On February 10, 2021, I wrote about weird English language words in “Strange Words Indeed” because words have always fascinated me.
For example, some words in English have negative meanings but sound like something beautiful. I nominate bramble for this category. No one wants to walk through a bramble patch, but the word itself sounds like something rather nice. Some words have positive meanings but sound negative. Is it good or bad to be puissant? It’s desirable to be puissant, having great power or influence, but when spoken the word can sound like something no one would desire to be.
Because of their very sound, some words sound positive and are. Sometimes nominated for the most beautiful word in the English language are dulcet, gossamer, euphoria, lithe, diaphanous, silhouette, panacea, and lullaby. Again some words sound positive but can be negative. Is to be sibilant a good thing are a bad thing? Most people would say that to make a hissing sound is negative.
I wrote about the most beautiful phrase in English in “Strange Words Indeed”. Some say that “cellar door” wins. Others favor “summer afternoon”, which sounds nice and can be rather pleasant.
When asked the most difficult word to pronounce, some say Worcestershire wins. This is hard to argue with.
An odd category is “least used words”. Usually words seldom used become obsolete and die of natural causes. Some say that genipap is the least used word. What’s a genipap anyway? It’s an evergreen Caribbean tree with orange-like fruit, and it’s hard to argue with this designation. But what does it mean to bumfuzzle? Isn’t that word as little used as genipap?
Spelling is a more useful category. It’s definitely hard to spell some words. Often for me these are often used words that cause a mental block when I try to use them. The Reader’s Digest in 2020 nominated the following words as among the 20 hardest words to spell. They should know. They include nauseous, indict, Wednesday, fuchsia, mischievous, and onomatopoeia. I have found that an abundance of close together vowels in a word can lead to spelling confusion. Look at how may vowels are in onomatopoeia, for example. However, I can usually spell onomatopoeia with little difficulty. By the way, a word is onomatopoeic when it imitates the sound of its meaning like tinkle, fizzle, and buzz.
PS It’s hard to match this subject with appropriate photos. That’s why I used plants for “Strange Words Indeed” and why I chose art glass for “Several Strange Words”. In my opinion, Neon Art fits this category. The top 3 are by glass art expert Dale Chihuly of Seattle.