Big, Beautiful Words

It’s becoming more and more impossible to deny (what appears to be) the impending downfall in the English language. With the accessibility of technology so present in our every day lives, ‘text speak’ seems to be creeping it’s way further and further into everyday spoken language. You only need to look at the OED list of new words to see what I’m talking about it. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s bare cray. Seriously, I can’t even use the words mockingly any more without physically cringing and feeling a tiny shred of dignity float away from me each time. I’ll put my hands up, I’ve been known to slip in the odd ‘adorbs’ or ‘amazeballs’ here or there, but generally only among close friends, who know to take it in the tone in which it was intended.

As this has been increasingly pressing on my mind recently, I was delighted to stumble upon the Huffington Post’s ‘Big, Beautiful Words‘ post and their #BigWordLove twitter campaign.

The post is full of gloriously bizarre long words with wonderful matching illustrations. My favourite may have to be ‘hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia’ – the fear of big words, simply because I couldn’t agree more that ‘whoever named this phobia is kind of a d*ck.’ Brilliant.

I can’t help but feel that, especially with the increase of text speak, it is becoming increasingly harder to use more unusual and beautiful words, without coming across as a bit of a pompous prat. Sometimes, it can be hard to string together more than 3 syllables in one go, without a sneering ‘ooh, check out you with the big words!’ For years I’ve always been known as ‘the posh one’ among my friends and peers, both at school and then in work, mainly due to my simple ability to speak the Queen’s English properly. I enjoy love language, I really do. I love words and the ability they have to move and influence people in all manner of emotions simply fascinates me – it’s what made me want to be a writer. And yet, we live in a world that not only seems to be letting some of the most beautiful parts of a language fade away, we actually openly mock or insult people for using it. It entirely baffles me. I, for one, fully support #BigWordLove, and encourage you to do the same! More specifically, I support ‘BeautifulWordLove,’ or ‘UnusualWordLove,’ for there’s plenty of shorter words out there that are just as wonderful.

What are some of your favourite unusual words? Or alternatively, what modern words make you cringe the most?

Here are some of my favourites:

Bombilate – to buzz or hum

Discombobulated – a much more fun expression of confusion

Euneirophrenia – the peaceful feeling after a pleasant dream

Floccinaucinihilipilification – the word may mean ‘the action of estimating something as worthless,’ but it certainly can’t be worthless to have a word that fun to say tucked into your vocabulary tool belt!

Horripilate – a more uncommon way to express getting goosebumps

Oniochalasia – shopping as a means for mental relaxation; basically, an alternative phrase for retail therapy

Ultracrepidarian – someone with a habit of advising on an area in which they know nothing about. (I quite like the latin origin of this, meaning ‘beyond the shoe’ – that in itself is a nice, quirky term!)

Zenzizenzizenzic – another one that is just too fun to say, meaning a number raised to the eighth power

I hope you enjoy these words, and I would love to hear some more from you!

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One thought on “Big, Beautiful Words

  1. Pingback: How Many English Words Do You Actually Know? | Paris Baker Writing

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