10 awesome words to use in everyday conversation

As a writer I have a natural passion for words.
I’ve also claimed, rather cheekily, to be a purveyor of fine words. Maybe a more accurate description is that I’m a word collector.
Just like someone who collects stamps or Star Wars figurines, I find extreme pleasure in discovering unusual, underused or just interesting words. I then file that word away for later reference and an appropriate time to use them.
I tend to fall in love with certain words and look for any opportunity to use them in my writing and everyday conversation.
I don’t intend to sound impressive or elicit a certain response from my audience (most of the time). My motivations are entirely selfish. I find joy in using overlooked and sometimes unusual words.
So this blog post is clearly just an excuse to share some of my favourite words.

 1. Flummoxed – adjective. Confused and turbulent; baffling or baffled
Many years ago I was watching a popular comedy series on Australian TV (the Late Show made by the same people that brought us The Castle). One skit featured the word ‘flummoxed’ repeatedly and I couldn’t get it out of my head. Somehow I convinced my newspaper editor to let me use it once in a police brief. The story was about a crime spree involving a gang of youths turning up at unsuspecting businesses and ‘chucking brown-eyes’ before disappearing. Understandably the victims of these crimes were ‘flummoxed’.  Brown-eye is another unusual word or phrase Australians like to use but is best left for the Urban Dictionary to define. Most of the other definitions below come from www.dictionary.com
2. Skullduggery – noun – shady behaviour; dirty work, hanky-panky. What a fabulous word. A dodgy sounding word for dodgy situations. It sounds downright underhanded and it is.
3. Debacle – noun – a complete collapse or failure. A journalist’s favourite, often used in conjunction with fiasco. Eg. The government’s plan to [insert initiative name] is a debacle. The Minister has distanced himself from the fiasco.
4. Saturnine – adjective – sluggish in temperament; gloomy; taciturn. Eg. He wore a saturnine expression.
The word even sounds a little depressing.
5. Cerulean – adjective, noun – deep blue; sky blue; azure. Eg. Her eyes were the same cerulean as the summer sky.
So much prettier sounding than sky-blue.
6. Dragoon – verb – to force by oppressive measures; coerce. This word sounds like dragon, which makes it immediately attractive to me, and evokes feelings of power. Eg. ‘The King’s men dragooned the farmers to hand over their crops’.
7. Vex – verb (used with object) – to irritate; annoy; provoke. vexing, adjective Eg. She is always late. It is most vexing.
I can’t use this word enough. It’s the most accurate way to portray how annoyed you are without swearing. Thank you Jane Austen for introducing this word to me.
8. Beseech – verb (used without object), besought or beseeched, beseeching. To make urgent appeal. Eg. Earnestly did I beseech, but to no avail.
This word sounds as dramatic as its meaning. A great word for my medieval fantasy novels but more fun to use in everyday conversation. ‘Don’t play cricket in the house, I beseeched’.
9. Genki – a Japanese word that roughly translates to happy, enthusiastic, energetic, lively, full of health and happiness. A common exchange in Japanese: ‘O genki desu ka?’, ‘Hai, genki desu’. A little like ‘how are you?’ And ‘I am good’, but good just doesn’t cut it when there is a word like ‘genki’.
10. Ganbatte – Another Japanese word. I lived in Japan a while back, and I love the fact there are some words that don’t have a direct translation in English. My writing also has some Japanese themes so I’m naturally drawn to this language. Ganbatte roughly translates as keep at it, be courageous, do your best, work hard and good luck. It is used everyday in the workplace to encourage each other to do a good job. It is also used to wish people ‘Good luck’. However it also suggests you should word hard as well as wish for good fortune.
When it comes to my writing and editing projects I live by the mantra ‘ganbatte’.
So there it is. Some of my favourite words. What words do you love? What great words do you think should be used more?
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Kylie Fennell
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