I have discovered my new favourite website. And because it's my new favourite website, I'm going to quote from it and you can't stop me.
Aside from sounding wonderful, I like the word because saying amoeba at random is a good way to throw my friends. I'll be talking about the latest bestsellers, and I'll pause to gather my thoughts. And then, out of nowhere. I very carefully pronounce "Amoeba", just for the joy of saying the words. My friends will stare at me, wondering if they really heard me say amoeba out of nowhere or they were just hallucinating, as I finish thinking and start talking again.
I read a story in The New Yorker about Ricky Jay, a magician, who mentioned that he was sometimes perturbed by the "magic lumpen." I was mystified by this word. What did it mean? Was it some sort of magic wand? My own dictionaries did not contain this word but I finally discovered the meaning in an unabridged dictionary. I have since used the word lumpen to determine the completeness of a dictionary which might boast of hundreds of thousands of words. If lumpen isn't contained within the dictionary pages, I'm not interested.
The word makes me giggle. What a funny name for a rather unattractive piece of anatomy. The more I vocalize elbow the funnier it seems.
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango
Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening..."
I named my cat Scaramouche, it's just fun to stand at the back door calling her.
The site is My Favorite Word and it is brilliant. Only I am faced with a small dilemma. I have so many favourite words, I don't know which one I'd pick.
There are some that I'd pick because of what they mean. Like 'pulchritude', which I met for the first time in Zadie Smith's White Teeth. Great physical beauty or appeal hidden in an ugly, long, hunchbacked word.
Then there'd be 'elan' and 'verve', because I love saying them. I love the way elan runs off my tongue. And even though Blogger doesn't let me put the accent over the 'e' I imagine it that way anyway. I love words with accents or umlauts. (Hell, I love the word umlaut. It's such a nice, German-sounding word). Uber, if you say it like the 'u' is a 'Oooh' with a little 'y' sound. 'Naive', 'cafe' all those words. Incidentally, the little 'i' with the two dots? What's that called?
I like animal words as well. Like 'gargoyle' that sounds like you're mispronouncing 'gargle'. Or wildebeast. Wildebeast, wildebeast, wildebeast. Or pheasant, when you're thinking 'ph' but you're doing fffff with your teeth over your lower lip like a screen.
I like words that remind me of other things. Like 'moot'.
(Cross reference Friends episode:
Joey: It's a moo point.
Monica: It's a what point?
Joey: Moo. Like you know, a point a cow would make? It's moo.)
Or like 'unanimous' or 'privelege', the first big words I ever used which I actually knew the meaning of.
I like words with concious images. Like 'float' which reminds me of a pink, nylon nightie. Or 'twilight' which is all cricket-y and blue-y. And 'slender' and 'damask' and 'powder-puff' and 'scent' and 'liquid' and 'pirouette'.
Pink. Little. Tip-toe. Drama. Feather. Melting. Exquisite. Salute. Thistledown. Forgo. Delicate. Sandwich. Thesaurus. Rendezvous.
Have a wildebeast evening, y'all.