100 Most beautiful words in the English language*

Ailurophile A cat-lover.

Assemblage A gathering.

Becoming Attractive.

Beleaguer To exhaust with attacks.

Brood To think alone.

Bucolic In a lovely rural setting.

Bungalow A small, cozy cottage.

Chatoyant Like a cat’s eye.

Comely Attractive.

Conflate To blend together.

Cynosure A focal point of admiration.

Dalliance A brief love affair.

Demesne Dominion, territory.

Demure Shy and reserved.

Denouement The resolution of a mystery.

Desuetude Disuse.

Desultory Slow, sluggish.

Diaphanous Filmy.

Dissemble Deceive.

Dulcet Sweet, sugary.

Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm.

Effervescent Bubbly.

Efflorescence Flowering, blooming.

Elision Dropping a sound or syllable in a word.

Elixir A good potion.

Eloquence Beauty and persuasion in speech.

Embrocation Rubbing on a lotion.

Emollient A softener.

Ephemeral Short-lived.

Epiphany A sudden revelation.

Erstwhile At one time, for a time.

Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.

Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.

Evocative Suggestive.

Fetching Pretty.

Felicity Pleasantness.

Forbearance Withholding response to provocation.

Fugacious Fleeting.

Furtive Shifty, sneaky.

Gambol To skip or leap about joyfully.

Glamour Beauty.

Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk.

Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free.

Harbinger Messenger with news of the future.

Imbrication Overlapping and forming a regular pattern.

Imbroglio An altercation or complicated situation.

Imbue To infuse, instill.

Incipient Beginning, in an early stage.

Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible.

Ingénue A naïve young woman.

Inglenook A cozy nook by the hearth.

Insouciance Blithe nonchalance.

Inure To become jaded.

Labyrinthine Twisting and turning.

Lagniappe A special kind of gift.

Lagoon A small gulf or inlet.

Languor Listlessness, inactivity.

Lassitude Weariness, listlessness.

Leisure Free time.

Lilt To move musically or lively.

Lissome Slender and graceful.

Lithe Slender and flexible.

Love Deep affection.

Mellifluous Sweet sounding.

Moiety One of two equal parts.

Mondegreen A slip of the ear.

Murmurous Murmuring.

Nemesis An unconquerable archenemy.

Offing The sea between the horizon and the offshore.

Onomatopoeia A word that sounds like its meaning.

Opulent Lush, luxuriant.

Palimpsest A manuscript written over earlier ones.

Panacea A solution for all problems

Panoply A complete set.

Pastiche An art work combining materials from various sources.

Penumbra A half-shadow.

Petrichor The smell of earth after rain.

Plethora A large quantity.

Propinquity Proximity; Nearness

Pyrrhic Successful with heavy losses.

Quintessential Most essential.

Ratatouille A spicy French stew.

Ravel To knit or unknit.

Redolent Fragrant.

Riparian By the bank of a stream.

Ripple A very small wave.

Scintilla A spark or very small thing.

Sempiternal Eternal.

Seraglio Rich, luxurious oriental palace or harem.

Serendipity Finding something nice while looking for something else.

Summery Light, delicate or warm and sunny.

Sumptuous Lush, luxurious.

Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky.

Susquehanna A river in Pennsylvania.

Susurrous Whispering, hissing.

Talisman A good luck charm.

Tintinnabulation Tinkling.

Umbrella Protection from sun or rain.

Untoward Unseemly, inappropriate.

Vestigial In trace amounts.

Wafture Waving.

Wherewithal The means.

Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.


Source: So Much To Tell You

739 thoughts on “100 Most beautiful words in the English language*

  1. I admire this list of words. very well done. You only missed one word, and it happens to be my favorite: crestfallen.

    • I’m also a great word lover. I’d like to share with you my favourites: vespertine, sangfroid, bohemian, ennui and of course the mellifluous ” sotto voce”:)

  2. were you to drop a competing brand, it would probably end up pepsodented.

    My favorite word would be Flummoxed, not for it’s beauty, but for the ability to be what it describes

  3. I love words and I love to play with words. Jack, I truly LOLed Laugh out loud…took a nanosecond and then I burst out laughing! CP, nice follow-up! How can one have a favorite word? I think I will take these 100 words and write a story…anyone else up for the challenge?

  4. These words brought back memories of old books, and more recent ones.
    And a word for an experience which i love – Petrichor, has got me waiting for the day the rains come.

    Thank you.

  5. Gland to see see gossamer, one of my faves, another one, not here, is velvet, so sensuous and sounding like the fabric itself

  6. I’m not alone!

    What a delight to learn there are others who enjoy & appreciate words for their own sake. I know not a single soul – friend or kin – who does. And I’m tired of explaining that etymology has nothing to do with bugs.

    Stephanie is right: if my favorite made the list (diaphanous) – then so should ‘superfluous’…it’s just as fabulous.

  7. I love the beauty of language. The way that beautiful words feel when you say them out loud is like a great drug (with no unpleasant side effects!) Thank you so much for having a website like this one! I want to save this list myself for when I write poems.

  8. Lovely words. I also the words Legacy and Heritage; the sound and the feel of the word Legacy, and the meaning of both words, from a genealogist’s point of view.

  9. There’s no words posted that begin with “J,” but I have a favorite one… “Jonquil.” It’s been used since 1789 to describe a certain color of yellow (wiki is awesome). I got to finally play the word in scrabble recently, and with the triple letter score, it was worth like, a ton of points.

  10. Just to add to the list… I’m quite fond of the word “lachrymose” myself. And I know one of my friends just loves “saccharine.”

  11. I particularly enjoy effluance, for the contrast betwixt meaning and sound, and crepuscular, that there can even exist a word which describes such a beautiful thing so beautifully.

  12. Reading this aloud is the aural equivalent of eating good chocolate. Glad to see imbroglio and insouciance, but how can frisson (little shiver of pleasure) be overlooked? How about jejune TygeOD? – beautiful, I submit, even though it means insipid and insignificant.

  13. Glad to see onomatopoeia in there. I would nominate ‘Pipistrelle’ – a common British bat – which to my mind is onomatopoeic of a bat swooping around in the dusk.

  14. Great list, especially propinquity, but bilateral is more beautiful than bungalow, and neither as fine as soliloquy

  15. Re words with the ability to be what they describe, I was always impressed by “recondite” which, by its slight innocuousness alone, is what it says. :-)

  16. Nice list! They’re all lovely. But doesn’t propinquity mean nearness, not inclination?

    I would like to see a little bit more in the definitions! There are layers of connotation that are just exquisite to peel away.

  17. Kevin: three meanings to propinquity – two you mentioned plus ‘kinship’
    I like ‘zymurgy’ fermation process in brewing. Not only to say out loud but because it’s a lonely forgotten word at the end of the dictionary!

  18. A very nice and useful list of vocabulary.

    Another word, possibly the longest one,which means opposing / revolting against the belief on the requirement of an official Angelical Church in England:

    ‘ Antidisestablishmentarianism ‘

  19. The simple most opulent word that meets one’s ears is that quintessential sound that becomes special in out lives; the name we are given. It rarely finds a mondegreen. Whether our from our long lost Lover or our dangerously dissembling dark Nemisis, what sound can make us feel more alive? We can only pray for it’s Sempiternal home.

  20. Isn’t it Seamus Heaney who refers to a poet’s ‘word-hoard’?

    ‘Discombobulate’ – to be put at sixes and sevens, like a giddy kipper..

  21. Just for the pleasure of saying it I love ‘ ‘Spillikins’ (a game also known as ‘Jackstraws’ where you remove a thin stick from the pile of others without disturbing the rest of the pile.. . . good game too!)

  22. Liquefaction.

    Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
    Then, then, methinks, how sweetly flows
    That liquefaction of her clothes.

    Next, when I cast mine eyes and see
    That brave vibration each way free ;
    O how that glittering taketh me !

    Upon Julia’s Clothes, Robert Herrick :)

  23. “Propinquity” does not mean an inclination; it means nearness or proximity.

    Other interesting words: recalcitrance, recrudescence.

  24. This is amazing! I’ve never learned so many words in one day! Then again I am only 13 years old. :) I do very much admire this list! It gave me a big smile on my face! Thankyou!

  25. while most of these words are very beautiful indeed, they’re just like your opinion of beauty man. there are many other beautiful yet simple words.

  26. Will is a clod.

    “Oleomargarine” came up as one of the most melodious sounds (at MIT, of all places)!

  27. I would add 2 kore to your list (I suppose ‘102’ doesn’t have the same ring to it as ‘100’):




    Two splendidly delicious words.

  28. Very nice words on here, some of which I had to write down. I will most definitely be using “petrichor” in the future.

