Linkage Activiation

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Prettiest Words: A Work in Progress

Prettiest Words, Alphabetized (1,027)

Abattoir: a slaughterhouse; massacre
Absinthe: wormwood liquor of a bright-green color
Acciaccatura: grace note, an embellishing note usually written in smaller size
Acedia: ennui; state of torpor or listlessness; spiritual apathy
Acervuline: aggregated, heaped up, bundled, collected or localized
Acidulous: somewhat acidic or sour in taste or manner; somewhat sarcastic
Acolyte: ranked clergy member; assistant in liturgical rites
Acoustic: of or relating to sound, the sense of hearing, or the science of sound
Acquiesce: to passively accept; to accept, comply, or submit passively
Adroit: quick or skillful; adept in action or thought
Adumbrate: to explain faintly or opaquely outline; describe
Aeipathy: continued passion; unyielding disease
Aeneous: brassy; a type of golden-green
Aeolian: pertaining to, of, related to, caused by or like the wind or Aeolus
Aeonian: continuing forever; eternal
Aerial: of, in, or caused by the air; existing or living in the air
Aesthete: person who appreciates art or beauty
Aestival: pertaining to, relating, designating, or of summer
Aeviternal: eternal, endless, never-ending
Afflatus: strong creative impulse, especially as a result of divine inspiration; inspiration
Aileron: small moveable platforms on the back of plane wings that alter air movements
Ailurophile: cat-lover, one who loves or appreciates cats
Alabaster: dense translucent, white or tinted, fine-grained gypsum
Alienate: to estrange; to cause to become unfriendly or hostile
Aliment: something that nourishes; food; to supply with sustenance or food
Allegretto: music term, moderately fast tempo
Alleviate: to allay; to lessen in pain or negative occurrence or consequence
Alloquy: speaking to another; an address
Allure: attraction; temptation; to attract with something desirable
Alluvium: unconsolidated sediments carried by water
Amaranth: deep-hued purple; a type of purple flower; used as a metaphor for immortality
Amber: light brown; light yellow
Ambience: atmosphere; a particular environment or surrounding influence; aura
Ambivalence: simultaneous, conflicted feelings towards a thing, person, etc.
Ambrosia: the food of the gods; something overpoweringly delicious or fragrant
Ameliorate: to make better; improve, enhance
Amelus: individual exhibiting Amelia (the congenital absence of one or more limbs)
Amethyst: deep purple; deep-purple gemstone
Amnesia: partial or total loss of memory
Amphisbaena: Greek mythological being, a two-headed snake with a head on each end
Amphora: ceramic, two-handled vase with a narrow neck, usually containing alcohol
Amulet: a charm against evil or impurity, often a piece of jewelry
Analemma: sundial, figure-8 indicating sun’s position
Ancestry: the inception or origin of a phenomenon, object, idea, or style; lineage
Andante: music, moderately slow
Anemone: a flowery marine creature
Antebellum: before or existing before a war, especially the American civil war
Anxiolytic: preventing or reducing anxiety; antianxiety medication; tranquilizer
Aperitif: alcoholic drink taken as an appetizer before a meal
Aphelion: point indicated when the orbit of the earth is furthest from the sun
Aphesis: omission of sound or verbiage at the beginning of a word or phrase
Aphotic: devoid of light, especially of areas where no light naturally occurs
Apocope: omission of sound or verbiage at the end of a word or phrase
Apophenia: the perception of or belief in connectedness among unrelated phenomena
Apoplexy: stroke; impairment or neuralgia from cerebral hemorrhage
Aposiopesis: abrupt stop of a thought in a sentence, as if the speaker could not continue
Apostasy: abandonment of one's religious faith, political party, one's principles, or a cause
Apostolicity: being of or contemporary with the Apostles in character
Apotheosis: deification; quintessence; exaltation to divine rank or stature
Apropos: appropriate of; appropriate
Aquarelle: painting done in transparent watercolors; watercolor; watercolor painting
Aqueous: of, relating to, or resembling water; made from, with, or by water
Aquiline: resembling an eagle’s beak; hooked like a beak
Arabesque: a ballet twirl; type of artistry involving a continuous, rotating design
Aria: air or song; a melody, solo in an opera accompanied by instrumentation
Artemisia: type of plant, genus of aromatic shrubs or herbs
Ascertain: to understand specific facts; to ferret out information
Ashlar: a squared block of building stone and dressed for outward placement
Asphodel: a type of flower, often associated with the Underworld
Astral: of or pertaining to the aster; stellar; star-shaped; pertaining to the stars
Asylum: refuge; a place to restore sanity or facilitate recovery
Atelier: an artist’s studio; a place designated to create or perform art
Athanasy: quality of being deathless; immortality
Athenaeum: institution for the promotion of literary or scientific learning; phrontistery
Aubade: poem or song about or evocative dawn or morning, the opposite of nocturne
Auburn: moderate reddish-brown
Aura: distinctive and pervasive quality or character; air; atmosphere; emanation
Austere: severe or stern in disposition, discipline, or appearance; somber and grave
Autumnal: pertaining to, like, relating, or evocative of autumn
Auxiliary: additional, supplementary; reserve; acting as a subsidiary
Avarice: extreme greed for wealth or material gain
Avenue: wide street or thoroughfare; roadway lined with tress
Azalea: type of plant, a common garden plant
Azoth: mythologized universal solvent; panacea
Azuline: light blue; similar to a light blue
Azure: sky-blue or a light blue
Baccalaureate: bachelor’s degree; valedictory speech
Balustrade: architectural term, series of balusters or parapet
Banderilla: a decorated dart that is shot into the neck of the bull during a bull fight
Bardiglio: finely-grained, multi-gray Italian marble
Basilica: large, public building the Romans used, usually as a courtroom or meeting hall
Bastille: imprisonment, jail, prison
Bayonet: blade adapted to fit the muzzle-end of a rifle and as a weapon in close combat
Belladonna: a type of plant, highly poisonous; “pretty woman”
Belle-lettres: “beautiful letters” aesthetic literature, as opposed to didactic
Bellicose: inclined or eager to fight; aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious
Bellwether: leader or indicator of future trends, trendsetter
Belvedere: roofed structure, on top of another building, which commands a large view
Berceuse: lullaby; song used to put someone to sleep
Bethesda: a hallowed, sanctified, or holy place; a chapel; holy ground
Bezaleel: the shadow of God, God’s shadow
Bibelot: trinket, bauble; small object which is rare or valuable or beautiful; a small book
Bibliophile: someone who loves (and usually collects) books; book collector
Bijouterie: pl. trinkets or jewelry, gallery thereof, display thereof
Bivouac: temporary military or squad encampment
Blaze: bright flame of fire; bright steady light or glare; hot gleam
Blellum: an idle, indiscreet talker; noisy fainéant
Bliss: joy, rapture, elation, felicity
Blithe: carefree, nonchalant; heedless; lacking concern; joyous
Blossom: billowing; period or condition of flowering or growth
Bloviate: to make pompous or arrogant discourse
Boeotian: marked by stupidity and philistinism; crudely obtuse; loutish
Borasca: a squall, usually accompanied by thunder and lightning
Bordereau: a detailed note or memorandum of account
Boulevard: broad street, avenue; broad spectrum of something
Bouleversement: reversal of fortunes; overturning; tumult
Bourgeoisie: the middle class; the middle class in Communist theory
Braggadocio: arrogant person; braggart; arrogant or boastful behavior
Brecciate: to form rock into breccia (rocks made of sharp fragments set in a grainy matrix)
Breeze: gentle push of the wind
Breviloquence: speech characterized by brevity; shortness, briefness
Brevity: briefness; swiftness; evanescence
Bricolage: something made or put together using any materials that happen are available
Brio: joie de vivre; vivacity; alacrity; gusto; esprit
Burnish: to polish; the shine of a polished surface
Caballero: skilled horseman; gentleman; cavalier
Cabaret: a restaurant with live entertainment
Cadence: rhythmic flow of the sounds of language; lilt
Cadenza: musical or literary improvisation
Caesious: a type of bluish gray
Caesura: a pause in a line of verse, usually in poetry
Calico: coarse, brightly printed cloth; a type of pattern
Caliginous: misty; dim; obscure; dark; gloomy; tenebrous
Calliope: musical instrument fitted with steam whistles, played from a keyboard
Callipygian: having a beautiful, admirable, or sexy butt
Callow: immature; green, lacking experience; naïve
Calypso: a type of rare orchid; a tribal and fervid dance
Cancrizans: backwards movement; crab walking; music moving backwards
Candelabra: pl. branched candlestick with several candles
Canticle: a song, poem, or hymn, usually of a church choir
Capriccio: music, improvisation, without adherence to rules
Capriccioso: music, lively and free of restraint, restriction, or direction
Capricious: impulsive; whimsical; unpredictable
Caress: touch or stroke lightly in a loving or endearing manner
Cartesian: of or relating to the philosophy of Descartes
Cascarilla: West Indian shrub with aromatic bark, typically used in incense or tonics
Catena: closely linked series; connected series of related things, especially of writing
Cathismata: pl. one of the 20 divisions in a Greek Psalter
Cavil: to object or criticize adversely for trivial reasons; flimsy objection or qualm
Cedilla: a diacritic beneath a letter designed to alter pronunciation “façade”
Celadon: a type of pale green
Celeripedean: quick-footed; swift; fast-running
Celerity: speed; alacrity; briskness
Celesta: ancient musical instrument
Celestial: heavenly; of a higher plane; empyreal; pertaining to or of space
Cello: large, stringed instrument that generates deep tones
Cellophane: thin, flexible, transparent cellulose material used as moisture-proof wrapping
Cellular: pertaining to cells or their structure; containing cells
Cellulite: fatty deposit causing a dimpled appearance, as around the thighs or buttocks
Celluloid: transparent, colorless, synthetic plastic used to manufacture photographic film
Cenotaph: an unmarked grave
Centennial: of or relating to a period of 100 years; occurring once every 100 years
Cerulean: a type of watery blue
Cerumen: yellow, wax-like secretion from the external ears; “earwax”
Cessation: pause; interruption; ceasing; ending
Chalice: cup for consecrated wine; goblet
Chamois: goatlike antelope; type of cloth for cleaning
Champagne: a type of bubbling alcohol with fruity taste
Chandelier: ceiling-mounted light fixture or glass structure
