Reflections: What's your favorite word?
What's your favorite word?
By William L. Bulla
Recently while dining at Always Ron's, a friend sitting next to me said, "I read one of your recent columns where you stated 'words fascinated you'. So what is your favorite word?"
I thought about it for a few moments, and answered "chocolate". Another friend heard my answer and said, "Chocolate is not a word, It is a category...a way of life." It seems that I had used the very word she would have answered with. Of course that led into a conversation of the many items containing chocolate that all three of us enjoyed...chocolate candy, milk shakes, cake, etc. Shortly, we were asking other patrons about their favorite word. My friend Joel, who started the conversation, said his word was "salubrious". WOW! What a 'healthy' outlook he has on life!
As I asked more people, many of them responded immediately, others contacted me later to say they had to think it over for a while. Several persons had the same word, but often for different reasons.
One woman said "Cosmopolitan". Her reason was because her favorite cocktail had that name. Over the years, we've even shortened that to "Cosmo". Another woman said it referred to the sophisticated life-style she liked.
Others had words with meanings opposite to one another. One person selected "maudlin" (overly emotional) and another chose "stoic" (unemotional). And before you ask, "Did these people know one another?" They have never seen one another.
Numerous persons when asked why they liked a certain word responded by saying they liked the way it sounded. Among those are "ubiquitous", "thespian", "bodacious", "renaissance", "belligerent", "cavalier", "obstreperous", "solitude", "expedient" and "snicker- doodle". The last word on that list, "snicker-doodle", is one I like. Not as a favorite word, but as a favorite cookie.
One individual selected "inadvertently" as a favorite word. When I asked why, I was told, "I like this word because stupid people don't know what it means, and it makes me look important." To prevent us from being "inadvertently" caught off-guard, let me take a moment to share its meanings: without knowledge or intention; mistakenly; unknowingly; accidentally; not duly attentive.
There were a number of words reflecting characteristics: "demure" (quiet and polite); "caustic" (hostile, nasty, sarcastic); "glib" (careless, insincere); "stroppy" (touchy, belligerent).
Another favorite word given to me will be the way I will end this week's column. It is an archaic American form of "good bye". It derives from the French expression "a tout a l'heure", meaning "see you later", and came into vogue in the United States after World War II. So, with that explanation, I will bid you "Toodle-loo!"
William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.