“originally, a camel of unusual speed, bred and trained especially for riding; now, more often, the Arabian or one-humped camel”). I don’t like camels, although I admit to having never really met one. It is interesting to see how the usage of the word has shifted over time.

Hippopotamus (“any of certain large, four-toed mammals allied to the hogs…having an enormous head and mouth, bare and very thick skin, and very short legs”). Hippos are fascinating creatures, and quite deadly as well, even in the city. Looking at that definition makes me think that writing a dictionary isn’t very easy.

Wide open hippo mouth
Tasty

Furry (“covered with fur”). From my friend, and I was certainly struck by the very brief definition. So many of these have multiple ways they can be used, and for furry it was just that.

Bear (“a color, yellow in hue, of low saturation and low brilliance”). Another guest entry. I do like bears. This is a word with many varied meanings, as is aptly demonstrated here, but I was surprised to see the one about it being a color. I had trouble finding a modern listing of bear as a color, though.

Numbers

Since there are even more numbers than colors, you would think they would have cooler names. Neither of my words in this category appear in this antiquated dictionary.

Eleventy. A made up nonsense number I like the sound of. Did you know it was made up by Tolkien?

Gazillion. Sure, another one made up to represent an unspecified large amount of stuff, but this one famously has become a real word. That makes me happy for a gazillion reasons.

Food

Who doesn’t like food? I take eating very seriously, and hence often separate it from other fun times, but one thing I absolutely had to include.

Capicola. I did not find this one listed, but to be fair there are multiple spelling variations and I got tired of checking on all of them. Obviously my favorite variation is “Gabagool”. However you spell it, it is an Italian cured meat, similar a bit to salami. When my wife first called it Gabagool, we had a bit of a heated discussion about pronunciations and the like. Suffice it to say that I was very, very wrong.

Waffle (“a soft but crisped indented battercake cooked in a waffle iron”). My friend’s contribution to the food portion of this program. I admit it is fun to say. I also like how one word in the definition, battercake, is not in the WordPress dictionary. I knew a guy who lived on a street called Waffle Terrace. He actually looked into what it would take to get the name changed.

Waffles with butter and syrup
No words needed.

Say that three times fast

These are the leftover words from my list that didn’t fall into the nicely organized categories like the other words

Exemplary (“deserving imitation”). Double winner here, as it is wonderful to say and to use.

Badda-bing. Hmm, well apparently this doesn’t qualify, as it really should be badda bing, two words, with the second d being optional. The whole bit is badda bing badda boom, and you can find a definition here. The exact origin of the phrase remains unknown, but it sure does crop up a lot, from Star Trek to the pizza we had the other day to these guys, who we saw, appropriately enough, in Brooklyn.

Proliferation (“rapid and repeated production of new parts”). Maybe not so fun to say, but I like it because I used it in a college writing class and the professor pointed it out to the class. I savor my small victories.

Onomatopoeia (“formation of words in imitation of natural sounds”). I would propose that this was the funnest of the words contributed by my friend to this post, and it receives bonus points for being literally about fun sounding words.

pfoom
Yeah, like that

Pocket (“a coarse bag or sack, as those used in packing various articles, as ginger, hops, etc.”). The last entry, also from my friend, might seem pretty plain at first. Look again! Besides the Dr Seuss angle (and yes, you will be saying that later today whether you want to or not), look at that definition. I was astonished to see a variety of uses listed in the dictionary, but none of them related directly to clothing. For the record, pockets have been pockets for some time. I also like the examples of things people may put inside their pockets. Good times.

Words. Functional and fashionable.

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