An incomplete list of people's favourite words

September 03, 2023

On a date that my notes helpfully notate as “38 wks ago”, a friend and I decided to document some words that people liked.


At the time, my co-conspirator and I were living in a large complex with many floors. This complex was entirely freshman housing. In theory, this complex was divided into multiple sections; you could only access the section in which you lived. In practice there were a number of “locked” doors between these different sections which were either left open or could be bypassed through various means.

Our methodology boiled down to:

  1. Systematically walk through every corridor in the complex, poking our heads into any public spaces (lounges, laundry rooms, trash rooms, etc) that we came across.
  2. Upon seeing someone, ask The Question.
  3. Document response, then repeat steps 1-2.

The question, which got refined over the course of the evening, was:

Tell me a word you enjoy. It doesn’t need to be your favourite word, just a word which you think is nice. You have five seconds to respond.

It was important to establish that a) it didn’t need to be their favourite word (to avoid decision paralysis) and b) that the response needed to be quick. We were interested in words which came readily to people’s minds, and we also wanted to collect data fairly quickly (there was a lot of ground to cover).


I’ve divided these words into subgroups. Some people wished to select multiple words; I’ve listed these together, separated by a /.

Repeated words

Words which were mentioned multiple times.

  • Pineapple
  • Serendipity/Serendipitous

Common words

Words which appear in the list of the ten hundred most used words in the English language.

  • Pink
  • What
  • Dinner
  • Wrap
  • Happy
  • Evening
  • Chair
  • Green
  • Often

Rare adjectives

Adjectives not used in the top ten hundred.

  • Unique
  • Gorgeous
  • Preposterous
  • Crisp
  • Omnipotent
  • Moist
  • Garrulous
  • Vivid
  • Transitive
  • Jaunty
  • Glacial
  • Quintessential
  • Fantastic

Animals, foods, and colours

  • Elephant
  • Turtle
  • Mochi
  • Panini
  • Apples
  • Green
  • Violet

Other concrete nouns

  • Pencil
  • Bubbles
  • Concert

Nouns which could also be verbs

  • Rapture
  • Buckle
  • Scorch
  • Triumph
  • Chat

Wild cards

People who thought differently.

  • Kyle
  • Hiraeth
  • Wassup

Rude words

In all but one case, these words were mentioned by groups of three or four young men walking together.

  • Dick
  • Penis
  • Testicles
  • Balls
  • Titties
  • Boobs
  • Knockers / voluptuous


Nouns which didn’t fit into the above categories. Note the generally onomatopoeic theme, or the English literary technique theme, or both. The only word which isn’t either of these is VARIATION, which is rather pleasing.

  • Onomatopoeia
  • Variation
  • Kerfuffle
  • Simile
  • Cacophony


Words are fun.