(NOTE: This is an updated version, containing a correction supplied by an alert reader as described in the comments below and with repaired code replacing the earlier garble.)
If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
— Philippians 4:8
If you’re trying to follow the apostle’s advice, thinking about excellent and praise-worthy things will lead to talking and writing about them.
Before long, with all that experience on focusing on marvelous things, your vocabulary will get strained. Never fear! Simply consult “Better than Great: a Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives,” by Arthur Plotnik (Viva Editions, 2011). As Plotnik’s introduction puts it, “Praise Can Be Greater Than Amazing.”
Of “amazing” itself, Plotnik writes, “Perhaps because the word is so easily brayed, amazing became the It utterance of the millennium’s first decade. Never were so many amazed at so much that amounts to so little.”
Plotnik writes that adding fresh words to one’s vocabulary of superlatives is a better choice than re-using “beloved but worn-out superlatives.” (I like this man!)
“Better than Great” is his collection of “suggested alternatives to stale superlatives.” Here are his 15 categories, with examples from each of words I particularly enjoy and want to use:
Great: braw, brilliant, the crown jewel
Sublime: celestial, elevated, heaven-minted
Physically Affecting: concussive, dizzying, numbing
Mentally, Emotionally, or Spiritually Affecting: brain-crashing, edifying, mesmeric
Beautiful: bedazzling, embraceable, face by Renoir
Joy-Giving: asylum for the spirit, curative, pawky
Large: clinically oversized, extragalactic, mondo
Exceptional: edgy, happy mutation, not white bread
Intense: bedrock, mind-debugging, knife-edged
Delicious: binge-worthy, enticing, foodie heaven
Trendy: big-timer, a find, gilded in glamour
Cool: coola-boola, game, smokin’
Wicked Cool: illest, stompin’, ur-wired
Forceful: all pluck, brawny, eviscerating
Challenging Belief or Expression: fleeces logic, jams the brain, spectral
There’s even a “starter set” to help you break your present habits — words such as stellar, tweet-worthy, frown-flipping and blithe.
Many of the more obscure terms have short definitions at hand, and Plotnik’s gently humorous introductions explain each category’s origins. (If he finds his way to Chicago Now, I think his favorite category here would be Words Worth Defending.)
So when you want to find new-to-you words to have some fun, get out and defend, you can’t do better than “Better than Great.” It’s crackling good fun, a bumper crop of ways to expand your vocabulary.
It’s the flagship of cool!
For more fun with words, stop by the Margaret Serious page on Facebook.
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