    Some of my favorites: cerulean, vermilion, hypnogogia, salacious, lascivious, alabaster, vast. I also second recalcitrance :)

  29. When day after day has gone and the one ……….That ment so much to you, and you you loved so deeply from the bottom of your hearthas gone ……Away but thay were never coming back….. Your . heart feel’s like it’s never gonna stop bleeding and is in so much pain. ……… How can I ever smile again xxxxx

  30. Oh, how my mouth tingles at the luxurity of this list and the many contributions in the comments. I am such a logophile.

    “Susurrus” made me happy. ^.^ And I must agree that soliloquy is a fantastic word.

  31. I think ‘beautiful’…is one of the most beautiful word in the English language.
    there are so many more beautiful words….
    thank you
    tell me
    only these many r striking me…for the moment….

  32. One of my favorites sounds beautiful, but has a sorely negative meaning–melanoma. I’m surprised there weren’t more “M” words!

  33. One of the greatest powers of English is its ability to adopt–and adapt, if necessary–foreign words with alacrity. Once we adopt it and its use is “universally” accepted, it’s an English word, despite it’s actual etymological origin! :)

  34. I’ve never seen such a polite set of comments before, it must be rewarding, but I don’t appreciate this list quite as much as they do, as I was reading it, I couldn’t help but wonder how you chose these words.

    There were clumsy words which only seemed to be there because of their french roots, such as “Moiety”, words which aren’t really beautiful because of their mundane nature, such as “Umbrella” or “Bungalow”, and words which are so limited in their use that you can’t help but feel that they supplanted another word more deserving like “Susquehanna”.

    I grant you there are some beautiful words, but even among those I found some of the meanings given didn’t do the words justice, like defining diaphanous as “filmy”, some others with this problem are “Harbinger” which I feel (perhaps erroneously) has somewhat more of an ominous feel than is accorded to it by you, and “Ethereal”, whose beauty was stripped away by starting its definition with the word gaseous, unless you’re talking about ethereal in the chemical sense.

    I apologize for the rant, there is a lot of good in this list, but it’s mixed in with bad.

    For the record, I’ve always liked the word anathema.

  35. I love the word queue. So long to write, so short to pronounce. The word really captures the essence of waiting in a long line. Patience can be short. :)

  36. I absolutely love this list of words. It’s going in my favorites. A fantastic article. Thank you so much! :)

  37. I love the word petrichor! I actually discovered it a few days ago while watching Doctor Who. This list is fantabulous and I can’t wait to use some of these beautiful words I’ve discovered in my poetry. By the way, I’d like to mention one of my favorite words ‘rotund’. I’m not sure why, but I just love it!

  38. What a great list! Being from New Orleans, I especially love lagniappe!! I have a few humble suggestions. The muses for which several of streets are named for, Calliope &
    Melpomene. And fortuitous & serenity both beautiful in sound and meaning.

  39. Call me creepy, but I like the word ‘morbid.’
    I think it sounds nice.

    I also like ‘undulations.’

  40. Man, I do wish Bourgeoisie was part of this list, because that’s a linguistically beautiful world.

  41. I know it’s two words, but I’ve always heard “cellar door” for such a list.
    And I would add Pimlico to another, similar list: 100 Most beautiful Place Names in the English language.

  42. Although it may not have a very pleasant meaning, the grace of the word itself cannot be denied. Chlamydia.

    Also a few others that I enjoy. Onyx, Reminiscent, Melancholy, Whisper.

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  44. I’m glad to have run into this list. My vocabulary has not been that good lately:)) Jack is definitely hilarious:)

  45. How about, ‘melancholia’ for the ‘m’ list?

    And, yeah…most of my favourite words have Greek etymologies Th. Science is full of wonderful language. Here are a few of my favourite cool-sounding words of Greek origin…


    …I’ve been told I have a curious aesthetic, though.

    ‘Aesthete’ is another.

  46. Honestly there are hardly any try English words found in the American English language. Most of our normal lexicon is based in the 52 languages that are routinely spoken in this country, so get over identifying the listed words as Greek, French,…etc… based; that is the beauty of our language and our country. Have a beautiful day!

  47. Just now I want to share with the news that in 1971 Pakistani Occupied army with the association of their local collaborators had brutally killed my father by tieing him inside the house with a pole & set fire in the house.

  48. This is going to sound weird but I’ve always appreciated and held high the word: ooze. It seems so onomatopoeic from both a sound and touchy-feely perspective. The perfect word for the mud coming up between your toes on a lakefront beach.


  49. I agree with Camila. Ratatouille shouldn’t be on this list. Besides being far more french than English, it’s not that beautiful a word.

    And Susquehanna is from the Algonquian tribe.

  50. @kristopher
    Despite what Poe says, I believe just ‘cellar’ holds beauty in both in sound and visually, while ‘door’ just sounds clunky.

  51. The collection is beautiful, i have throughly enjoyed myself but i find that the a list is incredibly short. One of my missing favs is ‘apt’. I find it one of the shortest yet most instructive words in english.

  52. Wonderfull list of beatuiful words. Of course English beign what it is the list could easily be the 1000 or even 10,000 long but another to consider.

    Blanch Puget used it to describe her biography of Bob Hawk [an australian Prime Minister] that being Floccinaucinihilipilification which means really ‘Much ado about nothing’!

    However my favourite word is cleave as it is one of the autoopposites.

  53. I just adore words. I think this is a lovely list, both of meanings and of pure sound. Michael argues that umbrella and bungalow are too limited, but if you just say them out loud, there is no doubt (in my mind) why they make the list.
    I have my own lists of words, both to love and to hate.
    Some are on here already like plethora (which I try to use on a regular basis.) Whimsical is my favorite word.
    Words to love:


    Words to hate:


  54. I’m a big fan of “psithurism”, which is the sound of wind whispering through the trees. Lovely set of words :)

  55. I counted over 60 words derived from Latin and used regulary in everyday Italian language,glad you all like this words but I doubt people use them much in everyday’s talk. With a little more effort you word- lovers could be soon speaking Italian!!!!!
    Wish you well!!! Ciao!!!

  56. Nanak kanti Sen – So sorry what sad news but this is not really the place for it.

    I like:- circumlocutious, hillbilly, periwinkle, snuggle,elvin, nuance

  57. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words. They were not all my first choice, but there were some interesting words, mostly for the sound of the word, on the list…

  58. im not very good at languages. i speak enlish and that is it, i never was able to master a second language but it seems to me that the majority of these are taken from french or a similar language.

  59. Yay! I’m not a COMPLETE loner/nerd!! lol Hahahahah, Jack. You wily little rascal, lmao. My fave was on the list, Serendipity :D such beautiful words….

  60. So many of these are French! Thank God for the Norman conquest :D
    Off the top of my head, I can think of serene (cliché, I know, but it’s a good one), saccharine, ineffable, contrition, mellifluous, translucent, alabaster, vermiculite, and quill.

  61. Not many of these are English words. They are French, Italian, and so forth, and not even changed a little but simply adopted by English speakers.

  62. This list is missing one of my favorites, ‘concupiscence’, which stands for ‘intense sexual desire’.


  63. Requiem.
    Also, quite surprised only one other person responded or commented upon someone’s admittance of personal trauma. Granted, whether Nanak kanti Sen’s words ring true, misplaced, or false it still speaks volumes of the digital culture you’re reading right meow.


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  65. Good List, though not perfect, I found all the comments charming though. Nice to see there are so many fellow Logophiles. I agree (wholeheartedly< Quite a nice one itself) with Cathartic. And some of the stranger ones. I personally quite like Obsequious and Oblique.

  66. One of my favorite words is indubitably. I wouldn’t put it on this list. If you had a list titled “words that sound funny when said aloud”, it would belong there. I love maneuver as well, but mostly I’m just glad plethora made it. The best part of all was remembering/learning beautiful words. Thank you!

  67. What ENGLISH dictionary did you get these words from? A tonne of them have Latin, French, or Italian origins. A lovely piece, but a bit too full of tripe and unresearched blabber for my like.

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  69. I agree that ratatouille should not have made the list.

    One of my favorite words is facetious — and it has the added benefit of having all of the vowels in order (facetiously if you want to include the y) — there’s only one other word in the english language that has the same…

    I also love esoteric, luxuriate, wonderous.

  70. somnamberrivilifrieze, has been a favorite for years, because there are so many opportunities to interject it in conversation. It means those who sleep walk with knotted berries are vilified. Dr. Somber Zen’s poor DNA research history earned him somnamberrivilifrieze.