Chantpleure: to cry while singing; to cry and sing simultaneously
Chariot: two or four-wheeled, horse-drawn war or procession vehicle
Chartreuse: a type of swampy green
Chatelaine: the mistress or lady of a castle or large household
Chatoyant: like or resembling a cat’s eye
Chauffer: a designated paid driver for formal occasions
Cheilion: the corner of the mouth or oral cavity
Chevelure: head of hair; hair on the head; tresses; a nebulous aura (as around a comet)
Chiaroscuro: composition of strong contrasts in light and dark
Chiasmus: rhetorical term, inverse sentence, “One should eat to live, not live to eat”
Choreography: the art of creating and arranging dances or ballets
Cicada: loud, locust-like insect that chirrups
Cigány: gypsy; Hungarian gypsy
Cinder: burned substance, one which is no longer capable of combustion
Cinnabar: bright red; glowing red
Cinquefoil: five-leave; plant with limbs that are five-leaved; five-pointed leaves
Circlet: ring-shaped ornament or piece of jewelry, especially for the head
Circuitous: having a circular or winding course; indirect; roundabout
Circular: of, like, related to, or resembling a circle
Cislunar: of or relating to the space between earth and the moon or the moon’s orbit
Cistern: an underground reservoir
Citadel: bulwark; a fortress or stronghold; refuge
Cithara: ancient Greek instrument, like a lyre
Civility: formal or perfunctory politeness; state of being civil
Clandestine: kept secretly or done secretively
Clarion: medieval trumpet with clear shrill tones; clear and shrill; loud burst of sound
Clavicle: the collarbone of a human
Clavilux: an odd machine that generates light to the rhythm of music
Cleanse: to free from dirt, defilement, or guilt; purge or clean
Clemency: mercy; an act of mercy; showing mercy
Clerisy: the well-educated or learned class; intelligentsia; cognoscenti
Clinquant: glittering as gold; glittering with tinsel; showily ornate
Clithridiate: keyhole-shaped; resembling a keyhole
Cloister: monastatic establishment; convent of living
Coalesce: to fuse, intersect, or entwine to create a unity; to unify by an external means
Coelacanth: a type of prehistoric fish, initially thought to be extinct
Coercion: the act of coercing; the use of pressure, threats, blackmail, or intimidation
Collectanea: selection of pieces of writing by an author or by several authors
Colliquate: to change from solid to liquid; to liquefy
Colloquial: informal, as in speech; conversationally informal
Colophon: inscription at the end of a book; an identifying emblem for a book
Coloratura: elaborate or technical vocal music with florid ornamentation
Comestibles: items suitable to be eaten; edible sundries; articles of food; victuals
Communiqué: an official announcement; bulletin board; a dispatch; an official report
Conciliabule: secret meeting of conspirators
Conciliate: to win over from a state of hostility or distrust; appease
Concinnity: harmony in the arrangement or fitness of parts with respect to a whole
Concupiscence: lasciviousness; lewdness; ardent lust
Congelifraction: splitting or disintegration of rocks as a result of the freezing of the water
Constellation: specific arrangement of stars to form an image
Convalesce: to recover or recuperate; recover from a serious injury
Copse: thicket of small trees or shrubs; a coppice; small wood; a tree
Coquelicot: a type of plant, red poppy
Coquette: woman who makes teasing sexual or romantic overtures; a flirt or tease
Coracle: small rounded boat made of waterproof material stretched over a frame
Cordillera: group of mountain ranges forming a mountain system of great linear extent
Coriander: a type of aromatic herb, herb used in a variety of perfumes
Corinthian: pertaining to Corinth or its culture, architectural term
Cortical: of, relating to, derived from, or consisting of cortex
Coruscate: sparkle; reflect brightly; shimmer
Cosmology: study of the physical universe considered a mass of phenomena in spacetime
Cosmopolitan: pertaining to the world at large, without localized prejudices
Coterie: tightly-knit group of persons having a common purpose or interest; cadre, clique
Craquelure: fine pattern of dense cracking formed on the surface of paintings
Crescendo: music, gradual increase of tempo, volume, or intensity
Crystal: mineral with many possible permutations; gemstone-like
Cumulonimbus: type of cloud that augurs, foretells, or indicates bad weather
Cuneiform: wedge-shaped; Sumerian language
Curlicue: fancy curl or twist; flourish of writing
Cursive: flowing, effusive, wavy, type on handwriting in English
Curvilinear: consisting of or bound by curved lines; represented by a curved line
Cuvette: a small, transparent, often tubular laboratory vessel
Cyan: a type of greenish-blue
Cyaneous: a type of deep blue, cerulean
Cygnet: a baby swan; young swan
Cylinder: long, tubular geometric shape rendered in three dimensions
Cymbal: percussive instrument, usually attached to a drum kit
Cynophilist: dog-lover; one who loves or appreciates dogs
Cynosure: that which garners great attention by calling to its brilliance; interest
Cypress: type of swampy tree or plant, plant or tree occurring in swamps
Cytherean: pertaining to beauty or the goddess, Aphrodite
Daedalian: intelligent; crafty; deft; practical; pertaining to Daedalus
Dalliance: flirtation; dawdling; procrastination; frivolous action
Daphnean: shy; timid; demure; modest; bashful
Dapple: a spot or mottled marking, usually occurring in clusters; different tones and hues
Dawn: daybreak; first light of day; the onset of an idea; enlightenment
Decrescendo: gradual lowering of tempo in music or in a situation
Degringoladé: a rapid decline or deterioration, as in strength, position, or condition
Deign: to condescend to do something thought to be slightly beneath one's dignity
Delenda: that which needs to be deleted; something that has been deleted
Delineate: to describe, explain, or demonstrate
Deliquesce: to dissolve; transform into liquid from a solid
Delirium: state of mental disarray and unstable consciousness from intoxication or fever
Delitescent: hidden, concealed; kept secret
Dell: small, usually wooded valley; vale
Delphic: brotherly; oracular or prophetic
Demarche: course of action; maneuver; specific movement
Demesne: a lord’s privately owned manor or section of land
Demure: shy; modest; reserved in demeanor or behavior; having sedate reserve or sobriety
Denouement: final resolution or clarification of a dramatic or narrative plot
Desuetude: state of disuse; state of uselessness
Diablerie: dealing with the devil or devils; witchcraft; sorcery; consorting with demons
Diaphanous: light; delicate; gossamer; translucent
Diaspora: dissemination, dispersion; random or selective re-distribution
Dilettante: one who dabbles in an occupation or hobby without serious intent
Dioscuric: describing a twin, whether person or event, of a twin; of a duplicate
Dislodge: to remove or force out from a position or dwelling previously occupied
Dissemble: disguise or conceal one's true motives, feelings, or beliefs; to mislead
Dissimulate: to conceal or disguise; to hide with the intent of deceit
Divisi: music term, divided, separated
Dulcet: sweet-sounding; mellisonant
Dulciloquy: speech characterized by sounding soft or sweet
Dulcimer: stringed instrument having three or four strings and a fretted fingerboard
Dulcinea: sweetheart; lovely person; one whom a person loves or cares about
Dyslexia: disorder in which lexical figures are perceived in a chaotic order
Ebon: black; made of ebony
Echelon: tier; level; rank in job; formation of soldiers
Echo: a repetition of sound produced by the reflection of sound
Echolalia: immediate and involuntary repetition of words or phrases just spoken by others
Eclipsareon: a device for illustrating and demonstrating eclipses
Eclipse: any obscuration of light; reduction or loss of splendor, status, or reputation
Effervesce: to bubble over; to boil with frothy bubbles; to excite
Effleurage: a light, stroking movement used in massage; a soft caress
Effluvium: foul discharge or emanation; emission
Efflux: something that flows out or forth; effluence; passing or an expiration, as of time
Effulgent: marked by as if by brightly shining light; coruscating; shimmering
Effusive: gushing out or expressive; moving; cascading
Eglantine: a type of plant, European rose; sweetbrier
Eiderdown: the down of a duck used as stuffing for quilts or pillows
Eidolon: ghost, specter; reappearing; continuously visiting or persisting image
Élan: esprit; brio; gusto; ardor; vivacity
Elapse: to pass or go by; to happen
Elasticity: quality or state of being elastic; the tendency to keep shape after stretching
Elation: quality or state of being elated; feeling or state of great joy or pride
Eleemosynary: of, relating to, or dependent on charity; contributed as an act of charity
Element: fundamental, essential, or irreducible constituent of a composite entity
Eleven: the eleventh integer in a series, “11”
Elicit: to bring or draw out (something latent); educe; summon; to provoke a reaction
Elision: omission of a vowel, consonant, or syllable in pronunciation
Elixir: solution of alcohol and water; substance believed to maintain life indefinitely
Ellipsis: omission of a word or phrase necessary for a complete syntactical construction
Elliptical: of, relating to, or having the shape of an ellipse; with a word or words omitted
Eloign: to move away a distance; to move a distance with something concealed
Eloquence: well-stated speech; flowing language; articulated speech and proper execution
Elucidate: to explain further; clarify; to elaborate upon
Elusive: difficult to find, catch, or achieve; avoiding or having a tendency to avoid or evade
Elysian: blissful, delightful; pertaining to the Elysian Fields or Elysium
Elysium: a section of the underworld, the resting place of heroes and the virtuous
Emaciate: to make abnormally thin or weak, typically due to illness
Emanation: emission; something that is issued by a source
Embarcadero: a landing place, especially a landing place on an island waterway
Ember: small, glowing fleck of burning wood or coal
Emerald: deep, dark green; dark green gemstone
Emissary: an agent sent on a mission to represent or advance the interests of another
Emission: discharge; emanation; chemical release
Emollient: substance that softens and soothes the skin; lotion
Empyreal: related to the empyrean; celestial
Emulate: to strive to equal or excel, especially through imitation
Emulsify: to pour liquid into another non-soluble; creating visible density
Enamel: vitreous, usually opaque, protective or decorative coating or shell
Enceinte: pregnant, carrying a baby, gravid; line of fortification enclosing a town or castle
Encomium: formal, enthusiastic praise; abundant, exuberant expression of admiration
Enhalo: to affix with a halo; to cause to wear a halo; to encircle; surround
