If words were people, then "love," "eloquent" and "symphony" would get dates most Friday nights.
Sadly, "moist," "vomit" and "grotesque" would stay home alone, wondering why they weren't popular, too.
Which begs the question: Why are words pretty or ugly?
That's what Mississippi State University classics professor Robert E. Wolverton has tried to determine for the past decade and attempts to answer by surveying students in his classes.
He asked 125 undergraduate students to choose words they deemed beautiful or ugly based only on their sound and not their meaning.
The 12 ugliest words in the English language:
The 12 most beautiful words in the English language:
Wolverton made two interesting observations:
- Words with Latin origins and those with multiple syllables have a higher chance of being identified as beautiful.
- Many ugly words, which tend to have just one or two syllables, have Germanic origins.
--From the Editors at Netscape