  71. I can’t believe nobody mentioned bamboozle or hoodwink. I also like lambast, flotsam, querulous, zyzzyva, miscreant, wench, hemidemisemiquaver, and (definitely) lothario. Zyzzyva is also the best hangman word.

  72. The definition of quintessential is a bit different; it’s “representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class : he was the quintessential tough guy—strong, silent, and self-contained.”

  73. A wondrous and edifying list but might I suggest the smallest (and yes nit-picky) clarification? Sempiternal is a fascinating word that actually means something that has a beginning but no end. As opposed to something which is Eternal which has neither beginning or end. While it may seem a trifle, whether the Universe is Eternal (always was, always will be) or merely Sempiternal (big bang and goes forever) is actually a profound distinction. Religious folk may also be irritated at the suggestion that God was merely Sempiternal (a quality that human souls have in most theologies).

    Where else can we enjoy the esthetic joy of the words and the intellectual spark of their deep meanings. Seemed a shame to highlight its auditory beauty alone.

  74. I really quite adored this list of words. I would add that lackadaisical and Subtle would be added. I am currently learning new words everyday to overall increase my vocabulary and if anyone would like to help me and send me words I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you,


  75. Hey, you forgot my favourite!

    Antidisestablishmentarianism has got to be my favourite word. So great.

    Also, what about gesticulate, flabbergasted and syzygy? Oh, man, I love the English language.

  76. As a native German-speaker I had never expected most of these words as English… I guess the majority of them have their roots in the Latin language…

  77. I used “bucolic” in a sentence the other day and impressed the Creative Director of a marketing firm. “That’s a word I haven’t heard in a while,” he said, “Where do you pick up your vocabulary?” Such a shame these beautiful words have fallen into disuse.

  78. What a lovely list!

    Just a small point: the definition of ‘bungalow’ seems to vary, depending on where they are: here in the UK, they are single-storey, but in Singapore, for example, they are apparently “huge pieces of property comprising storeys which are mostly 2 to 3 in number” (www.propertyguru.com.sg/resources/property/jargon-buster).

  79. Wow .. Coooool ..
    Sometimes I write songs, and often run out of ideas. Although already reflected in the lonely, the idea of ​​writing words to songs I often did not come. Thank you for this great post.

  80. .

    susurration – A soft, whispering or rustling sound; a murmur. Like that noise in a theatre when people are whispering

  81. I really enjoyed this list. I have probably more than a hundred favorite words, many of which are on here. “Incendiary” is my number one though and I’m quite sad that it didn’t make the cut.

  82. Does the asterisk at the end of the title allude to the fact that a large proportion of the selected words are adopted, but otherwise unchanged, French words? Also, by what criteria were these words selected? Sound? Meaning? Obscurity? Sheer arbitrary subjectiveness?

  83. Beautiful list of words! However, three of my favorite words didn’t make your list: opium, kaleidoscope, and cathedral. I love the way these words sound.

  84. I do have to say, reading all of these comments are quite entertaining. I love seeing all of the suggestions. I’ve noticed several words I didn’t know/haven’t heard often. And I agree with a few others. The English language mainly consists of words adopted from other languages. So try to overlook the fact that they originated from somewhere else and thank this person for the list. Maybe some will be handy. I quit using larger words in everyday conversation a while back, because I was tired of my younger sister asking me what EVERYTHING meant.

  85. This is cool, you have some beautiful words in there.
    However, I noticed a few problems with your definitions which you should be careful about. Here’s some examples:
    mellifluous – term used in poetry to describe a sweet but slow moving rhythm
    onomatopoeia – a ‘sound’ word, written how it sounds – splash, splosh etc.

    My other issue with this list is there’s a large number of french words in there!

  86. This list is delicious! Obviously there is no way it could be all inclusive – there are far too many (myriad!) words out there that tantalize the tongue, but I was happy to discover among them a few new to me.

  87. Love this list! My favorite is bittersweet – when you pronounce it the first syllable causes ones mouth to turn down but sweet makes you smile

  88. Many of these words are incorrectly defined, and many (obviously) of foreign roots. i.e Bungalow is an Indian word, and technically covers any one storey house, regardless of its size or coziness.

  89. I very much appreciate teh words listed here, along with the ones shown on comments.
    Some of my favorites are; “Placid” “Specificity”, “Supercilious”, “aloof”, “envy”, “patience”, “honesty”,
    “scrupulence” and I do have to agree with “soliloquy”. Thank you!

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  92. Excuse me, but I do not see the words Clitoris, Coitus, Cunnilingus or Fellatio in this list. Not only are these lovely words, but they’re certainly some of the first things that come to mind before thinking about the most pretentious way to refer to a cat’s eye. And clearly this list in its current form is biased against man’s best friend.

  93. I actually hate the word serendipity. It ends with “-dipity” which makes me think “Dippity-doo” which is just stupid. Also the movie Serendipity was awful. But, I still like this list and -most- of the comments (you mean not all English words are English? Wow, you really are a Clever Person! You win the Internet!)
    I’m going to have to put in my vote for Fuck. It may be the perfect word. It’s so very fun to say, and there is so much meaning behind that one little word. What the Fuck, get Fucked, let’s Fuck, Fuck you, and just FUCK! It’s a simple, straightforward, no-monkey-business type of word that holds so much passion and vitality, when not overused.
    Now I have to watch The King’s Speech again.

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  96. I have always liked the sound of troika (a team of three). But my all time favorite is a genus of grass: Bouteloua (boo-ta-LOO-uh)

  97. This website is delicious — finding not only this list of words, but kindred souls who appreciate them and all the other wonderful words that roll around your mouth and make you smile.

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  99. A lovely list, and so fun to read aloud. Thank you for a great site! Words have such power to stir our emotions, and I find it so sad that no matter where I go on the Internet, it is impossible to escape from profanity or the introduction of sleazy and base images through words. Totally ruins my day. Thanks to everyone for the wonderful words you feel should have made the list. They stir my soul! Mine would be Billowy.

  100. Great list. Heartened to know there are so many word lovers out there. Here are some of my faves for letters with only one or no mention:

    joyful or joyous

  101. I love the idea of this site …whoever composed the list did a superb job! It’s positively scintillating … another great word that sounds like what it means.

  102. Considering the vast majority of these words come from Latin (often via French) or Greek, it’s a shame most people don’t know what they really mean. Some of the definitions are even wrong, including the favourite of many, ‘mellifluous’. It doesn’t mean “Sweet sounding”, it means “flowing like honey”. The extension of that meaning to poetry etc is a metaphor.

    It’s nice to see that there are people out there who care about the precise meaning of words, though. I really appreciated Grokmonkey’s post about the distinction between ‘sempiternal’ and ‘eternal’.

    And for people whose favourite words are as pedestrian as ‘defenestrate’ (note, not ‘DEFENISTRATE’ like someone wrote), read a book and learn some interesting words. By the way, Simon Young, please teach us the meaning of your made up word “emuntate”. Eructate means burp, obviously.

    If people actually learned the meanings of the root words, most of the above would seem pretty bland. ‘De’ meaning ‘out of’ and ‘fenestra’ meaning ‘window’ is an example – using the Latin-derived word ‘defenestrate’ just sounds like you’re trying to show off (but aren’t clever enough to really impress anyone). So too the person who mentioned both ‘soliloquy’ and ‘loquatious’ – it’s a shame you don’t realise they’re based on the same root word, ‘loq-‘, meaning ‘speak’. They probably wouldn’t impress you enough if they were the less arcane-sounding ‘solo talk’ and ‘talky’.

    It’s a shame that beauty here really refers to what’s foreign for most people. The more you learn about words, the less these words impress you. But I suppose it’s a useful enough list for someone entering high school, just starting to read adult literature. The pity is that most adult Americans stay at this level, and remain impressed by words like ‘halcyon’, without having a clue about its the true history and meaning.

  103. A bungalow is a one storey house, not a small cozy cottage and an Elixir is a sort of catalyst, not a good potion. I find your ‘definitions’ lacking.

  104. my bad, my very very bad (actually one of my least favorite expressions, now that i think of- and use- it), but after reading “lithe”, followed by “lissome” i found myself imagining sylvester the cat thpluttering his way through this list… maybe that’s just a tribute to mel blanc.

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  106. i read every an anyting thats why i lik stumble upon but half of thes words ive never read or heard well done very interesting i must join that site lol

  107. Bert….you get so caught up criticizing everybody else’s “unimpressive” words that you never thought to educate us with some impressive ones of your own…..or are you just one of these men that likes to blow hot air…….hmmmm!……pity your “advanced intelligence” doesn’t equate with an advanced civility towards your fellow scribes.

    I love to say….just for how it sounds….not because of any deep meaning or history….the word CAMARADERIE.

