Words, Words and More Words


Isaac Kaufmann Funk ( 1839 –  1912) was an American Lutheran minister, editor, lexicographer, publisher, and spelling reformer.    He is most well known for  The Standard Dictionary of the English Language published in 1893.   We are told via Wikipedia that “He worked with a team of more than 740 people.  His aim was to provide essential information thoroughly and simply at the same time. In order to achieve this he placed current meanings first, archaic meanings second, and etymologies last. ”

We know that he collaborated with his classmate, Adam Willis Wagnalls and the I K Funk company was renamed Funk and Wagnalls and the encyclopedia was renamed Funk & Wagnalls New Standard Encyclopedia in 1931.  It was later renamed New Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia, Universal Standard Encyclopedia, Funk & Wagnalls Standard Reference Encyclopedia, and Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia.quoted the best 10 words in the English language.as :

I read somewhere (?) that Isaac Funk considered the following the best ten words in the English language:

  • Mist
  • Hush
  • Luminous
  • Murmuring
  • Dawn
  • Chimes
  • Lullaby
  • Melody
  • Tranquil
  • Golden

These are in no particular order and I wonder how he arrived at this list of ten.  Certainly they are all gentle words with no harsh sounds or undertones.  Was he a gentle man looking to find equally gentle words?  I wonder

My choice of 10 words would be (again in no particular order):

  • Love
  • Gentle
  • Friendship
  • Family
  • Giving
  • Safety
  • Tranquil
  • Tenderness
  • Acceptance
  • Delight

What would your words be.  It’s fun to limit the choice to only 10.  Of course, there are many, many other words I could have chosen.  Why did I choose these?  They are all gentle words and maybe reflect where I am in my life’s journey now.

“But now the days grow short
I’m in the autumn of the year
And I think of my life as vintage wine
From fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs
and it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year”
As sung by Frank Sinatra – It Was a Very Good Year.

And for me, they have mostly been very good years!

And a final word today from the Greek philosopher Epicurus (341 BCE – 270 BCE)

“It is impossible to live a pleasant life without
living wisely and well and justly.
And it is impossible to live wisely and well
and justly without living a pleasant life.” 

Some recent posts on words –

28 responses to “Words, Words and More Words

  1. Brilliant… I mus say that at times, I just want to chuck my words and sit in silence. 😉


  2. Lucky you – although we have had a couple of good days since I wrote the blog. Thanks for reading and commenting and of course clicking like.


  3. love your choice of ten words. excellent list.


  4. I wouldn’t spend time picking my 10 favorite words or my 10 favorite foods or my 10 favorite books. Variety makes life lovely.

    That said, I love “lovely.” 😉


  5. These are both great lists. One of the funnest poetry exercises I’ve done is taking a list of words and forming a poem with them…I think I might just have to try it with both of these lists…thanks for the inspiration!


  6. How you make me think of words as living, breathing entities with cause and effect. My choices for 10 would include: dearth, elan, epitome,delight,beginnings, love, adventure,nature, dreams,slumber. Wonder what a psychiatrist would make of those! Thanks for sharing this very interesting post.


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  8. What a great idea – suppose you lost the power of speech apart from just 10 words, would the list be the same? I love your poem about being in the autumn of life – is it your own? (I think you meant kegs and not keys, though). Thank you! Inspiring thoughts for the morning.


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  11. Christine in Los Angeles

    How could you be expected to choose only ten words? A hundred more would clamour to be picked. But I do love ‘plashed’, for which you need a shallow stream purling (another lovely word) over small rocks. And ‘honor’ well I think the song from the Man of La Mancha explains that one. Eucalyptus, sunshine, salmon, avocado, white wine – no time for words, I’m off to fix dinner.


  12. I’m not good with words, I break them down into letters to read them and although this gives me only 26 to choose from, I’m equally as bad with decisions so I would choose 10 words I used when learning to touch type in school because these 10 words use every letter in the alphabet …
    The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy sleeping dog. 🙂


  13. There are too many great words to select so few! Where would we bloggers be without them?


  14. I agree with Patti! But it did get me thinking. . .



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