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#MicroblogMondays 14: Best Words

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I have a Mallen Streak — a two-inch shock of white in the front of my hair a la Rogue in X-Men.  (Or the Bride of Frankenstein, though Rogue sounds a bit cooler.)  I don’t love it, but I don’t know what I want to do with it so for the time being, I’m leaving it.

What I do love is that it has a name.  That we have a word for a strange clump of white hair that inexplicably forms (Mallen Streak) or the space between two letters (kern) or giving someone a loving look (belgard).  For every word that doesn’t exist though we wish it did, there are thousands upon thousands of cool words that have fallen into disuse.

So teach us a cool word or your favourite word, even if you think it may be a common one that everyone knows.  Sometimes we just need to hear it again to remember to use it.


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1. A Challenge & Books I gotta Read! @ Nabanita 21. Cynthia Samuels 41. Tara
2. Sadie 22. Isabelle 42. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad
3. Persnickety 23. Waiting for Baby 43. Freckled Latte
4. Rachel 24. Ke Anne 44. Good Families Do
5. Rajlakshmi 25. Non Sequitur Chica 45. Solo Mama
6. Uma S 26. Usha 46. Elizabeth Project Progeny
7. Jen (Days of Grace) 27. Jamie @ Sticky Feet 2 47. Aislinn @ Baby Makin’
8. Turia 28. Mary Francis 48. Just Heather
9. Middle Girl 29. stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) 49. With Love, Tania
10. Jessica 30. The Incredible Journey 50. apluseffort
11. Bio Girl 31. Amber 51. Stacie
12. Karen (River Run Dry) 32. Daryl 52. deathstar
13. Infertile Girl 33. Mali (A Separate Life) 53. articulation
14. earthandink 34. Mali (No Kidding) 54. CC
15. Vidya Sury Collecting Smiles 35. Kimberly 55. Brooke
16. Geochick 36. Cristy 56. Corinne Rodrigues
17. Gil (The Hardest Quest) 37. A. 57. obsessivemom
18. magpie 38. dennasus
19. Parenthood Diaries 39. Dubliner in Deutschland
20. S 40. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled)


1 Persnickety { 12.01.14 at 5:47 am }

I didn’t know the name for it. My sister has one as well, but at the back of her head.
I like the word persnickety, and the English version pernickety. I am more fascinated by the changes between languages and places on words. When I first moved to Australia it was common to use “rapt” when talking about a great event “I was rapt when I got my license” except frequently spelled as “wrapped”. I was fascinated by the fact that such a poetical word was so easily used. It seems to have died back though. I am unrapt about that

2 Sadie { 12.01.14 at 5:47 am }

I like the words ‘frisson’ and ‘peripatetic’, the latter because it so aptly (and specifically!) describes our state of being the last few years; in an Aristotelian sense, a peripatetic is literally someone who teaches on the move.

3 Sadie { 12.01.14 at 5:57 am }

Also, now that I’m once again immersed in a foreign language it occurs to me how very imprecise English vocabulary actually is.

4 Jen { 12.01.14 at 7:01 am }

My favourite word is cerulean – that shade of blue that’s a bit deeper than the sky on a bright summer’s day. It’s a gentle word that makes me feel peaceful. Also puts me in mind of sunny days and being by the sea.

5 Turia { 12.01.14 at 7:06 am }

Ooh, I like both of the words already mentioned.

I like “snain” at the moment, because it’s the time of year where you get a lot of it. It’s not quite snow, not quite rain, but not hard and icy like sleet or freezing rain is. I get a kick every time E. looks out the window and says, very seriously, “It looks like it’s snaining outside again.”

6 Katherine A { 12.01.14 at 7:26 am }

One of my favorites is ‘popliteal’, which refers to the anatomical structures located behind the knee. I don’t know why exactly I like it, but ever since I heard it in Anatomy+Phisiology I, I’ve loved it. I just like the way it sounds.