  108. Thank you for the list of beautiful words………..
    My fav word would be Serendipity & Twilight apart from this i would like to add one more: Indimenticabile – an unforgettable holiday

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  110. menn,i jst luv d list nd i comely with some of d wordz in it.buh dis word”QUINTESSENTAL”is ma favourite one jst lyk d way it sound

  111. “Liza” mentioned that 34 words on the list are French in origin. That is because French is the most beautiful language on the planet.

  112. Fugacious? Really?

    Why so many beautiful “English” words with French, Spanish, Algonquin or other immediate origins (lagniappe, denouement, ingenue, ratatouille, Susquehanna)?

    And why so many multisyllabic words and such few simple words?

    And what about:


    to name just a few?

  113. In studying Spanish we spent an hour talking about one of their greatest words gracia.
    Of course, it translates to grace but it was much more–a state of mind and a state of being. And of course with an s it means thanks.
    Which brings me to the English word grace which is also is so much more. Graceful is one of the most wonderful words. State of grace is a lovely phrase. Please do not judge the word from the religious desire to co-opt it for their use only. It is one of our finest.
    I also want to add fruition. Long one of my favorite words, I became a Sting fan all those years ago when he put it in a song.

  114. Great list.

    Let me add:
    Bonhomie – Simple good-heartedness
    Eleemosynary – Pertaining to charity
    Legerdemain – Sleight of hand

    I’ll also second a vote for Callipygian and Defenestration.

  115. I agree with Fernando, but i would include ‘Kind’. A word that even makes the hard K sound soft and nice.

  116. Sinuous. Love it. I actually heard it for the first time reading The Borrowers Afield:

    “A sinuous, feathered current of clear ripples broke the still, sky-reflecting surface of the miniature lake.”

    Norton, Mary; Krush, Beth; Krush, Joe (1955-10-27). The Borrowers Afield (p. 78). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

    This is a KIDS book!

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  118. oh my gosh!! Susquehanna river! i love that river so much. I know that’s a really weird thing to say but when I lived in Pennsylvania I loved playing in the river. :) hah. this is a really well done list by the way!

  119. I love words. So happy to find not only this list of 100, but all the ones suggested in the comments. I wonder if I’m not the only one who used to read through the dictionary just to learn about all the wonderful words.

  120. Stumbled upon the site, and joining the choir – I love beautiful words as well! My two favorite ones weren’t represented though: Deluge and sepulchral. A bit on the dark side according to most, but since this isn’t the meaning, but the word itself… =)

    Thank you for the inspiration!

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  122. Although those words are flowery, I think the short, clear, useful words are beautiful:


  123. Jack, you crack me up! But, my favorite word is kapuffle (if thats how you spell it) it’s a british word that means: a big “to-do”

    • @Alistair. We dont steal we post what we find online and list our sources. If you look at the bottom of the list you will see such. This list can be found on many sites, however it was not taken from alphadictionary.

  124. love these I think we all get wrapped up in our favorite words in our daily lives and forget that we have over 171,476 words according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Personally my favorites are facetious discombobulated and you did nail it on the head with Evanescent though. Thank you for these great words. Peace and Prosperity to All

    Gil Tapia

  125. That is beautiful, thank you

    And yes who cares about where the word comes from it good to know that words could be adopted more easily than children.

    One friend told me once a word perfect for most of the words of that list : sesquipedalian :)

  126. I like:

    waft (I know wafture is there, but I just like waft)

    Oh, alright. I’ll stop here, but I could go on – quite easily; there are so many wonderful words. It is delicious, this language of ours…

  127. A lovely post, but what I admire most is the quality of the discussion. It is not often I am as engaged so positively by the discussion following an article, often it is full of arguments and taunts. I was pleasantly surprised and hope to return soon as a result. Thank you.

  128. I am in love with the fact that scintilla is on the list. All time favorite word. However, I despise that onomatopoeia is on the list! I hate that word. I don’t know why. It just bugs me. It’s not pretty, or particularly fascinating. It’s an awful word. But I’m just a little nitpicky. Great list. I will definitely be using these.

  129. Okay. At least now, I will be able to express my self better. Just to let you guys know a lady approached me seekijg my assistance in drafting a letter for her to her hubby whom was overseas at the time. This is how it went.

    Dear ….,

    I miss you so much and instead of this ,com.au. yahoo.e-mail wanting to see you so and so.yes.sure.com, etc, etc,just the scintilla in your eyes will do me the whole world…wish I had known the word then-scintilla. I hope I used it right.

    Thanks anyway. Thumbs up


  130. Bella, I too love that Susquehanna is on here. I lived in Pennsylvania up until 4 years ago. If I were to suggest a name derived from a location in Pennsylvania, I would have chosen “Centralia” -A city that is slowly becoming a ghost town due to an underground coal fire that has forced many to leave home and hearth behind.

    My favorite, lovely word?


  131. I think both of us have managed to miss the presence of the word “Serendipity” somehow.
    I am sorry. This word is there in the original 100 most beautiful words published you. I am sorry for missing it.

  132. My favorite word is one that truly rolls off the tongue: spit. Others in my top ten: phlegm, wart, turd, stench, corrosive, scum, yecchh, nauseous and Obama.

  133. Fractious is a word I like very much. Describes to a “t” the way I sometimes feel.
    I often hear that texting and tweeting are creating a monosyllabic way of communicating. Not so if this site is anything to go by.

  134. Your definition of “desultory” does not agree with the dictionary’s. It may or may not be sluggish but is mainly characterized by randomness, as a circus rider jumping from horse to horse (the word’s origin).

  135. I can’t believe ‘pure’ isn’t there.

    Also, nearly the whole English language is derived from other languages. We’ve been invaded so many times, almost nothing is our own.

    Well that’s what I’ve been lead to believe, anyway. Please don’t attack me if I’m wrong.

  136. I believe that there is beauty in so many words… It’s tough to create a list that will entail everybodies personal favorite word. Especially when limiting it to simply 100. My personal favorite is tranquility, it’s a beautifully enticing and sexual word in my mind :)

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  140. The exercise is interesting, and the list is admirable.
    However, it is flawed in missing “rhythm” and “elegant”. Omitting latter is fitting since the overall list shows a bias towards syllables and complex sound over style and simplicity.

  141. One of the beauties of the English language is that we may feel free to borrow from other languages words that express more exactly the meaning we wish to convey. They then become English words by virtue of their use by us English speakers/writers. So it isn’t quite correct to say that a word doesn’t belong in the list because it has a “foreign” origin. We may all properly celebrate the fact that we don’t have an “academy” (language police) to tell us that we have to keep the language “pure”. That’s baloney. Or is it bologna?

  142. I thought I was well aware of most of all of the most admired words in the English language, but you’ve proven me to be wrong. This is a really great resource for writers! Glad to have found your blog. Stumbled!

  143. You had me at the first word for cat-lover. It must have taken a lot of time to compile these words. Some of these, I had forgotten that they even exist. Good work on this!

  144. As a writer, I truly appreciate this! I feel like reading the words that inspire people gives a glimpse of their personality- in the same way that one’s writing is a projection of their mind.
    My favorite words:
    venerable, mercurial, reticent, morose, envoy, avarice, parlance, candor, clemency, admonish, efface, render, and sage.

  145. I didn’t read all comments as yet. One of my favorites is syzygy.
    noun pl. syzygies -·gies. a pair of things, esp. a pair of opposites; Astron., Rare either of two opposing points in the orbit of a celestial body, …

  146. This is fun. I’m going to challenge myself to use 5 or 6 of these (forgive my spelling)this weekend:


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  148. It is refreshing to know that you don’t have to use the same mundane words to express yourself. I think that this list is extremely helpful and enlightening.

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  150. I would like to also add eviscerate, the meaning itself is not so beautiful but to the tongue and ears it is lavish

  151. I kind of thought the purpose of this list is words that are beautiful (and fun, at least for some people) to pronounce, which would be why simpler shorter words wouldn’t be included. But if that is the case, then ‘love’ wouldn’t be on this list either.

    @Burt Some people like to use and hear different words – not to IMPRESS but just for pure entertainment. And reading about them and thinking about using them may even lead to them looking up their etymology.

    In any case, I loved this list and many of the other suggestions. Like others have mentioned, it was fun just to say them out loud.

  152. Thank you for the lovely list and to those of you who politely added to it.

    A few favorites of mine I didn’t see above:

    miasma (strange that it sounds so nice, because it means “stench”)

  153. I think this might answer why there’s so much French here…
    — the STATUE OF LIBERTY travelled from France to America.

