Blog Excerpts

What's the Most Beautiful Word?

What is the most beautiful word in the English language? This question was recently posed on GalleyCat, the Mediabistro blog covering the publishing industry. GalleyCat has its own suggestions, and recommends that readers use the Visual Thesaurus to map out their own favorite words.

This isn't the first time that the Visual Thesaurus has been featured on GalleyCat. Back in February, the VT was hailed as a great tool for writers "looking for a more inspiring interface while searching for the right word." This time around, GalleyCat encourages readers to use the VT in the hunt for the most beautiful word in the language.

As a starting point, GalleyCat links to a list of the 100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language posted on the Deshoda blog. From these 100, here are GalleyCat's 10 favorites:

What is your choice for the most beautiful word in English?


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Comments from our users:

Tuesday July 12th 2011, 2:47 AM
Comment by: Anna O. (London United Kingdom)
Quintessential.

All 'Q' words are beautiful, but that's my favourite.
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 3:38 AM
Comment by: Stuart (Pickering United Kingdom)
Voluptuous

A completely silly thing. For years I thought it was spelled, "volumptuous."
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 3:54 AM
Comment by: Krista N. (Silver Spring, MD)
Heliotrope
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 9:18 AM
Comment by: Rachaad F. (Zuid-Holland Netherlands)
Still like this application a lot, specifically with the new app view on the Ipad and smartphones. Little bit unfortunate that the definitions of the words are not visible on the app view on the Ipad and smartphones.
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 10:02 AM
Comment by: Cathryn G.
Transcendence.
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 10:04 AM
Comment by: Ben Zimmer (New York, NY)Visual Thesaurus ContributorVisual Thesaurus Moderator
Rachaad: The definition pane isn't visible on the iPad/iPhone because the operating system doesn't allow scroll bars. However, if you hover your finger over any meaning bubble in the word map, you can see the definition.
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 10:37 AM
Comment by: Elena B. (Glendale, AZ)
Baroque....While playing scrabble many years ago, I had all the wooden letter pieces for this word and it delighted me to no end.
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 10:43 AM
Comment by: Tom W.
Yes.
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 11:18 AM
Comment by: gerald allen G.
pristine It stands alnne in its beauty.
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 3:36 PM
Comment by: Doris W. (Springfield, VA)
A word that I really like is "tranquil". I suppose it's because I found myself using it a lot when settling down my fifth graders before I RETIRED. :-) To me, the sound of the word suggests serenity.
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 4:18 PM
Comment by: Seth (Rutland, MA)
Soliloquy - I love saying that word. Too bad I'm no longer a stage actor, I don't have the opportunity to use it as often.
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 4:46 PM
Comment by: James S.
Angelina Jolie

(Yes, I know it is two words)
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 5:35 PM
Comment by: Roger Dee (Haslett, MI)Top 10 Commenter
Nubile and lissome (sorry, I cheated, as James S did!)
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 6:16 PM
Comment by: Michael Lydon (New York, NY)Visual Thesaurus Contributor
Rambunctious--somehow the sound, the spelling, the silliness of the word gets the meaning across.

I'll all for nubile and lissome, but I sense guy talk! Is it the words, fellows, or the images the words evoke?
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 7:19 PM
Comment by: Roger Dee (Haslett, MI)Top 10 Commenter
I'm afraid it's not just "guy talk" anymore. Beauty is found on all levels of life--not just in the stratospheric heights of ethereal virtual language discussions, but also in those basic human hungers that are also found in normal women!
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 7:36 PM
Comment by: Scott P. (Los Angeles, CA)
Sphere.
C'mon, is that the coolest word, or what?
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 7:57 PM
Comment by: Ferial E R (Woodbridge United Kingdom)
Tranquillity. It rolls off the tongue languidly, soothingly, and is so serene.
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 9:47 PM
Comment by: Kristine F.Top 10 Commenter
Persnickety! Makes me want to be that way, just so I can hear someone say it when they roll their eyes and accuse me of it! Here's persnickety's cousin: since we've included a few two-word names, don't you love Lemony Snicket?
Tuesday July 12th 2011, 11:36 PM
Comment by: Debbie A. (Halesite, NY)
Hullabaloo. I just like the musicality of the word.
Wednesday July 13th 2011, 3:28 AM
Comment by: El (Los Angeles, CA)
brook. When I picture a brook, I see a beautiful tree-lined setting. I hear the gentle sounds of slow moving water.
This work evokes untold positive responses in me. I would love to be near this body of water, writing, painting and
if I had courage, making love to my darling husband.
Wednesday July 13th 2011, 11:21 AM
Comment by: christiane P. (paris Afghanistan)
Thank you so much for all these words, I read and read again, trying to remembering some words of the list.
I klke ; CHATOYANT- BECOMING.
Wednesday July 13th 2011, 12:16 PM
Comment by: Ben H. (Athens, GA)
lithe
Wednesday July 13th 2011, 12:43 PM
Comment by: Barbara M. (Roseburg, OR)
serendipity
Friday July 15th 2011, 4:10 PM
Comment by: Keith (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Quixotic
Saturday July 16th 2011, 8:54 AM
Comment by: Christine B.
ointment
Saturday July 16th 2011, 10:22 AM
Comment by: Carl S. (Oceanside, CA)
One vote for felicity. Also one for serendipity. Maybe verdant too.
Saturday July 16th 2011, 2:46 PM
Comment by: Remi (East Elmhurst, NY)
Smithereens!
Thursday July 21st 2011, 9:51 AM
Comment by: Nick N. (Brooktondale, NY)
Funny, Christine B., about "ointment:" A friend of mine has an almost physical revulsion to "oi-xxx" words. Ointment, joint, moist...uh, goiter?

In the eye of the beholder, perhaps?
Thursday July 21st 2011, 1:36 PM
Comment by: Ben Zimmer (New York, NY)Visual Thesaurus ContributorVisual Thesaurus Moderator
Christine & Nick: For more on those icky /oi/ words ( moist, ointment, goiter), see the Word Routes column, " Which Words Do You Love and Which Do You Hate?"
Friday July 22nd 2011, 8:42 AM
Comment by: jo P. (dartmouth Canada)
Optic. When I read a poem by Margaret Lawrence and contained in a line was "optic heart" I fell in love with optic.
Saturday July 23rd 2011, 9:23 AM
Comment by: funkgoddess (Glasgow United Kingdom)
nipple - just rolls off the tongue.
Wednesday July 27th 2011, 4:25 PM
Comment by: Nancy T. (Metuchen, NJ)
Sloop. Nice image, nice sound, slightly onomatopoetic; consider the vessel bobbing gently in the waves.
Wednesday July 27th 2011, 7:31 PM
Comment by: Roger Dee (Haslett, MI)Top 10 Commenter
Speaking of "nipple" makes me think of my youth when that word could never be mentioned in public due to the repressive home training that limits the meaning to a sexual aspect of the female anatomy.
Monday August 22nd 2011, 7:18 AM
Comment by: Arno M. (Cronulla Australia)
Rhizome
Monday August 22nd 2011, 12:17 PM
Comment by: Leslie D.
mellifluous

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