Playing favourites with pretty words

Winter holidays long gone, I’ve been rather busy studying relatively bland legal verbiage… which is what I ought to be doing now …which would make this the perfect time to wax lyrical about some new personal favourites in the ‘beautiful’ end of the linguistic spectrum!

1. Ambrosial

Huh? Immortal, divine, celestial, ethereal. Belonging to or worthy of the gods. Also suggestive of golden deliciousness.

As in? As in the amrit vela: “the ambrosial hours just before dawn” (when yogis and the sun rise in unison).

Why? Because it both means and sounds what it is: divine.

2. Equanimity

Huh? The quality of having an even mind. Resilience. Evenness of temper. Being undisturbed by emotion, elation or depression. Contrary to popular belief this DOES NOT equate to apathy or a dispassionate disregard for the vicissitudes of life. I’m pretty sure that one CAN be both equanimous and ecstatic, or equanimous and outraged: it’s the capacity to return to even kilter that matters. Far easier said than done, of course (the sea of life is tempestuous and full of serpents).

As in? Anvaya: looking equally upon friends and enemies; enjoying the fair and taking no umbrage at the unfair… and magnanimity*, which, according to Democritus, “consists of enduring tactlessness with mildness”. Nicely said, old man.

Why? For such a relatively small word, equanimity ripples with polysyllabic prettiness. And I’ve been looking for the right word to define “excitably tranquil” for quite some time.

See also: Sangfroid…

3.  Sangfroid

Huh? Yeah, okay. it’s pretty much the same as equanimity. What can I say? I really like the whole concept.

As in? See above.

Why? Because it sounds so Frenchy-pretty (as most Franglais does). And although when translated literally from the French, it means “cold blood”, I like to think that the “cold” is in this context more like “cool” – and it never hurts to have a chilled, chic outlook on life, the universe and everything. And speaking of chilled-and-chic…

4. Nebuchadnezzar

Huh? An extremely large wine bottle,especially for champagne, equivalent in volume to twenty standard bottles, or 15-16 litres. Used primarily for the novelty factor, and rather large parties.

As in? Well, Veuve:




Why? I find it gleefully ironic that all the really ridiculously large wine bottles are named after biblical royalty. And let us not forget, The Neb’ was Morpheus’s ship in The Matrix **.

{ via comingsoon }

* Itself, a charming word.

** Let’s just keep it to the first one, shall we?

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