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Our favorite words

You don’t have to pay attention in school to use words. Symbols are nice, eloquent grunts and other body sounds have their place...  but words are  better.

Consider this: Without words crossword puzzles would be impossible.

The number two story on the Countdown Monday was the top ten favorite words of 2004, as voted by the users of the website maintained by the people who put out the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

  • Number ten is “Flibberti-jibbet”... a silly or flighty person.
  • Number nine is “Kerfuffle”... more popular in Britain than here: a disturbance or fuss.
  • Number six is “Callapidgian” which has nothing to do with flying rats—it’s an adjective meaning “having shapely buttocks.”
  • Number five—plethora... a lot, too much... it actually comes from the Latin word meaning “retaining water.”
  • And number one, which the Merriam-Webster folk say won in a landslide, “Defenestration,” which used to be the cool word nobody knew, but is now way too mainstream. From the French, “fenetre,” meaning window, “defenestration” means to throw out the window.

Now, we polled our professional wordsmiths and came up with “Countdown’s” top five favorite words of 2004 and they are:

  • Number five: Caveat. It means "beware" and it's on this list because I use it on almost every show.
  • Number four: Verisimilitude. A good old French word, meaning not accurate, but looking like it.
  • Number three: Clams. The colloquial usage, meaning money. Because I like to call dollars “fish” and one of the producers prefers “clams.”
  • Number two: Antidisestablishmentarianism. Of course, the term applied to those who opposed the creation of the Church of England. Duh.
  • And Number one: D’oh. Hey, it’s in the book. It’s a word.