  154. What a fascinating list. I just read through all of the comments and loved all the additions, and arguments for and against words. There is a bias to words of French origin on the list, but so what? The English language got splattered with French starting in 1066. I notice that the letter L looms large on the list. Perhaps we find it particularly mellifluous…
    Great conversation, keep it going.

  155. Couldn’t agree more that superfluous should be on the list. I actually scrolled through to find it and was disappointed. I remember that word being on a vocab test my sophomore year of high school and from that moment on, it was my favorite word. Lackadaisical. Also whimsy.

  156. Here’s a baker’s dozen that I like but aren’t listed so far:
    flagellation, laceration, incantation, recalcitrant, insolent, redolent, opprobrium, antediluvian, paroxysm, cataclysm, catatonic, voluptuous, ennui

  157. I think I’m even fonder of the interactions that have transpired in discussing the original list than I am of the “100” list itself. Thus it is that I decided to collect all your nominations — these are MOST of the words you’ve all offered that weren’t on the original “100” list. Sorry about the complicated URL… that’s the space I had available…
    http://franksbonitaretreat.com/page1/page303.html Might see if our local parish magazine would be interested in this…

  158. This wasn’t actually written by whoever this is, it’s a list of the words most commonly used by a poet, can’t remember exactly who, but we got given it as a handout in english

  159. Those are lovely words! Quite a lot derived from French and Latin but still, beautiful on the tongue & the sound.

    Thanks for the list.

    One of my favorites that I didn’t see on the list is Dandelion, it’s a name of a flower and not a word but still…

  160. umm…. this is kinda silly…. most of these words are loan words from latin, italian and french vocabulary…… you think they are pretty because they have “romance” language origins. so…. yeah….

  161. I’m a crestfallen fan as well. Laced with a little irony I have dropped it into conversations and made a few people smile over the years. For its simplicity, the way it is verbalised and its capacity to convey meaning in an understated way I also love splendid.

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  163. How did you limit to 100 … So many beautiful words available …
    Assonence ~ You got the rhyme all wrong
    Inter alia ~ among other things (Yeah two words … but oh so nice);
    Facetious ~ inappropriate humor;
    Omnipotent ~ Having unlimited power; able to do anything;
    Priapism ~ beautiful word for terrible pain (Look it up);
    Ubiquitous ~ found everywhere.

  164. I love these words and would like to print them for easy reference but they are shown as white letters on a black background and my printer is black and white only. How can I do it? HELP

  165. I must say that this was a rather impressive list. I have decided to put it all in a sentence :) I’ll post a sentence later…

  166. this is awesome! i love euphonious words…its a game my bf hates! my favorites are myrmecophagine (ant-eater like), zwolf (german for 12), and pamplemouse (french for grapefruit). But really and truly, this game could go on for days (and does.)

  167. I like affable,infinity.quirk,and how my10 month old grandson says ning! when he’s angry. I spend a lot of time with him and am enchanted to hear his speech develop and witness the amount of time he practices each sound. th is the funniest. I enjoyed this list as well as the conglomeration of opinions.

  168. Great list… i love words. I have many favorite words, and can’t see how anyone picks just one word. A few of my favorites are Onomatopoeia and some that are not on the list: superfluous, panache, savvy, and I do love crestfallen too although I can’t say I use it much. Fuck is one of my favorites…so versatile: fuck off, fuck you, go fuck yourself, fuckin’ A, fuck up… it’s endless I remember seeing “fuck” in an important book about language — Maybe “Mother Tongue,” 20+ years ago and the author was not only noting its versatility but also that saying, “Get Fucked” is interesting in that it’s a most highly pleasurable activity so it’s like saying, “Make a lot of money!” Supposedly English is unusual in its use of combining pleasures with our profanities.

  169. This list was fun. A walk down memory lane. One word I would like to see on it is FIZGIG. It is such a bubbly word :-)

  170. hahaha this list adds many words in my vocabulary.

    my faves are Lagniappe, Dalliance, Diaphanous, Ebullience, Ethereal, Halcyon, Inglenook, Lilt, Lissome, Mondegreen, Palimpsest, Panacea, Pastiche, Petrichor, and Tintinnabulation.

    I never know that the word alimuong has English word which is Petrichor.

  171. I, too, am a word junkie. Some faves not on the list:
    facetious (all the vowels in order and everyone likes to be witty!)
    petulant (peevish…also a good word)
    aficionado (more than a fan, devotee; yes, I learned it from Hemingway)

    A great quote I came across this year:
    “Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering a farmer’s daughter.” — Julius Conroe

  172. Glad to see someone else mention “myriad”, it really is such a beautiful word; it’s synonyms are all either brutish and clumsy or at best plain and functional – who would ever choose “multitudinous” or even “countless” when such a lyrical and graceful word as “myriad” exists?!

  173. None of those words are actually original from English language, they all are derivated terms from another languages

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  176. when I read the headline, I knew the following words would make an appearance: Epiphany, Serendipity. Read the post to confirm.
    Very nice list. Some overlooked words such as “love” and “brood” were are worthwhile inclusions

  177. I’ve always thought the word ‘laundry’ was pretty. Say it outloud several times. I love that word (but not such much the task).

  178. I am truly sorry guys. I think most here are confused between a beautiful word and a bombastic word (complex). Bombastic words do not necessarily mean they are beautiful. To me, such words like “beautiful”, “jaded”, “viral” and even the word “I” are very beautiful indeed.

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  180. Elbow. In Dennis Potter’s ‘The Singing Detective’ the Marlow (Michael Gambon) tells the very pretty nurse (Joanne Whalley) that ‘Elbow’ is the most beautiful sounding word in the English language. This is where the very wonderful band ‘Elbow’ got their name from.

  181. I surprised at how many of these I found ‘not beautiful’ to my ear at all, like “assemblage”. Makes me think of appendage. I agree with many of them though, and many more from the comments. My favorite word because of the image it conjures in my mind is “passersby,” while the word I think is most beautiful purely for its sound is “ethereal” which did make your list. Thanks for letting me share these and thank you for your list.

  182. My three favorite words for their beauty: silhouette, brilliance, and cadence. Someone else mentioned resplendent or something like that and I agree. I think I have a list somewhere.

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  184. Honestly, I have no idea why but my favourite word in the whole world is Lovely. I also like Goodbye. And Nevertheless, because it is three words in one. Oh, and Laughter! The word itself just produces a vibe of joy, you know?

  185. I really enjoyed this list, being a thesaurus whore, but the problem with some of the definitions is that you have used a verb to define a noun, or the reverse. For instance wafture is a noun and the *act* of waving or the actual motion, not “waving” which is a verb.

    I’m not trying to be picky, but being a writer AND really appreciating your list, using the proper form of the defining word (particularly when using only one word) would be helpful, especially for those words I had never heard of. I learned some new ones, was reintroduced to some old ones and am book marking your list.


  186. I love the words on the list. I am going to compile a list of my own as a reminder to myself that I have choices in the language I use.

  187. These are lovely…. I’m especially glad to see diaphanous and tintinnabulation ^^

    I’d love to see susurrus and vitreous on the list too, though.

  188. One word I particularly enjoy is GOBSMACKED, which is an adjective used to describe a look of shock. I reall like it because it sounds exactly like what it describes. Wonderful list.

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  190. Aha!Overall are massively immense captivating words, Well the words that I like the highest are;


  191. In Icelandic these words are thought to be the most beautyful:
    Kærleikur (love), pronounced: Kjairlakur (æ = i in Jive) (ei = a in make) (u = u in but)
    Ljósmóðir (midwife), pronounced: (j = Y in York), (ó = o in no), (ð = th in the), (i = i in his).

    Good luck:)

  192. Im glad my favorite words, Ephemeral and Evanescence, made it in there. Mellifluous is a beautifull word. Im also gratefull that I learned the word Petrichor. I now have a name for something that Ive always greatly enjoyed. I would add Ablexxive just because its such a head turner. It means “Overwhelmingly confusing”

    Mollywop and Chutzpah are also eyebrow raisers.

  193. “Duty is the most sublime word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less.”

    Robert E. Lee

  194. Well, you may be thinking of the 100 most beautiful meanings, and is not taking into consideration the sonorous beauty of the words.

    For example, nobody (who doesn’t speak English and so wouldn’t know its meaning) would consider “becoming” a beautiful word (BEE-KAH… What?). “Brood”? No way! And so on. Actually, this list is full of some quite cacophonic words.

    Now, a word like “felicity” with all these sibilant sounds, and the beautiful “L” in the middle, may be considered beautiful by anyone who listens to it (even if they can’t understand English). Top it with a beautiful meaning, there’s a beautiful word!