Ennui: listlessness; weariness; discontent
Ensconce: establish or settle in a safe, secure, or comfy place
Epée: fencing sword or blade without a cutting edge
Epergne: table centerpiece; object designated as a centerpiece
Ephebe: young man; swain, young suitor
Ephemeral: brief; transient; evanescent
Epicede: dirge, requiem; funeral song or ode
Epicurean: hedonistic; gastronomical; pertaining to good taste
Epigone: inferior imitator; disciple; second-rate replica; counterfeit
Epileptic: pertaining to epilepsy; flickering rapidly; seizing
Epiphany: revelation of thought, typically conceived after an eventful experience
Epistle: a formal letter; a letter with a cachet
Epitaph: an inscription on a tombstone
Epithelium: a type of body tissue
Epitome: a perfect example of a particular quality or type
Equestrian: of, relating to, or featuring horseback riding
Equinox: an annual event wherein after the sun reaches a height, night and day occur simultaneously
Equipoise: equal distribution of weight or balance; balanced
Eristic: characterized by disputatious, often subtle and specious reasoning
Escadrille: a small squadron, usually of six; a small team, typically of six airplanes
Escalade: the act of scaling a wall, usually with a ladder or rope
Escamotage: juggling; hand trickery; sleight of hand; legerdemain
Escarole: type of green chicory
Esclavage: a necklace having several rows of chains, beads, or jewels
Escritoire: writing desk; desk designed for studies
Esculent: edible; able or safe to be eaten
Esoterica: item or thing that is esoteric, obscure, rare, or valuable
Esper: a being of advanced mentality or with psychic abilities
Esprit: brio; wit; vivacity; joie de vivre
Essence: intrinsic or indispensable properties that serve to typify or identify something
Esssse: pl. archaic plural of ashes
Estuary: inlet or arm of the sea; an open river that connects to the sea
Esurient: hungry; greedy; hedonistic in pursuit of things
Ethereal: heavenly; airy in substance; spectral; insubstantial and light
Etiolate: to stunt growth; to deprive of strength; to whiten by blocking sunlight exposure
Etude: a piece of music designed for didactic purposes
Eunoia: normal mental health; beautiful thinking
Euphonious: nice-sounding; sounding pretty
Euphoria: feeling of great happiness or well-being; felicity
Evanescent: brief; transient; ephemeral
Evaporation: the act of liquid dissipating or drying due to humidity or exposure
Eviscerate: to disembowel; exenterate; to remove the viscera of something
Evocative: that which evokes; something that reminds, inspires, or impresses
Excelsior: fine, curled wood shavings
Exclusion: the act of excluding; the act of shutting out or preventing entrance
Existential: of, relating to, or dealing with existence; pertaining to existentialism
Expatiate: to speak or write at length or in considerable detail; expound, elaborate
Exuviate: to shed a shell; molt; unsheathe
Façade: affected aura or mannerisms to beguile or deceive
Facility: building made or used for convenience; ease of moving or doing; aptitude
Facsimile: copy or reproduction of an item, typically a book
Fainéant: sluggard; do-nothing; ne’er-do-well; idle and ineffectual
Falciform: falcate; curved; convex; sickle-shaped
Famished: extremely hungry; ravenous; starved
Famulus: sorcerer’s apprentice or assistant
Felicity: state of happiness; joy; ecstasy
Fissure: long narrow opening; a crack or cleft; process of splitting or separating; division
Fleur-de-lys: stylized insignia of a lily
Foliage: plant leaves or greenery, as a collective
Formulaic: being of no special quality or type; average; routine; undistinguished
Forte: niche in which a person excels
Foudroyant: dazzling; scintillating; sudden and overwhelming
Frescade: a cool, breezy walk; a shady place; a relaxing place with ample shade
Frolic: to behave playfully and candidly; romp; to engage in flirting, joking, or teasing
Frost: hoarfrost; degree or state of coldness; covering of minute ice needles
Fuchsia: bright pinkish-purple
Fuliginous: having the color of soot; dark; dusky; charcoal-colored
Fumarole: hole in an area of volcanic activity from which gases and hot smoke escape
Fumulus: a thin cloud resembling a veil and forming at any level
Furrow: to wrinkle; a wrinkle, a rut, groove, or trench
Fuselage: central body of an aircraft, to which the wings and tail assembly are attached
Fusillade: salvo; rapid discharge of firearms
Galaxy: collection of stars, gas, and dust bound together by gravity
Gale: a harsh gust of wind; a strong current of wind
Galleria: spacious passageway, court, or indoor mall, usually with a vaulted roof; gallery
Gallery: raised area, often having a stepped or sloping floor, in a public building
Gambol: to skip or jump merrily
Gaucherie: awkwardness; inexperience; embarrassments
Girandole: a mirror having attached candle holders
Glacial: slow; staggering; of or pertaining to glaciers or ice sheets
Glimpse: brief, incomplete view or look; to glance at
Glisten: to shine by reflection with a sparkling luster; coruscate; shimmer
Gloaming: dusk, twilight, evening, vesper
Gloom: sadness; melancholy; depression
Glyph: a sigil or specific insignia; a letter of language; an arcane mark
Gossamer: delicate; light; flimsy; transparent and thin, like a spider’s silk
Gracile: gracefully slender or thin; graceful
Grandeur: splendor; magnificence; quality or state of being grand
Grazioso: a direction in music, graceful, smooth, or elegant in style
Hacienda: the main building of a farm or ranch
Halcyon: legendary kingfisher; tranquil, calm, without strife, serene
Hallucinate: to affect or be affected with visions or imaginary perceptions
Hazel: light brown or light yellow
Heath: plain tract of wasteland; uncultivated land
Hegemony: predominant influence; dominance, supremacy, preeminence
Heliotrope: a type of purple flower; a light purple
Helix: a spiral; spiral-shaped object or string
Henna: reddish-brown dye used in tinting the hair, skin, or nails
Hubris: excessive pride; overbearing arrogance
Hue: gradation or variety of a color
Humiliate: to enervate or embarrass through specific actions or events
Hyacinth: tropical, American herb; red, transparent variety of zircon used as a gemstone
Icicle: a sliver of tapered, frozen water, usually hanging from something
Idyllic: Like an idyll; extremely happy, peaceful, or picturesque
Ilium: upper part of the bony femur at the hip joint
Illusion: erroneous mental representation;  false image made by outside force or the mind
Illusory: produced by, based on, or having the nature of an illusion; deceptive
Illustrate: to clarify or explain with examples or comparisons
Imbroglio: extremely confused, complicated, or embarrassing situation
Imbue: to embed with a quality, to inspire or permeate with a feeling or quality
Immaculate: spotless; free of sin; without blemish or impurity
Immure: to enclose with walls; ensconce
Impedimenta: pl. things that hinder growth or movement
Impetus: a drive or compelling force; motivation; a reason to do something
Impluvium: of a Roman house, rectangular pool in an atrium used to gather rain water
Imprimatur: a sign or mark of approval; insignia of approval
Incalescent: becoming hotter or growing more ardent; boiling
Incarnadine: pinkish; flesh-colored; blood-red
Incense: to induce rage; infuriate; aromatic element designed to induce relaxation
Incipient: in or at an initial stage; beginning to exist or appear
Incisive: penetrating; clear, and sharp, as in operation or expression
Incunabula: pl. book printed before 1501
Indolence: laziness; extreme ease or comfort
Ineffable: indescribable; impossible to describe; enchantingly amazing
Inertia: tendency of a body to resist acceleration, “a body at rest wants to stay at rest”
Influenza: acute contagious viral infection, commonly called the “flu”
Ingénue: a naive, innocent girl or young woman
Inglenook: a nook or corner beside an open fireplace; chimney corner
Ingravescent: gradually becoming more severe; worsening, usually of a medical condition
Innocent: without sin; pure, free from legal or specific wrong; guiltless; naïve; simple
Inoccuity: the quality or state of being harmless, trifling, or insipid
Inoculate: introduce an idea or view into the mind of; to inculcate; to inject a serum or vaccine
Insipid: lacking flavor or zest; lacking excitement, stimulation, or interest; dull; vapid
Intaglio: an engraving or incised figure in stone or other hard material
Inundate: deluge; to fill quickly beyond capacity; to cover with water; drench; overwhelm
Inure: to take effect or to become accustomed to something, typically unpleasant
Iris: the colored portion of the eye that encircles the pupil
Iscariotic: traitorous; treacherous; given to betrayal; having committed betrayal
Isinglass: thin sheet(s) of translucent mica
Isosceles: of a triangle, having two equal sides
Isthmus: narrow strip of land connecting two larger masses of land
Ivory: pure white color; material derived from elephant tusks
Jacqueminot: a type of flower, a crimson rose
Jaunt: short excursion for pleasure; brief stay
Jejune: naïve; juvenile; simplistic; uninteresting; superficial
Juxtapose: to place side by side, especially for comparison or contrast
Kaleidoscope: optical item that utilizes mirrors to create interior symmetrical visions
Kismet: fate; fortune; chance; faith in fate, chance, or fortune
Knell: to ring slowly and solemnly; funeral bell-ring
L’esprit de l’escalier: “staircase wit”, the usage of a witty retort after the moment has passed
Labial: pertaining to, of, or utilizing the lips
Labyrinth: maze; puzzling complex or circuitous plan
Lacerate: to cut or tear irregularly; to distress; mangle
Laconic: brief in speech; matter-of-fact; terse, using few words
Lacquer: varnish that dries via evaporation
Lacuna: omission or empty space; gap in chronology
Lagniappe: gift for extended patronage; gift or compensation for valued customers
Lambent: glowing, gleaming, or flickering with a soft radiance
Laminate: to beat or compress into a thin plate or sheet; to divide into thin layers
Languid: characterized by disinclination for physical exertion
Laodicean: indifferent or lukewarm in politics and or religion
Lapis Lazuli: a gemstone of intense blue
Largesse: the generous giving of gifts; a generous or courteous gift; charitable donation
Lascivious: lewd, lustful, prurient
Lassitude: weariness; lack of energy or motivation
Lathe: machine for shaping a piece of material by rotating it rapidly along its axis
Lattice: open framework of material, typically in a crisscross pattern
Lavadero: a laundry room; a place designated for washing gold
Lavender:  a type of light purple; a type of flower; an oft perfumed scent
Lavish: expended, bestowed, or occurring in large amounts; using or giving in great amounts
Layer: single thickness of a material covering a surface
Legerity: mental or physical agility, dexterity, or quickness
