Putting in a good word for good words

April 27, 2011

Most of us have favorite words, and it is a very personal choice. We enjoy the images they evoke and the sound that they make.

I remember hearing that someone’s favorite word was marmalade. Damn, that is one fine word. It brings to mind color, taste, aroma and sweet childhood summers.

Language is important in my blog, and I have tags for word play, puns, even mondegreens.

My own favorite word may be haberdasher. Most of us learn that word when we are taught that Harry Truman started out as one. Then we never use it again.

That’s a shame. I’ve been trying to bring the word back. I have used it nine times in my blog, never in connection with Truman. It is an uphill battle.

Some of our language’s best words are used to describe the worst people. Scalawags, knaves, rapscallions, miscreants. Oddly enough, we still have those people, we just call them less colorful names now.

Similarly, there are some wonderful words reserved for loose women. Trollop, strumpet, harlot, hussy, floozy.

I’ve used floozy 13 times in my blog, but I didn’t experience the spike in readership I expected.

I guess guys surfing for easy chicks are calling them something else these days. They are not saying, “Hey Lamar, let’s go Google ourselves some vamps and jezebels!”

Another great word is huzzah, which I’ve used a number of times here. Just once before I die, I want to be in a crowd of people shouting “Huzzah!”

And I want us to be cheering the opening of a new haberdashery. Is that too much to ask?

Join the Oddly Enough blog network

Follow this blog on Twitter at rbasler

Top: Afghan women wearing traditional burqa robes line a haberdasher stall in a Kabul marketplace in a 2002 file photo. REUTERS/Jim Hollander

Right: Jessica Simpson performs “Lady Marmalade” in Las Vegas, in a 2004 file photo. REUTERS/Ethan Miller

Right: The original Paddington Bear which starred in dozens of BBC television programmes sits on a stack of marmalade sandwiches in London in a 1997 file photo. REUTERS/Dennis Owen

More stuff from Oddly Enough


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

redivider: longest single-word palindrome

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Spin, have you read “La Disparition,” a lipogrammatic novel by Georges Perec? The English translation, “A Void,” by Gilbert Adair, has a palindrome in excess of 5000 words. Take a look at Adair’s photograph on the dust jacket. He looks like he has been repeatedly struck by lightning!

It’s a thumping good read, but not for the faint of heart.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Spin divides, not once,
But twice, counting on lovely
fingers — redivider.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

Malt, in Wales we have extra vowels; w and y.

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

Hmm, that’s a good question Spin. I shall check my Welsh grammar book and get back to you; zapping be damned!

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

Holy moley! Seven vowels?
Yikes, I have more than enough trouble with just five, plus all those consonants.
Any link between this and the Welsh predilection for Pork and Leeks?

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive