Strange Brouhaha

Friday, December 17, 2004

Favorite Words

Perhaps I've mentioned before that one of my favorite words of all time is defenestration. I think it's incredibly neat that we have a word for throwing something out of a window. How cool is that?

I had the opportunity, at our meeting today, to think about one of my other favorite words, Schadenfreude. Not, you understand, that I was experiencing Schadenfreude. It just kind of popped into my head. Hot on the heels of schadenfreude came another German word, Weltanschauung, which I've loved ever since I heard it in Dr. Mexia's philosophy class in high school. I couldn't even tell you why I like that one; the English "worldview" is just as good, unlike just about any English explication of Schadenfreude that doesn't use at least seven words. It just sounds cool.

So, what are some of your favorite words? They don't have to be in English. They can be long, short, or in between. They can be egghead words, or hoi polloi words. Doesn't matter to me.

Okay, one last one from me...qat, which is a word that has gotten me out of trouble in Scrabble far too many times to count.


  • (Matt) I'd like to weigh in with: Ignominious, Sanctimonious.

    I know a lot of people know what they mean, and so there's not much mystery there. But what choice words when you wait around for just the right moment and situation to use them.

    And as long as we're bringing up German, how about 'Kindertotenlieder,' (I can't remember if the 'O' should have an umlaut), one of my all time favorite words, which means songs for dead children. Who started using this word??? I don't know why a sepearate word is needed for that. Presumably to differentiate from the more general meaning 'Lautetotenlieder,' the songs for dead people.

    Nobody can string together five or six different words and make one single word out of it like the Germans. I suppose it's a matter of economics and saving a little time when you speak -- why run on and waste time with all kinds of prepositions and extra clauses when one long word will do.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:53 AM  

  • (dpb) Anathema. A ban or curse pronounced with religious solemnity by ecclesiastical authority, and accompanied by excommunication. Hence: Denunciation of anything as accursed.

    It's a word I try to work into conversation as much as possible. It just does't come up that much though.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:25 PM  

  • (Fj) There are a lot of Hawaiian words that I like. One is Ho'omanawanui (Ho-o-manava-new-i). It means Be patient, take your time, don't be in a rush, I'll get to it when I can. It's like a one word reply to "where's my money?" Another is ha'aha'a. To be humble.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:10 PM  

  • Modern European History.

    Colonel Armstrong: "Can anyone tell me what defenestration means?"

    DAE: "It means to throw a protestant out the window."

    CA: "Ah, Mr. Edelstein. Why am I not surprised."

    By Blogger david adam edelstein, at 11:56 AM  

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