Leitmotif: musical passage associated to a specific situation, character, or idea
Lemniscate: the infinity symbol; any figure-eight symbol
Lemonade: beverage typically consisting of lemon juice, sugar, and water
Lesbian: female sexually attracted to other women, exclusively
Lethe: the condition of forgetfulness; oblivion
Leveret: baby rabbit; a young rabbit
Leviathan: very large animal, especially a whale; something of unusually large size
Levitation: the act of floating; supernatural floating
Lexiphanes: pretentious word user; bombastic or magniloquent person
Liaison: illicit sexual relationship; case of contact between two parties, usually a person
Libeccio: southwest wind occurring in Italy
Lilliputian: very small, tiny; pertaining to Lilliput
Lilt: cadence of voice; rhythm of language or sentences; good vocal or musical structure
Limerence: extended infatuation or crush, contrast love
Limn: to delineate via depictions or suffuse things with light
Limousine: slender car used for formal occasions, notably expensive
Limpid: unclouded; clear; lucid; defined and deep
Lineaments: pl. the distinguishing or characteristic features of something immaterial
Linguistics: pl. the study of human speech, languages, and writing
Linoleum: a type of floor covering
Liquid: a state of matter, compare gas and solid; readiness to flow; a type of sound
Lissom: supple; easily bent; lithe; flexible
Listless: lacking energy or disinclined to exert effort; lethargic
Litany: large amount; plethora; long and tedious address or recital
Literati: intelligentsia; the educated class; clerisy; a group of litterateurs
Lithe: readily bent; supple; flexible; marked by effortless grace
Lithium: silvery, soft, and highly-reactive metal
Lithosphere: outermost shell of a planet; the crust and uppermost mantle
Litote: rhetorical term, a specific type of understatement
Litterateur: literary-minded person; one devoted to the study or writing of literature
Lixiviation: the act of separating soluble from insoluble substances via water or a solvent
Lochetic: lying in wait for prey, used especially of insects
Loom: the art of weaving; to come into view as a massive, distorted, or indistinct image
Loquacious: characterized by talking; talking freely or too much; excessively talkative
Lorgnette: a pair of eyeglasses or opera glasses with a handle
Lubricious: slippery with oil or lubricant; offensively lewd or intending to be lewd
Lucent: shining; gleaming brilliantly
Lugubrious: gloomy or dismal, especially exaggerated
Lullaby: song or tune devised to lull something to sleep
Luminal: of or pertaining to the lumen (the measure of light perceived by the human eye)
Luminary: one who is an inspiration to others; one who attained success in a chosen field
Lunacy: insanity; insanity with brief moments of clarity
Lunula: white crescent at the base of the fingernail
Luscious: delicious; sexy; cloying; alluring
Lustrous: having noticeable or vivid luster and sheen
Macedoiné: mixture of diced fruits and vegetables; medley; mixture
Magisterial: of, relating to, or having the features of a master or teacher; authoritative
Malady: sickness, illness; ague; ictus; ailment
Malaise: bodily weakness; nondescript illness; vague feeling of discomfort
Malapropos: out of place; inappropriate; in an inopportune or inappropriate manner
Malleable: moldable; able to be modified; easily reshaped; having the ease of form
Mannequin: articulated human figure used for design
Mantelletta: sleeveless vestment worn by cardinals
Maquette: scale model of a large item
Maraschino: cordial made from the fermented juice of the marasca cherry
Marasmus: a type of protein deficiency; state of emaciation
Marble: highly-polished building material; irregularly colored
Marcescent: flower term, withering, but not falling off
Marginalia: notes in the margin or margins of a book
Marionette: a puppet bound by strings and controlled with wooden bars
Marmalade: jellylike preserve made from the pulp of fruits, especially citrus fruits
Marmoreal: of, like, made of, or related to marble
Masquerade: festive gathering characterized by participants wearing masks
Material: secular; worldly; the substance(s) of which a thing is made of or composed
Matriculate: to become admitted to membership in a body, society, or institution
Matutinal: of, relating to, or occurring in the morning; early
Maudlin: overly sentimental; saccharine; mawkish; self-pitying
Mausoleum: large, stately tomb or building housing several tombs
Mauve: a type of pinkish purple
Medallion: jewelry or object worn from a necklace
Medley: heterogeneous mixture of typically complementing elements
Melisma: the stretching of a syllable over a series of notes
Mellifluous: flowing with sweetness or honey; smooth and sweet, often of a sound or voice
Mellisonant: wonderful-sounding; pleasant-sounding
Melody: a series or pattern of notes
Memento: an item of special significance, usually as a token of remembrance
Memorabilia: pl. things remarkable and worthy of remembrance or record
Menagerie: collection of animals in cages or enclosures; diverse hodgepodge; gallery; zoo
Mephitic: poisonous; noxious; lethally dangerous; insidious; toxic; putrid
Mercurial: fickle; erratic; ingenious; changeable; eloquent
Mere: being nothing more nor better than; small; lowly
Meretricious: drawing attention in a vulgar manner; gaudy, tawdry; superficially attractive
Meridian: of or at noon; imaginary line that extends from the North to South poles
Mestizo: a person of mixed racial ancestry
Métier: forte; niche in which a person excels; occupation; profession
Mewl: whimper; cry like an infant; meow like a kitten; to weakly cry
Mezzanine: partial story between two main stories of a building; lowest balcony of theater
Miasma: an atmosphere of disease; fine mist of effluvium or bacteria; noxious emanation
Mica: thin layers of specific, transparent minerals
Midst: in the middle of; among
Mien: air or bearing especially as expressive of attitude or personality; demeanor; aura
Milieu: surroundings or environment, especially of a social or cultural nature
Millennium: one thousand years; period of a thousand years
Milquetoast: timid, unassertive, spineless person; one who is easily intimidated
Mimesis: imitation or representation of the world, mostly in literature and art; mimicry
Mimosa: a type of plant; a cocktail drink
Mimsy: flimsy and miserable; someone who excels at what they do
Miniscule: very small; diminutive, when compared to a normal counterpart
Minutiae: pl, tiny, precise details; vestiges; trifles
Mirror: surface able of reflect enough undiffused light to form an image of an object
Miscellany: collection of various items, parts, or ingredients
Mist: mass of fine droplets of liquid
Mithril: a fictional, very light, and silvery steel
Mizzenmast: third mast or the mast aft the mainmast on a ship having three or more masts
Mizzle: fine rainfall; drizzle; mist
Moiety: one of two equal parts; half
Morceau: a small literary or musical composition
Mormorando: musical direction, murmuring or with a murmuring sound
Moue: pouting face or grimace; upset facial expression
Murmur: low, indistinct, and continuous sound; to utter such a sound
Myriad: multitude; litany; an amount of, usually large; collection in large numbers
Myrrh: fragrant resin gum from a type of tree, used chiefly for perfume
Mystique: the special, esoteric skill or mysterious faculty essential in a calling or activity
Mythopoeic: pertaining to the making of myths
Nacreous: iridescent; pearly; like mother-of-pearl or nacre
Naiad: a nymph; a river, lake, fountain, or spring nymph or spirit
Naïveté: inexperience; quality of being naïve; artlessness
Nebulae: pl. a collection of astral gases
Nemesis: source of harm or ruin; unconquerable foe or enemy; vengeful opponent
Nenuphar: a water lily, especially an Egyptian lotus
Neophyte: a novice; tyro; beginner
Nepenthe: drug of forgetfulness; anti-depression drug; remedy for sorrow
Nepheliad: cloud nymph; nymph designated or of the clouds
Nephew: the son of a brother or sister in relation to you
Nickelodeon: a theater that charges a nickel (5 cents) for entry
Nimbus: dark, grey cloud bearing rain; splendid atmosphere or aura; cloudy radiance
Nimiety: excess, overabundance, superfluity
Nirvana: a place or state of rest, harmony, or pleasure
Niveous: snowy or resembling snow; like, of, relating to, or made of snow
Nocive: harmful, injurious, or causing pain
Noctilucence: cloud phenomenon typified by lights at night, being visible or glowing at night
Nonchalant: feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed; indifferent
Novae: pl. collapsing or dying stars
Novella: short prose tale often characterized by moral teaching or satire
Novitiate: novice; the living place of a novice; the state of being a novice; neophyte
Nucleus: central part about which other parts are grouped or gathered
Nugacious: trifling, trivial; insignificant; unimportant; worthless
Nullibicity: state of non-existence; quality or state of being nowhere
Nullifidian: a person having no faith, religion, convictions, or beliefs
Numeral: symbol used to represent, denote, or symbolize a number
Numina: pl. presiding divinities or spirits of a place; creative energies
Numismatics: study or collection or currency, coins, paper money, etc.
Nymph: seductive or lustful woman; fairy
Nymphet: pubescent girl regarded as sexually desirable; young, sexually precocious girl
Oasis: fertile, vibrant, or green spot in a desert or wasteland
Objet d’art: object of art; valuable or highly artistic piece or work
Oblivion: condition or quality of being completely forgotten; void; forgetfulness
Obsequious: fawning, sycophantic, servile
Obsidian: volcanic glass of a black shade
Ocelot: undomesticated cat, akin to a small leopard
Odalisque: female servant; female servant in a harem
Oeillade: an amorous glance; ogle
Oeuvre: the corpus of an author, canon, or a collective symposium
Oleander: a type of flower
Opacity: opaqueness; obscurity; impenetrability
Opalescent: milky and iridescent; shimmering with the colors of an opal
Opaque: impenetrable to light; not reflecting light; difficult to explain or understand
Ophidian: snake-like; like, shaped like, or relating to snakes
Opulence: wealth, affluence; great abundance; profusion; pretentiousness
Opusculum: a minor work of literature
Orbital: of, pertaining to, or relating to an orbit
Orchestra: large group of musicians with a variety of instruments
Oscillate: to swing or move in an uninterrupted motion
Ossuary: place, container, or receptacle for holding the bones of the dead
Otiose: indolent; lazy; serving no useful purpose; futile; being a leisure
Oubliette: dungeon with only opening at the top
Palatial: pertaining to a palace; grandiose; magnificent
Palaver: conference or discussion; idle chat; chat with flattery of cajolery involved
