words / writing

Ten Favorite Words–Part I


Photo credit: Public Domain Pictures

I love words. I keep a list of my favorites, the ones that draw a mental picture that involves taste and feel as much as sight and sound. Here are my top ten:

  1. abecedirian–means what it says–a beginner.Rudimentary. The abc’s.
  2. bandog–a large and fierce chained dog. This one’s appealing mostly because I love dogs.
  3. caliginous–murky, dark. Say it aloud. It sounds good.
  4. carabinieri–Italian national police force. This has a strength, a foreign power that I’ll probably never get to use because my characters aren’t going to Italy. I might have to plot a trip.
  5. cobble, as in ‘cobble together’. Can’t you just see that 1700’s cobbler tap-tapping at your plan, creating a beautiful mental quilt from scraps of disparate ideas
  6. confluence–a flowing together a coming together of people. ‘A confluence of events’. Comes after you’ve cobbled for a while.
  7. concatenation–interlinked series. MS Excel users know this word. It’s how you cobble together clues and discover a confluence of events. I love problem solving in quirky original ways.
  8. dappled–mottled, spotted. A dappled meadow, or horse. I see the dancing spots of brilliant colorcool
  9. deus  ex machina–a powerful image of an unexpected problem-solver. I’ll get it into my writing eventually. So far, it’s sounded contrived.
  10. doppelganger–Alter ego. I know in my writer’s soul I can turn this ghostly double into a problem-solver.

You have to admit, these are cogent and pithy words. Let me know how you use them.


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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17 thoughts on “Ten Favorite Words–Part I

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  8. Such a fun article. I also collect words, and I’ll be adding some of these. I love that you promote dramatic words – nickels work the slots most of the time but when you need a big coin, only a silver dollar will do.


    • You are so colorful! Like your picture. I used to try to fit the words into my stories and the writing class I took hated that. They have to arrive in a story, without the intent of a destination. But I miss my words.


  9. I love ‘confluence’ – it just rolls beautifully off the tongue. I remember when I watched the series The Singing Detective – he said his favorite word was ‘elbow’ because of the effect it has on the shape of the mouth when you say it! 😀


    • I love the thought of a big burly bandog. I think it’s close enough to its meaning readers get it. And ‘deux ex machina’–it can inspsire entire scenes.

      What are your favorite words, Ankur?


      • Difficult question. Let’s see…
        One is “schedule”. Not because of its meaning but for its sound. Used to pronouncing it as “sheydule”, the British way, I took to the American pronounciation of “skeydule” when I came across it.
        Another one is “valetudinarian”. I have never used it but really like the sound of it. It refers to a person of infirm health, especially one very concerned about it.


    • I defintely like ‘valetudinarian’. I will have to find a reason to use that. It’s like the word ‘heteroskedasticity’. All the parts give away the meaning which makes it fun.


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