A Way With Words


Have you guys ever listened to A Way With Words? I've been picking it up again. The last podcast I heard before I forgot about this incredible program was about DF Wallace.* The episode focused on "stem-winding" which was used by The New Yorker to describe his writing style. This show gets me all tizzied up!
The hosts know the answer to EVERYTHING. It's like Car Talk for nerds. Have a burning etymological question? Want to know why some singers don't have accents? Perhaps you'd like to get into a debate about the Oxford Dictionary's acceptance standards for new words like 'refudiate'? Ask the hosts of AWWW... they will answer you in scintillating detail.

Anyhow, here's what's on my noodle after listening to this recent episode about killer Scrabble Words, which you have to listen to if you're into Sunday crosswords.


Words I don't use often that sound as beautiful as their meanings:
- Lithe
- Diaphanous
- Bucolic
- Ephemeral
- Blithe
- Lush 
- Tundra
- Synesthetic
- Languid
- Tranquil
- Prismic
- Baroque
- Azure

Words I use all the time that sound beautiful, but are cliche:
- Harbinger
- Stellar
- Ebullient
- Pretentious
- Intrinsic
- Serene
- Vacillate
- Ominous

Favorite word to say in a British accent: Rhododendrun 

Favorite word to pronounce in any accent: Beezlebub

Words I'd like to see re-enter our national lexicon:
- Opulence
- Apollonian
- Fisticuffs
- Harlequin
- Excoriate (use this to threaten someone physically for full diabolical effect)
Words that should be excoriated (see what I did there?):
- Hella
- Diva
- Casualista (no one actually says this out loud, but I read it in fashion PR junk blast emails)
- Funky
- Serendipitous
- Pastiche
- Hottie
- Cyber
- Cypher
- Ginormous

Anyhow, I am thinking about taking a writing class at UCLA. I can't write fiction, I'm prone to cliches, and I don't know how to tell a story efficiently. To me, the sign of a good writer or lyricist is someone who can illustrate complex situations with detail and relay emotions without being too verbose. I CAN'T DO THAT.
Anyhow, thanks for nerding with me. What are your favorite or most reviled words? Leave em in the comments. I'm curious!

* I never finished Infinite Jest, but sometimes when people ask me if I've read it I lie and say "yes" and pray they don't ask any questions, as I still have no idea how it ends.