Palisade: a fence of pales or stakes set firmly in the ground
Palladian: of or relating to wisdom or learning
Palliasse: mattress consisting of a thin pad filled with straw, sawdust, or hay
Palliate: to alleviate, reduce, or remove pain
Pallid: pale, wan, or deficient in color
Panacea: a cure-all; medicine, herb, or concoction designed or functioning as a cure-all
Panoply: a full collection or array; full set of armor
Panoramic: unbroken view of an entire surrounding area; inclusive presentation; survey
Pantomime: communication through gestures and facial movements
Paradigm: clearly defined archetype; typical example or pattern of something
Paramour: lover, especially one in an adulterous relationship; lover; illicit lover
Paraph: a flourish at the end of a signature, may be used as a safeguard against forgery
Paroxysm: a sudden attack, convulsion, or seizure, usually of an emotional or medical nature
Parvenu: noveau-riche; person having risen to new status, but lacks the social skills necessary for it
Pasquinade: public farce, satire, or lampoon
Pastiche: literary patchwork, hodgepodge; collision of genres used to create a new item
Patina: natural tarnish from wear of usage and passage of time; verdigris
Patois: dialect other than the usual or literary dialect; uneducated or provincial language
Paucity: scarcity; lack of presence; fewness; a small number
Peccadillo: insignificant sin or wrongdoing; trifling fault
Peccavi: admission of guilt; confession
Pellucid: translucently clear, limpid, or ethereal
Peninsula: piece of land mostly surrounded by water, except on one side
Pensive: brooding; reflecting, involving, or engaged in deep or serious thought
Penumbra: a partial shadow; space of partial illumination; the limits of a shadow
Percolate: to filter; to cause to filter; to cause to pass through pores or small holes
Perennial: lasting throughout the year, typically of a plant
Perforate: to pierce, punch, or bore a hole or holes in; stab through; penetrate
Periphery: line that forms the boundary; limited circumference of sight; perimeter
Permeate: to pervade, to spread, or flow throughout; to diffuse through
Perpetuity: the quality or condition of being perpetual, ceaseless, or continual
Phantasm: something apparently seen but having no physical reality; illusion
Philander: to womanize or entertain or elicit casual or wanton sex
Philanthropy: the effort or drive to further the well-being of humankind; generosity
Philosophy: discipline comprising aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology, etc.
Philtrum: subtle curve beneath the nose and on the upper lip
Phoenix: mythical bird of fire which rises from its ashes in a cycle of rebirth
Pianissimo: musical direction, very softly
Piquant: aromatic, appetizing, or appealingly provocative
Pirouette: ballet spin, ballet technique
Pizzicato: music term, played by plucking rather than bowing
Placid: sedate, calm, peaceful, relaxed, serene
Plumage: entire feathery covering or portion of a bird; feathers collectively
Pluvial: characterized or relating to rainfall
Pococurante: nonchalant, indifferent lukewarm in opinion; insouciant
Poignant: profoundly moving; touching; physically or emotionally painful
Ponceau: a strong red to reddish orange
Porcelain: strong, vitreous, and translucent ceramic with glazed colored material
Portfolio: portable case for carrying documents
Portico: porch or walkway with a roof supported by columns, often leads into an entrance
Portmanteau: large suitcase; merging of two words to form a new one, often a pun
Prairillon: a small meadow or tract of grassland; heath; plain
Precocious: manifesting or characterized by unusually early development or maturity
Prelude: preceding event or action; music term, preliminary
Preterlabent: flowing beside or by, especially of a river or stream
Prismatic: refractive light of a spectrum; brilliantly colored
Pristine: in primordial condition; untouched; belonging to the earliest period or state
Promethean: boldly creative, defiantly original, deviating genius
Propinquity: nearness in place; approximate location; proximity; vicinity
Proscenium: Greek or Roman theater stage, the part of a stage in front of the curtain
Prosody: the rhythm, stress, and intonation of speech
Provocative: tending or serving to provoke; inciting, stimulating, irritating, or vexing
Prurient: having, relating to, or typified by lascivious or lustful thoughts or desires
Psithurisma: whisper; sound of wind through the trees; sound of wind-rustled leaves
Psittacism: automatic speech without thought of the meaning of the words spoken
Psyche: the mind or self as a functional entity; the center of thought, feeling, and motivation
Punchinello: short, fat clown or clown puppet
Puree: rub through a strainer or process in an electric blender
Purlicue: space between the thumb and forefinger
Pyrrhic: of a victory, having high levels of casualties or damage on both sides
Quaquaversal: directed outward from a common center to all points; omnidirectional
Querencia: the area of the bull-ring where the bull makes its stand
Quintessence: fifth element; perfect embodiment
Quisquose: something which is difficult to deal with
Quiver: shiver; shake; quaver; tremble
Quotidian: daily; mundane; occurring every day
Radii: pl. any line segments from the center of a circle or sphere to its perimeter
Rapture: ecstasy; felicity, state of sheer happiness; happiness to the point of delirium
Rariora: pl. unusual collector’s items, outstanding items, prize pieces
Ratatouille: a type of French dish, vegetable stew
Realm: a region, kingdom, plane, domain, or territory
Recherché: elegant; refined or tasteful; sophisticated
Recidivism: act of repeating punished act; chronic tendency to repeat crimes
Reciprocity: the quality or state of requiting; mutual dependence
Redivivus: revived; come back to life; resurrected; resuscitated
Redolent: piquant, aromatic, or memory-invoking
Regalia: the emblems and symbols of royalty, such as the crown and scepter; jewelry
Relinquish: voluntarily cease to keep or claim; surrender
Reliquary: a receptacle, such as a coffer or shrine, for keeping or displaying sacred relics
Renaissance: a rebirth or revival; renewal of cultural and intellectual thought
Repartee: swift, witty reply; conversation marked by the exchange of witty retorts
Palimpsest: erased parchment, which is then reused; manuscript written over earlier ones
Replica: copy or reproduction of a work of art, especially one made by the original artist
Resonance: quality of being resonant; extension of sound via sympathetic vibration
Resplendent: sublime, full of color, or dazzling; splendid
Revenant: specter; ghost; one who returns after a long absence
Reverie: an idle daydream; a thought of idle desire; a surrendering to imagination
Rhapsody: impassioned, inspired, or vibrant literature or music
Rimulose: characterized by or having small chinks, fissures, or cracks
Risorgimento: a time of renewal or renaissance; revival
Roseate: rose-colored, rosy; optimistic; cheerful and bright; promising
Roué: a rake; rouge; philanderer; lothario
Rupestrian: of or composed of rock; sculpted with or by rock
Sable: black; type of animal with a deep, black pelt
Salient: prominent or conspicuous; most important
Saline: salty; pertaining to salt
Salubrious: health-giving; healthy; healthful; relating to good health
Salve: remedial lotion or substance to soothe or allays
Sangfroid: composure or coolness as shown in danger; imperturbability
Sanguine: of a healthy reddish color; ruddy; blood-red; of the color of blood
Sapience: rationality, compare sentience; wisdom or sagacity
Sapphire: bright blue; valuable gemstone of a bright yet deep blue
Sardonyx: type of stone (onyx) with sandy bands
Satellite: celestial body that orbits a planet; a moon; object designed to orbit a planet
Scarlet: a type of bright-red color
Scepter: a rod or wand, usually adorned in regalia
Schefflera: a type of shrubby, tropical plants which are cultivated for their showy foliage
Scialytic: dispersing or dismissing shadows, typically with light, often of a lamp
Scilicet: to wit, that is; namely
Scintilla: an infinitesimal item or mote; tiny thing
Scion: an heir or descendant; a twig or shoot used for grafting, of a tree, shrub, or plant
Sclera: the whites of the eyes
Scoliosis: abnormal lateral curvature of the spine; affliction thereof
Scythe: agricultural implement with a long, curving blade fastened to a long handle
Seizure: act, condition, or instance of seizing or being seized; fit; spasm, convulsion
Selcouth: unusual; rare, unique, or strange
Selenian: designating, relating to, pertaining to, or of the moon
Semblance: apparent form of something, especially when the reality is different
Semiotician: one who studies, applies, or explains the theories of semiotics
Sempiternal: eternal, endless, lasting forever, ceaseless
Senescence: state of being old or growing old; cellular decomposition, studies thereof
Sentient: aware; characterized by the ability to feel or perceive; conscious
Sequacious: pertaining to sequence or order; following
Sequence: succession; an arrangement, either a related or continuous series
Sequester: to relegate to a small space; to cause to withdraw into seclusion
Seraglio: harem, harem house, brothel; living quarters thereof
Seraphim: pl. six-winged angels
Serenade: courtesy performance given to honor or express love for someone; to serenade
Serendipity: occurrence and progress of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way
Serenity: calmness, tranquility, relaxation
Sesquipedalian: having many syllables; long-winded with words; given to or typified by the use of long words
Sestina: poem of six six-line stanzas and a three-line envoy
Seven: the seventh integer in a series, “7”
Sforzando: direction in music, suddenly or strongly accented
Sfumato: definition or form without hasty outline by mild gradation from light to shadow
Shadow: a shade within clear boundaries, produced by obscuration of light
Shallow: lacking physical depth; lacking depth of intellect, emotion, or knowledge
Shimmer: to shine with a subdued, flickering, or wavering light
Shiver: a tremble; to tremble, shudder, or shake
Shrivel: to wither due to lack of moisture; to cause to contract; to cause to lose momentum
Sibilant: hissing; making a sound that resembles hissing
Sibyl: prophetess; fortune-teller; female prognosticator
Sidereal: of, related, pertaining to, or determined by the stars or constellations
Sidle: walk in a furtive or timid manner, especially obliquely or roundabout
Sienna: yellowish-brown; a type of clay
Sierra: ridge of a mountain or mountains
Sigil: a seal, signet, or glyph; sign or image considered magical
Silence: state or quality of soundlessness; lack of sound
Silhouette: a picture as an outline, often a human profile, filled in by a solid color
