When writing, I do my best to write simply and in such a way that can be widely understood. To quote Hemingway —
“Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over.”
By Baroque, Hemingway was referring to the highly ornate and arguably obnoxious style of architecture, art and music that spread across Europe in the early 17th century to the late 18th century.
Regardless… obnoxious or not… necessary or not… effective or not… big powerful words are a beautiful thing. And, as a writer and marketer, while big, beautiful and powerful are the easiest words to describe something that is of substantial in size, stature, strength and aesthetic… we all could use some other words to grab from every once in a while.
1. Compelling — overpoweringly enticing.
2. Honeyed — written or spoken language that is soothing and soft, intended to woo.
3. Salesmanship — the craft of selling a product or service.
4. Wabi-Sabi — a Japanese philosophy that focuses on finding beauty and acceptance in life’s imperfections.
5. Fika — Swedish term used to describe the coffee break taken between friends or colleagues, often involving pastries (we need to do more of this).
6. Frenetic — fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way.
7. Goya — the suspension of disbelief that occurs in good storytelling; a story that feels like reality.
8. Meraki — to do something with soul, creativity or love; the essence of yourself that you put in your work (I have this tattooed on the inside of my left bicep).
9. Spookasem — this is Afrikaans and translates to Candy-Floss (it’s essentially just a much cooler way to say Cotton Candy).
10. Indigo — the dark blue dye extracted from the Indigo plant.
11. Chatoyant — a gem that is cut in such a way that it reflects a single streak of light resembling a cat’s eye.
12. Nemesis — an unconquerable or long-standing arch-enemy (Trump or Hitler or Voldemort or one PTA mom to another PTA mom).
13. Plethora — a large or excessive amount of something.
14. Umbrella — a protecting force or influence or coverage from sun or rain.
15. Bumblebee — a lovely furry insect with four wings that flies from flower to flower collecting nectar and pollen to make honey (this word is both exceptional and unique because it is an onomatopoeia — see number six).
16. Onomatopoeia — a word imitating the sound by or associated with the thing it is referring to (purr, mumble, warble, bumble).
17. Although — in spite of the fact that; even though… however; but… (prolific because it expresses conflict or discord with great poise).
18. Unicorn — a mythical creature (yet to be determined) resembling a horse with a long straight horn protruding from its head (like a Narwhal but not at all like a Narwhal).
19. Zesty — lively and invigorating.
20. Tintinnabulation — the tinkling, ringing or sounding of bells.
21. Lissome — agile, nimble or graceful.
22. Hyperborean — what you would call an individual that lives in the extreme north or cold. With that said, I think it would be a funny word to use as an insult, “Shut up Richard, you hyperborean.”
23. Fantasticate — to make fantastic.
24. Bossdom — the status, influence or power of a boss.
25. Sanguine — staying optimistic or positive, especially in a bad situation.
26. Festoon — to decorate.
27. Boisterous — I like this word and use it often in my writing. It means to be noisy, energetic and rowdy.
28. Apoplectic — so overcome with extreme anger that it is nearly impossible to form words.
29. Glissade — to skillfully glide over ice or snow while descending a mountain.
30. Mercurial — this word has two meanings. One, it is used to describe a person that is subject to sudden unpredictable chances in mood or mind. Or, two, something containing the element of mercury or pertaining to the actual planet Mercury.
31. Breatharian — an individual who believes that through meditation it is possible to reach a level of consciousness where one can obtain all sustenance from the air and sunlight. Or, a word used to describe an idiot that doesn’t think you need food or water to survive.
32. Kaleidoscope — a toy tube containing mirrors and pieces of colored glass, creating reflections producing changing patterns that are visible through an eyehole when the tube is rotated.
33. Profligate — to be recklessly extravagant or wasteful in the use of resources. Your rich friend might demonstrate profligate behavior with his spending of money.
34. Biddable — while this word doesn’t have the most powerful of meaning in the world (to be docile and obedient), I think it sounds neat.
35. Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis — weighing in at a hefty 46 letters, this is the second longest word in the English dictionary. It’s meaning? The lung diseases caused by inhaling volcanic ash.
36. Phantasmagoria — a sequence of imaginary images like those seen in a dream.
37. Madeleine — this lovely French word refers to something that triggers a memory or feeling of nostalgia.
38. Cosmic — the extraterrestrial vastness of the universe in contrast to Earth. Or, the name of the brownies you used to eat as a kid. Did you hurl back in time? You just experienced a Madeleine.
39. Daemon — this word dates back to Greek mythology where it was spelt Daimon, referring to a divinity or supernatural being between humans and gods. Today, this word means “genius” or the creative genius within all of us.
40. Supernova — an exploding star.
41. Blatherskite — an individual that talks at great lengths without making much sense.
42. Eyewater — Indian word for tears.
43. Minibeast — a tiny animal without a vertebrate (think: spider, roach or centipede).
44. Snakebitten — someone or something that is “snakebitten” is doomed. Think of that kid in second grade that was constantly wearing a stinky cast.
45. Moonwater — this a a word that was thought up by Bon Iver (my favorite artist). He refers to it in a few of his songs on his most recent album 22, A Million. You would have to ask the man himself to know for sure, but my interpretation is that it means a longing for something that does not exist.
46. Jaguar — a colossal, heavily built cat belonging to the panthera family with lethal almost god-like hunting abilities (able to rip a crocodile right out of a riverbed).
