General Question

Hobbes's avatar

What is the most beautiful word or phrase in the English language?

Asked by Hobbes (7355points) October 13th, 2008

Tolkien said that it was “Cellar Door”.

I happen to think that the word “doze”, while perhaps not the most beautiful, is certainly one of the most comforting.

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68 Answers

cyndyh's avatar

“Zero Glass Deductible”

Bri_L's avatar

“Here is your healthy baby”

gailcalled's avatar

Henry James told Edith Wharton it was (and I am repeating myself here) “summer afternoon.”

Mine was, from the Oncological Surgeon, “The margins are clean.”

pathfinder's avatar

are you ready fingers soon as posiblle

shilolo's avatar

Welcome to your retirement, Mr. Bush.

jsc3791's avatar

I have never had a favorite word in English, but I hope you don’t mind me sharing my favorite word in Spanish…

I love to say “ejercicio”. It means “exercise”. Not a sexy definition but I love the way the word sounds.

It is pronounced “eh – hair – see – see – oh”

fireside's avatar


jsc3791's avatar

@ fireside: pretty!

janbb's avatar

President Barack Obama!

SoapChef's avatar

I just read about Sarah Vowell, an author of “The Worthy Shipmates”. It is about 17th century New England Puritans, specifically the chroniclers of the times. Her pick for “one of the most beautiful sentences in the English language” is from the writings of James Winthrop:

We must delight in each other, make others’ conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body.”

I’ll vote for that!

jcs007's avatar

Actually, I read somewhere that people learning to speak english found this word to be the most intriguing:


I tried to find the source, but failed.

Celeste00's avatar

Feckless minion.

SuperMouse's avatar


cyndyh's avatar

When said with a Scottish accent, I love the sound of the phrase “tantamount to murder”.

JackAdams's avatar

“OK, you don’t have to wear a condom; now stop crying.”

cyndyh's avatar

Vasectomy. Already snipped. Navel Orange.

JackAdams's avatar

Also: “Your mortgage application has been approved!”

cyndyh's avatar

I thought part of the problem was that everyone’s been approved these days.

buster's avatar

Free beer.

ckinyc's avatar


Or Happy Meal

janbb's avatar

“And it was still hot.” (The last line in “Where the Wild Things Are” when Max comes back and his supper is waiting.)

shadling21's avatar

So many words, hmmm… I really like “symbiosis”.

gailcalled's avatar

Gormless git, even though I am not sure what it means.

janbb's avatar

@ gailcalled – Gormless git is pretty much the English equivalent of “stupid idiot.”

Curious404's avatar


Love the definition as much as the pronounciation.

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb: Thanks. Now however I can’t call someone that in all innocence.

janbb's avatar

@ gailcalled – Sorry to have spoiled your fun. :-)

Comedian's avatar

Jamie (that’s my name hehe)

fireside's avatar

How long is a phrase? Here’s a sentence.

World order can be founded only on an unshakeable consciousness of the oneness of mankind, a spiritual truth which all the human sciences confirm.

Megan64's avatar

I love you mama.

aidje's avatar

I’m pretty sure Hobbes is talking about pure aesthetics here. Seems like a lot of people are just saying things of which they like the meaning. Kind of a different thing.

That said, mine is: odious.

susanc's avatar

My beautiful stepsister had a favorite word in Italian. It was antiquita, accent on the last syllable.

augustlan's avatar

Supercilious. I love the way it sounds, and that it sounds like its definition: adj Haughtily contemptuous. (Contemptuous has a nice ring to it, too!)

bluemukaki's avatar

Cellar Door.

danny's avatar

I watched Braveheart again for the 10th time and must say “Freedom!”.

janbb's avatar


cyndyh's avatar

Aesthetic. It’s just fun to say.

fireside's avatar


SuperMouse's avatar

@Fireside, your word reminded me of another beautiful phrase: Radiant Acquiescence.

fireside's avatar

ooooooooooooh, very nice, supermouse

Bri_L's avatar

“As you wish”

tonedef's avatar

I was on a cruise and I read the phrase “fresh ocean scallops.”

say it out loud!

it feels nice.

bluemukaki's avatar

Gratuitous loathing asides.

ezraglenn's avatar


circedog's avatar

Hold down the fort!

cyndyh's avatar

When Norm Abram from the New Yankee Workshop says “drawer”. I love that sound.

Strauss's avatar

“I love you, Papa!”
@Megan64 kinda beat me to the punch, but I couldn’t let that stop me!

Zen's avatar

You have minutes, maximum hours to live (the ER Surgeon told me). Good news; the emergency surgery will save your life.

AC's avatar

Word: “Irrevocably”

Phrase: “Dad, I want to be like you when I grow up”

zenele's avatar


Strauss's avatar

“Your colonoscopy came up negative!”

MacBean's avatar

@Yetanotheruser I’d prefer “There’s no need for a colonoscopy” but I guess yours is pretty good, too.

Nullo's avatar

I tend to prefer the neo-Latin contributions to English over the Germanic ones.

AshlynM's avatar


Sunny2's avatar

You are the winner!

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