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

Leave a Reply


  1. KS

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

    • Olya

      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”:)

      • JK

        Rite yea! I’m absolutely a words lover too. Fancy words make our life more beautiful n interesting~ it makes me so in love with English~~

  2. Jack Popjes

    Crestfallen, yes that is my favourite too–each time a drop my tube of toothpaste.

    • JK

      How about it said to be a poop has fallen on ur head? ‘Crest-fallen’ made me crestfallen.

  3. Elliephan

    You made me smile, Jack!

  4. CP

    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

  5. Smoothilly

    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?

  6. Ranjini

    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.

    • Vijay Kumar


      My guess is that you are a poetess. Loved your words in the comment section..


  7. KS

    Smoothilly-I think that writing a story with these is a great idea!
    Jack-that was pretty funny…

  8. Melayahm

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

  9. Stephanie

    I wish ‘superfluous’ was on this list. I think it just rolls off the tongue.

  10. kristopher

    You forgot cellar-door.

    • manda red

      ***Kristopher** yes! Thank you! Cellardoor! Donnie darko!

  11. Tony

    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.

  12. Erin

    It’s interesting how many of these words occur frequently in Shakespeare.

  13. Leis

    I’m quite a fan of the missing “Lackadaisical”, but otherwise find this to be a fantastic list.

  14. Thera

    Terpsichorean – relating to dancing
    Defenestrate – throwing someone/something out of a window

  15. Mari

    I knew serendipity was going to be on there! But what about soliloquy?

  16. 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.

  17. Kathie

    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.

  18. awesome details here on 100 Most beautiful words in the English language* – how about sports and food?

  19. Jessie

    Please add loquacious… so beautiful!

  20. 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.

  21. I’m rather partial to ‘shibboleth’ … Like stumbling over soft consonants …

  22. Christine

    What about Zephyr: a gentle breeze; one of my all time favourites.

  23. Nezumi

    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.”

  24. @PeteCarpenter

    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.

  25. AussieJohn

    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.

  26. Huston

    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.

  27. Westrowc

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

  28. 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. :-)

  29. Kevin

    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.

  30. Elliephan

    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!

  31. Will

    You forgot “Fuck.” it is my favorite word.

  32. ivy

    I really miss the word “velocity” on this list

  33. P K C Rajah

    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 ‘

  34. Kevin P Happyface

    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.

  35. David

    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..

  36. Jake

    I really love “resplendence”. Who says English isn’t a pretty language?

  37. Elliephan

    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!)

  38. Camila

    How could you list “ratatouille” as an ENGLISH word? Come on now.

    • Shonari

      Ratatouille: A vegetable stew, usually made with eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and onions, seasoned with herbs and garlic.


      Many English words have foreign origins and yes Ratatouille is french but its an English noun (a name of a soup)

  39. Nadia


    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 :)

  40. Kristen

    what about ameliorate!!!!

  41. Christina

    I second the vote for “lachrymose”, and also would add my personal favorite, “vespertine”.

  42. sonce

    wow!!! onomatopoeia would be my fave since second grade.

  43. Jim

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

    Other interesting words: recalcitrance, recrudescence.

    • Shonari

      @Jim…Changes made. Thank You

  44. 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!

  45. anonymous

    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.

  46. virginie

    Did you know that 34 words are coming from French?

  47. Lizabeth

    Will is a clod.

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

  48. 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.

  49. Kevin Ferguson

    Bungalow is NOT a cozy cottage, it’s a single-story house!

  50. Great list. A new word to me recently that I love is proboscis, although I rarely get to use it.

  51. 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 :)

  52. donna krol

    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

  53. what about “Peace” “Truth” and “Drink”? I personally think those are the best words in the world!!!

  54. Mystere

    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.

  55. Lovely sounds and beautiful words. Thank you for this collection.
    May I add Peripeteia? Bee

  56. many of those words are greek or have a greek base! but i agree they are beautiful

  57. 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….

  58. Donal

    My favourite; Callipygous

    Also perspicacious. And subtle (cause the sutle B that sneaks in there)

  59. Millie

    ‘Denouement’ is a french word, but lovely all the same :)

  60. Sherry

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

  61. Sherry

    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! :)

  62. Michael

    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.