Silkscreen: stencil method of printing, in which a design is put on silk or other fine mesh
Tristiloquy: a speech characterized by sadness or gloominess
Silver: shimmering gray color; a type of metal
Simplicity: state or quality of being simple; freedom of complexity or intricacy
Simulacrum: an image or representation; false, unreal, or vague simulation or semblance
Sinecure: an easy occupation or one which requires almost no responsibility
Siphon: to suck through; to absorb through an appendage
Sirocco: hot, humid south or southeast wind of southern Italy
Sisyphean: pertaining to or involving endless labor; pertaining to Sisyphus
Sittella: a small, gregarious songbird
Sleep: state of slumber; position of rest for the physical and mental being of a living being
Slender: long and thin; tall
Slice: a thin section of something; to slash or remove a small section of
Slither: to glide or slide like a reptile
Sluice: artificial channel for conducting water, with a valve or gate to regulate the flow
Smolder: to burn without an accompanying flame; to undergo slow and compressed combustion
Sobriquet: nickname; moniker; adopted name
Soigné: elegant; sophisticated; well-groomed
Sojourn: brief visit; stopover; jaunt
Solace: comfort or consolation in a time of sadness or distress
Solecism: an impropriety; nonstandard grammatical construction; a violation of etiquette
Solemn: serious; dignified; formal; stern
Soliloquy: dramatic monologue; intense speech with exposition but not addressed
Solipsism: philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist
Solstice: one of two times in the year when the sun is furthest from the equator
Sommelier: a waiter expertly trained in alcoholic beverages; wine steward
Sonata: music, series of three solos
Sonnet: fourteen-line poem with specific rhyme scheme
Soothe: to allay, alleviate; to relax; pacify
Sorcerer: practitioner of sorcery; wizard; warlock; magician
Sotto Voce: soft-voiced; emphasis on quiet speech
Soubrette: saucy, coquettish woman in comedies
Soufflé: a light, fluffy baked dish
Sough: a soft, gentle sigh; a murmuring, purling, or rustling sound
Souvenir: keepsake; memento; something of sentimental value
Specious: superficially plausible, but actually wrong; misleading in appearance
Spinal: pertaining to, relating to, of, or using the spine
Spiral: helix; string in a successively concentric pattern
Splice: to infuse, join, or interweave; unite
Spool: cylinder with ridges that has spirals string around it
Stasis: equilibrium causing a peaceful inactivity via equal opposing forces
Stiletto: high-heel with sharp point; a small dagger
Stillicide: water falling from the roof of a house or a gutter
Sublime: noble; exalted; majestic; empyreal
Succinct: briefly stated; laconic; terse
Succor: to aid or assist in a time of need; assistance
Suffuse: gradually spread through or over, typically with light, color, music, or liquid
Suicide: the act of murdering oneself
Surreptitious: stealthy; kept secret; hidden
Sussurant: whispering; making a continuous, low, and indistinct sound
Sussurous: pertaining to whispering; whispering
Susurrus: a whisper; something which resembles a whisper
Svelte: suave, urbane, and savvy; slender; lithe; polished; sophisticated
Swain: a young man; suitor; ephebe
Swath: width of a scythe-stroke; strips or radii made by something
Swerve: to abruptly turn or deviate from an otherwise straight course
Sweven: dream; vision; premonition
Swoon: fainting spell; a collapse from ecstasy
Syllable: unit of spoken language consisting of a single uninterrupted sound
Sylph: graceful woman; fairy; air elemental
Sylvan: relating to or characteristic of woods or forest regions; forest sprite
Symbiosis: mutual biological synergy between two dissimilar organisms
Symphony: extended orchestral movements
Symposium: conference for discussion of a particular topic
Synchronicity: theory of, study of the coincidences of two or more curiously similar events
Synecdoche: a reference to a part as opposed to the whole, girl as “skirt” ship as “sail”
Syzygy: alignment or unity of specific objects, notably in space terms or literary terms
Tableaux: deliberate picture; arrangement; vivid, graphic description
Tacenda: things to not be mentioned or things to be passed over in silence
Taciturn: reticent; quiet, not talkative; insouciant
Talisman: item marked with magic signs though to confer magical powers or repel evil
Tapestry: heavy cloth woven with rich, varicolored designs or scenes, often hung on walls
Teleology: the study of the philosophical concept of the telos
Tellurian: terrestrial; inhabiting the earth; pertaining to the earth; earthen
Tenuous: long and thin; slender; flimsy; without great substance; diluted
Tercet: group of three lines of verse, often rhyming together or with another triple
Terpsichorean: pertaining, relating to, or referring to dancing or the art thereof
Tessellation: tile pattern sans gaps or extraneous spaces; a specific mathematical pattern
Tête-à-tête: a private conversation between two people
Theophany: religious epiphany or appearance of God to a person
Thionine: artificial red or violet dyestuff, usually for microscopic stains
Threnody: song, hymn, or poem reflecting on mourning or a tribute to the deceased
Thylacine: the extinct Tasmanian Tiger
Tilt: to cause to slope, as by raising one end; incline
Tintinnabulation: ringing or sounding of bells; the sound of bells
Tiramisu: a type of dessert made with cake and espresso
Tolutiloquent: speech characterized by rapidity
Torrential: resembling, flowing in, or forming torrents
Tourmaline: multifarious gemstone of grossly differing colors
Traipse: to walk; to wander without destination; gad; aimlessly or blithely walk
Tranquility: peace, serenity, calmness, relaxation
Transience: brevity, briefness; evanescence; shortness; the state of being temporary
Tregetour: juggler; mummer; conjurer
Tremulous: marked by trembling, quivering, or shaking
Trillium: a type of flower
Trinity: group consisting of three closely related members; a unity of three special objects
Triste: sad; mournful; dismal; depressed
Tryst: agreement, as between lovers, to meet at a certain time and place; a date between two people
Turquoise: a type of blue-green color
Ubiquitous: being or seeming to be everywhere at the same time; omnipresent
Ultramarine: a type of intense bluish-purple
Umbrage: offense; affront; the shade beneath a tree; shade; suspicion; reason for doubt
Umbrella: apparatus used as a personal rain repellant
Vaccinate: to inoculate with a vaccine of prepared medicine
Vacillate: to waver between actions or decisions; to hesitate
Vacivity: emptiness; absence; space with a lack of matter
Vacuity: emptiness; absence; lack of matter in a space; vacuum
Valance: an ornamental drapery hung across a top edge, as of a bed, table, or canopy
Vale: the world; life; mortal or earthly life
Valiant: possessing valor; brave; marked by or done with valor
Vanilla: ordinary; conventional; flavored with vanilla; flavor extracted from vanilla bean
Vaticinate: prophesy, prognosticate, augur, foretell
Vaudeville: a bygone slapstick era of specific comedic style(s)
Vavasor: superior vassal with other vassals beneath
Velleity: flimsy wish or desire; perfunctory hope or dream
Vellum: mammal skin prepared for writing or printing on
Velvet: soft type of material used in clothing
Veneer: thin surface layer; superficial layer as an enhancement to inferior material
Venial: pardonable; easily excused or pardoned; trivial
Ventriloquist: puppeteer utilizing vocal techniques and manipulations
Veracity: truth; state of being true, trueness
Veranda: open, roofed porch or portico on the outside of a building
Verisimilitude: the appearance or semblance of truth or reality in a fictional medium
Vernal: pertaining to spring
Verve: energy; brio; élan; vigor; joie de vivre
Vespertine: crepuscular; pertaining to, of, or related to the evening
Vestibule: a small entryway between the outer door and the interior of a building
Vestigial: of, relating to, or constituting a vestige (trace, mark, or sign left by something)
Vesuviate: to erupt; explode; fulminate
Vetanda: taboo or forbidden things or topics
Vexation: the act of annoying, irritating, or vexing; quality or condition of being vexed
Vicennial: happening every twenty years
Viceroy: governor; representative of a sovereign
Vicious: having the nature of vice; evil, immoral, or depraved
Vicissitudes: changes of circumstances of fortune
Victuals: food to be eaten; provisions; food cache; pabulum; comestibles; nutrients
Videlicet: to wit, that is; namely
Vigesimal: based on, pertaining to, or related to 20
Vignette: a sketch; brief literary or visual event; description; tableau
Villain: dramatic or fictional character who is typically at odds with the hero
Vincible: able to be harmed; vulnerable, susceptible, or vulnerable
Vinyl: a type of multi-use plastic resin
Viola: a musical instrument having similar qualities and appearance to a violin
Violet: a shade of deep purple
Violin: a stringed instrument played with a bow
Viridian: a type of blue-green pigment
Virtuoso: ace; someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field, especially music
Vis-à-vis: “face to face” opposite to; in relation to; in regard to; a meeting of two people
Visceral: pertaining to the viscera; relating to deep emotions as opposed to the intellect
Vista: view; prospect; perspective; spectrum of peripheral boundaries
Visurient: hungry for visual stimuli; pertaining to the desire evoked from vision
Vitiate: to impair, spoil, or to the reduce quality of; to make worse, worsen
Vivacity: brio; esprit; alacrity
Vivify: to invigorate; revive; energize; galvanize
Vivisepulture: the act of being buried alive or burying alive
Vociferous: loud; stentorian; vehement; angrily impassioned
Voluminous: having great volume, fullness, size, or number; large
Wan: pallid; of a sickly complexion
Warble: trill; croon; purr; chirrup
Weather: state of the atmosphere at a given time and place
Whilom: formerly; former; erstwhile
Whimsy: quaint or fanciful idea; a whim; capricious humor or playful disposition
Whisper: soft speech produced without full voice; something uttered very softly
Winceyette: cotton cloth; cloth made of cotton that has a raised surface
Winnow: to filter out; to remove unnecessary or undesirable parts
Wisteria: a genus of twisting, woody, and climbing vines
Wyvern: a type of dragon, typically portrayed without legs
Xenodochial: friendly or especially kind to strangers or foreigners
Xenoglossy: language learned spontaneously and without prior knowledge
Xysti: pl. covered portico of a gymnasium
Yowl: to utter a loud long cry of grief, pain, or distress; to wail; wail
Zenith: point on the celestial sphere that is above the observer; highest point; maximum
Zephyr: slight burst of gentle wind; gentle breeze
Zitella: maiden; unmarried woman, bachelorette
Zyzzyva: a type of weevil


