03 February 2014


This is a piece I wrote for a creative writing paper, but I thought it would work quite well on here.

I have an addiction. A semi-secret delight. Hello everyone, my name is R and I’m a logophile.

I have always loved words, and although most of the time I agree that simple is better, there’s nothing I like more than the mouth-filling sweetness of a multi-syllabic expression that captures precisely what I want to say.

I realise now that my early experiments were not always efficacious, but at the time I couldn’t understand why my mother chuckled quietly at her birthday card addressed “to my beloved mother”, or why my standard four teacher tactfully suggested that four adjectives per noun was a little excessive. By high school though, my verbiage was becoming more accomplished, and I recall the evil delight of making an annoying boy in my class blush by asking him, loudly, whether he masticated.

Nowadays my vocabulary collection is housed mostly inside my head, but I find the odd particularly scrumptious word slipping out from between my lips without warning. Some words just beg to be said aloud, and I don’t have the heart to refuse them.

Oleaginous rolls around my mouth like a ruby rich port, staining my teeth with its patina, while scrofulous head butts my cheeks and chin like a tattered tom cat. Conundrum beats its fingers against my forehead in consternation, and I can feel the sharp sting of a slap from callipygian even as its roundness settles into my cupped hands.

Apricot is a gentle lover’s first hesitant caress and soporific rolls itself sleepily off my tongue and drops from my lips. Somnambulation stumbles blindly around my mouth, bouncing off teeth, and susurrus slips by, on barely more than a whisper of breath.

Eponymous and penultimate parade about, wearing their syllables like invisible emperor’s clothes, while sinistral slinks along on their left. Behind them bounces pomposity, a fat trombone player in a marching band, shirt buttons straining over sweaty stomach. Periphrastic flits frantically from corner to corner, a lost child searching for a familiar landmark, its heels dogged by sad-eyed, misunderstood melancholy. Sagacity floats above on gossamer wings, avoiding the brawny and antagonistic brouhaha.

Concatenation trips lightly from tongue to teeth to lip, and imbroglio hides its gentle confusion behind a hard-looking silent g. Prolixity seduces me, dropping salty-sweet under my tongue and tap-dancing over my teeth, leading me towards the majestic, rolling, drawn-out enunciation of sesquipedalian.


I’m not one for circumlocutory obfuscation though, and please don’t think me anti-monosyllabic. I’m just as fascinated by the squish of fudge, the hard taboo tattoo of fuck and cunt, the complete contradiction of puce, the way wasps hisses and trips through the front of my mouth and the complete and utter wrongness of moist.

As addictions go, it’s undemanding, inexpensive and has very few side effects. It does take time and commitment, but my appetite for it is, you might say, insatiable. Or voracious. Or perpetual, or...

(what are your favourite words?)

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