187. TMTF’s Top Ten Adjectives in the English Language

I like words. (You may have noticed I tend to use quite a lot of them.) There are several kinds of words, and adjectives are one of my favorites. An adjective is a word that describes something. Hot and dark and caffeinated are adjectives.

Some adjectives are particularly evocative, fun or colorful. Today I’ve decided to share ten adjectives that are, for one reason or another, delightful.

TMTF is excited, proud, satisfied, exhilarated, happy and honored to present…

The TMTF List of Top Ten Adjectives in the English Language!

10. Soporific

Tending to induce sleep or sleepiness

Looking at this word makes me yawn.

9. Awesome

Evoking awe or amazement

Compared to the other words on this list, awesome seems rather bland. I include it because of its endless usefulness. In a literal sense, it denotes something that inspires awe, such as the starry heavens or the Tenth Doctor’s sideburns. In a figurative sense, awesome is an emphatic way to express extreme admiration for something. Incidentally, did you know awesome and awful once meant exactly the same thing?

8. Sepulchral

Suggestive of graves or tombs

I’m not sure why I find this word so evocative, but it makes me think of crows, gray skies and weathered mausoleums. It’s also a splendid word for describing certain professors, classrooms or schools in general. Writers, take note.

7. Abominable

Hateful, loathsome or extremely bad

Bad is a plain, common word. No one cares about bad. If something is abominable, however, take warning! Despite its invariable association with snowmen, abominable is a wonderful way to disparage something.

6. Ghastly

Shocking or horrifying

This adjective, suggestive of grim words like ghost, is a stronger way of describing something than unimpressive words like scary. This particular adjective is best when emphasized or spoken loudly. “That Twilight book was simply ghastly.”

5. Quixotic

Noble or romantic in an unrealistic, deluded manner

I like Don Quixote. More importantly, quixotic is fun to say: quik-SOT-ik. Ain’t it great?

4. Brobdingnagian

Big

The word big is actually quite small. The word Brobdingnagian is enormous. That is all.

3. Mephistophelean

Showing the cunning or wickedness of a devil

This word makes me think of pitchforks, pointed goatees and red tights. On a more sophisticated note, it’s a great word to throw around when discussing politics: “I think that politician has a streak of Mephistophelean hubris. What do you think?”

2. Lush

Vibrant, teeming with life

A word doesn’t have to be Brobdingnagian in size to be a good adjective. In a single syllable, lush evokes (at least in my imagination) vibrant scenes of green jungles or reefs swarming with colorful fish.

1. Pulchritudinous

Possessing great physical beauty

This one makes me smile because it’s so dashed ugly. I mean, look at it. Pulchritudinous. It’s ghastly. The adjective sounds like a description of some revolting, misshapen medical anomaly. “His untreated wounds, which had begun to ooze, were sickeningly pulchritudinous.” This is, without question, the most delightful adjective in the English language. Just… don’t ever use it to describe your spouse or romantic interest, all right?

O people of the Internet, what are your favorite adjectives? Let us know in the comments!

9 thoughts on “187. TMTF’s Top Ten Adjectives in the English Language

  1. There should be three adjectives related to awe.
    1. Aweful – full of awe, very impressive
    2. Awesome – contains some awe, remarkable but not impressive
    3. Aweless – bland, no awe is involved

    Also, I find it interesting that three of your favorite adjectives are based on names. Any idea why we pronounce the name Quixote as key-ho-tay but the adjective is not pronounced key-ho-tic?

    • I would instate your aweful (see what I did there?) system of adjectives related to awe if I were in charge of the English language. Sadly, I’m not. I’d also cut the extra a out of aardvark and ban the use of lolz and its variants.

      I’m not sure why the pronunciation of Quixote and quixotic differs… perhaps because Quixote is a proper name in Spanish (and therefore pronounced somewhat the same in English) whereas quixotic has been adapted entirely into the English language?

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