WORD LUST

I admit it. There are words that when I hear them, they trigger special endorphins in my brain. They make me salivate, not with base hunger, but with a desire to know their secret. See they all have a similar meaning. Don’t get me wrong, there are other words that get me going, but these…? These captured my imagination when I was young and have never let go.

I probably heard the first of this group when my father would read stories to me before I went to sleep. It was probably in an older story, because, to me, the word is an older one, not one that comes up in everyday conversation. When I heard it, it instantly sounded magical to me. I could almost feel the word rolling around in my mouth.

Parcel [pahr-suhl] • noun

1. an object, article, container, or quantity of something wrapped or packed up; small package; bundle.

There are other meanings, but that’s the mean that’s important to me.

Parcel brings to mind a package wrapped in thick brown paper wrapped with twine. What could be inside? An ancient journal? A box full of coins? A secret invention? A bomb?

I love that word. To a lesser degree I also love package, container, tin, and suitcase. All hold mysteries that you long to be revealed. But out of that group, parcel still reigns supreme for me. It makes me feel warm inside, and evokes endless possibilities.

The other word that can get a similar reaction out of me, is a word in the same general theme. I probably first heard it in association with a western, because it just has that western feel. But it is also a word that can be used in other genres. In fact, I’ve used it myself many times simply because I love the feel of it. The sense of something different it brings.

Kit [kit] • noun

1.    A set or collection of tools, supplies, instructional matter, etc., for a specific purpose: a first-aid kit, a sales kit

2.    The case for containing these

3.   Such a case and its contents

What a great word. Again, like parcel, a kit contains mysterious items. Only in this case, it’s groups of items that are related. The above mentioned first-aid kit, for instance. It could also be a manicure kit, a photography kit, a surveillance kit, a survival kit, a removing the body kit.

I love this work. Because to me, someone who has a specific kit usually is a pro at whatever that kit is for. And what exactly do they need to complete their job? How specialized are the items that make up the kit? Is the kit organized with neat little containers for every tool? Or is it a grab bag of items piled on top of each other?

Love, love, love.

Okay, ‘rati. Let’s hear it from you. What are some of your favorite words, and why? I’m looking for the words that make you stop for a moment and roll around in them.

Once again I’m on the road, so if I don’t respond in a timely matter please forgive me. I promise to check out all your words and comment as soon as I can.

20 thoughts on “WORD LUST

  1. karen from mentor

    Hey Brett,
    I TOTALLY get this idea. I love words that have baggage. I also love words that evoke an emotional response or an immediate picture in your mind.

    I will give you three of my favorites.

    sussurus

    peculiar

    grin

    I’ll only expand on "grin" to say that when I use it it’s to show that the person sporting a grin is giving another person so much more than a smile. A grin embodies gleeful delight. A GRIN involves all of your facial muscles, all of your teeth and all of your eye crinkles. It’s warm and playfully human.
    I love to grin.

    Nice post.
    Hope the tour is going well.
    Karen :0)

    Reply
  2. Steve in Germany

    Hi, Brett.

    Here’s one I like and you may remember from your time in Berlin.

    Gemutlicdheit. Sorry I couldn’t add the umlauts.

    Relaxed atmosphere, cozy, warmth and friendliness

    Reply
  3. Alli

    I love this post! My brother and I are word geeks and spend a lot of time emailing each other new words we find. I have many,many words which conjure up great memories and connections to my own life, but the list is loooooooooooong. I’ll narrow it down to four all-time favourites:

    Lollygag
    Fecund
    Roustabout
    Nuff-nuff*

    * Aussie slang = a person who has done a silly act without thinking about it beforehand.

    Reply
  4. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Dig it. I’ve got a gazillion words I love, gazillion being one of them.

    How about character names? My new favorite character name – Kit Parcel.

    Reply
  5. Louise Ure

    I vote for "ululate." Verb, (intrans) meaning a howl or a wail as an expression of strong emotion, typically grief, And the cool thing is that I can imagine that sound from people, from animals, from the wind.

    Reply
  6. toni mcgee causey

    Conundrum. Fun to say, sounds like drums beating, tension rising.

    Convoluted. I don’t think I have to explain why on that one.

    Extrapolate.

    Brett’s word ‘kit’ reminds me of ‘caboodle’ which, if you are in the south, goes with the word ‘kit’ like peanut butter and jelly.

    Reply
  7. Catherine Shipton

    So many words appeal, but this one is a stand out for me.

    Pithy. adjective 1562

    One of those words that just got to me as a child. Loved it then, love it now. Love the feel of it as I say it, love looking at it.

    Pithy
    1: consisting of or abounding with pith [ oh how I want to abound with pith]
    2: having substance and point: tersely cogent

    Pithy just sounds such more more fun than concise.

    Pith [the noun] also cracked me up, because I knew it meant the core of something, and that annoying white stuff that I had to pick off mandarins and it was also a type of hat that cool explorer types, who disappeared into deep dark jungles would typically wear….aka the Pith Helmet.

    I used to wonder [because I was a weird little word nerd…haven’t changed all that much] whether the pith was on the helmet like the white pith of the mandarin, and did that make it an adjective or was there some hatmaker out there called Mr Pith and Pith Helmet was a noun, or was it because it they were white like the pith on fruit.

    I eventually found out that a Pith Helmet was typically made of cork and then covered in white cloth.

    So pith, pithy, and pith helmet all roll worthy to me.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    You will appreciate this quote:

    A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

    I like the word anonymous – It allows you to create the sender in your own mind without preconceptions

    Reply
  9. JD Rhoades

    My new favorite character name – Kit Parcel.

    I think just found my pseudonym.

    I like sussurus and ululate, too.

    others:

    Gyrate
    Flax
    Panopticon
    Lancet
    Degloving
    peccadillo
    platypus
    marmoset

    Reply
  10. Carla Buckley

    toxic

    It gets stuck in your throat the way something poisonous would–you sort of have to clear your throat to get it out

    Reply
  11. Fran

    My current fave word is "squick". It’s a negative visceral response to something. Not necessarily a moral judgment — slugs squick me out, but I don’t think they’re evil, just. . . .squicky, and I do have that involuntary pulling away and shudder. Minor squick, perhaps, since I don’t actually throw up or anything.

    But you get my drift. We all have stuff that squicks us out. Right?

    Reply

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