Words I Love


One of my favorite activities in elementary school was writing out a new weekly list of words, written on the chalkboard by the teacher. She gave us the week to write out the words, look up the definitions in one of the classroom dictionaries, and write (not copy) down the meanings in our own words.

I loved the activity because I love words and I love, love, love getting lost in the dictionary. Yes, now I can look up the words with a few taps on my phone, but there is something to going through the pages and finding the word “altogether” behind “alternative” and before “aluminum.” Research tells us that even in these times of smart phones in our pockets, writing things down helps our brains to retain the information. As a lover of words, I miss the weekly vocabulary lesson, but I usually encounter one of my well-worn dictionaries sometime during the week. Maybe I’m playing and looking for meaning. Sometimes, I’ve stumbled upon a word in one of the books I’m reading that I don’t know the meaning of, or I’m not sure if what I think about the word’s meaning is correct.

Last night, I thought about making a vocabulary lesson to my life. I thought that might be a fun exercise, deliberating and praying and meditating on the words that have meaning in my life. That feels like a good one to explore, but maybe later, with some focus and deliberation. Instead, I sat down with a pen and a composition notebook and wrote down all of the favorite words I could think of in the moment. The words started in three columns, and later I was scrambling to find space in the margins. As more words came to mind, the empty space on the page shrunk into oblivion.

I love some words for their spelling, some for the meaning, some for their phonetic sound, some for the idea, and some due to their resonance in my own life. And there are some words that I love for all their reasons.

In no particular order, here are the words on the list that I wrote last night. And it’s interesting to see where some words get repeated, either because I really loved it, or forgot that I had already listed it, and because it was part of my stream of consciousness.

Vocabulary, love, words, million, intellectual, spiritual, lovely, cucumber, perspective, wilderness, marathon, book, recipe, read, run, saunter, seek, abacus, bracelet, teapot, moon, healing, hot springs, anthology, animal, vegetable, mineral, plant, list, gin and tonic, nap, cook, cookbook, massage, yay, camp, bridge, hike, tent, paper airplane, oblivion, shatter, discover, compost, tree, cellar, sweat, anorak, bicycle, silence, silent, triathlon, writer, footsteps, catapult, boomerang, spark, pontificate, home, forgiveness, treasure, meditation, breath, van, cilantro, condition, grey, temporary, altogether, spirit, squash, garlic, zucchini, watermelon, arithmetic, chile, forest, pepper, cuddle, wild, play, lobster, prairie, savannah, bird, mountain, words, meaning, solitude, cooperation, ecology, egg, scramble, kitchen, poetry, winsome, loose, free, freedom, limber, character, release, bone, braid, rain, precipitation, sprinkle, essay, diary, pyramid, dictionary, talisman, backpack, pack, pasture, speechless, bag, table, track, symmetry, synchronicity, simplicity, belong, land, hearth, home, artist, poet, create, bread, knead, dough, crisp, dog, chicken, cake, season, heirloom, carriage, vintage, amoeba, amaranth, jewelry, daisy, worm, sage, rock, frog, burn, campfire, spritz, kindergarten, honey, chakra, stymie, mate, radio, biscuit, friend, dawn, canoe, kayak, paddle, rodeo, boots, thunder, indigo, radio, flute, syrup, honey, spark, kettle, skillet, soothe, caper, relief, certificate, turquoise, juniper, peace, cedar, ribbon, groovy, hammock, read, siesta, paragraph, swim, giggle, laundry, stroll, fracture, lightning, thunderstorm, garden, amen, bowl, hammer canopy, feather, pun, field guide, dance, sing, visit, trip, palindrome, curl, metronome, knickknack, basket, heritage, pedestal, recycle, picnic, whisper, verb, laughter, joke, tears, lisp, pronounce, participle, wistful, persimmon, wish, blithe, balcony, music, onomatopoeia, whoosh, patio, corduroy, chambray, script, accordion, barn, garage, piano, theatre, adobe, tortilla, turtle, ristra, mimosa, oracle, roast, cardigan, revelry, sunset, sun, sunrise, rise, set, gesticulate, pedestal, retroactive, weirdo, vessel, humus, hummus, bizarre, raisin, wrinkle, smile, grief, shadow, cumin, applause, mother, unknown, pontificate, turntable, bravery, boomerang, sneeze, weep, everyday, moment, muse, puppy, skirt, match, cinnamon, chocolate, cactus, rhythm, unknown, anonymous, dessert, desert, appreciation, clamp, sanctuary, chapel, prayer, write, adventure, natural, favorite, magical, quadrant, myth, mystic, mystical, cornbread, co-op, monster, whisper, marvel, dove, fun, magazine, pine, bookshelf, massage, forever, ratatouille, casserole, twilight, nostalgia, sleep, dream, legend, soup, act, tremble, croissant, sacrosanct, record, cozy, travel, wander, wanderlust, learn, reflect, Ecuador, sense, quilt, muddy, crochet, binocular, wonder, asteroid, pickle, knot, tin, ephemera, talisman, camera, tarot, index card, quiver, question, pencil, scribble, clogs, stars, game, onion, package, packet, burrito, pizza, fingerprint, nutmeg, boggle, fire, fracture, leap, lesson, bake, candle, rope, triage, whimsy, sacred, search, plaid, beatitude, season.

For a couple of words, I prefer the British spelling, grey vs. gray and savannah vs. savanna.

I’m swimming in words and meanings. It is interesting to see the words that have been favorites all along, and the ones that have been in my thoughts recently. Next time you’re searching for meaning, or when you just need time to pause and reflect, make a list of the words that you love. You can use an internet-based word cloud generator to make an image with your words, if you type them into a document.

What do you find? What do you see?

Words, language, meaning. Discovery.

4 Comments

  1. This is a great idea. I used to have such a list years ago (not nearly as extensive as yours), but I don’t know where it is; I’ll have to re-create it. I may even swipe some of yours. ;-). Swipe—that may be one because I like the onomatopoeic sound of it.

    I use digital dictionaries now for convenience and efficiency, but like you, I miss the paper ones. Though actually I had a lot trouble using them: I’d get distracted, start browsing—and end up forgetting what word I was needing to look up. Bet that neeever happens with you, huh?…

    Same with encyclopedias. I think I got most of whatever education I have through that kind of aimless meandering. 😀

    1. Funny! I never have gotten lost in a book, dictionary or otherwise. 😉 You had some words in your response that made me want to add more: aimless, meander, etc. And I think that aimless meandering can be some of the best of learning, letting your mind discover new things. I was thinking making the list would be fun to do every once in a while and see what pops up. I can definitely see that some of what I’m working on/planning/dreaming about has influenced some of those words. Thanks, always, for reading Donnie and connecting with your comments. I really appreciate it so much! Have fun making your list of words!

  2. Knowledge is power. I enrolled in three english composition courses in college. In the two freshman courses the professors said not to use $100 words. Now, in the advanced composition course during my junior year the instructor encouraged the use of advanced words. Those advanced words were succinct and and shortened a sentence. In performing evaluations on whatever, I was always taught to employ only one word as opposed to sentences. To each and every their own for performing an evaluation-sentences or single words.

    1. Very good point about word choice when writing, William! Sometimes it depends on how and why you write. Some of my favorite words may not be ones I use in writing or in every day conversation. No matter, it’s still fun to think of favorite words. Do you have any favorite words? Thanks for reading and commenting!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s