Logolepsy: an obsession with words

I’m a bit of a logophile. A word nerd, you might say. I have a long, long, very long list of both English and foreign words I’ve been collecting,  whether for their interesting definitions, their lovely sounds, or simply their usefulness in my lexicon. Here are some of my favorites. 🙂


Nubivagant – moving among the clouds. Or metaphorically…

Nefelibata – Spanish – “cloud walker,” one who lives in their daydreams.


Sylvan – of the woods, relating to or inhabiting the forest.

Nemophilist – a “haunter of the woods,” one who loves to be among the trees, where they feel…

Waldeinsamkeit – German – the happy peacefulness of being alone in the forest.

dandelion dew

Selcouth – uncommon and strange, yet marvelous. Similarly…

Outré – unusual and startling. (From French but used colloquially in English). More extremely…

Numinous – something mysterious yet beautiful, overwhelming yet inspiring, almost divine.


Brio – liveliness, vivacity, from the Italian word literally meaning “fire.” Such emotion might provoke…

Mbuki-mvuki – Bantu – the act of spontaneously stripping and dancing naked with joy. (Who hasn’t done this, right? 😛 ) During this, you might…

Balter – to dance clumsily but happily. Such dancing would be your…

Nepenthe – something that makes you forget your hardships. (I named a tavern in my fantasy novel “The Nepenthe.” Quite proud of that one. 😉 ) Just don’t go too wild, or you might cause…

Tohubohu – chaos, disordered confusion.


Empyreal – pertaining to the heavens, the sun and stars, something formed of fire or light. You might say the sky is…

Amaranthine – everlasting, unfading. In contrast to…

Ephemera – things that are fleeting, ephemeral.


Fernweh – German – wanderlust, “farsickness,” a longing for a place you’ve never been. Perhaps it would fill your life’s…

Lacuna – a lacking, a hole, the space from a missing piece. Whatever you lack, I hope you see it…

Effloresce – blossom or bloom.

Last but not least, this wouldn’t be a writer’s blog without…


Tsundoku – Japanese – the act of buying books and putting them in a pile of other unread books. Or in other words, my life!

Tell me, what is your favorite word? One you find particularly selcouth? 😉


27 thoughts on “Logolepsy: an obsession with words

  1. I don’t have anything quite as extraordinary as some of yours to offer but I do love the Welsh word hiraeth. There is no specific English translation but it used to convey the intense feeling of homesickness and longing for a time and place you can never return to. I also love chiaroscuro and threnody, both for the simple reason that I can distinctly remember looking them up when reading the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant as I had never come across such magical and exotic-sounding words before 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice list, didn’t know any of these, except for sylvan, though I thought that was just a made up fantasy lit thing. Ever since the first paragraph of The Gunslinger, I’ve been in love with the word apotheosis. Meaning to deify something or the ultimate example of a thing.

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    • Haha, yeah that’s how my boyfriend knew “sylvan” – they use it in World of Warcraft a lot. I can see why. The word is so pretty!

      I tried to squeeze “apotheosize” into a scene in my novel but then deemed it too… GRAND. Which I guess is a fitting reason for a word with that definition.


  3. I read a book this summer that defined the Portuguese word “saudade” as “a profound longing for something or someone that is absent and might never return,” or “the love that remains after someone is gone.” A pretty word for a pretty feeling.

    In English, I’ve always liked the word “gazebo.” Not because of its meaning, but just because it’s fun to say. 🙂

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  4. I’m piggy backing on the Welsh comment as I loooooooooove me some Welshness, mostly because none of it makes any damn sense. FOR INSTANCE: ‘Buwch goch gota’ means lady bug but the translation is ‘lady bird’. I’ve also heard the translation is actually ‘little red cow’ which I am so hoping is true. And the pronunciation is ‘Bewch goch got-ah’ but the ‘ch’ is pronounced like a Scottish loch like ‘loghhh’….well…this was harder to type out than I thought. To sum up: welsh is the bestworst.

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  5. Really interesting and fun post Shannon, some words I knew and some I didn’t. I was aware of brio as in ‘con brio’ which is a musical term/direction. Always nice to learn something new! I also have a list of words I save for a rainy day but try to keep it fairly normal…ish! I like loquacious.

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    • Thanks Rebecca! I can see how brio would make its way into musical terminology. Are you a musician?

      Same – the words I collect usually don’t end up in my writing or spoken vocabulary, but sometimes I like to sneak them in. They’re just so fun, and if we don’t use them, we lose them.


      • Not any more, in a former life I played the violin and was in a few choirs. One day, I may go back to that stuff. I just have a weird memory for remembering things… I also learnt Italian for a while which is where a lot of musical terminology comes from. There are some beautiful words in that language I think. I liked the German ones you suggested too. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Rock on! I played violin too, but was predominantly a clarinetist. Strings and I didn’t quite get on, but me and reeds were tight. I’ve let both instruments fall to the wayside, unfortunately, but I pick them up here and there.

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