Also ‘mercurial’, meaning fickle or changes moods suddenly is another favorite.

7 Middle Girl { 12.01.14 at 7:41 am }

Your mention of kern the other day reminded me of kine which is an archaic plural for cow. And speaking of favored words, archaic ranks on the list.

8 fifi { 12.01.14 at 7:44 am }

“The Mallen Streak” was a 1973 novel by Catherine Cookson. “It is about a ruthless 19th century Northumberland Squire Thomas Mallen, who has a genetic white streak in his hair and fathers numerous illegitimate children” [wikipedia]. I don’t know if the book was named after the streak or the streak was named after the book.

Recently, a shoe saleswoman informed me that there was a term for having a second toe longer than the first. It’s called a “Morton’s toe”. And I’d gone through life thinking that I just had freakish feet.

I love the words “lapis lazuli”. Just makes me think of deep blue smoothness.

9 earthanadink { 12.01.14 at 9:32 am }

pluviophilia : to love the rain. I just love that there is a word for that. (And I love the rain. I am a true pluviophile.)

I am working on a Mallen streak and have a very faint one at present. Fascinating that there’s a term for it. I just call it Morticia Adams hair.

10 earthandink { 12.01.14 at 9:34 am }

pluviophilia: the love of rain.

11 Vidya Sury { 12.01.14 at 9:36 am }

Mallen Streak! Rapidly heading there, Mel! ๐Ÿ˜€ We have a lot of words in our own language (Tamil) and they all set off streams of laughter because they are so irrelevant to the situation, yet they’ve become our words.

I do enjoy saying “Cornucopia” because it has funny memories! Love the questions you raise ๐Ÿ˜€

12 Geochick { 12.01.14 at 9:44 am }

Hmmm….words. That took me a minute. I like how epitome sounds.

Stacy London of What Not to Wear has a Mallen streak that she leaves in when coloring her hair. I always thought that was cool, and now I know what it’s called!

13 magpie { 12.01.14 at 10:00 am }

that’s cool. i think i have that – but my blond going grey hair conceals that white streak.

favorite word: absquatulate, meaning to get up and squat elsewhere, usually with purloined goods. “She absquatulated with the remains of the Thanksgiving pie.”

14 nonsequiturchica { 12.01.14 at 10:06 am }

I enjoying saying the word “gazebo” and “pumpernickel.” Not sure why but they are fun to say!

15 KeAnne { 12.01.14 at 11:00 am }

I’m developing a Mallen streak! Not sure how I feel about it. For now, I hope that maybe it looks blondish LOL. Hmmm…favorite word. I’ll need to think about that. However, I did learn a new word a few weeks ago: charrette http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charrette Apparently it is a hot word w/ faculty right now.

16 Usha Pisharody { 12.01.14 at 12:03 pm }

My favourite word today would be “petrichor” – the scent of wet earth, soaked by the first rains, or rain that has visited after a while ๐Ÿ™‚
Had a whiff of this wonderful fragrance this evening, during the last session of class, and the whole class soaked in it too! Only, I had to google it right now, to find that exact word for it ๐Ÿ™‚

I simply love your posts and the thoughts they inspire, the questions that they instigate and make one realize things ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

17 Amber { 12.01.14 at 1:57 pm }

I’m feeling very uninspired today and can’t really think of a favorite word. However, the word moist has come up a lot lately, mostly about how people hate the word, but it doesn’t bother me! I actually don’t really get why it’s such a horrible word to so many people, unless they just can’t get their minds out of the gutter. lol. I think it’s a better word to describe a “moist” cake, which would be the opposite of it being dry. Moist is a better word than wet, for instance. So I guess that’s it. My word for the day is moist – even though I’m sure that bothers a lot of people. Moist, moist, moist. haha!

18 celeste noelani { 12.01.14 at 2:27 pm }

I have so many favorite words, but one that I cherish deeply is mฤlama, which is Hawaiian for to care for or protect.