  63. The Jabberwock

    Acquiesce needs to be on here, well above ratatouille for sure…

  64. jorioxking

    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. :)

  65. Audrey Hunt

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

  66. Liz

    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!

  67. Melissa

    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.

  68. John

    whimsy….. One of the very best.

  69. Twisted Logic

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

    I also like ‘undulations.’

  70. Proletariat

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

  71. Cindy B

    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.

  72. zeemer

    i enjoyed reading the comments. i was extremely entertained. thank you.

  73. Sam

    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.

  74. Bacchus

    Half of these words are French. Typical ‘Merica.

  75. Pingback: Halcyon « DISPORTING

  76. Edt

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

  77. Plaz

    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.

  78. beth

    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!

  79. Nanak Kanti Sen

    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.

  80. 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.


  81. wendy

    Wow. I use most of those … I wonder what that says about me. I’m not sure I want to know!

  82. Drewlius

    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.

  83. Dani

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

  84. Says

    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.

  85. Ian

    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.

    • Shonari

      @Ian, yes contranyms are strange yet interesting

  86. Lindsey

    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:


  87. Vivian

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

  88. lory

    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!!!

  89. Ocean

    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

  90. 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…

  91. aks

    There are certainly lot more words that one can add to that…like ‘Resonance’ and ‘Hubris’

  92. MAYYY

    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.

  93. Roger Kenyon

    I really like the word ethereal.

  94. Adriana

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

  95. anonymous

    i love the word impromptu

  96. Camille

    great list :) i want to add my favorite word: coalesce – love the meaning and how it looks and sounds

  97. Gabrielle

    An onomatopoeia is not a word that “sounds like it’s meaning”, as you indicated in your list. It is actually a word used to describe an actual sound, such as “The cat meows”. http://www.dictionary.com

  98. Sally

    Here’s a great one for the list…..syxygy

  99. Tatankatron

    Here’s a fun one: rapscallion, meaning a rascal; a scamp.

  100. Lena

    So many of these are French! Thank God for the Norman conquest 😀
    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.

  101. Raul

    I like the word trollop and azure and serenity/sanctuary, impede, and sorrow.

  102. Rrandy Fecundity

    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.

  103. Faised

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


  104. Commandrea

    Screw ‘dulcet’. I lost first place in the 2nd grade Speling Bee to that word :(

  105. Christopher

    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.


  106. Emily

    Love this!
    My favourite word is ‘collapses’.

  107. DB

    Even though it’s not used to describe pretty things, I love the word “filth”.

  108. pensilled

    many of these words are greek. (epiphany,ailurophile, panacea,plethora etc…)

  109. Pingback: An Evocative List of Language « Guy Librarian

  110. Kicat

    That is awesome i really like that list of words

  111. I.Ken Seymour

    Chthonic — pertaining to the underworld is an euphonious word that I dug up!

  112. Wordsearch

    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.

  113. Wordsearch

    OH and how could I forget Jingoistic! With it’s bizarre origin.

  114. I have read that the most beautiful word in the English language is the word “strawberry.”

  115. Ramona

    Man they forgot loquacious. That is my absolute favorite.

  116. Christina Re

    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!

  117. Clever person

    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.

  118. michelle

    How about “spindrift” -the spray of water from waves crashing against the jagged rocks

  119. Pingback: I’m Like Indiana Jones… But With Words | Wait Here For Further Instructions

  120. PeeBee

    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.

  121. RJB

    Serendipity is such a lovely word. I wish it were used more often.

  122. John

    Two of my favourite words for how they sound are ‘telemetry’ and ‘biscuit’.

  123. I would save these words for my references. do you know i am not native english speaker and it’s really big problem to master english 😀

  124. Imbroglio – I have to try and use this in my everyday language, i like the word!

  125. Robin

    What about “defenestrate?”

  126. gc_wall

    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.

  127. lesleyt

    Strumpet is my current favourite word!

  128. Toshu

    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.

  129. Анонимка

    Включите русский язык!я по-английски ниче не понимаю!

