Do you have a favorite word? You should, if for no other reason than to have an answer the next time someone asks you. Maybe you like scientific words that no one else knows. Maybe you like words that sound funny. Maybe, in severe irony, you like the word hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (look it up). Or maybe you could care less about words all together. Well my favorite word is wasps.
Try it. Say “wasps.” The “s” followed by “p” followed again by “s” comes out of your mouth like you’re trying to get someone’s attention. Wasps. I suppose it works with any word ending with an “s,” consonant, and another “s.” Okay, now try these out loud. Lists. Cists. Mists. Wisps. Costs. Masts. Casts. Fasts. Feasts. Crisps. Wrists. Asps. Clasps. Heists (Is your tongue getting tired yet? Are you spitting everywhere?). The one that takes the cake, however, is lisps.
Forgive my speech impediment insensitivity here. Lisps, as is, sounds just like the rest of them. “S,” consonant, “s.” Here’s the kicker, though: say it with a lisp (without laughing and spitting). (My advice: never ask someone with a lisp to say it.) It would go something like this. Lithpth. Isn’t it a little ironic that the word which describes a condition when it’s difficult for someone to say the letter “s” has an “s” in the word? Not to mention, two if it’s plural!
Now try the words from before, this time with a lisp. Lithth. Mithth. Withpth. Cothth. Mathth. Cathth. Fathth. Feathth. Crithpth. Writhth. Athpth. Clathpth. Heithth. In this light, there’s a new cake-taker: Cists, which would sound more like thithth. Can anyone even manage that one? If you can, save yourself the embarrassment and don’t show all your friends.
I still have a soft spot for wasps, though. It seems to linger on your tongue a little longer than the other examples. The humor in its pronunciation (that is, if you’re amused by it like me) is completely contradictory to the menacing image of the insect itself. Also, it requires the lips to move in many different directions all within the same word.
Pick a word and arm yourself with the knowledge surrounding it. Roam confidently with your vocabulary prowess! If you ever enter into a word-war with someone, be prepared to throw down the heavy, hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobic hammer on them!
By: S. Cole Garrett