  1. Oh, apoplexy, my favorite word! You are a true sesquipedalian. Now please excuse me while I meander through the hazmatic haze of philology.

  2. Really glad you enjoy it. Yeah, I'm a meanderthal myself. Feel free to add, this list has seen some nice refinements since it was posted. Philology's a good schtick.

  3. Thank you for putting together all these beautiful words! Thinking of naming my future third daughter Sonata :))

  4. Congratulations! I'm happy you enjoy them. Sonata is a gorgeous word, and no kids can distort it into a lowbrow pun, so she'll glide through elementary school.

  5. palimpsest
    inspissating (referred to weather; used by T.E. Lawrence)

  6. nonchalant,

  7. My favorite word it "stuff." It's just so useful.

  8. Did I forget "palimpsest"? "Inspissating... Hmm. I can think if I've ever heard it before.I'll add in "serendipitous" and "nonchalant". "Stuff" is a great word, but because it's so uniquely practical. Thanks, girls, for the various heads-ups.

  9. Notice all the words derived from the French language....

  10. I'm a fan of epiphany.

  11. I wouldn't boot one single word off this list, but I would add Schadenfreude; pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others

  12. ... noted that you have a definition of Miniscus that I am unaware of, Meniscus: anatomical term, the curve in a liquid when observed in a cylinder... I have only heard it refered to as two specific parts of cartilage in the knee; lateral and medial menisci...

  13. @Lorraine, is there something wrong with French? @Blair, "epiphany" is a lovely, bright word, coincidentally, I'm a fan of all of 'em. @Pete, "Schadenfraude" is an excellent word, it was on the Coolest list, but it is quite attractive, I can agree with you and put it on there. The term I had input is admittedly ambiguous, I can rectify that, with my limit of one word + its definition per line, it can be tough to adequately delineate a word. The one which I was thinking of was the more hard-science oriented, referring to the lateral curve noted in a test-tube or other cylindrical object which holds a liquid. I opted to avoid any medical definitions, so the way I initially ventured to define it was medical term; (the listed definition). In this link, the phenomenon can be observed in the right picture: Mostly, I just censure the self-limiting brevity of the list, but it lessened the workload and amplified the aesthetics. Though, while miniscus is an acceptable spelling, "meniscus" seems to be more prominent. i had learned the word way back in 7th grade chemistry. So, I think I'll leave the def. as is, unless you object, but I'll alter the spelling.

  14. WOW, I love your list ! I couldn't read it entirely but I will.

    I am french and a lot of these words don't seem so special to me because they are so very common (even if, for some, they're pretty, like "berceuse", which remind me of childhood ^^).
    But, on the other hand, a lot of words in this list are completely unknown to me, if not strange, and some are... magnificent ! I also like Pete Dagett's input : Schadenfreude.