    Other beautiful words in this list would be: Effervescent, Love, Scintilla etc (not many etc’s I’m afraid).

  195. Haven’t you noticed that most of them are inherited from other languages, especially French! such as Assemblage, Chatoyant, Dalliance, etc..
    English is not a beauty language despite it’s scientific importance!

  196. ‘Starling’ – I love that word – it’s evocative and diminutive and celestial and also just a bird…

    PS – it was TOLKIEN (not Poe) that thought ‘Cellar door’ created the most beautiful spoken sounds. @Kristofer – don’t think of it as two words – just ONE beautiful sound – something like ‘Selador’ – almost French sounding….(not that Tolkien liked French words!!)

  197. Wonderful varied collection and many good ones in the comments left too. Wish there weren’t so many picky complainers (they should go make their own collection online).

  198. I am a 16 year old German girl that absolutely admires language and thus stumbling across such pages definitely makes me felicitous. For many people in our society, words are nothing than unprepossessing printed letters, just letters strung together, helping us to bring across a message, our needs and wants. But for me, they have always been the key to another world. Yes, for me language is nothing to communicate, but rather a beautiful key to myself, my deepest thoughts, like a gift. I knew the feeling of reading a poem rife with ancient, beautiful language, onomatopoetic words, and suddenly becoming aware of the incredibly pleasant warmth they leave behind. Their power and strength gently covering me like a warm blanket.

    Though totally agreeing with most of the words (such as diaphanous, evanescence,mellifluous,..), I also have to remark that some of them are also kind of “ugly” or boring, respectively (at least from my point of view)
    For me, when it comes to deciding whether a word is beautiful, I have to take into consideration the associative, sonic and optic “part” of a word. Usually, the sonic one outweights the other two ones, hence I consider words like “brood” not as beautiful as those already mentioned above. :)

  199. This is an amazing list of words…. i have never came across to so many of them…..Is there any word which means “amazing creation meant to communicate or appeal to senses or mind” other than Portrayal…. pls help

  200. Wow! I appreciate the list. Very beautiful words…very dreamy! words that have captivated me since my time and still hold true for me today are these and more simple but so powerful words/names in their simplicity, they are:
    Jesus and grace!!

    always bring me to tears** exciting my limbic system :) Love

  201. The words given selectedly are used in our daily life but the english language is beautiful only the appropriate correct word is used to express our thought. For this this is very useful to everyone.

  202. I’m going to go with “scintillating” as one of the most beautiful words, phonetically speaking, and “freedom” as one of the most beautiful words conceptually.

  203. Wow ! I love this site. I am happy to learn I am not the only word lover. Here are my favorite words!! They are equally beautiful in Latin.
    Tranquil Tranquility
    Serene Serenity
    harmony Harmonious

  204. I stumbled (now that’s a nice one) upon this site by accident and became so fascinated that now I can’t remember what I was looking for in the first place !
    Thanks to Reesie for reminding me of my mother calling someone a “Flibbertygibbet”.
    Three small words I like..which seem to mean the way they sound…are “babble”, “murmer” and “melody”.
    I feel our language (in Australia) has generally become very restricted…eg everything is “awesome” and it is exciting to see so many people interested in words and using them.
    I’m ancient, but in my schooldays, poetry and Shakespeare were taught within the classroom, and it was only when, siitting in a bus on an English motorway and passing a field of sweet-smelling flowers, that I suddenly realized the secret to learning (and enjoying) poetry …and Shakespeare ….might be to be outside, leaning up against a comfortable tree trunk and smelling the flowers !. Or maybe on a wind-swept hill on a blustery day for the less gentle poems. Oh well…that’s what I think..
    No I’ll go back to the beginning and read all the posts which I scrolled past in an effort to get to somewhere where I could send my own message… Many thanks.

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  213. They also forgot this really cool word that bi discovered in school….

    “Flabbergasted”. Meaning relly excited or anxious and there’s even a book called flabbergasted!:-P come on now I should be encouraging for to wanna use this word….
    Lolerz B-)

  214. What a linguistic blast! Reading through the list gives you an appropriate feeling of how big the English vocabulary really is: about 2 million words. Thus, my most favourite word at the time being is “glocalisation”, which means: “Think globally, act locally!” Thanks a lot for the listing.

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  217. Nightingale, Luthien( a character in Silmarillion), wind, asunder, silver, fluorescent, hearken and many besides..great list!

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  219. Th smoothest place name I can think of is Cimarron, a river name in the American West.
    The French have always maintained that English is merely French, poorly spoken.

  220. I’m really quite fond of the word ‘Echo’.
    You can hear the word repeat in your head when you say it, huh?
    Plus, there’s a rich myth behind the word to boot.

  221. Does anyone know the word “valukus” My grandfather used it as a small suitcase to carry his small objects, especially his medicine. I’m 79 so its a very old word

  222. Humbly, may I add a perfectly expressive swear word? Rex Stout, author, used it for New York detective, Nero Wolfe? It is PIFFLE. It is to be enunciated with a tone of extreme disgust.

  223. I absolutely love to say the word quirky, or even better just plain quirk. Go on say it out loud, it is just so darn satisfying!! :D

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  225. I must admit i’ve never been so Baffled or Befuddled, Flumbergasted normally i’m the one spouting the big words!


  226. I’m not trying to be picky, but being a writer AND really appreciating your list, using the proper form of the defining word (particularly when using only one word) would be helpful, especially for those words I had never heard of. I learned some new ones, was reintroduced to some old ones and am book marking your list.Lithe Slender and flexible. Lilt To move musically or lively. Love Deep affection. Leisure Free time. Mellifluous Sweet sounding. 100 Most beautiful words in the English Thanks to Reesie for reminding me of my mother calling someone a “Flibbertygibbet”.
    Three small words I like..which seem to mean the way they sound…are “babble”, “murmer” and “melody”.
    I feel our language (in Australia) has generally become very restricted…eg everything is “awesome” and it is exciting to see so many people interested in words and using them.
    I’m ancient, but in my schooldays, poetry and Shakespeare were taught within the classroom, and it was only when, siitting in a bus on an English motorway and passing a field of sweet-smelling flowers, that I suddenly realized the secret to learning (and enjoying) poetry …and Shakespeare ….might be to be outside, leaning up against a comfortable tree trunk and smelling the flowers !. Or maybe on a wind-swept hill on a blustery day for the less gentle poems. Oh well…that’s what I think..
    No I’ll go back to the beginning and read all the posts which I scrolled past in an effort to get to somewhere where I could send my own message.For many people in our society, words are nothing than unprepossessing printed letters, just letters strung together, helping us to bring across a message, our needs and wants. But for me, they have always been the key to another world. Yes, for me language is nothing to communicate, but rather a beautiful key to myself, my deepest thoughts, like a gift. I knew the feeling of reading a poem rife with ancient, beautiful language, onomatopoetic words, and suddenly becoming aware of the incredibly pleasant warmth they leave behind. Their power and strength gently covering me like a warm blanket.

    Though totally agreeing with most of the words (such as diaphanous, evanescence,mellifluous,..), I also have to remark that some of them are also kind of “ugly” or boring, respectively (at least from my point of view)
    For me, when it comes to deciding whether a word is beautiful, I have to take into consideration the associative, sonic and optic “part” of a word. Usually, the sonic one outweights the other two ones, hence I consider words like “brood” not as beautiful as those already mentioned above. :)

  227. Interesting list; although not necessarily the most beautiful 100. I guess it is the “eye of the beholder”; or in this case the ear and the mouth of the beholder. Most astounding is the little knowledge about their origins–as most of them derive from Greek or Latin; which eventually became French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian. What surprises me most however, is the poor writing, poor grammar and inadequate use.

  228. i just wanna say thanks to the host of this site cus i am able to get find some words that i couldnt get in ma dictionary thanks alot

  229. My favorite words are Crimson, Eleven, Delight, and Petrichor (which I was quite happy to see on the list!).
    They remind me of one of my dearest friends.

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  232. Love words, word lists, word games and learning new words. The beauty of language amazes me sometimes. I would love to see the phonetic pronunciation of the words printed also as some of them I could not figure out, and it would be nice not to have to try to find them in a dictionary.

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  234. My favorite word is “bioluminescence.” It’s the stuff that makes fireflies light up. Flows right off the tongue. (Tough to spell, though…)

  235. my favorite german word is ´kleintierkörpersammelstelle´(pet corpse deposit).
    i know,it sounds much nicer than what it stands for.

