Thirteen Cool Words

Written by Christine Kane

The Thursday Thirteen is the most popular meme on the internet. I regularly read Michelle’s Thursday Thirteens, and I’ve followed the links on the site to read some pretty funny and original stuff.

So, today is the 100th edition of the Thursday Thirteen. An excellent time for me to join in.

I love words. And I love hearing and learning new words. Some of that is just born out of being a songwriter. But even before I started writing professionally, I savored the sound and meaning of words.

Below is a list of my 13 favorite words. I can’t really explain why I love them. It’s not so much about meaning as it is about the feeling of them in your mouth. Like candy almost.

1 – Tornadic

It just rolls off the tongue. “There was tornadic activity along Interstate 40 today.” You hardly ever hear this word.

2 – Gubernatorial

You don’t hear this word much either. My ideal sentence would be something like, “There was tornadic activity during the gubernatorial elections.”

3 – Skank

Skank is just a funny word. Period. With so many uses. “Does this dress make me look like a skank?” Or “There’s some weird pile of skank out on the deck.”

4 – Anemone

The first time I heard the word “anemone,” I remember saying it over and over to myself as I drove in my car. (I had been hiking with friends, and we were talking about native plants.) It’s a lovely rolling-around-on-your-tongue word. And it wouldn’t be nearly as cool if it were spelled like it’s pronounced.

5 – Stochastic

The newest addition to my collection. About a month ago, I wrote a blog about investing my Roth IRA money. One of the stock market tools I learned about is called the “stochastic indicator.” I walked around my house saying “stochastic” for days after I heard it. Read more about stochastic here.

6 – Resplendent

This is just a beautiful word in both meaning and syllabic delicacy.

7 – Sanctuary

Beautiful word. It conjures up so many images and ideals and such a sense of peace. I also love sanctity.

8 – Exacerbate

Exacerbate is just fun to say.

9 – Obsequious

Another fun one to say.

10 – Subterfuge

Just a cool word. When I first learned it, I kept trying to figure out ways to insert it into conversation. Not easy!

11 – Cantankerous

This is not only a fun word to say, but it’s sometimes a fun word to BE.

12 – Miasmic

I learned this word when I was reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I rushed to look it up, and then I said it over and over again – along with “miasma” – letting it roll all over my tongue and relishing it’s meaning. Then I overused it for a while and annoyed everyone around me.

13 – Patticusian (patt-ih-coos-ee-an)

Every list of favorite words should have at least one made up word.

So, the origin of this word is as follows:

My cat’s name is Atticus. After a year or so he became Atticus Patticus. Atticus is quite dignified. So, I began calling him Mr. Patticus. Mr. Patticus has many interesting personality traits, as well as some of the most original napping positions.

One night my husband was trying to fall asleep. I was lying next to him, wide awake and having conversations with myself. It was quiet in our room, and I said, “So, if the word “dickensian” is used to describe writing or themes that are similar to those of Charles Dickens, could we use the word “patticusian” to to describe behaviors that are similar to those of Mr. Patticus?” This caused my husband to roll over and look at me for a long moment in which I’m sure he was questioning his decision to marry me.

Anyway, it stuck. And we use it often in our house when we are not lost in all the skank and miasma…

What are your favorite words? And do you have any made-up words to share?

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{64 comments ... read them below or add one}

toby February 4, 2008 at 11:44 pm

‘Queue’ is one of my favorites. It sounds like a letter in the alphabet, but it takes four extra (unnecessary) letters to spell it. It’s fun to write, it’s fun to type, and it’s fun to spell out loud. It’s also fun to mispronounce as “kwee” in front of unsuspecting people.

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Marianne February 6, 2008 at 2:40 am

My family has made up lots of words, the best of which came back to me while reading through these comments: bibbibobber. It’s one of those hairties shaped like a figure 8 with a plastic marble thing on each end and a metal crimp in the middle. It reminds me of getting in the pool as a kid.

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Jan Brittan February 7, 2008 at 5:12 pm

My favorite invented word is “gagacious.” You know just what it means, and it’s so much more gracious than, “Ick.”

I also enjoy making the occasional list of beautiful/ugly words. (“Gracious” should be on everyone’s Beauty list.)Now I have to go get my notebook and check!

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Laurie February 8, 2008 at 11:21 am

Antidienstablishmentarism and chisenbop are two words I remember Ed McMahon saying on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I think that started my love affair of repeating words in my head.
I love the word simply, nothing can be done simply now days.
I found your blog while googling how to make a vision board. I could get lost in here. Thanks,
Laurie

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Todd February 19, 2008 at 12:22 pm

I love epiphnic…also mellifluous

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Heather February 29, 2008 at 10:16 pm

My made up word that stuck: Shboos, pronounced Shh-Boos. It means my jeans (as in denim pants). Often, my brain doesn’t work as fast as my mouth – so my mouth just fills in the gaps with its own creations.

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Joie March 3, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Pussnicker = kittens; we don’t even refer to our cat as a cat anymore, instead as a pussnicker. We often find ourselves explaining what we are talking about. Its just a fun create word that I made up when I got my first kitten.

Pupsnicker = puppies; was created after everyone became acquainted with pussnicker and loved it.

Cacatapuss = a word that my 4-year-old niece uses to call a cactus. We aren’t sure where she got it but she cracks everyone up when she says it!

Stunk = Great word in general. My 3-year-old daughter has always tried to say Skunks (we live in a very wooded area and see them often), but it always comes out Stunk. How appropriate!

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Laura March 11, 2008 at 1:07 pm

I also enjoy words and the visual effects that can be created by the right word used at just the right time. One of my favorite words in “Panancea” or cure-all.
After I do tai chi, I feel as if that is a panancea for the body, mind and soul.

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Austin October 19, 2009 at 9:50 am

i like those.

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Stacey October 5, 2010 at 12:23 am

One of my favorites is “Eh?” Pronounced “A” but there isn’t an ‘a’ present. It just makes me all warm and fuzzy when I hear people around me using it. Likely because when that happens I’m typically in the “True North Strong and Free”. Contrary to popular belief, the word does come with meaning. It’s the tack on of a “Do you agree?” “Are you with me?” “Still following what I say?” It’s delivery is most authentic and inviting with the “Canadian rising” of intonation at sentence end.

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Jace October 18, 2010 at 1:58 am

Some words I like would be voracious, cyclonical, threshold, bombastic, cartographer, aflatoxin, aggregate, immolate, vagrant, malevolent, and eviscerate just to name a few. I love how they seem to have this powerful sound to them.

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Broke Food August 27, 2012 at 3:28 am

My favorite word is panacea. Good meaning to boot.

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