Saturday, August 22, 2015

Collecting Words

English is a rich language, mostly because of our habit of plundering words from other languages all over the world. As a writer, I like reaching for just the right word, the word that conveys my meaning exactly. Sometimes it’s illusive, but often the perfect word is right there, waiting.

I love words, playing with them and moving them around. I love collecting interesting words and storing them away for later, like jars of jam. These are a few of of my favorite words. Not that I necessarily use them often, but I love the pictures they paint.

It means to enlighten, to convey the truth, but to me it means so much more. I picture illuminated manuscripts, with rich detail incorporated into the text like the ones at here, at Diana Wilder's blog. To illumine is to bring knowledge that glows with light, like a Raphael painting.


Can’t you just see the dust flying, hear the noisy bickering, and experience all the fuss and bother in this old Scottish word?


Not just a meeting, with a never-ending PowerPoint presentation while participants surreptitiously check their emails, but a gathering where ideas will be discussed and celebrated. I also love the word surreptitious. It sounds so sneaky.

Trademark -State of Wyoming


Long-horned bulls and fearless cowboys. Surefooted horses, American flags, and the smell of livestock. All packed into one little word.


A mucky, boggy, frustrating situation. It's accompanied by the sucking sound my feet make as I struggle to pull them from the mire and make my way to solid ground. "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into."*

First of all, it's fun to say. And the whole idea of a happy accident, a coincidence that leads to something wonderful, is a story in the making.


I won’t just think about it. I’ll contemplate, ruminate on it, chew it over in my mind. This idea isn’t a quick snack; it’s a whole meal. A feast. And I will give it the attention it deserves.

What are some of your favorite words?

*Catchphrase from  Laurel and Hardy


  1. Love the word kerfuffle... going to have to start using that one! And I just used quaggy in a writing prompt on my blog the other week.

    As for my favs... at the moment, festooned and capricious

  2. Love those. I picture gaudy garlands and celebrations when I hear festooned, and capricious just sounds like "approach with caution."

    1. gaudy garlands... great alliteration!!