19 Mali { 12.01.14 at 2:40 pm }

I love words, and love discovering words in other languages that have meanings we just don’t have in English. “Sabai” in Thai doesn’t have an exact translation, but means a combination of good, comfortable, relaxed and happy.

In English, I like the sound of the word “cacophony” even if the meaning is quite ordinary.

I suspect I would have a Mallen streak if I stopped colouring my hair.

20 Cristy { 12.01.14 at 3:22 pm }

So that’s what I have! I’ve been wondering, but have been too lazy to look it up.

Here’s a recent favorite: kerfuffle. Means a commotion or fuss; especially caused by conflicting views. News about Black Friday revealed lots of kerfuffles. Plus it’s so fun to say, that I imagine most involved with said kerfuffle would stop after saying it 3 times fast. ๐Ÿ˜‰

21 Elizabeth { 12.01.14 at 4:14 pm }

I adore all those words. And I’ve always wanted a Mallen streak, they look so villainously dramatic. Or dramatically villainous. I can’t think of a particular word I love in particular… I’ve learned a lot of new Spanish words in the past 2 years that don’t have good English translations although the false cognates sounds good… Like “potencializar,” which means to more fully develop the potential (of a person or situation).

22 DublinGal { 12.01.14 at 4:57 pm }

I love the word ‘serendipity’, an unsought, unintended, unexpected, but fortunate, discovery or experience.

23 loribeth { 12.01.14 at 6:34 pm }

I used the term “confab” at work one day & all the young girls thought it was hilarious. They’d never heard the term before. I Googled it and was able to tell them that yes, it was a real word & not one I had made up for their amusement. It means “an informal private conversation or discussion” but also can be used in reference to “a meeting or conference of members of a particular group.”

@Cristy: I also frequently use the word “kerfuffle,” lol.

One thing about infertility is you get to know your body & your cycle extremely well. I started to notice that I generally experience some degree of discomfort (some months more, some months less) right around ovulation time… cramping, bloating, heartburn. When I started researching this, I learned there is a medical term for it: “mittelschmerz.” As a medical condition, it sucks — but it is kind of a neat word. Much more fun than plain old “midcycle cramps,” lol.

One more: at this time of year in Canada, we pull out our knitted caps to wear — which apparently are called “beanies” in the States (!!). I tend to think of a “beanie” as a skullcap (with a little propeller on top, lol). You will get a blank look in Canada if you refer to a “beanie” — but everyone knows what a “tuque” is (also spelled “toque” or “touque” and pronounced “tuke”).

24 Infertile Girl { 12.01.14 at 6:51 pm }

I like magpie’s word because it is so obscure, but I love the sentence used to explain it! A word I learned (leart?) this year is “ennui”; a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement. It’s a sad sort of word but it perfectly described a feeling I was having, better than just “melancholy”. I also like the word “magnanimous”; very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself. I like it more for how it sounds when you say it than the meaning itself.

25 Tara { 12.01.14 at 6:54 pm }

I’m envious of your natural Mallen Streak! Do you know that I have one too but I have to pay a hairdresser to keep it from growing out black roots?! It’s my signature look. ๐Ÿ˜‰

26 Laurel Regan { 12.01.14 at 7:29 pm }

I’ve been reading about art journaling lately, and have decided that my new favourite word is “ephemera.” It just sounds so delightful and magical!

27 Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) { 12.01.14 at 8:33 pm }

I like your hair! And it taught me a new term. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It makes me smile that there’s a specific word for second-to-last (penultimate). I also like the word umami, a savory taste that unites the flavors of a dish.

