Menu Home

The most beautiful words

What is the most beautiful noun phrase in English? Cellar door is the favourite of many famous writers, including Dorothy Parker, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis. But no-one is quite sure who said it first.

Possibly the source is an 1894 song lyric “slide down my cellar door,” which sounds pretty dodgy.

The term for the study of the aesthetics of language is phonoaesthetics, which to me is a prettier word than cellar door, as is the line of Emily Dickinson poetry cited in the Wikipedia article “Oars divide the Ocean, / Too silver for a seam.”

Categories: Arts & recreation Language Literature

The Generalist

I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and am curious about most things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: