Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Euphonious Words Login/Join
 
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted
Many years ago Wilfred Funk propounded a list of the most beautiful words in English. Others have also selected their loves. This week we'll please our ears with some of the choices.

asphodel - a flower of the lily family, with white, pink, or yellow flowers clusters of flowers.

[note: The asphodel of the early English and French poets was the daffodil. Our word daffodil is believed to come from the Dutch de affodil = "the asphodel".]

Though we're speaking of beautiful words, whether or not they name beautiful things, here is a picture of the asphodel.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Euphonious itself is rather euphonious, I think...
 
Posts: 185 | Location: London, UKReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jerry thomas
posted Hide Post
As E. A. Poe wrote in "The Bells," What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
 
Posts: 6710 | Location: Kehena Beach, Hawaii, U.S.A.Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
In this context I've always been fond of sursurration
 
Posts: 5591 | Location: Worcester, MA, USReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Hic et ubique
posted Hide Post
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden asphodels; ...

- after Wordsworth. Works for me. Smile
 
Posts: 1204Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
cerulean - sky-blue
But that definition rather begs the question, for a blue sky can range from light pale blue to rich strong blue. Which do we mean?

There seems to be some confusion. Thus, One-look's "quick definition" is:

cerulean:
  • noun: a light shade of blue
  • adjective: of a deep somewhat purplish blue color similar to that of a clear October sky
    quote:
    And as the boy went back to eating, Gomez stared through the shade trees at the cerulean water and sky.
    - Darragh Johnson, On the Shore, The Sounds Of Spanish, Washington Post, Sept. 1, 2003

    Turquoise and deep cerulean tones wash the sea in dazzling contrast to the crystal clear waters near coves and bluffs.
    - Smita Iyengar, Cultural Crossroads, Financial Express (India), Aug. 31, 2003
  •  
    Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Member
    Picture of wordcrafter
    posted Hide Post
    Funk's selected "beautiful words" are all lovely in meaning, typically flowers and such gentle animals as "bobolink", "fawn", and "oriole".

    James Joyce focused more on the pretty sound of a word. (Or at least he seemed to, to the extent one can ever tell what Joyce was thinking.) He stated that to him, the most beautiful word in English is cuspidor.

    cuspidor - a spittoon; a receptacle for spit
    (including the "receptacle" of a drinking fountain or in a dentist's office)
    quote:
    The explosive increase in cigarette smoking after 1910 can be attributed in part to the public-health campaigns of that era against the chewing of tobacco and its inevitable accompaniment, the cuspidor. Most of those who gave up tobacco chewing no doubt turned instead to cigarette smoking. The ashtray replaced the cuspidor, and lung cancer replaced tuberculosis as the major lung disease.
    - Elaine Casey, History Of Drug Use U.S., The National Drug Abuse Center (1978)
     
    Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Member
    Picture of wordcrafter
    posted Hide Post
    Pausing for a moment to remember September 11, 2001, and to contemplate our remembrance of that date last year (see week of Sept. 9, 2002).

    Today's word comes not from Funk's list of beautiful words, but from a list by Willard Espy.

    gossamer - noun: 1. a film of cobwebs floating in air in calm clear weather; 2. something light, delicate, or insubstantial: the gossamer of youth's dreams
    adjective, by later extension: extremely light, delicate, or tenuous

    [probably from goose + summer, a period of mild autumn weather when goose was in season and such webs were often seen in the air]
    quote:
    The paper, edges rounded, looks like the skimpiest gossamer but is surprisingly sturdy, even silky to the touch. The unbound, dog-eared pages are filled with faded black Tibetan script bursting with wisdom on religion, philosophy, poetry and enlightenment.
    -- Ron Csillag, Quest begins for sacred Buddhist texts, The Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 6, 2003


    [This message was edited by wordcrafter on Thu Sep 11th, 2003 at 10:03.]
     
    Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Member
    Picture of wordcrafter
    posted Hide Post
    Funk put luminous on his list. I'm going suggest a modification.

    numinous - suggesting the presence of a god; spiritual, divine; inspiring awe and reverence

    quote:
    Our culture is not much concerned with the numinous, but in language we preserve many of the marks of a culture that is.
    --Richard Mitchell, Less Than Words Can Say (thanks to dictionary.com for this quotation)

    The tiny village church shimmered under the Andalucian sun. Here, surely, there would be a heaven-haven of peace. Not so. A bevy of scantily clad tourists were encamped on the front two pews, chewing bocadillos, swigging beer and camcording altar and shrine. Here was secularity run rife, a defiant rejection of respect and a two-fingered salute to the numinous and spiritual.
    -- David Bryant, Doff your cap to the numinous, The Guardian, August 30, 2003

    Bryant muses, "However, there is more to holiness than a mere acknowledgement that human intellect is limited. Interwoven with it is a healthy dose of awe; what Rudolf Otto called mysterium tremendum, an awe-filled mystery that leaves us trembling. St Augustine encapsulated it. 'What is this which gleams through me and smites my heart without wounding it? I am both a-shudder and a-glow; a-shudder in so far as I am unlike it, a-glow insofar as I am like it.'"
     
    Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Member
    Picture of wordcrafter
    posted Hide Post
    Russell Rocke in his Grandiloquent Dictionary (not the same as the website by that name) highlights words he considers euphonious. Among them is today's word, the concept being less sweet than the sound.

    vellicate - to move with spasmodic convulsions; to twitch
    [Rocke add another definition, which I'm not able to confirm: to pull off; to pluck, as: Women villicate their eyelashes.]
    quote:
    Edmund Burke (1729–1797): Why Smoothness is Beautiful:
    There can be no doubt that bodies which are rough and angular, rouse and vellicate the organs of feeling, causing a sense of pain, which consists in the violent tension or contraction of the muscular fibres. On the contrary, the application of smooth bodies relaxes; gentle stroking with a smooth hand allays violent pains and cramps, and relaxes the suffering parts from their unnatural tension ... The sense of feeling is highly gratified with smooth bodies.
     
    Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Member
    Picture of wordcrafter
    posted Hide Post
    Dorothy Parker opined that the most beautiful words in the english language are "cheque enclosed". But lets return to Funk.

    mellifluous - flowing sweetly or smoothly, as with honey: a mellifluous voice
    [From L. roots meaning honey and flow]
    quote:
    It's the end of the 1920s, and the beginning of the end for silent movies. All very well for the mellifluous Gene Kelly, not so good for the adenoidal Jean Hagen.
    -- Stefan Kanfer in Sept. 2003 Reader's Digest, listing the funniest movies and synopsizing Singing in the Rain
     
    Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
      Powered by Social Strata  
     


    Copyright © 2002-12