Recently, when I was on dining hall duty (don’t bother asking unless you're really curious, in which case, ask away), a group of four students (Hi, CC, LG, EH, and BJ!) asked me to tell them my favorite word. I glibly said, “splendid,” which they rejected as not very long or interesting. I tried, “defenestration,” which they also eschewed as too many people’s go-to fave. I beseeched them for additional time to cogitate.
So I have been pondering their question and realize that I can’t possibly answer. The fact is it depends. Are we thinking just about words’ sounds? Then I might go with sibilance or labyrinthine or ephemeral or blithe or callipygian. Am I talking about facts I want to be true in the world or in those I love? Then let’s consider justice and recovered and safe and remission. At any given moment, a word might shoot to the top of my list depending on its context:
- completed when I think about a stack of ungraded essays
- arrival when I think about taking a trip
- served when I’m hungry
- free when I see samples
- powerful when I complete a workout
- glitter when I'm buying shoes or makeup or, well, anything
- Maine when I go on vacation
- published when I imagine my future
How could any of us settle on just one perfect word that would rise to the top of any list on any day? Do you have an all-time favorite word? If so, please share it in the comments. If not, what are some of your top contenders? Also, can you find some other words I adore sprinkled through this post?