The English Language has around 200,000 words currently in use. Many of these words are absolute gems: fun, beautiful, meaningful… and largely unused. The 3,000 most common words in English make up 95% of all spoken and written material, which means that the vast majority of the English language, a language that might be the largest and most diverse on the planet, is constantly neglected. This, to me, seems absolutely heartbreaking. Luckily though, it’s also something that we can change. So, in honor of the incredible diversity of the English language and of rediscovering the beauty we often overlook, here are some words that, because of their meaning and beauty, simply need to be used more often (clicking on any word will take you straight to the definition).
1. Fisticuffs: I don’t know about you, but I think a world in which the word fisticuffs is used often sounds like a wonderfully fun world.
2. Amorphous: The word just feels a bit shapeless, as if it were thrown together on a whim. I also love the sound of “morph,” so that’s an added bonus.
3. Lilt: It manages to pack a downright musical sound into four small letters. That’s efficiency.
4. Insipid: Imagine Professor Snape saying this word. You have just discovered the most insipid (lacking vigor or interest) thing in the world.
5. Sonorous: The word sounds exactly like how I imagine a sonorous voice would sound: smooth, deep, and beautiful.
6. Nonsensical: I love the fact that “nonsense” has an adjective version, and in the words of one my best friends “it sounds like bells!”
7. Obsequious: It's a word with a pretty unique definition, one that we often forget we have a word for.
8. Percussive: Imagine using this word to describe a boxer's punches. Immediately you've got a complete picture: the sight of drumsticks pounding up and down, the sharp sound of a snare drum... It's a wonderfully sensual word!
9. Susurrus: It’s such a beautifully quiet word, one that feels like it should only be whispered. It’s also just cool to look at, with all those u’s and that double r.
10. Aquiver: It might sound like it belongs in a 20th century romance novel, but perhaps that’s because it belongs under a pen as masterful as Jane Austen’s instead of in something like 50 Shades.