words

103 Most Beautiful Words? You Decide

There’s a list of beautiful words going around the internet–the 100 most beautiful words, or so they claim. I love words. I’ve written

words

103 Most Beautiful Words? (image created in Wordle)

several posts about words in general and this one about the beauty of words. I’m always interested in adding to my list. Here’s their list:

100 Most beautiful words in the English language* 

  1. Ailurophile A cat-lover.
  2. Assemblage A gathering.
  3. Becoming Attractive.
  4. Beleaguer To exhaust with attacks.
  5. Brood To think alone.
  6. Bucolic In a lovely rural setting.
  7. Bungalow A small, cozy cottage.
  8. Chatoyant Like a cat’s eye.
  9. Comely Attractive.
  10. Conflate To blend together.
  11. Cynosure A focal point of admiration.
  12. Dalliance A brief love affair.
  13. Demesne Dominion, territory.
  14. Demure Shy and reserved.
  15. Denouement The resolution of a mystery.
  16. Desuetude Disuse.
  17. Desultory Slow, sluggish.
  18. Diaphanous Filmy.
  19. Dissemble Deceive.
  20. Dulcet Sweet, sugary.
  21. Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm.
  22. Effervescent Bubbly.
  23. Efflorescence Flowering, blooming.
  24. Elision Dropping a sound or syllable in a word.
  25. Elixir A good potion.
  26. Eloquence Beauty and persuasion in speech.
  27. Embrocation Rubbing on a lotion.
  28. Emollient A softener.
  29. Ephemeral Short-lived.
  30. Epiphany A sudden revelation.
  31. Erstwhile At one time, for a time.
  32. Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.
  33. Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.
  34. Evocative Suggestive.
  35. Fetching Pretty.
  36. Felicity Pleasantness.
  37. Forbearance Withholding response to provocation.
  38. Fugacious Fleeting.
  39. Furtive Shifty, sneaky.
  40. Gambol To skip or leap about joyfully.
  41. Glamour Beauty.
  42. Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk.
  43. Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free.
  44. Harbinger Messenger with news of the future.
  45. Imbrication Overlapping and forming a regular pattern.
  46. Imbroglio An altercation or complicated situation.
  47. Imbue To infuse, instill.
  48. Incipient Beginning, in an early stage.
  49. Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible.
  50. Ingénue A naïve young woman.
  51. Inglenook A cozy nook by the hearth.
  52. Insouciance Blithe nonchalance.
  53. Inure To become jaded.
  54. Labyrinthine Twisting and turning.
  55. Lagniappe A special kind of gift.
  56. Lagoon A small gulf or inlet.
  57. Languor Listlessness, inactivity.
  58. Lassitude Weariness, listlessness.
  59. Leisure Free time.
  60. Lilt To move musically or lively.
  61. Lissome Slender and graceful.
  62. Lithe Slender and flexible.
  63. Love Deep affection.
  64. Mellifluous Sweet sounding.
  65. Moiety One of two equal parts.
  66. Mondegreen A slip of the ear.
  67. Murmurous Murmuring.
  68. Nemesis An unconquerable archenemy.
  69. Offing The sea between the horizon and the offshore.
  70. Onomatopoeia A word that sounds like its meaning.
  71. Opulent Lush, luxuriant.
  72. Palimpsest A manuscript written over earlier ones.
  73. Panacea A solution for all problems
  74. Panoply A complete set.
  75. Pastiche An art work combining materials from various sources.
  76. Penumbra A half-shadow.
  77. Petrichor The smell of earth after rain.
  78. Plethora A large quantity.
  79. Propinquity Proximity; Nearness
  80. Pyrrhic Successful with heavy losses.
  81. Quintessential Most essential.
  82. Ratatouille A spicy French stew.
  83. Ravel To knit or unknit.
  84. Redolent Fragrant.
  85. Riparian By the bank of a stream.
  86. Ripple A very small wave.
  87. Scintilla A spark or very small thing.
  88. Sempiternal Eternal.
  89. Seraglio Rich, luxurious oriental palace or harem.
  90. Serendipity Finding something nice while looking for something else.
  91. Summery Light, delicate or warm and sunny.
  92. Sumptuous Lush, luxurious.
  93. Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky.
  94. Susquehanna A river in Pennsylvania.
  95. Susurrous Whispering, hissing.
  96. Talisman A good luck charm.
  97. Tintinnabulation Tinkling.
  98. Umbrella Protection from sun or rain.
  99. Untoward Unseemly, inappropriate.
  100. Vestigial In trace amounts.
  101. Wafture Waving.
  102. Wherewithal The means.
  103. Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.

 What do you think? Vestigial, susurrous, talisman... There are some beauties.


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blog, Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculumK-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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11 thoughts on “103 Most Beautiful Words? You Decide

  1. Actually, some of my favorites are not beautiful as much as funny-sounding. Here are 20 good ones, some repeated from your list.

    Apsidal – a semi-circular concave ceiling feature in a church; or, my favorite, the shape of a scallop shell
    Balm – an ointment that soothes; I’d like a full almond scented body balm
    Canoodle – spooning; or what lovers do when, well, when they do
    Dulcet – sweet to hear, taste, or see; imagine a solo lute, a chocolate mousse, a rainforest mist
    Ethereal – delicate, heavenly; if only I could find the right diet to achieve this state
    Exculpate – to absolve from guilt or fault; the sound of the word makes me think of how someone must feel when trying to scrape off unfounded accusations
    Gallimaufry – a hodgepodge, or a mixed bag collection
    Gaunt – emaciated; in need of chicken soup
    Louche – indecent; a word that slinks away in shame
    Nebula – a cluster of stars in a galaxy far, far away
    Ochre – natural clay dug out of the earth in golden-yellow or rusty-red colors
    Palimpsest – a parchment scraped clean of old writing but bearing the ghost of what was there before; or as Lady Macbeth said, “Out, damned spot.”
    Quarry – a pit that wasn’t a pit before someone removed something valuable; a hunted creature
    Salmagundi – another hodgepodge; a salad made of chopped ingredients including anchovies, which I love
    Scuttle – the furtive movement of a spider; or to scrap a boat; or the sneaky way one moves when one has intentionally gouged a hole in a boat to sink it
    Solace – to give comfort to
    Susurrous – rustling or murmuring; the sound of the wind fingering leaves on a tree
    Syzygy – the alignment of 3 heavenly bodies; can’t you imagine this sound while they each wriggle into place?
    Winnow – to remove chaff or other undesirable things by blowing it away; how peaceful it would be to winnow our disagreements instead of warring over them
    ZZZ – not really a word, but the sound of sleeping. So now I go to sleep (it’s 1:45 AM) and here ends my personal favorite word list.

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