  130. Craig

    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.”

  131. Simon Young


    My 13 year old trots each out frequently. It’s a joy to hear.

  132. grokmonkey

    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.

  133. Amber

    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,


  134. Julia

    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.

  135. 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…

  136. 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.

  137. Aurora

    bab.la is currently searching for the most beautiful word of the English language, based on 100,000,000 votes! If you would like to participate, click on: http://en.bab.la/most-beautiful-word/

    No log-in and free of use. We are looking forward to knowing the results!

  138. Nikki

    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).

  139. 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.

  140. Michael Law


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

  141. Genevieve

    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.

  142. Garrett

    What about Transmogrifier?? a device that transforms its user into any desired shape – Calvin & Hobbs

  143. Nefarious. Has anyone actually written an article with all these words in it ? That would be a good read ! Garret I like how you think!

  144. Bumbling Stumbler

    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?

  145. vavrola

    you missed zephyr ! one of my favourite words. =)

  146. Sam

    The most beautiful word of the language english is “beaver”

  147. AutumnApocalypse

    I think soliloquy & loquacious would be nice words to add to this list.(:

  148. @Jack…

    I dropt my tube o’ toothpaste on me toe; t’splatted, t’made a messy show; oh how i set off ballen; and still now i am crestfallen


  149. There are three interesting words I like in your list;1. Chatoyant-like cat’s eye 2.Mondegreen- A slip of the ears 3. Petrichor- The smell of the rain after rain.

  150. bayou

    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.

  151. AutumnApocalypse

    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.

  152. Lunalovegoodtherandom

    Either Effervescence or Iridescent are my favorites, because they sound so unearthly

  153. Sophie

    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!

  154. 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.

  155. Rachhell

    Ratatouille on best english words, seriously?

  156. Kevin O Riordan

    What about “Louche” in the sence of decadent, ambiguous,sinister?

  157. 1knitwit2purl

    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

  158. alice

    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.

  159. I love the word DEFENISTRATE. It is the act of throwing someone out a window. Not a nice word, but fun to say.

  160. Zoie

    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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  163. anne

    i think language is the most beautiful thing in the world, and is lost on so many people.

  164. S. Forde

    I love the word rendevous

  165. Firefly

    I love the word Serendipity! It’s so beautiful and sounds almost magical!

  166. Brood – to think alone
    I am a writer and I like to think to myself alot. The words are relaxing, calm, and

  167. Drew

    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.

  168. Nishaad

    Oeillade: a glance of the eye, especially a coquettish glance

    favorite word :)

  169. Janellionaire

    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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  172. Celia

    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)

  173. nightcrawler

    What about phenomenon?

  174. Susan

    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.

  175. Nita Miller

    Thanks! The words are scrupulous.

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  177. 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.

  178. 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

  179. Gilly

    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.

  180. Amy

    I love this list. Two I would have to add to one I made myself – superfluous and vesper.

  181. Burt

    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.

  182. Porfy

    *** RHETORIC – The art of using words effectively and persuasively.

  183. I love the word exquisite and malicious. Something about malicious, like dirty delicious.

  184. Odd

    Ailurophile…..wait….phile…..that is waaaaaay more than just a person who loves cats.

  185. Jaime

    I don’t know why, but I like Unctuous, maybe because it kinda sounds like what it means.

  186. jules

    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.

  187. steve mcdougall

    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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  189. rouge8

    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

  190. I’ve always liked “diminish”, “bereft”, and “vestibule”

  191. Irish Girl

    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.

  192. Priya

    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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  194. Mike Chopapa

    grace – for its simplicity, sweetness, and grace.

  195. Patrick

    James Joyce thought that the most beautiful word in the English language was “cuspidor”.

  196. loopyprince

    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

  197. DeeDee

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

  198. Fernando

    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?

  199. maven

    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.

  200. Kat

    Subtle: it is its definition, and pretty in itself too

  201. 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.

  202. Jim

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

  203. Reesie

    You forgot Flibbertgibbet. 😛

  204. CM

    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!

  205. i secretly miss “devotion”, sounds kinda beautiful, doesn’t it <3 oh, and "essence" too..

