View Full Version : Favourite English (or any other language) word

22nd Apr 2004, 07:05
What´s your favourite English word, if you speak it as a foreign language? Or your favourite word in any language for that matter? Phonetically, or for whatever other reasons.

One of my all time favourites has always been "flabbergasted". Sounds funny to German ears, but has certain onomatopoetic qualities, and - phonetically - says exactly what it means.

tony draper
22nd Apr 2004, 07:13
Being a Geordie I prolly qualify to post on this thread, one likes the word
"Fecundity", it sounds almost norty bit it int.

Trouble is it can rarely be used in JB posts, except in such items as,"my tomato plants are demonstrating a lot of fecundity this year"
One also discovered the word "Verisimilitude" last year,one has managed to insert that into two posts to date.


22nd Apr 2004, 07:34
A colleague and myself have discussed this, he likes plinth but I prefer eviscerate.

22nd Apr 2004, 07:39
As in a certain way of walking, not shredded meat.
The 'i' should pronounced like 'e' ... meence. ;)

22nd Apr 2004, 07:45
My fave word from German lessons at school was "Geschwindigkeitsbeschrenkung" (should that have been an umlaut a at the end rather than e?). Think it meant "speed limit", but it felt like saying "Supercali..."etc and certainly impressed people!

22nd Apr 2004, 07:57
1. Le Chemin de la Côte des Neiges.
2. Tristesse.

22nd Apr 2004, 08:01
The English word I like most is "smithereens", just for the sound of it.

The German one is "Flüchtlingslager" (refugee camp) because without it, I would not be here today.
Herr EDDNHopper, ever heard of a place called Valka ?

22nd Apr 2004, 08:02
Given the choice of all the UK words I know, I think I would go for


22nd Apr 2004, 08:25
In Dutch,


No real reason apart from it kind of sounds funny when spoken.


22nd Apr 2004, 08:27

An adjective meaning pleasingly smooth and musical to hear.

Now there's a word to savour.

22nd Apr 2004, 08:49


feels all foreign and grrr!

22nd Apr 2004, 09:21
Dutch? Scheveningen. I was told, and it was confirmed in this very forum, that in WW2 the Dutch resistance used to ask people to say the word, since Germans found it very hard to pronounce.

It's not a noun, it's a place. (http://scheveningen.startkabel.nl/)

German? As said in another thread, Die Strassenbahnhaltestelle and Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau.

English - not sure, but for some reason supreme is up there.

22nd Apr 2004, 09:28
English - susurration (the noise made by a crowd of people when someone famous enters the room)

German - Streichholzschachtel (matchbox)

French - embonpoint (only French speakers can say it properly)

Big Tudor
22nd Apr 2004, 09:28
In German, Wassershutzgebeit. If memory serves it means Water Protection Area. Not sure why but I do glean a certain amount of satisfaction from saying it.

Jelly Baby Freak
22nd Apr 2004, 10:06
German : Entvernungsmesser - well that's almost the correct spelling - It is a rangefinder, used
on cameras before autofocus came into fashion.

Spanish - Encantado! Think it means delighted to meet you.

and English - "Wassack" slang for an idiot, as in
'You great wassack!' :E

22nd Apr 2004, 10:15
"SHUT THAT DOOR" in Arabic is phonectically..."[email protected]@K AL BAAB". Also the last bit (can't remember the term) of the verb to be is "[email protected]@T"
That gets girls embarrassed when learning the lingo!

22nd Apr 2004, 10:21
Ooh, ooh, angels , that's like "shibboleth" - another good word (Hebrew?) and used as a password by the men of Gilead because the Ephraimites couldn't pronounce it properly. (Judges 12: 4-6 if you want to look it up!)

22nd Apr 2004, 10:24
Fecund: Althought it describes a lot, it sounds like it is promising a whole lot more! :hmm:

22nd Apr 2004, 10:24
Ms. Picker - I'm afraid we're fresh out of bibles in this dealing room in the midst of the Temples of Mammon.

That's why you fundies trade out of Edinburgh I guess!

22nd Apr 2004, 10:53
Pretty Godless up here too, I'm afraid! I tend to go to http://bible.gospelcom.net/ if stuck for a reference.

22nd Apr 2004, 11:22
Shrub, Moist & For French: Sparadrap.

