Words are the strongest form of communication humans have and they carry deep meaning. Just as certain words convey happiness and can be uplifting, others can cause sadness, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, fear, helplessness, or solitude. Finding “light in the deepest, darkest corners” of the English language, lexicographer and etymologist Susie Dent highlights 100 happy words in her new book, Roots of Happiness: 100 Words for Joy and Hope.

The author asserts that her book will “lift you out of your MUBBLE FUBBLES (a slightly sad mood), make you grin like a GIGGLEMUG (someone who never stops smiling), and have you feeling FORBLISSED (extremely happy) in no time.”

Take the word “respair,” for instance. The noun means “fresh hope; a recovery from despair.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines the verb as “to have hope.” Although currently rarely used, it is a heartening term that can be revived to enrich the language again in a positive way.

Another word is “meliorism,” “the belief that the world, or society, may be improved and suffering alleviated through rightly directed human effort.” Now that’s certainly an attitude we can use today, although the word has existed since 1868 at least, when it was used by novelist  George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans).

“Happify,” as you might expect, means “to make happy; to gladden.” This word, too, has been around for quite a while – since 1612, in fact – according to the Oxford English Dictionary, and could made a joyous comeback. It has its roots in happiness.

So MEANDER through this collection of positive words and hear their MELLIFLUOUS sounds; they will help you feel EBULLIENT. You may even CHORTLE!


Featured image: Cover of Roots of Happiness: 100 Words for Joy and Hope by Susie Dent (illustrated by Harriet Hobday)