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  207. Sway

    glad i’m not the only one who was looking for CELLAR-DOOR.

  208. Patt

    My favorite: synchronicity. It is so much a part of my life.

  209. Bella Goldbach

    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!

  210. 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.

  211. 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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  213. Priya

    Gezellig – the warm, comfortable feeling of being with people you love.

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


  215. If wanderlust is not on the list, it’s not a list worth having.


  216. Sasha

    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”

    • Shonari

      @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.

  217. My favorite word is “reverie”. A reverie is a daydream or fantasy.

  218. Stützpunkt

    If you’re allowing ratatouille, you really should have Schadenfreude too.

    My favorite word is: yes.

  219. Chorley

    Nice list BUT in most cases, a bungalow is not a small cosy cottage …

  220. Hanu

    I liked the collection though i’d have loved to see the word ” SERENDIPITY”. It’s a nice word

  221. 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

  222. 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 :)

  223. Sicarus

    here’s a word that I like that’s not on the list… Stumble!


  224. Catherine

    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…

  225. Catherine

    Oops, I absolutely must add, goo. Sorry…

  226. Ashley

    Adoration. That is my most favorite word.

  227. xiawesome

    assemblage is french doh

  228. Greta

    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.

  229. Marlee

    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.

  230. 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


  231. Anna Evans

    Hoyden. A word that apparently accurately described me as a child!

  232. Brian

    they forgot one…

    101. moist (in a gristly sexual wisper)

  233. Savannah

    I love words :) This list made my night. How cool is this? :)

  234. Lauren

    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?


  235. Hanu

    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.

  236. achu

    Indeed a very beautiful list.
    I like the words ‘relish’ and ‘reminiscent’ too.

  237. Seymour Bellybuttons

    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.

  238. Wordgirl....

    These aren’t even the most beautiful words… they are just unique ones.

  239. Jo

    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.

  240. J Nothron

    How about the two words Henry James thought the most beautiful: summer afternoon?

  241. L

    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).

  242. Lucie

    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.

  243. Sloanchi

    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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  245. Fiona

    “Ponder.” That should have made the list. Just hearing the word makes you pause and, well, ponder it : )

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  247. GX

    #1 on my list – callipygian

    callipygian (or callipygous) – adjective – having well-shaped buttocks.

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  249. Scott

    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.

  250. Jim S.

    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?

  251. 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!

  252. 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!

  253. Sophie

    u forgot the most classy word of the english language.. HAMBURGER 😀

    • SalemahMYLABS

      sometimes I feel am woebegone. Like the terms :))

  254. Divalicious

    I can best identify with the word Pyrrhic because of its meaning.

  255. Jen Locke

    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.

  256. Frank N.

    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, …

  257. Erin

    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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  259. Joyce J.

    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.

  260. Sean Butterworth

    my favourite is “fetching”

  261. Sean Butterworth

    you misspelled harbinger, Daniel

  262. crankypants

    “Lullaby” is as musical spoken aloud as it is by definition of the word itself.

  263. Very Good list, but you forgot one. Diarrhea. Although it does not have a pretty meaning, the word itself is beautiful.

  264. Pingback: 103 Most Beautiful Words? You Decide « Jacqui Murray's WordDreams…

  265. Duane Dahl

    I may have missed it in the other comments, but:


  266. zyron

    my favorite word, destiny is not here. but oh well, those are great too.

  267. a passer by

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

  268. Chipinos

    Great list. Quagmire is missing!

  269. Susan

    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.

  270. Ellen

    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”)

  271. You have some very interesting collection of Beautiful words!

  272. Bob

    It may be of German origin but glockenspiel does it for me

  273. Allan

    impervious is the word that i would add

  274. You forgot one of my faves: bludgeon. It just rolls off the tongue but is never used in news nor police reports. Bummer, that.

  275. Jennifer

    Haberdashery. Love this word. Love to say it in different accents….tehe:)


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

  277. Wonderful collection! Enjoyed going through the list….much like Reader’s Digest’s well known one. Great idea….

  278. 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.

  279. Briana

    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.

