Our favourite words of 1980: the ultimate Throwback Thursday

Gossamer.

The UK’s third favourite word, as of 21st September 1980.

How do I know that? Well, a while back I bought a copy of The King’s English for 50p at a secondhand bookshop and today, out fluttered a newspaper cutting. And it was all about words. Beautiful words.

Since it’s World Book Day (and since, sometimes, we just like to write about our love of language), I thought I’d share my treasured find with all our fellow word nerds out there.

The most beautiful English words (according to Sunday Times readers in 1980)

  • Melody and velvet (it was a tie for the top spot)
  • Gossamer
  • Crystal
  • Autumn
  • Peace
  • Tranquil
  • Twilight
  • Murmur
  • Careless
  • Mellifluous
  • Whisper

 

Just reading those words transports me to a more a peaceful place in a time gone past.

The article then gives some example lists from specific readers.

Lady Katherine Asquith went with ivory, gazebo, syllabub, froth, vacillate, butterfly, phylloxera, hummock, mannerism and echo.

Six-year-old Natasha Henley chose beautiful, jewellery, Emma (her sister), ballet, necklace, dress, garden, bird, fairy and flower.

At the end, the journalist thanks the contributors, and says: ‘the sound, shape and sense of your words continue to flood the mind with their beauty’.

My question to you is, what words flood your mind with their beauty?

Comment below, or let us know on Twitter. And a very happy World Book Day to you all.

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