12 Comments

Can You Say Crepuscular?

Do you have a little restaurant that you go back to again and again? Is it because the food is really that good? Is it cheap?  Or is the reason because it is comfortable; because you know exactly what to expect? The waiters all know you, the menu doesn’t change, you have a particular table that you get seated at often.  There is a local Thai restaurant that checks all those boxes for me.  Their Drunken Noodles with Beef are a must-have.

Like the local favorite haunt, I have favorite words. They may not all get used often, but they are comfortable to me, nonetheless. Take the word “crepuscular” for instance (pronounced kray-PUS-que-lar).  It is a term used to describe the rays of slanting sunlight poking down through the puffy clouds, often referred to as “God light.”  How often does that come up in conversation?  Besides, every time I use it I have to define it. Still I love that word.  I think that I love it more for the sound than for the meaning.

I like the hard “c” at the beginning as well as the one in the middle. I like the emphasis on the second syllable of “pus,” giving it a slightly sinister sound. I like the way the word comes to an easy end on the fourth syllable, which almost gets swallowed.

There are other words that I like for their sound.  They are not unique or esoteric words, they are normal, garden variety words.  “Scratch” and “click” are words that I like for their onomatopoeia value. The words make the sounds they describe.  Again, I am drawn to the hard “c” and the “ch” sounds.  I like the way the “t” in the word “scratch” forces the “ch” sound that follows to be voiced more abruptly than in the word “church” for example.

I like the term “tank top.” It has some pleasant alliteration going on with it.  The sharpness of the the two t’s and the k sound in the middle followed by the pop of the “p” at the end all intrigues me. Words like “shoe” or “harm” are not very exciting and lay on the tongue like a bitter pill waiting for water to wash it down. I don’t like words that are hard to say. I never know what to do with words like “macabre” or “chipotle.”

I like words with crunch and character. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music and I find myself attracted to artists who use percussion in new and unique ways.  Words seem to do the same thing for me. “Crutch,” “crotch” and “catch” all grab my ear for the same reasons that “scratch” does. Seriously, I think about these things.

What are some of your favorite words and why? Do you listen to the sounds they make or are you more of a definition hound?  Let me know what you like. In the mean time, I’ll mull over a few more words myself.  Cantankerous… Originate… Vivisection… Flagstaff… Magnanimous…. Conflagration… Itch… Etcetera…

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12 comments on “Can You Say Crepuscular?

  1. Nomenclature…a good word for words.
    Superfluous…seems unnecessary to add this word.
    Omnipotent…hard “T” sound gives validation to it’s meaning.
    Pacify…soothing sound calms me.
    Addendum…I’ll add this one at the end.

  2. Great post. I like PARSIMONIOUS, maybe because few people know what it means (frugal and even stingy) but for the easy way it flows off the tongue. I also think it’s a good mantra for a writer. Less is more. 🙂 Carolyn

  3. really nice….favorite words ..colors any colors

  4. Carnivorous – devours crudities
    Sybilline – so hidden the meaning that I always confuse it with a sybarite (or maybe I am too lazy to find out the difference)
    Sussurus – have I mentioned that I like ‘s’ sounds and onomatopoeia?

  5. I have 3 favorite words:
    Brilliant – because we all have our brilliant moments
    Remarkable – just love the way it sounds
    Bacronym – my all time favorite because my father created it in 1970, and the word is showing up more and more in everyday language. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacronym

    • Only a remarkable and brilliant man, like your father, could invent the bacronym! What a lovely little bit of literary history. I love the bacronym, they’re all over the government!

  6. Nice post! 🙂 I actually think about words and language a fair bit – though clearly not as intently as you have! I know what you mean about certain words just sticking with you and sounds and how they strike you. Though for me, I suppose it’s a side-effect of the current state of language but I tend to be most fond of words that no longer find their way easily into common parlance (thats a word I like for example).
    Some of them would be:
    Evanescent, supercilious, nascent, cantankerous, lexicon, ambience, perturbed… none of these are wholly remarkable words but have so much meaning in them and add so much more to conversation and just the language in general. And I suppose in the face of an ever more slang-heavy and shortened language becoming common (I don’t dislike either of these but everything in moderation I say) I feel more and more compelled to use a better vocabulary than those around me.
    …makes me feel like I’m being a snobbish twat sometimes but it passes fairly quickly! 😀

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