We gained a skill of carrying the words as our weapons, impetuous and shattering, but too glorious for not wanting to be armed with them. Words are the one and only bullets of the pacifist, the single way to defeat without bloodshed. Writers are the warriors, readers are pawns. We’ve been manipulated by the words of thousands publishers and authors in the most beautiful way. They alter our emotions and bring us pleasure like the most dangerous drug dealers. And I am happy to surrender this addiction because it’s unlike the other, the killing one. It’s healthy in its toxicity.
Do we realize how powerful a human being can become mastering languages, getting a skill of learning as many words as it’s possible? Do we even know how many words are there in our native language and how many of them do we actually use on average?
The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use. There is a common notion that the average English-speaking adult knows between 20,000 and 30,000 words. We skip 140-150K as useless, impracticable. Though we don’t realize that one of these neglected words could express an entire sentence, a whole state of being, a complete emotional spectrum. And the beauty of their pronunciation is ineffable.
I have 21 words those I value the most. It’s both the sound of how we frame them and the meanings they carry, make me hold my breath every time I hear or read them. They are fragile in the lack of usage and potent in their message. These words must be memorized and never become obsolete. This is why I share them with you.
- AURORA – (n) dawn.
- CROMULENT – (n) appearing legitimate but actually being spurious.
- ECLECTIC – (adj) selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles.
- EFFLORESCENCE – (n) the action or process of developing and unfolding as if coming into flower.
- ELISION – (n) dropping a sound or a syllable in a word.
- ELOQUENCE – (n) the art of using language in apt, fluent way.
- ETHERIAL – (adj) extremely delicate light, not of this world.
- EVANESCENT – (adj) tending to vanish like vapor.
- HIRAETH – (n) homesickness for a home you can’t return to, or that never was. It’s a Welsh word without direct English translation.
- ILLICIT – (adj) not legally permitted.
- LIMERENCE – (n) the state of being infatuated with another person.
- MELLIFLUOUS – (adj) a sound that is sweet and smooth, pleasing to hear.
- OBLIVION – (n) the state of being unaware what is happening around you.
- ONOMATOPOEIA – (n) a word that sounds like its meaning.
- OFFING – (n) the part of the deep sea seen from the shore.
- PETRICHOR – (n) the pleasant earthy smell after rain.
- SERENDIPITY – (n) the chance occurrence of events in a beneficial way.
- SONDER – (n) the realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.
- SUSORUOUS – (adj) full of whispering sounds.
- VELLICHOR – (n) the state wistfulness of used bookshops.
- WHEREWITHAL – (conj) the means.
There are hundreds of these euphonic words in English. All it takes is a desire to get acquainted with such knowledge. And if you go in search for more of them right after you read this article, I’d say it’s the best feedback I can get. Please let me know in the comments if you find the most beautiful word in English to your liking. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog in the field on the right.