Favourite words

This is a collection of words in various languages that appeal to me for their sound and/or meaning.


- zarra-marra, n. = rubblish
- zurru-murru, n. = whisper (also txutxu-mutxu)
- zirrimarra, n. = scribbling

Cornish (Kernewek)

- bulhorn, n. = snail
- solempnya v. = to celebrate

Czech (čeština)

- šňůrka, n. = string (from the German Schnur)
- zmrzlina, n. = icecream


- hullabaloo, n. = uproar, fuss
- kerfuffle, n. = a commotion or fuss
- purfle, v. = to decorate the surface of a violin
- misodoctakleidist, n. = someone who hates practising the piano
- murmuration, a. – a flock (of starlings)
- never-thriving, a. – collective noun for jugglers
- hornswoggle, v. – to get the better of; to cheat, swindle, hoodwink, humbug, bamboozle.
- bosky adj. – consisting of or covered with bushes; full of thickets, bushy

Estonian (eesti)

- jäääär, n. = the edge of the ice

e.g. Kuuuurijate töööö jäääärel = A moon researchers’ work-night at the edge of the ice

- õueaiaäär, n. = the edge of the fence surrounding a yard

German (Deutsch)

- mampfen v. = to munch
- schrumpfen v. = to shrink
- schnalzlaut, n. = (linguistic) click – related words: schnalzen = to snap/click one’s fingers; Schnalzer = click, snap, crack

Irish (Gaeilge)

- smugairle róin, n. = jellyfish (lit. “seal snot”)
- sceallógaí, n. = chips

Italian (italiano)

- zanzara, n. – mosquito

Manx (Gaelg)

- dramane / drapane n. = misty rain
- neusloateil n. = non-stop rain (sloateil = cessation of rain)
- smooidraght n. = a little rain
- smoogh, n. = a playful kiss
- smittag, n. = a playful kiss / dark-looking girl
- ee, v. = to eat

e.g. Eeee ee eeym – She will eat butter, Eeee ee nhee erbee – She’ll eat anything

Scots (Scoats leid)

- dreich, a. = extensive, lasting, tedious, tiresome, slow
- gandaguster / gandiegow, a. = strong, sudden gust or a storm of short duration
- rumballiach, a. = tempestuous
- smirr, n. = light rain
- tirry-wirry, a. = cross, petulant, peevish
- wirry-boggle = a rogue, a rascal

Orkney dialect (source)
- ugsome = threatening, awe-inspiring (of weather). From Old Norse uggr, apprehension
- skuther / skwither = a sharp breeze of short duration
- skreever = a very strong gale

Shetland dialect
- plink = to play a string instrument
- scobbins = porridge/cereal stuck to a pan; scrapings from a pan
- smuksin = shuffling about in clumsy footwear
- smush = fine drizzle
- twartle = to contradict

Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig)

- smùid, n. = steam, vapour, fumes, smoke, a state of drunkenness (steaming/smashed), e.g. tha smùid orra = they’re drunk
- snog = nice, pleasant

Spanish (español)

- susurro, n. = whisper

Welsh (Cymraeg)

- bochgoch, n. = rosy-cheeked; poppy
- mwnwgl, n. = neck (also gwddf, mŵn)
- mympwy, n. = whim, fad
- mympwyol, adj. = whimsical, arbitary
- mympwywr, n. = faddist
- odl, n. = rhyme – odli = to rhyme – odliad = rhymning
- rhygyngog a. = ambling
- slefren fôr, n. = jellyfish (lit. “sea slime”)
- sglodion, n. = chips
- smwc = drizzle
- treigloffobia = fear of treigladau (mutations)


Quotations and other snippets that appeal to me.

- Braille – something about it gives me the bumps.
- Vietnamese looks like an explosion in a diacritics factory.
- English is a relatively simple language, absurdly spelled.


4 Responses to Favourite words

  1. So many languages but do you speak Dutch too?

  2. Simon says:

    Ja, Ik leer nederlands op het moment.

  3. Jane Blacksmith says:

    One of my favorite English word is “flimflam.” (n., deception, dishonest behavior).

    One of my favorite Scottish words is “hootenanny” (n. social gathering, party, celebration)

  4. Vavva says:

    A favourite of mine from Danish is “ruskomsnusk” (stew, approx. /ˈʁuskʌmsnusk/), the name bearing connotations to something jumbled together in a hurry with little attention to the ingredients. Literal translation would be a mess, but it goes somewhat like “small debris [floating] about/around [rhyming, similar-meaning word]“. The Norwegian variety of the dish, with a slightly tamer name of “lapskaus” has given Liverpudlians their demonym of Scouse (-skaus).

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