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What's your favourite word?

Apr 04, 2019

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One of the most difficult questions to answer, particularly when working for the Macquarie Dictionary, is "What is your favourite word?". The answer can change depending on your mood, on the time of day, on the event or upcoming events, on any little thing, but there are usually one or two 'go-to' words that will always please. In fact, it's often far easier to answer the question of which words we hate!

However, focusing on the positive, recently, we asked our newsletter subscribers to write in with their favourite words (for a chance to win a Macquarie Concise Dictionary Seventh Edition – sign up to our newsletter to take advantage of more competitions) and they didn't disappoint.

Our winning entry is a fascinating one.

My favourite word is: misled

Because: ‘Misled’ wasn’t a word I used in speech but, whenever I read it, I heard it as ‘my-zld’. I knew what it meant and loved the way it sounded. As a child I would say it to myself over and over again, on the theory that repetition would reveal whether or not a word was musical. It became my favourite word. Then, many years later I saw it spelt with a hyphen as ‘mis-led’ and realised my error. ‘Mis-led’ does not stand up to repetition. And so my ‘my-zld’ lingers in my mind, a beautiful and untouchable memory.

Another beloved topic for us are interesting misunderstandings of words. We've discussed malapropisms and mondegreens, as well as had a look at some common eggcorns. This entry tickled our fancy because it is uncommonly used as a word to describe this very misunderstanding.

We were so impressed with our other entries as well, so have six runners-up. Tell us what your favourite word is in the comments below!

My favourite word is: spiflicate

Because: Even in childhood when this word was a threat, it just seemed funny! I love that we can laugh at a word that threatens violence—it seems empowering. I always thought this word was Australian slang, but it has a longer history—and maybe its humour comes from the fact that it’s a jumble of threatening actions that just render it absurd.

 

My favourite word is: flamin'

Because: It is Aussie. Stone the flamin crows, mate. Flamin infers it is hot flames but it has no ‘g’, so there is only intensity. Because it is intense it infers seriousness. So if you want a flamin job done right, don’t ask a flamin wombat (idiot). Flamin well stand up and do the flamin work yourself. Flamin heck, now that you have done a good job, you can go to a flamin donut shop and have a flamin hot coffee from a flamin food van. It goes with almost everything. Flamin hell, flamin heck, flamin idiot, but does not work as flamin you, it requires an extra word, ‘you flamin idiot’.

 

My favourite word is: nincompoop

Because: polite and cute way of saying, you idiot!

 

My favourite word is: rhododendron

Because: It rolls off the tongue!

 

My favourite word is: cockwomble

Because: In this era when the hard right dominates the Liberal Party, Donald Trump dominates the world stage, and the NRA is attempting to change Australia's gun-control laws, I can't think of a better takedown with #MeToo overtones than "cockwomble" for all the men involved. I first heard the word in the 2013 British television military drama series Our Girl. See also wankpuffin.

 

My favourite word is: mate

Because: When I came to this country, this word (heard everywhere) made me feel welcome and confident I will make new friends easily and find moving to a new country less scary. This win would be so handy for my daily crossword. :) I like your Twitter account too. Thank you for making words fun!


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