22nd Apr 2004, 11:32
English: parsimonious or, more simply, parsnip

French when spoken by an Englishman: accueillir (to welcome)

French slang: les meufs (women)

Vietnamese: phap (France, French, law - my only word of Vietnamese)

22nd Apr 2004, 11:38
During my Viet Nam period I was approached by one of my colleagues who was in that happy state of being a 'short-timer'. He had the black and yellow ribbon from a bottle of Seagram's 7 whiskey in his lapel and he mostly just sat around our club with his coterie, getting disgustingly drunk.

Our relationship, ever since I had responded to his challenge to a duel by insisting on using words as weapons, could be described as 'distant but correct'. Now he hailed me outside the club with something (violence?) on his mind.

'Yes, Joe, what is it?'

'I'm f*cking bored, man! I need a word!'

'A word?'

'Yeah, man, hanging around getting drunk, I wanna hit them guys with a word, man. And you the word man.'

'Umm, okay. Gimme a second here... How about "cunnilingus"?'

'Far f*ckin' out, man! So what does it mean?'

Then I told him, running through the correct pronunciation a few times and sending him on his way a better and wiser thug.

So that night in the club, there was Joe sat behind the usual shiny ziggurat of alloy beer cans, when in came one of his crowd. 'Hey! Calingus-face! C'mere!'

'Wow, Joe! So, what does that mean?' I felt a certain glow of pride. 'Language of Shakespeare' and all that....

22nd Apr 2004, 12:09
M bre901,
Herr EDDNHopper, ever heard of a place called Valka ?
Is that the old camp in Nuremburg they demolished in the early sixties? I have heard of it, but I have only been living here for some years so don´t know much about it. Sad stories involved, for sure.

"Daffodils" is another one I quite like. Reminds me of "daft", but then again, most flowers have simple minds, don´t they?

French: "Bonjour tristesse"; yes, that´s a good one.

Setswana: look at my personal title, it means "good bye and travel well" and sounds beautiful when spoken in a soft voice to someone who is leaving... :\

22nd Apr 2004, 12:22
Kill off the bag = "Cul de Sac":E :E

Wassock, polyp, smegma, :uhoh:


22nd Apr 2004, 12:31
Herr EDDNHopper

A lot of those sad stories turned out better from there. It has been said it was the door to freedom for a lot of Czechs.
My mother joined my father there in 1950 (he fled first in late 1949) and they got maried there May 5th 1950.

I like the word daffodils too, it's probably the only english verses I still remember today. :O

22nd Apr 2004, 14:53
'cacophony', but the f, c, b and t words feature in my language with shocking regularity.

22nd Apr 2004, 17:31
For some reason, "ointment" does it for me.

I agree with an earlier post that "moist" has a lot going for it.

22nd Apr 2004, 18:04
Since school, I've always liked the word "Platyhelminthes"

Cool word, pity it's a flatworm with no arsehole...



Windle Poons
22nd Apr 2004, 18:38
English word:
Flummery - 1. meaningless ceremonies and flattery, 2. a bland custard or pudding especially of oatmeal

Germal words:
Eichhörnchen - squirrel
Wasserschutzgebiet - Water protection area (or to British soldiers - "Please urinate somewhere else!")

French word:


22nd Apr 2004, 19:40

Thank God its not! ;) or itd be overused :)

22nd Apr 2004, 19:55
Flummox, love that one.
Ozzy, there's a "processed cheese food" product in Canada called Velveeta. But for want of a vowel, one could call it the feminine equivalent of smegma. :E

Toxteth O'Grady
22nd Apr 2004, 21:32

It's an adjective that in reality only ever goes with one noun (pl.)

22nd Apr 2004, 21:39
But in Kelvinside it is a noun, as in perts of the ship.

22nd Apr 2004, 21:45

As in "He's got more flannel than't pit-head baths".

The sentence is a way of describing somebody who regardless of what anybody has done in their lives, always says they have done better.

For some reason the word "Flannel" makes me chuckle. I do not know why.

22nd Apr 2004, 22:00
I think tintinnabulation has a nice ring to it!


