The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English

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 or 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.
Panacea
A solution for all problems
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
Mose 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.
Sussurous
Whispering, hissing.
Talisman
A good luck charm.
Tintinnabulation
Tinkling.
Umbrella
Protection from sun or rain.
Untoward
Unseemly, inappropriate.
Vestigial
In trace amounts.
Wafture
Waving.
Wherewithal
The means.
Woebegone
Sorrowful, downcast.

 

Author: Viet Nguyen

I thought what I had do was, I had pretend I was one of those Deaf Mutes

9 thoughts on “The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English”

  1. An interesting list, wonderful food for thought. Bungalow is also one of my favorite words, though I’m not sure I’d call it beautiful. It’s just so fun to say.

  2. I love all of these! If you asked me to pick my favorite word, I could not do it. I love them all for so many reasons. The way they sound when I say them, the memory I have associated with each one (where I read it, who used it in a letter to me, the moment in time when I first heard it…) I’ve recently fallen in love with the word “portmanteau” for a litany of reasons, and I’m adding a few from your list to mine as well. Thanks for sharing this wonderful assortment. 🙂

    1. I find it quite sad that people nowadays do not use the English language to its full extent. As a second language speaker, I find these words to be simply music to the ears. I would love to see a list of your favorite words, if you ever have the time to do one.

      Best regards,

  3. Lovely collection of words. One of the many things that make English such a rich language is the fact that it is actually a mixture of many languages, taking its vocabulary from a huge number of other languages.

    Your list illustrates this so well. For example, you mention several words which are actually French but brought into English unchanged, including “portmanteau” in your comment above. “Chatoyant” is another, meaning to shimmer, to have irridescence, and coming from the way the eyes of a cat have those qualities. You also have some Italian words such as “imbroglio” on the list, and “palimpsest” is a word which comes from Latin, but has Greek roots.

    “Talisman” and “elixir” come to us from Arabic. “Serendipity” has a most interesting etymology, coming to us from Sanskrit via Arabic and Persian, and brought into English by a British author in the 18th century.

    I enjoyed your list, and would like to add my personal favourite, “syzygy” which describes a configuration of three celestial bodies in a straight line, as during a solar eclipse for example. In Jungian theory, it means a union of opposites. Isn’t English fascinating?

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