  280. Bobby Wabby

    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

  281. 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…

  282. Confabulate – to make radomly things up (B.S. in other words!)

  283. slash

    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

  284. Simply Amazing! I loved this list. My favorite here has to be Petrichor! Does anyone have any more?

  285. Emily

    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…

  286. K

    It doesn’t have a pretty meaning but I’ve always thought “putrefaction” is such a pretty word

  287. christian

    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….

  288. George

    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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  290. Je trouve intéressant votre sujet. L’objet est exploré d’une manière exceptionnellement exacte. Avez-vous un site Facebook ?

  291. beegeeaar

    A beautiful compilation which will surely help the students and writers.

  292. Turnip

    My favorite word is probably “Equinox”. It’s just so pretty-sounding.

  293. Thundur

    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.

  294. All of your words are beautiful, so you should offer for auction in all. I would like to admire to your works, so you would set to work

  295. Harry Greenwood

    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

  296. Nadia

    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…

  297. TheBookMonster

    Nice list! I love words :) but you missed ‘discombobulated’.

  298. Diane

    I love words….one of my fav’s is Myriad!

  299. J

    Oh, but you cannot forget haberdashery.

  300. lindsay

    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.)

  301. mary

    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.

  302. 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.

  303. oh gosh, I DO have a favorite: gossamer… i totally love that word.

  304. Emily

    Melancholy is my personal favorite word. Divinity and poppy are also very nice. But I loved your list, well done.

  305. Alice Ookamii

    My favorite words are luminescent and transcendental….

  306. Denise

    I would add synaesthesia, skeewiff and my all time favourite, jouissance to the list.

  307. Fishy

    Most of these words actually have French roots, so they aren’t really beautiful English words. =P

  308. james Ryan

    How grandiloquent-a beautiful word in disguise.

  309. ZION

    PULCHRITUDE ! Is my favorite word.

  310. Asha Banks

    Flabbergasted! =overwhelmingly exciting or overwhelmingly bad

  311. Derek

    lol jack. im really happy that was one first comments

  312. ArcticDragon

    I personally love the word maelstrom.

  313. rhonda bostick

    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 :-)

  314. As a poet it is a joy to see so many comments and friends that love words. I invite you all to join my web site and express yourself and your special words. This has truly been a treat.

  315. 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.

  316. longmayitwave

    Love this list of words. Think I’ll save it to Documents.

  317. gburg75

    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

  318. Roger Braun

    What about naivete? or somnambulation? or circumbilivagination? amaranthine?

  319. Limerance – the state of being carried away by unreasoned passion or love

  320. rythm is very important
    for me i would place the words in different order
    if you find them beautiful
    to me more than beauty
    the meaning

  321. Michael

    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?!

  322. Pichancha

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

  323. smpltn

    I would have like to have seen “AH”.

  324. Celso C. Nieves

    The English words I like repeating are: melody, cornucopia, euphoria, love, pretty

  325. erikaL26

    you forgot the word perhaps and clairvoyance…such wonderful words. so is the word wonderful:)

  326. paralipsis: Saying something by way of stating that you are not going to say it.

  327. Catie

    what eloquence, I am tired of people using words like happy, sad, bored ext.

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  329. Dawn

    Aww, you don’t have my favorite word:
    Verdant: lush, green

  330. Pingback: The 100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language « English Language Pages

  331. Peter

    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

  332. Cindy

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

  333. Margaret

    I like judicious for the “J” slot

  334. Emma

    what about “simon”….. gee whizz

  335. MFA

    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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  337. Pete Edwards

    Lycanthrope I think has a musical quality for a monster.

  338. Morgan F

    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.

  339. MAB

    Undulate. Say it with feeling. And drawl it out. Can’t you just SEE it?

  340. Shazza

    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.

  341. Amelia

    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.

  342. Pingback: Beautiful Words… « Pub Tip Tuesday

  343. Heather Khai

    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?

  344. xanz

    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.


  345. I’m going to try to use 3 of these words a day for the next month. Each of them will be used in my customer service calls. :) This will be fun!

    If anyone else is up for the challenge, I’m going to blog about it on my Customer Service Training Blog. Feel free to comment on your experience.