22nd Apr 2004, 23:34
As an Irishman resident in the Netherlands for over 3 years, my favorite Word is without a doubt the Dutch word for "nit picker"- "mierenneuker"..... literally translated as "ant f*cker"... I think that about sums it up! :)

23rd Apr 2004, 02:34
-using a long word where several short ones will do (literally - a foot and a half long ).

Good to find it's been used close by (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=127542).

23rd Apr 2004, 02:39
I can't remember who the literary luminary was, but he/she reckoned that the nicest words (when used together) in the English language were "cellar door"....

scarlet wimpernel
23rd Apr 2004, 03:27
Tricky word that has one property of no other english word.;)

23rd Apr 2004, 03:30
Except perhaps abstemious. ;)

scarlet wimpernel
23rd Apr 2004, 03:32
too easy mate, I was not aware of that one:ok:
AFFECTIOUS, jeez I guess I was wrong - there's lots - now it's not my favourite

23rd Apr 2004, 04:58
Korean -

An Nyung Hi Gae Sae yo - good bye

Russian -

Zdrastvoicha Tovarish - Hello comrade

French -

Bien sur monsieur - Of course Sir

English -

bollocks - (may get censored?) a wonderful profanity!


'ken oath - "I firmly beleive so"

23rd Apr 2004, 05:29
The reference about the cellar door is from H.L Mencken, who claimed that it was a Chinese lad, a student, who liked the words cellar door -- not as a word, but rather as the most musical combination of sounds he had heard in our language.

23rd Apr 2004, 08:46
Some favourites of mine:

French: parapluie - umbrella

German: Strassenbahnhaltestelle (with apologies for spelyng) - means tram stop

English: plump (just sounds great)

a is dum
23rd Apr 2004, 08:54
English word: Beer
German word: Bier
Dutch word: Bier
French word: Bier(e)

Spanish word: cerveza
looks a bit out of place, Mr.Hopper

23rd Apr 2004, 08:59
Spanish word: cerveza

Now what does THAT tell us??

P.S.: whimsical (I don´t know why, but that´s another one I like)

23rd Apr 2004, 09:00
english word....vodka
everyone else ...Wodka

Are they [email protected]@ed or us?

23rd Apr 2004, 09:19
English word for St Georges Day


German fotze

Hindi (transliteration) upor wala

23rd Apr 2004, 09:33
Japanese word : biru
Italian word : birra

Czech word : pivo
Portugese word : cerveja

23rd Apr 2004, 09:46

Have to agree with you there.. Bollocks is a fav of mine: indeed most nationalities i've worked with around europe have taken that word as their own..

Best swear word EVER....

23rd Apr 2004, 09:50
how about..****ing shit!

23rd Apr 2004, 12:25

Just rolls off the tongue


23rd Apr 2004, 12:54
English: PLOP So Onomatopoeic :D

French: MERDE So descriptive & versatile :E

German: krankenhaus Just sort of sounds right! :8

Italian: bongiorno Sounds a happy way to greet :)

Strine: nurries Covers everything and makes it all right :ok:

23rd Apr 2004, 12:55
Bre -- Czech word : pivo

Sorry, you're wrong. It's Becherovka.....hic!

23rd Apr 2004, 13:04
One might suggest 'ululating' or 'ululation'.

Though particular activities throw up their own slightly bizarre examples in several languages, for example:

Lieblich Gedacht
Tuba mirabilis

... to name but a few.

(I do have an acquaintance named Xenophon: I've often thought he should have a sister named Xenophobia.)

23rd Apr 2004, 13:31

Although I am speaking against my origins, I must confess that I have a slight preference for Génépi over Becherovka (similar herbs but tastes less bitter).

But Cesky pivo like Plzen, Budweiser (the Czech one, no the twice-drunk US one :yuk: ) and Staropramen will always outrule Kronenbourg or similar French bières.
I tried tyting proper czech, but I only got "?"s after cutting and pasting for MSWord

If there are any Belgians in the plane, would they please note that Belgian abbey bières are not being discussed here. :ok:

23rd Apr 2004, 17:54
Also I find


impressive. So much word for something so simple.

But what am I saying? English has three times as many words as German, and French only half that number! To think how much more can be said in English, and what the French all have to leave out...

23rd Apr 2004, 18:28
When I was being neglected a bit in a hospital here once the good Frau did the Prussian on them and demanded a Facharztimlungenkrankheiten, schnell! They jumped to it, I tell you. Since then I have always loved that word. And what a language!

