I was stuck for a subject today, so I took one of WordPress’s prompts: Talk about your favorite words. Here are a few of mine.
Widdershins. It means “counterclockwise,” and it’s the way water goes down the drain in the Southern Hemisphere. I found it in a nonfiction book by Madeleine L’Engle, possibly Walking on Water. I love it for its sound, and for its going-against-the-flow-ness, and because it makes me think of Australia and New Zealand, where I hope to travel someday.
Sequacious. This one is courtesy of John Gardner, probably in On Moral Fiction. It means “intellectually subservient,” and it describes our whole culture so succinctly.
Mellifluous. Can’t you tell what it means just by the sound of it? If not, go look it up.
Brillig. (If you don’t know where that one comes from, stop reading this blog and go read Through the Looking Glass. Immediately.) I’m not sure exactly what Lewis Carroll meant by brillig, but to me it describes a cold, clear autumn day when the red and golden leaves crunch under your swishing feet and the naked twigs are etched in intricate patterns against the stark, pale afternoon sky. (Yes, all of that.)
Elúndina. Okay, I made that one up, but for a good reason–it’s part of the vocabulary of the world I invented for my current novel, The Dome-Singer of Falenda. Elundina are powerful spiritual beings that materialize out of light and look like bodiless butterflies.
How about you? What’s your favorite word?