  346. Elizabeth

    Soliloquy has long been my favorite — it just rolls off the tongue.

  347. Steve Schmid

    Interesting list.. which one exactly was the English word? Most seem to be latin or greek.

  348. Freda Spooner

    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.

  349. blue-like-you

    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.

  350. e

    Favorite word? Now, this HAS to be special. Simple, but effective.

  351. find missing people find sunshine yang ,jackson yang ,paul yang and tau yang need to make sure since born till now they never missing

  352. Caroline Craig

    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.

  353. Pingback: » “Petrichor” | What A Mess

  354. iulia

    100 most beautiful word in english that sound incredebly french :)))

  355. Ali soomro

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


  356. 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:)

  357. Another two that I love: Audacious … and Saucy … do you agree?

  358. ^.^

    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.

  359. Joe

    “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

  360. Pete Edwards

    It is a shame but ablexxive does not exist!Expendable is wonderful.

  361. Roger

    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).

  362. azizqasim

    this peg is very important for every one

  363. yazid

    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!

  364. Celso

    I love the word “melody”. It rings sweetly into my ears.

  365. Joseph

    ‘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!!)

  366. EliPoo

    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).

  367. ibraahim


  368. Laura

    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. :)

  369. Vaishali

    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

  370. Lindsay

    Thanks so much! I will use some of these in my essays to impress my teachers!!

  371. Twinkle

    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

  372. Kevin Whitlock

    Custard. Sententious. Rhinocerotic. Crepuscular. Trope. Atrabilious. Peeve. Bombastic. Hoodwink.

  373. beegeeaar

    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.

  374. 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.

  375. hellfire

    i like “erstwhile” the best…

  376. Laurel

    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

  377. Shirley Powley

    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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  382. Glad I ‘stumbled’ on this page. Truly enjoyed your list and the 444 added in the comments! Make mine the 445th: discombobulate, an onomatopoeia.

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  386. Lovely!

    How about pulchritudinous? I love it cuz it’s not the prettiest word but describes beauty.


  387. Nice list! So many words from old Latin language… What a joy for me! :)

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  389. Don

    Tintinambulation is more correctly bell-ringing, such as to play a tune or a call to worship.

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  391. shalynhaynes

    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-)

  392. 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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  394. mab

    You forgot “autumn” and “autumnal”.

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  396. Soph

    Ohhhhhh….I have to add one! Scrupulous. I love that word!

  397. Thalion

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

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  399. Elise


    I love this list SO much!

  400. Dana

    SEPULCHRAL should be on the list. There’s so much beauty in gloomy words.

  401. Wat bout D word- Xanthosis, psychosomatic, paraphernalia, xylophone, yahct, crisp, enzyme, xenophobia, anglophobia, pulchritude,weapon, arsenal I fink it’s really onomatopoeaic

  402. Wat bout D word- Xanthosis, psychosomatic, paraphernalia, xylophone, yahct, crisp, enzyme, xenophobia, anglophobia, pulchritude,weapon, astigmatism, arsenal I fink it’s really onomatopoeaic

  403. Rusti

    Lagniappe translates from the Cajun to “a little something extra”…

  404. Bill

    well, if you like Susquehanna, then you must also like Shenandoah, equally as pleasing to the ear.

  405. Dick Blenz

    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.

  406. Tyler

    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.

  407. GrannyGizz

    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

  408. GrannyGizz

    Another unused word is cultch….junk, messy stuff. Covers a multitude of sins.

  409. sharon

    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.

  410. Quirky

    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!! 😀

  411. Laura D.

    I am a linguist and many of those definitions are a poor choice of what the word really means.

  412. TommyD

    ELBOW! this should be obvious friends. say it. elbow.

    your welcome.

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  414. Brittany-Anne

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


  415. 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. :)

  416. Intaglio

    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.

  417. SamanthaLilibeth

    What about ‘flabbergast’ ? It’s a nice word.

  418. BeingSouthern

    Feckless. (But it’s a great list as is.)

  419. some of the words are wonderful but some are weird to me :)

  420. adedamola

    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