A few months ago, I wrote about favourite words of famous people and I asked you puzzlers to tell me your own favourite words.
Puzzler Billie Halpin’s favourite word is onomatopoeia, which means the formation of a word from a sound associated with the meaning, such as sizzle, which sounds like a sausage frying in the pan or cuckoo, the exact sound a cuckoo makes.
The word comes from Greek onoma ‘name’ and poios ‘making’ and there are many onomatopoeic words in our language.
Billie is also fascinated by the -ous words – splendiferous , cantankerous , felicitous , obsequious , promiscuous and obstreperous , to mention a few.
I also asked for your least favourite words. Billie’s are equitable and unequivocal because of their overuse by politicians. I agree Billie, words seem to come in and out of fashion, especially in the world of politics.
Politicians and journalists can ruin a good word by flogging it to death. At the moment, one of my least favourite words is robust. It’s everywhere – robust investigations, robust investments and very robust overuse of a once useful word.
Puzzler Desiree Cranenburgh’s favourite word is ricochet. She likes the sound of it and she and her family use it when something has gone wrong. In her words, “Heavy emphasis on Rick, then a pause and o-shay said after, quick and loud!”
Raymond Hartley loves the exotic sounds of words from other languages, such as maestro, cabriolet, teriyaki and smorgasbord. It’s true that we have imported words from all around the world and they fill a gap in our vocabulary.
Raymond doesn’t like the word ladybug. He says “Ladybird is a much more elegant description of this pretty little insect, I don’t know why Americans call it a ladybug.”
Cheryl Perez says her all-time favourite word is lullaby, because it’s soothing and saying it to herself calms her down when she’s feeling stressed.
Thanks to everyone who wrote in with their favourite words. I never tire of learning what words appeal to you, so keep writing.