What's Your Favorite Word?

According to James Joyce, it was cuspidor. Arnold Bennett liked pavement. The great Neil Gaiman prefers ineffable. War Horse author Michael Morpurgo likes supreme. And JRR Tolkien thought that cellar door was "beautiful... especially if dissociated from its sense and from its spelling." You might never have given it much thought, but chances are you too will have a favorite word.

To mark World Dictionary Day last month -- the 256th anniversary of Noah Webster's birthday - words and language Twitter feed @HaggardHawks asked bookworms and logophiles to tweet pictures of their favorite words for a new Tumblr feed dedicated to only the finest and most beautiful English words. The response was a predictably varied and eclectic bunch, but put together it makes for a surprisingly handsome gallery:

  • <em>from @SaysDanica</em>
    from @SaysDanica
  • <em>from @MaureenJ53</em>
    from @MaureenJ53
  • <em>from @OpenPenLondon</em>
    from @OpenPenLondon
  • <em>from @mosquitoism</em>
    from @mosquitoism
  • <em>from @JanaLaRue</em>
    from @JanaLaRue
  • <em>from @mccormickgeoff</em>
    from @mccormickgeoff
  • <em>from @a_crezo</em>
    from @a_crezo
  • <em>from @MarktheMammoth</em>
    from @MarktheMammoth
  • <em>from @LizzyPower</em>
    from @LizzyPower
  • <em>from @myMisericordia</em>
    from @myMisericordia
  • <em>from @nuit_de_tempete</em>
    from @nuit_de_tempete
  • <em>from @HolleysHouse</em>
    from @HolleysHouse
  • <em>from @JustinSFreeman</em>
    from @JustinSFreeman
  • <em>from @ZDouglasWrites</em>
    from @ZDouglasWrites

Choices like whippersnapper, agathokakological ("comprised of both good and bad parts") and hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian ("pertaining to long words") prove that madcap, bizarre-sounding words are always going to be popular. But some of the other suggestions that were received -- like wistful, home, pinnacle, open, nest, and dedication -- prove that words don't necessarily need to be peculiar in order to be memorable, and sometimes it's the definition that comes out on top.

You can see all of the entries over on Tumblr, but if your own personal favorite isn't amongst those you can submit your choice by tweeting a picture with the hashtag #myfavoriteword -- spelled with or without a U in the middle, as Webster himself would have preferred.