Word Love

March 25, 2013 at 9:36 pm (The Whim) (, , , , , , , , )


Photograph by Maureen F, click to visit her Flickr page.

I have a strangely inappropriate love for certain words.  One of them is wafted.

wafted  past participle, past tense of waft


Pass or cause to pass easily or gently through or as if through the air: “the smell of stale fat wafted out from the restaurant”.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned my love for this word in this blog somewhere before, I know I briefly commented on it in my review of Kendall Grey’s Inhale.  But while reading Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, I decided this topic deserved its very own post – not just a brief comment.

It struck me, much more strongly than ever before, how much I truly love this word as I read these lines:

“His napkin clung to his waist for a moment, hanging absurdly, like a loin cloth, and then wafted to the floor in slow motion.” – On Chesil Beach, pg. 33

Because there I was reading Ian McEwan’s book, completely uninterested and partly uncomfortable by the topic altogether, until that word hit the page.  With one word, my entire mindset turned around.  With one word, I thought: McEwan really is a lovely writer.

As soon as that thought struck me and I was able to identify where it came from, I recalled reading that word somewhere else earlier in the week.  I poked around in my reading material a bit and found that M.G. King used it in Fizz & Peppers.  Not only did she use it, I found that I had whimsically underlined it without giving it a single thought.  I often read with a pen or pencil in my hand.  You can often find doodles, or notes, or sporadic underlining in many of my books.  It is something that often happens without thought, and sometimes upon re-reading the title, without reason.  It seems as though, while reading Fizz & Peppers, I came across that word, and my pencil just reached out from my hand and licked it like it was a delicious bit of whip cream on top of a fine dessert.

“Even before he made it halfway down the hall he felt the hot, soggy air wafting through the house.” – Fizz & Peppers

Well, it doesn’t have to be in past tense, you see, I like any form of the word waft:

Definition of WAFT

intransitive verb
: to move or go lightly on or as if on a buoyant medium <heavenly aromas wafted from the kitchen>
transitive verb
: to cause to move or go lightly by or as if by the impulse of wind or waves
waft·er noun

Although these fonts aren’t doing the word justice, in all its forms I just love that word.  The deep smile it gives me is inevitable.  And I couldn’t tell you whether it starts with my lips and seeps down into my gut or if it is the reverse, but I cannot read the word waft without becoming inexplicably happy.

I would like to go on a hunt through my personal library and see where else I have made note of this wonderful word in my books.  That would take years, but it would be a worthy cause.  From now on, I’ll just remember to make note in my journals of where I have read it and who wrote it.

wafting thru

Click to visit book blog: Wafting Through the Bookshelf, adventures in bookwaft

Do you have any favorite words?  Another of mine is speakeasy, I like they way it feels when it is spoken aloud, but I have no deep love for the meaning.  Waft is unique for me in that I love every aspect of it, how it sounds, what it means, the elegance it gives a sentence when it used, the image I have in my mind when I read it… oh yes, but what is your favorite word? And why do you like it?


  1. M. G. King said,

    Words are so much fun! I love words that feel a little made up, especially those that describe character. Like C.S. Lewis’s Puddleglum, or Lewis Carol’s Bandersnatch. Brilliant. Lately the word flimflammer has been wafting through my head, and I’m wondering where it will land.

    • Anakalian Whims said,

      Fantastical words are magnificent. (I was a huge fan of The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles, if you haven’t read it, you must. Julie Andrews (Edwards) / Mary Poppins wrote it!) Made up words are fascinating. Totally different genre, but the words Nabakov comes up with are quite impressive. The grasp he had of the English language even though a foreigner astounds me. I’m somewhat jealous.

  2. authorssmith said,

    I love this! But right now I cannot think of my favorite words except for “splendid,” and I’m not sure why I like it. “Bodacious” is also good. My two favorite words in Spanish are “mariposa” (butterfly) and “papalote”(kite).
    It’s the way they sound. I know this is weird, but as a teacher of English as a second language I also have a favorite verb tense: the present perfect. 🙂

    • Anakalian Whims said,

      I like splendid too. It sounds exactly like what it means when it comes along the tongue with a British accent. There’s something about that accent that has a mighty affect on particular words and phrases.

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