47. Tutti — music term meaning “all”; all voices or instruments together.
48. Hyetal — this is a beautiful word that means — of or relating to rain or rainfall.
49. Rasputin — an individual that exercises great but insidious influence. This word is derived from the evil Russian sorcerer monk, Grigory Efimovich Rasputin. He stood six foot four inches and was as creepy as a banshee.
50. Tantivy — this word has two meanings, both of which are noteworthy. One, a swift or fast gallop. Two, a cry a hunter makes when riding a horse at full speed.
51. Goldilocks — neither being hot nor cold — not varying from one extreme to the other.
52. Fain — to willing or gladly do something.
53. Ufology — the study of unidentified flying objects.
54. Piecemeal — one step at a time, gradually. I love this word because I think it defines everything our society is not. There is beauty in waiting. There is beauty in showing up each day. There is beauty in moving slow but moving purposefully. Not everything is a “start-up”.
55. Aberration — ahh, yet another lovely word. Aberration is the act of departing from the right, normal or usual course. The choice to deviate from the ordinary.
56. Marplot — this is a fancier way of saying someone is a party pooper, a Debbie-downer, an asshat, etc. It is used to describe an individual who spoils a plot. I suppose it is more related to fiction.
57. Bashment — a large party or dance.
58. Dragoon — this word is one of my favorites simply because it sounds so badass. It means to coerce or persuade someone into doing something. The wife dragooned her tight-wade of a husband into buying her the red heels.
59. Sylph — a mythical being like a sprite or fairy. This is a lovely word because it can also be used as an adjective to describe someone that is stunning and graceful.
60. Iconoclast — someone who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions.
61. Vendible — something that can be sold.
62. Whipjack — a beggar that pretends to be an out-of-luck sailor. While I think this is a neat word, we don’t run into too many beggars impersonating sailors. So, I recommend using it as an insult for your friend that always acts like he was dealt a bad hand.
63. Benighted — overtaken by darkness or night.
64. Ergophobia — an abnormal fear of work.
65. Peculate — to steal or take dishonestly. Perhaps a word to describe the acts of your little league coach that requested an additional $25 per player to throw a pizza party at the end of the year but instead used the money to get hammered and visit the town’s strip club.
66. Seriocomic — while this word sounds like something that would fall from the sky, it’s an adjective to describe something that is partly serious and partly comic.
67. Kyoodle — to make loud, useless noises.
68. Expiation — the act of apologizing or making amends for a wrongdoing of sorts. Example: After shotgunning several Pabst Blue Ribbons at the family BBQ, Carl made a complete ass of himself by calling his Aunt Margo a whale — the following day he brought his Aunt her favorite dessert, chocolate covered strawberries as expiation.
69. Dawdle — to waste time, be slow.
70. Gallivant — to go around from place to place in the search for pleasure and entertainment. Think: five fraternity brothers six shots deep grab-assing on the strip.
71. Bird-dog — to watch closely.
72. Woolgathering — this is another word for daydreaming. I think all of us should dedicate more time to woolgathering versus scrolling aimlessly.
73. Capricious — impulsive; prone to sudden extreme changes in mood or behavior.
74. Alliteration — the use of the same consonant at the beginning of each word. Think: Roger Rabbit ran rapidly at the Runnymede Radish Race.
75. Hyperbole — extreme exaggeration.
76. Dekko — a look or a glance. This word actually relates to the word dragon or drakon… which brings us to our next word.
77. Drakon — Greek word meaning giant serpent.
78. Spoilsport — an individual who ruins other people’s enjoyment. Everyone was having a blast and a half at the company Christmas party, but then John the spoilsport decided to get bastardly drunk and take shit in the fruit punch.
79. Circumferential — surrounding or lying around the outskirts of something.
80. Sawbones — this is a horrifying word for a doctor or more specifically a surgeon.
81. Killjoy — this word is nearly identical to spoilsport, but in my opinion more aesthetically pleasing. It is a word to describe someone that kills the joy of others. Or, the act of cutting an Almond Joy in half with a machete.
82. Paseo — a slow leisurely walk or stroll.
83. Stroll — after typing out the word “stroll” I thought to myself, mmm that’s pretty. I looked up and found it had an alternative meaning to just walking. It also is used to define an easily won victory.
84. Saffron — an orange-yellow flavoring.
85. Behindhand — late or tardy.
86. Krummholz — a forest of stunted windblown trees near the timber line on a mountain. That’s a damn lovely word, isn’t it?
87. Busticate — to break into pieces. Crunch bar, back pocket, busticated.
88. Denigrate — to criticize unfairly or say mean hateful things about another individual. I think as a whole, we should all work to do less denigrating.
89. Gehenna — a much prettier word for hell.
90. Haberdasher — a dealer in men’s clothing.
91. Tussie-Mussie –– a small bunched together set of flowers.
92. Machiavellian –– deceptive or dishonest. The boy’s smile hid machiavellian intent.
93. Vagility –– one’s ability to move about freely and migrate.
94. Feint –– this is a movement intended to trick or deceive an enemy. In dodge ball you might feint an attack by throwing a ball up in the air to your adversary in hope that they will attempt to catch it… then when they take your eyes off you… you hit them in the face with another ball.
95. Make-work –– this is another word for “busy work”, checking email, writing to-do lists, filing paperwork, etc. Our society does a lot of make-work now-a-days.
96. Frugivorous –– fruit-eating.
97. Arctophile –– an individual that is extremely fond of teddy bears.
98. Grok –– to understand something very well.
99. Mushy-headed –– not well thought out. Tom was heckled horribly after presenting his mushy-headed idea to the board.
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