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No good word for great?

September 20, 2011

Because I’m a total word nerd, it occurred to me the other day that I don’t have a perfect word to describe something that makes me feel happy and excited. Something “great.” Picture this:

Q: How does it feel to have all your dreams come true?
A: It feels great!

But “great” really means “large.” It feels… large?

OK, how about, It feels terrific!

But “terrific” really means scary, as in terrifying.

Hmm… It feels awesome!

It literally fills me with awe? Because awe is usually associated with a kind of fear and dread, a sense of being overpowered by what you’re seeing. That’s not it.

Fantastic? Just like a fantasy, doesn’t seem real. Which, true, can often be the case when something good happens to you, but it doesn’t describe the feeling of… feeling good.

Wonderful? Again, it expresses disbelief, astonishment, not happiness.

Amazing? Ditto.

So obviously, when something good happens, we have trouble believing it. (Pessimistic lot, aren’t we?) But how do we say we’re happy, that we like it, that it’s a very good thing, in one word?

I know this post makes me sound horribly persnickety. After all, we all know what people mean when they say “It feels great/amazing/terrific/whatever,” and as long as we all understand, what’s the problem?

I like precision of words, that’s all. I can’t help myself.

So, how about… It feels delightful?

That’s as close as I can get, but I feel like a grandmother when I use that word. Any other suggestions?

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 21, 2011 12:33 PM

    Astounding, sublime, splendid, satisfying, or just plain and simple. “It feels happy” oh now that’s bad!

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