28 Katie { 12.01.14 at 8:37 pm }

Growing up I was always frustrated because my eyes weren’t really any color. I used to call them green or hazel (they’re actually blue/green/grey with brown in them) and thought them to be pretty boring, but after high school I started getting comments on how pretty my eyes were. While confused at first, I slowly grew to see what others saw and started to love and appreciate them. A few years ago I decided to poke around on google and I found out that there is a name for my particular eye color situation. I have central and sectoral heterochromia!! A silly thing to be excited about, but like you, I was just elated to finally have a name for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

29 JustHeather { 12.01.14 at 11:24 pm }

Is it still a Mallen streak if it is dark and not white? If so, I have one at the back of my head. When I was born, all my hair was dark like my mom’s. Then the baby hair fell out and it all grew in dirty blonde, except for that one spot.

Amber, I’m a person that doesn’t like the word ‘moist’ when in reference to weather or humidity-like settings. I just returned from my hometown and it is MOIST there! I always forget how much I dislike it and how cold I feel while there. I definitely prefer below freezing weather to above freezing and cold wetness that penetrates to the bones. (blog post to come about this topic. hahah)

My word… bonny (attractive, beautiful) or canny (pleasant, nice). And from Finnish, lately I’ve been thinking of lรคmpimรคmpi = warmer (from the base word lรคmmin = warm). It just sounds funny coming out of the mouth.

30 Mrs T { 12.02.14 at 12:26 am }

One of my favorite words is penultimate.

31 staciet { 12.02.14 at 12:41 am }

My word of the week has been “twitterpated.” I’ve used it three different times in as many days. lol

Definition is “excited or overcome by romantic feelings; smitten.” according to Dictionary.com. Funny that it is now in the dictionary!

32 md { 12.02.14 at 1:17 am }

i am feeling too blah to think of my favourite word right now, but your post immediately brought to my mind the word ‘kerfuffle’, which one of my undergrad profs mentioned.. i had never heard the word before, and totally loved the sound of it. i also felt very strongly that it should be made into a dessert, and together with another friend began concocting recipes that matched ‘kerfuffle’ ๐Ÿ˜› (ah, i miss being an undergrad!!)
kerfuffle: commotion, disorder, disarray

33 Corinne Rodrigues { 12.02.14 at 11:17 am }

I’ve always yearned to have a Mallen Streak – although I didn’t know that it had a posh name, Mel. My hair is promising to deliver though!
I love how dynamic the English language is and that new words keep getting added too. So many words to enjoy – the more the better!

34 Justine { 12.02.14 at 11:59 am }

I learned a new word the other day from a commenter on one of my posts: eunoia. We should all embrace that one … ๐Ÿ˜‰

35 obsessivemom { 12.02.14 at 12:55 pm }

A Mallen Streak look so dramatic. I don’t really have a favourite word – maybe in my current state – ‘deep sleep’ would be the two words I’m looking forward to ๐Ÿ™‚

36 Rebecca { 12.02.14 at 2:18 pm }

Love the Mallen Streak! (And, that there’s a word for it…) I wish my grey would come in nice and dramatically instead of the random stick straight pieces that seem to pop up out of the middle of my head.

One of my favorite words is “copacetic.” (Kind of “it’s all good…”) I wrote a post on it several years ago (http://tryingnottoscream.blogspot.com/2010/03/everythings-copacetic.html). I’ve always loved the word but, the potential origins of it are really interesting! Well, to me, at least! ๐Ÿ™‚

37 SRB { 12.02.14 at 3:01 pm }

Well, The F Word is my favourite word and I doubt that will ever change. A word I *enjoy* however, is apoplectic. My dad used to say it all the time, and indeed, has personified it as well.

38 Lori Lavender Luz { 12.02.14 at 4:25 pm }

I’m belgarding as I type.

I can’t think of an English one, but when I lived in Japan, my favorite became “shikata ganai” — kind of like “whatever, it can’t be helped.” Oddly, one of my faves when living in the Arab world was “insha’allah,” which also means, “what are ya gonna do? It’s up to G*d” (as you shrug your shoulders or throw your hands up).

39 KeAnne { 12.05.14 at 10:41 am }

I want to “like” all of these comments and words! Also, I know you know about homonyms, but did you know there are heteronyms too? Words are fun!

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