My most loved and hated words

by Tom Albrighton 29 November 2010 Fun

Do I need an intro after a title like that? Read ’em and weep – then ridicule my choices and/or justify your own in the comments.


  1. Umbel. Evoking a mellow chime, it is in fact a part of a plant
  2. Architrave. Sounds like an archaic trove, or perhaps a quiet architect’s grave. Actually part of a door- or window-frame
  3. Dusk. Just a time of day, but it always sounds magical
  4. Nobble. Great-sounding, and an indispensable concept too
  5. Egg. What else could you call it?
  6. Tranquil. Surely the nicest word containing Q
  7. Concord. Now the aeroplane’s been retired, we can use this word in its real sense a bit more
  8. Instil. Just for the sound
  9. Ozalid. Sounds like an exotic lizard; actually an old form of printer’s proof
  10. Theodolite. Similar appeal to ‘architrave’. Sounds like a lamp powered by religion, but is in fact a device for surveying building sites.

Architraves - arguably not as exciting as they sound


  1. Creamy. The sound, meaning and ‘mouthfeel’ of this word are all utterly revolting. See also ‘moist’
  2. Babe. Demeaning to the describer and the describee, regardless of context
  3. Slathered. Disgusting, yet beloved of those who write food descriptions, e.g. ‘slathered in a creamy dressing’. See also ‘drizzled’ and ‘enrobed’
  4. Onus. Just means ‘obligation’, but it doesn’t sound like something you’d want placed on you, does it?
  5. Penalise. See ‘Onus’. At university we would fall about at the exam-paper admonition ‘You may be penalised for excessive length’
  6. Platter. Conjuring images of rank 70s pub food while, appropriately, evoking ‘plump’ and ‘fatter’. I don’t like ‘supper’ much either
  7. Chagrin. We have so many nice-sounding words for wry sadness and melancholic regret. Why use one that includes the syllable ‘shag’?
  8. Mull and moot. No, don’t mull it over – no matter how moot it is. Just consider it. I don’t want to think about warm wine or Wings
  9. Revamp. Rework or redesign it instead, then none of us will have a mental image of Peter Cushing when you mention it
  10. Pantile. Just for sounding like underwear when it’s not. See also ‘vestibule’, ‘brasserie’.