I was at an international conference and there was some question as to what would be the official languages. The German delegate was quite insistent that German be one of them. The American was unwise enough to say: "I suppose we could adopt every language under the sun", to which Herr H replied: "I emm nat talking about effery langvage under ze sun, I emm talking about ze Cherman langvage".

He got his way, too, but he was a Vortragender Legationsrat Erste Klasse. How wonderful to be a Vortragender Legationsrat Erste Klasse.

23rd Apr 2004, 19:13
English: ****

It sounds great, it describes a great part of the body, or can be used as a great insult!

Russian: dostopreemechattlenosty

It means 'sights' as in 'the sights of the town'...not very interesting but it just rolls off the tongue.

(Come to think of it, so does '****')!!

24th Apr 2004, 03:09
It evens sounds yellow and delicious.

24th Apr 2004, 09:44
Some Favourites in Afrikaans - that when you translate them directly mean something a little more obscure.

Dubbelloophaelgeweer (Shotgun) - Double walk fetch gun
Yster Vark (Porcupine) - Metal Pig
Krimpvark (Hedgehog) - Shrink Pig
Reguit (go straight) - Right out
Brandstoff (fuel/gas) - Burning dust


24th Apr 2004, 11:17
Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgaben-übertragungsgesetz (German law concerning British beef during the mad cow disease).

chock-a-pock (Thai for dirty laundry or bad smell)

captaincrunchie, these z-a words are funny for us dutch too:
Dubbelloophaelgeweer (dutch: dubbelloopsgeweer)
Yster Vark (dutch: ijzeren varken)
Krimpvark (dutch: stekel(=spiked)varken)
Reguit (dutch: rechtuit)
Brandstoff (dutch: brandstof)

24th Apr 2004, 12:52


Wunderbar (German - it even sounds "wonderful")

ciao (a delightful way to say farewell)

oishii (Japanese - a lovely way to express delight when you taste a delicious meal or delicious food)

shalom (Hebrew - good bye, peace)

all words spoken in French!!!


24th Apr 2004, 19:43
If I am allowed to post more than once :

Cheers in any language, but especially in Hebrew : le'chaim (to life)

24th Apr 2004, 20:07


25th Apr 2004, 01:52
My fave...

Confabulate - 'To fill in one's memory with what one believes to be facts.'

Just so yis get the right idea.


25th Apr 2004, 02:39
Has to be 'Fart' 'Farted' 'Farting'
Always struck me as being a word even if you had never heard of it before, if some used it in your company you would immediately know what it meant.

ie, "after a few beers he always ends up farting like a brewers horse" :O

25th Apr 2004, 20:45
To give this thread a new turn: Yesterday I was inadvertently confronted with the two English words most HATED by daughter no.1:

bubble gum
bumping (bumby) ride

26th Apr 2004, 01:36
I do not know any Afrikaans, but I overheard a conversation in that tongue and out of it leapt the word "Strandloper", instantly recognisable. What a beautiful word!

Point Seven
26th Apr 2004, 02:07

Nasty lung disease. Or at least the plural thereof.


26th Apr 2004, 10:52
Yes, "****" is fantastic

"Drongo" is a great Ozzie expression

On of my fathers, workmates, an inept carpenter, was known as "milleadh maide" meaning, in Gaelic, "The destruction of planks"

The Invisible Cat
26th Apr 2004, 11:43
Taildragger55On(e) of my fathers,
Many fathers, errm ? :E :E

freightdoggy dog
26th Apr 2004, 14:02
Heard this one in Milan (Italy) in January

'Bingo Bongo's" slang for asylum seekers from Africa!

26th Apr 2004, 14:35
How life mimics art:

So bongo, bongo, bongo, I don't wanna leave the Congo, oh no no no no no
Bingo, bangle, bungle, I'm so happy in the jungle, I refuse to go

Danny Kaye and the Andrews Sisters, 1947

26th Apr 2004, 14:49
quote:On(e) of my fathers,

embarrassing gramatickal errer. Next thing you know i'll be departing from my high standurds of spelling.

Wait a minute, why am I taking abuse from a moggie?


26th Apr 2004, 16:03
onomatopoeia just about does it for me.