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  239. @黒天鵞絨
    Oh Gosh… Sorry about that friend. Mine is Nostalgia. The word makes me feel sad and warm at the same time

  240. Thank you for your lovely list, honey, from one philophile to another. : )

    I am fond of the word “alluring” …it’s the mix of soft ‘ l ‘ and ‘ r ‘ sounds. It makes me think of faeries dancing in a circle…an allure-ring! ^ ^

    Alas, I shall never grow up… Alas, is another good word, actually, as is chateau.

    Oh… As for the guy who sniped on the common usage of the word bungalow to describe a cozy cottage, for heaven’s sake…someone’s took the time and effort to make and shore a list of lovely words and your response was prissy exactitude about ONE of them? How mean-spirited. How would you feel if I took a look at your pic rather than being nice, as my nature dictates and instead blurted out that my first thoughts were 1. “misogynist alert!” and 2. “mommmmy issues!” Now I’m not saying that’s what I thought, but what if I did?

    Factually you’re not on the most solid ground either, Mr. Grumpy. THIS is the actual definition for bungalow, so you were WRONG anyway, according to Webster’s:

    A low house, with a broad front porch, having either no upper floor or upper rooms set in the roof, typically with dormer windows.

    So she was right. Leave her alone!

    The English (or American) language is a living thing, as are all languages and it’s not necessary to cling to outmoded definitions anyway.

    Lovies, all!

  241. oopos, that should have read “someone took” not someone’s took…. I’m sure our sniper will pounce on THAT too ; )

  242. http://ukbuzz.net/?p=532
    Demi Moore 911 call reveals “real emergency”
    The tape of the frantic 911 call from actress Demi Moore’s Beverly Hills home Monday night is out and, reports CBS News national correspondent Lee Cowan, the scene sounds a lot more dire than her publicist had let on.

    After Moore was rushed to the hospital, a statement said she ‘d be seeking professional help for exhaustion and her overall health.

    “The 911 tape really indicates that this is a much more serious situation than we were first led to believe,” says US Weekly’s Melanie Bromley. “We’ve been told it’s exhaustion that she’s suffering from, but you can tell from the tape that there’s a very desperate situation there. She’s having convulsions and she’s almost losing consciousness. It’s a very scary tape to listen to.”

    “She was definitely in trouble,” Dr. Howard Samuels, a psychotherapist and leading expert on alcohol and drug addiction, and CEO of The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles, said on “CBS This Morning: Saturday.” “This was a real emergency. You could hear the panic in the voices on the telephone. Obviously, you know, this was a 911 call that was very serious. And, especially when the paramedics came, they took her to the hospital, because, many times, the paramedics will come and, if it’s not that serious, they’ll leave. But they took her to the hospital, which shows you the seriousness of this.”

    Some observers, says Cowan, blame her recent split with husband Aston Kutcher, after allegations he’d cheated on her, for her troubles. Others say the marriage was in trouble long before that.

    To see Cowan’s full report, which includes audio from the 911 call, and for more from Samuels on Moore’s situation, including what she was likely smoking that night and her prospects for recovery, click on the video in the playe above.

  243. Pingback: 100 more beautiful words « gists

  244. Catharsis… I just love the sound of that word. Saying the word is practically a catharsis all it’s own! My other favorite word is photograph. It brings to mind old photographs taken years ago, now found in old suitcases. You see the images and wonder what the story is behind the faces. Just a great word!

  245. Loved your list of words & the first time I’ve been on your page. I like the idea, layout and the comments people are leaving! I have quite a few favorites on this list. I hope you don’t mind, I copied this list of words because I’m a writer and I’m always of course looking for words. Visit my blog and let me know what you think?

  246. As a couple of people have already pointed out, this is a list which originated at alphadictionary. @ Shonari – it isn’t sufficient to say “it’s found all over the web” and that you’ve cited your source. You lifted it from So Much To Tell You who in turn (probably) lifted it from alphadictionary. A few people have called it ‘your list’, which I see you have not chosen to correct. It’s only right to cite the original creator’s name – Dr Robert Beard, who, according to alphadictionary, creates dictionaries. That said, it’s a great list.

    • @Jazzyjules My apologies. I indeed did not create this list as with many of the things on this site. I use this site to catalog things I find interesting. Where I find it I cite the source, I dont go through much digging to find the original source. But thanks for pointing out where it came from originally.

  247. i’d like to add one..not technically a word just yet but i hope it does enter the lexicon..the word is “Confuzzled”….i got it from the movie Mary and Max :)

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  249. My favourites would have to be
    and ….

  250. Thanks,I was going to make a lot of words out of a poem.Thanks for the words,all I have to do now is to write a poem using these words,and I’ll give it to the girl I like.

  251. I’m bamboozled by the lack of bamboozled. A word which never ceases to give aural pleasure or further enliven perspicacious interlocutions.

  252. I agree with most of them but would like to know words to describe following events/sentiments…if not there, can we invent?

    1. A falling leaf
    2. A beautiful sound in dream resembling a real sound from a distance
    3. A perfume matching a delicate mood
    4. A lovely sms wrongly received but appears appropriate for the wrong reciver

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  255. I like ocelot a lot.

    part and squat are onomatopoeic (I think? do you think?) moist all good words, regardless.

  256. I think all the comments about words coming from other languages are the result of a wrong perspective on language origins. Isn’t it more that words in many languages, especially European languages but not only, come from common roots, particularly Greek and Latin?…That’s more the point I feel, so with only a few exceptions the words ar just as “english” as anything else. Not sure is they’ve been mentioned, but I like “plaintive” and “pubescence”

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  259. some of my favorites are “dendrofilious,” one who loves trees enough to inhabit them, and glossolalia, which is meaningless babbling.

  260. faburden–a musical term that my lower-primate self can explain thus: a droning bass note remaining constant as other things change; it then becomes a shifting counterpoint.

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  262. Talisman is a funny word. It´s of Arabic origin (Tilasm[un]). It was the word for an amulet or something similar for protection from bewitchment. Most people associate the word with “man” cause of the ending…

  263. How about these sesquipedalian words. Not only do they give an impression about you that you’re erudite and not an assinine philistine, but they’re also mellifluous sounding and fun to say.

    Sesquipedalianist: someone who uses long words(like me)

    Obstreperous: Noisily and obstinately defiant and resistant (like an Egyptian protestant)

    Triskaidekaphobia: Fear of #13

    Intransigent: Stubborn and disagreeing

    Shadenfreude: Taking pleasure in other people’s pain.

    Philistine: An uncultured person

    Ignominuous: Disgraceful


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  265. Excellent commentary. The other day I ran across this website and desired to inform you that I have been previously gratified, dealing with your posts. We are deciding on your RSS feed and definately will lose time waiting for your following post.

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  268. First, the myth of persistence. Persistence doesn’t make a business succeed. It’s what’s left over after all the other causes of failure have been scraped off.

  269. I looked all over the lists and comments. I was surprised that “preternatural” (beyond what is normal or understandable) was not mentioned. I ran across this word in the stories of Edgar Allen Poe during my childhood. Not to be macabre* (also not on the list that I could find!), but I have always honored by darker side. ; ) Thank you for the list and the comments. This is a veritable writers’ playground! *Certainly French, but on permanent loan to the English language.

  270. Words I like and think are beautiful in their own way are:
    Although they have a sharp sound-many of them are onomatopoeia words.

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  272. The list was an absolute delight, but the additional suggestions were thoroughly enjoyable. We could do a list of 1,000 and still not run out of delicious words. My favorite, serendipity, wad there — so I’m pleased. Then Fernando (and doesn’t that roll off the tongue!) suggested butterfly, which also sounds beautiful in other languages.
    Mariposa(Spanish); Papillon (French); Schmetterling; Farfalla (Italian); and Barboleta (Portuguese). Others? We can return to this site endlessly for more ideas. Thanks to everyone!

  273. I would add vehement, precipitation, apophenia, cantankerous and dillydally amongst many others. Also, I know ethereal appears, but I much prefer ethereality (the change in the sound of the ‘a’ makes it roll off your tongue in a much nicer way).
    This list is great though!

  274. WOW! So pleased to see these fantastic words
    These words really make me write a poem
    Please include words like comfort, philanthropy in your list
    “EUBULLIENCE”.IS truely a memorable word

  275. There are plenty of Greek and latin words so change the name of this article to “Cool Words” and stfu if you dont know mf!

