January 2019

And the award for most beautiful word in the English language goes to…

Occasionally, to expand our horizons. we stray from the topics you might expect of Garnet Hill. This article on language was written by Jeff Sawyer, Managing Editor

Recently the British Council surveyed more than 40,000 people in 100-plus countries, and the word voted most beautiful was “Mother.”

Who’s going to argue with that? Not this child.

Filling out the top 10:  

  1. Mother 
  2. Passion
  3. Smile 
  4. Love
  5. Eternity
  6. Fantastic
  7. Destiny
  8. Freedom
  9. Liberty
  10. Tranquility

While pedants might reasonably have expected “Beautiful” to be voted most beautiful, the chosen 10 are a decidedly optimistic bunch. Sprayed liberally across the Twitter landscape, they could shift the character of the nation’s social media dialogue from weary to cheery in about the time it takes to click a heart.

Among the other 70 words making the list: “Serendipity,” “Peekaboo,” and “Flabbergasted.” Try forming a sentence out of those.

I keep a list of words I find funny and unexpected. Some favorites:

“Librocubicularist”   A person who reads in bed.

Used in a sentence: “As a lifelong librocubicularist, I find Eileen Fisher Washed Linen to be the Shakespeare of sheets.”

“Trotcozy”   A warm covering for the head, neck, or chest in cold weather, especially when one is traveling.  

As in, “The Garnet Hill Cashmere Ruana you gave me for Christmas is a trotcozy like no other. I never leave the house without it.”

“Hemidemisemiquaver”   A 64th note. (It takes longer to say than to play.)

“In her soft new Dreamland PJs, my little one fell asleep faster than a  hemidemisemiquaver.”

“Obnubilate”   To cloud over.

“It looks like the sky may obnubilate today…better bring my new coat.”

If there’s a word you’ve jotted down somewhere because it was funny or unusual enough to stick with you, please share it in the comments. I’m sure it’s beautiful.


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