    I have a list of words I love (in french of course, I'm sorry ! But maybe you'll like some of them) ; the definitions are my own and, as English is not my mother-language, it won't be perfect, I'm afraid

    nouns :
    -atermoiements ("ah-terr-mwah-ma(n)") : hesitations leading to procrastination, in an annoying way.
    -asphodèle ("as-fo-dell") : a flower
    -alexithymie ("alexy-timmy") : having it hard to express verbally one's feeling
    -vademecum (latin prononciation) : (latin "vade mecum", "come with me") a guide, a book, a notebook you use to bring with you wherever you go.
    -mansuétude (litt.) ("ma(n)-sue-A-tud(e)") : disposition of one's mind leading to indulgence, clemency. (The translation I found is "leniency", I don't know if it's correct)
    -succédanés ("sue-ksay-dan-nay") : some thing or person less valuable than the stuff or person they're replacing, imitating, copying. Ex : Les succédanés du Diable (Diable = Devil), or, des succédanés de films hollywoodiens (films hollywoodiens = Hollywood movies, I think you got that ! :D)

    verbs :
    -ourdir (litt.) ("oor-deer") : organize the elements of an intrigue, set a trap, a plot, a machination. Ex : "ourdir une machination"
    -débusquer (litt.) ("day-bu-skay") : to hunt something or someone from its/his hiding place (The translation I found is "slush out", I don't know if it's correct).

    adjectives :
    -immarscessible (litt.) ("ee-marr-say-see-bl(ah)") : cannot possibly drown
    -délicat ("day-lee-kah")
    -chafouin ("shah-fwa") : (a mix between chat & fouin (= cat & weasel)) which/who looks like or make you think of the cat that just ate the canary, but in a vicious-funny way. (The translation I found was "sly", I don't know if it's correct)

    I stop here, I gave you just a little excerpt from my personnal list. I loved yours ; I entered it in my favorites.

  15. @Julia, you are straight-up awesome. I'm in the process of learning French for colloquial purposes. Your excerpts are incredible, I wish I could pronounce these with a refined accent, because they are all gorgeous. Seriously, I wish I could say something less obsequious, but it's just a series of words, some of which have direct English counterparts, but the pronunciation is so effusive. Thank you.

  16. Speaking of French: the second U in "ChauffeUr" is not optional ;)

    Too bad one mistake at the very beginning of your list makes me believe the rest of it is riddled with more...

    Ah well, I still expanded my vocabulary a bit thanks to you.

  17. Indeed, you're right. Thanks for the tip, I guess I just thought I had the second "u" all along. Eh, well, I make mistakes. Although, I fully invite to further investigate for more errata, as I had believed it to be up to snuff.

  18. Tara, I would suggest NOT naming your child Sonata. Ever hear of the Hyundai Sonata? Nothing says "precious child" like discount Korean vehicles.

  19. "Suicide" is a pretty word?

    Awesome list, excepting that one...

  20. Well I am glad you liked my input ! (Just a little word, as I am back on your blog to use it to extend my own list ^^)
    I hope you enjoy learning french... it depends a lot on the teacher...

    Another word I added recently :
    Mélilot ("may-lee-low") : a tiny yellow flower, legends says it can be used as a remedy against sorrow

  21. @Tony: Suicide is an intrinsically attractive word, not by the merits of its definition, but of its internal components of pronunciation, aesthetics, and general sentence flow. the phonoaesthetics of the word are pretty and mellifluous. And the poetic element of suicide has pervaded literature throughout generations.
    @Julie: Please, take them. Words deserve to be well-known. This is just a shoddy monument to esoterica. I'm a dilettante when it comes to French. It's great passive learning, but without a primary teacher, it's a fruitful diversion, and the subtleties are lost upon me. Also, melilot(sorry for the lack of aigu) is a lovely word with a jaunty, woody, and whimsical cadence.

  22. @Laura: Glad you like them. Being a word-nerd is a great thing.

  23. Any chance of making this list into flashcards? It would be amazing if someone could do it.

  24. @Jules/Vic Vega Sure, if you want. Might take a while, but I can probably find a solid way to do it. I'll try, but que sera sera.

  25. great blog post, do you have triptych, art in three pieces. I love the word, and its form is quite popular these days, tho most people dont know they have it in their houses.
    find me on twitter @sifu33

    great work

  26. Wonderful, fellow philologist--I'd like to refer my English lit students to your list! Glad to see literary terms like denouement and milieu, which add so much more to 'end analysis' or 'setting'.

    I've been also using 'lacuna' quite a bit when an author leaves a deliberate gap. Latin plurals are sometimes hard to pronounce, but I like the looks of lacunae.

    Dan Lamken

  27. @Sifu: Good call, and you just taught me a word. Thank you kindly. Will add it in shortly.

    @Daniel: That's what I love to hear. Especially with "lacunae". The pronunciation of "lacuna" is very interesting, considering it's flexibility. It's no "hegemony", but considering that it can be noted as (la-kyoo-nuh) or (la-coo-nuh), the suffix can be claimed as "ē", "ā", or "ī".

  28. Sonata a good name for a punner and I like the flow of it.

  29. I'd like to propose an addition or two.
    Oh! How I tried to resist this this paroxysm of my disappointment to notice the exclusion of word, Oh well, Paroxysm :).
    Secondly, Wouldn't it be so felicitous for this list to include the word....
    You guessed it I guess

  30. I love this list. I would definitely add 'chatelaine'. Next to 'ailurophile' it's one of my favorite words!

  31. @Barooq Thanks for the contributions! I go up and down with "paroxysm". It's a lovely word for sheer aesthetic value, but the "ucks" interspersed in the audible word feels... a bit harsh. I shall definitely add it, though. As for "felicitous", I feel that "felicity" suffices for it, vicariously, considering their deep-seated relation to another. Thirdly, your comment actually brings a hitherto undiscussed word which bears subtle eroticism. "Exclusion". It's sublime and I didn't even consider it. Thank you, sir.

  32. @Brian Jane You know, in all of my philological expeditions I've never heard of this word. It's quite beautiful. Leave it to the French to have practically undiminished etymological heritage. The old French is especially cute as a sardonic pun, what with "chaste" being snugly embedded in it. It meaning "a castle mistress" and all. Awesome find. Thank you very much.

  33. Hi Ses! Being a word nerd myself since I was a little girl, I believe this is the most magnificent list I've seen so far - thank you for sharing it! I actually came on here to post four great words, but the preceding sentence reminded me of another: superlative! What first came to mind however, was: samsara, wabi-sabi, (and I'll put in a couple of words from my mother tongue) maillot, and enceinte.

  34. Love your list of Prettiest Words. I am a visual artist using the language of art as a means of self expression. Is there a word or words(pretty) to say what I do?
    Vonnie (lld)

  35. Thank you stumbleupon! Sesquipedalian is easily my favorite word, so I got excited when I saw this list. I'd add juxtaposition! It's a spiffy word.
    I was a bit sad to see the only Hungarian word was misspelled! "Czigany" is actually cigány, if you chose to add the accent mark. Other than that, beautiful list. (:

    1. I just added "juxtapose". Spiffy, indeed. I apologize heartily! I've seen it spelled that way before and applied it as such. Are you Hungarian? Would you contribute some interesting words, pretty or otherwise? Hoping that they are imports to English, but that's not necessary.

  36. ah, kısmet! it's such a great word, glad to see it in your list. I would add "yakamoz" on the list, announced as the most beautiful word in the world by IFA. It is actually a Turkish word for Noctiluca scintillans (water sparkle?) but most of the time it is mistakenly used for moon's reflection on the sea :

    1. I can't find much other info on that word, but it is indeed amazing.

  37. Superb list of grandiloquisms. Indeed, it is useful for those few among us who wish to avoid nescient battologizing. Gramercy.

    1. Thank you kindly, especially for your scintillating panoply of sesquipedalian verbiage. Zounds.

  38. So, do you ever look at words you have chosen and decide "upon further review" that the word isn't all that pretty after all? Or, is it once they've made the list, they're in it forever?

    1. Moreso the latter. The more pretty words, the better. Any suggestions?

  39. @Hannah The French really are just wonderful people. Thanks for the comment. "Wabi-sabi" is such a cute lil' word. "Enceinte" is actually on here, but "maillot" is not. I'm torn about it, frankly. Phonaesthetically, juxtaposed long vowels can sound strained, to say nothing of the inevitable comparison to "mayo", which by association of its definition is less appealing, but not altogether scrapped. Definitely added, though. Thanks for the contribution. Additionally, "samsara" is a wonderful word. Thank you.

  40. So You Write? I got a story for you to use some of those pretty and not so pretty words of yours.


    1. I'm afraid I don't "write" in any traditional way so much anymore. I'm sorry about your tragedy. In any small case, I have signed your petition to further your goal.

  41. Great! I was searching for this for months now. Wow can't believe it i just got it! I'm glad i found this forum. Thanks! gray hair remedy

  42. liminal

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  44. Thanks for the great word list! its officially copied on to my computer. If anyone wants to check out my blog about my discoveries and journeys in India, here it is. enjoy :)

  45. I've always liked the word sopoforic. And supine, too.

  46. My favorite word is "onomatopoeia" (which could be spelled wrong) which are words that sound like those things they refer to, such as bing, bark, meow, cuckou, bong, etc. Just taught it to my son yesterday.

  47. Hey have you guys heard of The Vocabuverse? Some of the words above are included in there...

  48. Regardless of your education level or age, will help you to master the words that are essential to academic and business success.
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  49. These words are amazing. i will share them on my blog here:

  50. Interesting website:

  51. This is cool and all, but the words need to be spaced out. They all run together and it's hard to tell them apart.


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