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

Mouldywarp

A curious and endearing term of Middle English origin, but now archaic or dialect only, although deserving revival.  It means...

Orographic

I learned some fine landscape words from reading Barry Lopez’s Arctic Dreams.  Orographic means ‘relating to mountains, especially as regards...

Orgulous

Though this clearly derives from the French orgueil, I had never seen it in this anglicised version.  No wonder, according...

Hasp

A slotted hinged metal plate forming part of a fastening for a door or lid, fitted over a metal loop...

Mattock

An agricultural tool shaped like a pickaxe, with an adze and chisel edge as the ends of the head. I...

Quap or quop

'At the time of capture the drake had been trying to swallow a frog, by quapping with its bill, which...

Scripophily

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

Roucouler

The second syllable has the clue, here is how to bill and coo...

This soft word can mean to whisper...

Gartless

This doesn't seem common - the internet tries to force me to accept 'heartless'. But it's in a children's classic...

Trumpery

Decades since I saw this word, until I found it again in Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters. The dictionary says it...

Stravaig

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

Polyskarthmos

‘Used to describe Myrine, a dancer, ‘much-skipping’ as the word means literally, even ‘very frisky’, as it is a phrase...

Chryselephantine

'Chryselephantine' means made of, or adorned with, gold and ivory, as in this figurine.  Only just came across this word...

© Beatrice Otto 2019 - design & content unless otherwise stated - all rights reserved

Pin It on Pinterest