Five Favorite Words

Every author has ’em. I don’t mean the lame repeating words and phrases we’re all prone to using (“smirk” comes to mind for me.) I’m talking those words that delight a writer enough that he or she can’t help but feel a measure of glee at their inclusion in a manuscript.

Writers are not the only ones subject to this foible. I have a friend who doesn’t write who always used the word “fiasco” in conversation. I later discovered she loved the word so much, that she had it made into a vanity license plate!

(It’s funny that when I first thought of this post topic, I had a whole bunch of words in my head. Now I can’t remember a single one! Ah, well. Here we go!)

Redhawk’s Five Favorite Words

    1. Perplexverb – (of something complicated or unaccountable) cause (someone) to feel completely baffled.

    To be honest, I enjoy most of the synonyms for this word as well–baffled, mystified,confounded. I like the imagined facial expressions of a person suffering from perplexity, the brief instant of “WTF?” that occurs to jar a person out of their normative life into a never before seen world of “other.”

    2. Disreputableadjective – not considered to be respectable in character or appearance.

    Another word that rolls off the tongue with a faint sense of wicked delight. And another word that employs a number of synonyms that are just as fun–infamous, notorious. I think my love of these words come from the secret awe I hold for bad girls. (That’s right, I think Warlord Xena is flippin’ awesome! And Corky in Bound. And Private Vasquez in Aliens. And…) * ahem * Anyway…there you go.

    3. Prurientadjective – having or encouraging an excessive interest in sexual matters.

    And who can write romance or smut without coming across this dear little word? This brings a whole slew of wonderful words into the conversation as well–lascivious, lewd, salacious… What a wonderful list. Not suprisingly, this segueways right into the next one:

    4. Concupiscentadjective – filled with sexual desire; lustful.

    …Which is pretty much an extension of the same. There are so many intriguing words in the English language to use when it comes to romance. (I guess it shows how focused our ancestors were on the topic.) I’ve yet to use this in a tale, but that’ll change…soon!

    5. Provocativeadjective – 1) causing annoyance, anger, or another strong reaction, especially deliberately, and 2) arousing sexual desire or interest, especially deliberately.

    I prefer the second definition by far, but that’s to be expected when writing romance, right? I rarely use the term in the manner of the first definition. I’ve never been one for confrontation, so it’s not in my mindset. Make love, not war, yeah?

    Bonus: Perspicaciousadjective – having a ready insight into and understanding of things.

    This is a new word to me, discovered by a coworker in a writing exercise (I mean YOU, David!) Just the sound of it is fun! I haven’t had opportunity to use it in a novel, but I’ll be on the lookout for the chance now!

Your Turn

What are some of your favorite words? As a writer, I love to play with words on the page. I’d get a kick out of hearing yours.

Do you have any you absolutely detest? I can’t stand crude words in an erotic scene. My last editor hated “smirk.” What about you?


  1. Your post made me laugh my girlfriend is always telling me that I am a word snob. I have favorite words and then I have words that make me cringe. Most favorite would have to be ambiguous..really dont know why just like the sound of it I most hated word is succulent..I shuddered just typing


    • dixiecat69, it’s ALWAYS good to laugh! And that’s an excellent word! I remember when I first discovered “ambiguous” as a kid. It has definite flavor, doesn’t it?

      Thanks for chiming in!


  2. Lexicon, surfeit and dearth are the ones I can think of right now. There’s a whole bunch of fun words that I try to use often. I’m sure it makes me sound like a snob, but they are so much fun to say and write. I also love word play, so will sometimes deliberately mispronounce words to be funny. I forgot my audience the other day and used my silly pronunciation of croissant in front of someone who didn’t know me very well. Oops. at least I didn’t look like a snob :).


    • Ann, is it mispronunciation or pronouncing as the word is written? LOL!

      When I worked at Round Table pizza in the dark ages, the men’s bathroom was labeled “Knights.” One night a guy asked where the bathroom was and I told him it was two doors down on the left with a sign that read “Ka-nig-its.” (Monty Python reference.) He said, “Really?” I said, “Oh yeah.” I got a humorous finger waved at me when he got back from the restroom.


  3. Oh, I’ve recently been working on just such a list:
    serendipitous – and the related fortuitous
    … and taking a fresh look at – re-thinking – some basic words: everything, thirsty, scratch, ambition, scrawl and faux.
    Fun! 🙂


    • Lynn, as soon as I read your fresh-look list I thought to myself, “Hmmmm…scratch…” Funny how even the well-used words can become new favorites as time passes.

      Thanks for commenting!


  4. The one word I don’t like that comes to mind is chuckle. I don’t know why, but it irritates me. I have to mentally replace it with another word when I read it in a book. One word that I love is one I recently discovered through a blog I follow – quixotic. I love te way it sounds, and the way it feels to say it. Quixotic. Lovely. 🙂


    • phoenixgray85, I think chuckle is over-used in narrative. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of options when remarking on someone’s laughter. If a character doesn’t giggle and you’ve used “laugh” fourteen times in the last scene, what else can you use?


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