The letter quoted below conveys an exuberant love and mastery of words, as well as being a world class job application.  Savour some of the words that sparkle, appeal, intrigue or otherwise grab me, including those in other languages.  And adoring alliteration, new words are added on Wednesdays.  Wednesday, word day.

Dear Sir,

I like words.  I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as strait-laced, cantankerous, pectinous, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp. 

I like the word screenwriter better than copywriter, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around. 

I have just returned and I still like words. May I have a few with you? 

Robert Pirosh

 

Source: Letter No. 009 in ‘Letters of Note’, comp. Shaun Usher (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2013), p. 36

Palstave

This is a Bronze Age bronze adze-axe.  I really need to bone up on implement naming.

Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea...

A murder of crows

A memorable collective noun, though perhaps unfair on the poor old crow.  I have a soft spot for these intelligent...

Gamboge yellow

A gum resin produced by various East Asian trees, used as a yellow pigment and as a purgative in medicine....

Boustifaille

A feminine French noun meaning food, as in 'nosh', 'grub', 'chow' and similar.   Boustifaille is more mischievous and tasty,...

Coclackia

This curious sounding (and looking) word refers to flooring made from pebbles set in mortar.

 

‘An inner court.

Gold...

Bombazine

The note in Woolf's Orlando says this was a 'twilled or corded dress material made of silk and worsted; in black,...

Dimmit dimmity

An English south-west dialect word for dusk or twilight, hinted at in the opening 'dim...'.

'At dimmity it flew down...

Carronade

A short, fat cannon, named after Carron, near Falkirk in Scotland where they were first made. I came across this...

Scripophily

The hobby of collecting old bond or share certificates. Know any scripophiles?  You could claim to be one the next...

A fother of…

Principally a measure word, in England referring to a quantity of lead, or more generally to a cart-load or a...

Mazzard

'... under the mazzard orchards growing on the northern slope of the valley.'

According to the OED, mazzard is a...

Bedizen

A bedazzling word meaning to dress up or decorate gaudily: bedizened with resplendent medals.  Kenneth Grahame uses a noun: bedizenment.

...

Stravaig

A lovely word this, mainly Scottish or Irish, meaning to wander about aimlessly: stravaiging about the streets.   May you stravaig...

Helve

The handle of a weapon or tool.  Such a simple word, how come I never came across it before?  Did...

The surface of the word should be vast.

Nezami – Azeri poet

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

© Beatrice Otto 2020 - design & content unless otherwise stated - all rights reserved

 

Pin It on Pinterest