While the English language is filled with thousands of descriptive words, I have found that in my writing I am drawn to a few that really make me smile. Here are a few of my particular favs:
Rotgut – noun or adjective “poor-quality and potentially toxic alcoholic liquor.” I love this one because it is just so literal. A quick Google search shows me that there is a video game and a punk band with this moniker. That’s just awesome.
Cattywampus – adjective “not lined up or not arranged correctly, or diagonally” Incidentally, this word is the origin of “kitty-corner”. Mad props to Carrie Underwood for smoothly injecting such a funky word into Choctaw County Affair.
Hardscrabble – adjective – involving hard work and struggle. I just love the literal feel of this one. Whenever I hear it, I always picture some poor orphaned kid scraping his bare knees on cobblestones to make a living. Ironically there is actually a street not too far from me with this name. I tried (and failed) to convince the better half we should invest in property there just because of the sweet street name.
Sinew – noun “a piece of tough fibrous tissue uniting muscle to bone or bone to bone; a tendon or ligament.” Good stuff for the pages of any book. Gristle works well too!
Flesh – noun “the soft substance consisting of muscle and fat that is found between the skin and bones of an animal or a human.” Interestingly enough, there is an British verb definition – “give (a hound or hawk) a piece of the flesh of game that has been killed in order to incite it.”
Gobbets – noun – “a piece or lump of flesh, food, or other matter.” Wow, I am starting to sense a disturbing trend here. Perhaps I’d better lay off the zombie movies for a while. I like this one because the word itself sounds completely innocent. I always picture big stinking gobbets hanging in between the T-Rex’s teeth…
Boondoggle – noun – “work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value” or verb – “waste money or time on unnecessary or questionable projects.” Some of you might be thinking this page is a perfect example of this word. First time I heard someone say this in earnest, I was in mid-gulp and I spewed diet soda across the meeting table. It’s just a goofy, fun word.
Miasma – noun – “an oppressive or unpleasant atmosphere that surrounds or emanates from something.” The creepy things I tend to write about rarely smell good or subdued. Also, this is the first word that comes to mind when the wife drags me into a Yankee Candle store.
Cacaphony – noun – “a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds.” The onomatopoeia of this word really floats my boat…perhaps because I am a metalhead?
Scurrilous – noun– “making or spreading scandalous claims about someone with the intention of damaging their reputation.” Slimy, sneaky and dirtballish…my kinda word!
How about you? What are your favorite go-to words in conversation or print?