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The 100 most beautiful words in English

The 100 most beautiful words in English

Here are the 100 most beautiful words in English. How do we know we have the most beautiful? They were chosen by Robert Beard, who has been making dictionaries, creating word lists, and writing poetry for 40 years.

Ailurophile: A cat-lover

Assemblage: A gathering

Becoming: Attractive

Beleaguer: To exhaust with attacks

Brood: To think alone

Bucolic: In a lovely rural setting

Bungalow: A small, cozy cottage

Chatoyant: Like a cat’s eye

Comely: Attractive

Conflate: To blend together

Cynosure: A focal point of admiration

Dalliance: A brief love affair

Demesne: Dominion, territory

Demure: Shy and reserved

Denouement: The resolution of a mystery

Desuetude: Disuse

Desultory: Slow, sluggish

Diaphanous: Filmy

Dissemble: Deceive

Dulcet: Sweet, sugary

Ebullience: Bubbling enthusiasm

Effervescent: Bubbly

Efflorescence: Flowering, blooming

Elision: Dropping a sound or syllable in a word

Elixir: A good potion

Eloquence: Beauty and persuasion in speech

Embrocation: Rubbing on a lotion

Emollient: A softener

Ephemeral: Short-lived

Epiphany: A sudden revelation

Erstwhile: At one time, for a time

Ethereal: Gaseous, invisible but detectable

Evanescent: Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time

Evocative: Suggestive

Fetching: Pretty

Felicity: Pleasantness

Forbearance: Withholding response to provocation

Fugacious: Fleeting

Furtive: Shifty, sneaky

Gambol: To skip or leap about joyfully

Glamour: Beauty

Gossamer: The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk

Halcyon: Happy, sunny, care-free

Harbinger: Messenger with news of the future

Imbrication: Overlapping and forming a regular pattern

Imbroglio: An altercation or complicated situation

Imbue: To infuse, instill

Incipient: Beginning, in an early stage

Ineffable: Unutterable, inexpressible

Ingénue: A naïve young woman

Inglenook: A cozy nook by the hearth

Insouciance: Blithe nonchalance

Inure: To become jaded

Labyrinthine: Twisting and turning

Lagniappe: A special kind of gift

Lagoon: A small gulf of inlet

Languor: Listlessness, inactivity

Lassitude: Weariness, listlessness

Leisure: Free time

Lilt: To move musically or lively

Lissome: Slender and graceful

Lithe: Slender and flexible

Love: Deep affection

Mellifluous: Sweet sounding

Moiety: One of two equal parts

Mondegreen: A slip of the ear

Murmurous: Murmuring

Nemesis: An unconquerable archenemy

Offing: The sea between the horizon and the offshore

Onomatopoeia: A word that sounds like its meaning

Opulent: Lush, luxuriant

Palimpsest: A manuscript written over earlier ones

Panoply: A complete set

Pastiche: An art work combining materials from various sources

Penumbra: A half-shadow

Petrichor: The smell of earth after rain

Plethora: A large quantity

Propinquity: An inclination

Pyrrhic: Successful with heavy losses

Quintessential: Most essential

Ratatouille: A spicy French stew

Ravel: To knit or unknit

Redolent: Fragrant

Riparian: By the bank of a stream

Ripple: A very small wave

Scintilla: A spark or very small thing

Sempiternal: Eternal

Seraglio: Rich, luxurious oriental palace or harem

Serendipity: Finding something nice while looking for something else

Summery: Light, delicate or warm and sunny

Sumptuous: Lush, luxurious

Surreptitious: Secretive, sneaky

Susquehanna: A river in Pennsylvania

Susurrous: Whispering, hissing

Talisman: A good luck charm

Tintinnabulation: Tinkling

Umbrella: Protection from sun or rain

Vestigial: In trace amounts

Wafture: Waving

Wherewithal: The means

Woebegone: Sorrowful, downcast


Original: The 100 Most Beautiful