  276. brill list!!! but you forgot one word……
    Espienage, tactical espianage, meaning tactical spying activity
    ( im not sure i spelt espienage correctly but im only 12)

  277. The word ‘respect’ is losing its place in the vocabulary…and a living legend bolts doubters like publicity-looking-Carl that Lightning Bolt struck twice and may be bolted (signed, sealed and delivered) again for the 3rdX in Rio.

    bolt : set, sign, seal, send, smile, synchronise, steal, show…

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  280. I appreciate Robert Beard’s hard work on this, but some of these words, I just don’t know why they’re on this list. eg. brood, offing, becoming, comely etc. But some words I feel are missing from here are: Luscious, Terracotta, Loquacious, Exquisite, Euphoria, Cherishment, Fluency, Obliquation, Abyssopelagic, Quasquicentennial, Vicissitude, Velvet, Silk, Lilaceous, Ravishing, Jalousie, Velivolent, Whimsical (the list of pulchritudinous words is perpetual, but I won’t go on)

  281. Many years ago a friend told me he thought the actor Clifton Webb was persnickety. I am still not fully convinced. Any reactions to this?

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  283. Eloquent, copious, vociferousness, morose, benevolent, wry, pucker, lethargy, atonement, enthralling, dazzled, precocious, bleak, cunning, ruse, anguish, melancholic, illuminate… (I possess an always increasing, most beloved words list)

    -Reece Ryzhkov

  284. Im so happy my favorite word is your top 100. I was using and always thingking about this word, but I am so inlove with this. Nemesis is the word… will its not the meaning.. but the word alone :)

  285. Irrepressible. Etiolate.
    Or how about “omphaloskepsis” — to fall into a trance while contemplating your navel/belly button.
    Marvellous to live an existence that can conjure the necessity for such a word.

  286. stop buying GMO foods from the supermarkets… stop taking vaccines and flu shots…. the American and European Government are SICK EVIL WAR CRIMINALS who inject toxic chemicals and poisons into our food supply

  287. Thank you for the list, some great words in there except for my favourite being :
    Paragon – The epitome of excellence.

    I love its’ construction too.
    Consonant vowel consonant vowel consonant vowel consonant.

  288. Umm, people, English was derived from French and German. OF COURSE THESE WORDS ARE DERIVED FROM FRENCH!

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  290. I love these simple but elaborate words. Some words I missed; Time, Benevolent, Compassion, cherish, and Philanthropy. :)

  291. Some of these words I don’t think that should be on this list, such as brood, or leisure, but other than that, this is an AMAZING list! And I love it!

  292. This was interesting. I liked it. It could have been better though if there was a more detailed explanation of the words (maybe explaining their usual connotations).

  293. I never would have dreamed that anyone other than my friend the boy would love words as much as me. Hello all you wordsmiths out there

  294. Anyone for oasis?
    I somehow love that word.
    The simple words are lovely as well,
    such as wish, dream, freedom, and hope.
    Terpsichorean is another one I love.
    Beautiful list of words, by the way!

  295. I’m not entirely sure that some of the French words that you have listed here could really be considered among the most beautiful words in our language, considering that they are French. Like denouement, and ingenue. I mean, ratatouille is even a French food. I don’t think we fairly take credit for those words, though we might use them on occasion.

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  297. This is a WONDERFUL list. So many times you just long for the right word to put in the perfect place, and it is JUST slipping your mind. Thank you for collecting this really great words together in one place!

  298. Here are my top 10 that are missing:

    Luscious – Pleasingly rich, delicious and juicy
    Voluptuous – Luxuriously decadent and hedonistic
    Cherish – To hold dear
    Passion – Intense fervency and love
    Sensual – Erotically raunchy, sultry
    Velvet – A downy, closely woven fabric of silk
    Loquacious – Talkative and chatty, friendly
    Exquisite – Extravagantly delicate and beautiful
    Effloresce – To bloom and flower
    Fluency – The quality of seamless grace and poise

  299. Many of these words are Greek and have the same meaning:

    Ailurophile-> Αιλουρόφιλος
    Bucolic-> Βουκολικός
    Cynosure-> Κυνοσούρα
    Diaphanous-> Διάφανος
    Elixir-> Ελιξίριο
    Ephemeral-> Εφήμερο
    Epiphany-> Επιφάνεια
    Ethereal-> Εθέριο
    Halcyon-> Χάλκινο
    Labyrinthine-> Λαβύρινθος
    Mellifluous-> Μελίφλοος
    Murmurous-> Μουρμούρα
    Nemesis-> Νέμεσις
    Onomatopoeia-> Ονοματοποιεία
    Panacea-> Πανάκεια
    Panoply-> Πανοπλία
    Plethora-> Πληθώρα
    Susurrous-> Σούσουρος
    The Greek language is the mother of all

  300. Lovely list, though I find the word “Onomatopoeia ” superfluous since many words here contain that characteristic, which makes them sounds so lovely in part. I’d like to have seen “Euphonic” included.

  301. o! how a listing survives without –melancholy!!!!!!!
    superb glossary indeed, few more here —- mellow, firmament, citadel, winery, froth, wave, steppe, desiderata, equanemous, sierra, scarlet, pinion, pilgrim.cairn, satin, caress, celestial, hearse, caprice, limerick, nimble, mauve, rainbird, encomium, proscenium, pantomime, shingler, courtesan, thyme, magnolia, harem, dimple, lovelock, serenade,silverbirch,rosemary, churchyard, bradshaw, noumena, seraph, estuary, angelic, lavender, scripture, vernacular, sacrifice, purple , urn, quintessence, vesper, and bagpipe and white christmas —–

    @ Анонимка, ты прав, я больше люблю русский язык, прятний, ну англиский тоже идёт.

    @mimi- laudations!

  302. I don’t understand what you’re saying. I completely don’t know the power of English words. I hate English lesson in my school.. Also I hate my teacher very much. She often teaches us the wrong grammars! If you think my English is weird or wrong, just blame my teacher, not me…

  303. I think you should edit the list to add all of the words that have been brought up in the comments! Oh, and if you do… please add Widdendream, too. ^_^

  304. My list would have to include:
    Although negative it does have a nice ring to it: Famine
    thats it for now!

  305. I have a big word for you guys….. Methionylgluminylarginyltyrosylglutamylserylluercy! And that was just the first line of the word! The word itself has a total of like 1368!

  306. Pingback: The 100 most beautiful words in English | english 4 all

  307. I love these words! I read every. single. comment. Wow that was a trek! The following list is my new collection of beautiful words (for various reasons: sound, image, associations, flow etc.):

    percussion, petrichor (yes I am rather obsessed with a particular television show), perambulation, misogyny, mellifluous, soliloquy, triskaidekaphobia, stellar, cosmic, cellular, felony, aloof, forlorn, flappable, fodder, fissure, gossamer, eloquence, cantankerous, beleaguer, felicity, pastiche, tremulous, terpsichorean (I’m a dancer), loquacious, vesper, cathartic, salacious, alabaster, bourgeoisie, melancholy, dysphoria, peculiar, coalesce, rapscallion, trollop, deliquesce, lambast, asterisk, myriad, maudlin, lithe, reticent, perpendicularity, fleeting, arabesque (dancer thing), flagrant, filigree, philanderer, philosophical, philanthropy, languid, eclectic (ooh YES), avarice (YES), clemency (oh they just keep getting better and better), miasma, laceration, conglomeration, lilt, paralipsis, silhouette, cadence, stoic, celestial, callous, ricochet, paraphernalia (oh I LOVE this one), slender, misogynist, spatula, porcelain, ocelot, sesquipedalian, archipelago, elaborate, illicit, caprice (oooh), thyme, magnolia, vernacular. I was happy to discover zyzzyva and syzygy as well, I’ll be sure to make good use of them.

    Also you guys should check out “The Blur, The Line and The Thickest Of Onions” by Little Comets. It has some fabulous words and meaningful lyrics. It’s my fave <3

    PS: I value everyone's opinion, so long as they're not hurtful or derogatory! Thanks for all the positive comments, and thanks to the author (such a considerate attitude). As to complaints about language (french, greek, etc.) English was derived from other languages (predominantly latin) and I think they count :)

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  323. I have two words ‘Cellar door’ known only for it’s beautiful sound, nothing to to do with semantics. Beautiful. Rolls off the tongue and sounds divine.

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  325. That’s a beautiful list! I was surprised to find out that there are many words that I am not familiar with ;( For instance, I have never heard of “Dulcet” or “Lilt”. However, I guess most of them are not very frequent in use; that must be the reason for my lack of knowledge. It would be interesting to see the most beautiful words of different languages..like French, German, and maybe some more “exotic” languages like Finnish or so. kind regards from Switzerland.

  326. There are some nice words in that List! I feel a little bit embarrassed that I don’t know many of these words…I guess this is because most of those words are not very frequent? Hopefully this is the reason for my lack of knowledge *.*

    It would be interesting to get a list with the most beautiful words in different languages: French, German and maybe some rather “exotic” languages like Finnish or Irish Gaelic or so!

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