While others are sending flowers and candy and words of love to their sweethearts today, I share my billet-doux with the world of words.

I have many people I love in my life who I consider my family, whether chosen or by blood, and they know how much I love them. Beyond that, I have a whole community of fellow word nerds who frequently send me wordplay and often-bygone terms that they think might strike my fancy ... and they're usually right. So if you're a logophile or you love one and are often confounded by their affinity for archaic terms, this column is for you.

To borrow a phrase from poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, how do we love words? Words are poetry in and of themselves. They may be onomatopoeic (like bang or boom), or be fun to say (tump, persnickety, flibbertigibbet), or just be workaday words, but they convey meaning that is generally understood (at least until people started redefining at will to speed along the natural evolution of those words that were politically troublesome for them, but that's another column or 30). It's that understood meaning that makes communication possible.

For some of us, it's much easier to communicate in writing because sometimes our brains don't behave as they should when speaking off the cuff. I can't ad-lib or make small talk in person to save my life because that's not how my brain is wired, and I usually need to at least have notes to guide me or I stammer. There is one exception, though, in that I can do improv acting (though I haven't done it in years), but that's because I'm not being myself when acting. The real me is awkward, introverted, unable to read social cues well, and more than a little weird at times. I probably could have easily been a character in "Big Bang Theory" ... if it had been based on words and research in general ... and took place mostly online.

Peopling is hard, y'all.

But words ... oh, words ... they never fail to make me happy. When there are such words as "slangwhanger" (sounds a little dirty but isn't), meaning "one who verbally attacks others; usually politicians, newspaper columnists, or on-air personalities," how can a word nerd help but smile? (And thank you, Grandiloquent Words, for your example sentence: "He's been a slangwhanger for so long that he's forgotten how to have a normal conversation anymore; he literally can't help himself." It reminds me of entirely too many people online.)

So many of the words I love most are gelogenic (another Grandiloquent Word): "Productive or provocative of laughter; funny; humorous. Tending to produce laughter. From Greek 'gelos' (laughter) + '-genic' (producing)." If you'd grown up with my grandparents, you probably would feel the same, as they constantly used words like persnickety, tump and other words that elicited giggles (not to mention the seven syllables the Texas-born grandma could put in a certain one-syllable cuss word).

I find it hard to stay angry when I'm using words like flapdoodle (nonsense, or someone fooled by nonsense), kerfuffle (commotion or fuss), mooncalf (foolish person), cockalarum (little man with a big attitude) and crapulous (to feel ill from overindulgence). "Fandangle" might be something useless and purely ornamental, but it's fun to say, as is flummox (bewilder or perplex), skedaddle (run away), varmint (an animal of a noxious or objectionable kind, or a troublesome person) and tarnation (damnation). What better way to make yourself laugh than to sound like Yosemite Sam at the beginning of a tear (before he got to "ratsa-frassin'")?

(I admit, I got awfully close to ratsa-frassin' while writing this column. Technology is great, but when it malfunctions, it brings out my inner Yosemite Sam.)

Other words may not make me laugh, but they certainly make me happy, like petrichor (that smell when it's just about to rain after a dry spell, though we haven't had a dry spell lately), apothecary (person who prepares or sells medicine), blackguard (scoundrel), desiderata (things that are required or needed), elflock (hair matted as if by elves; i.e., my hair after a restless night), and of course, grandiloquent (pompous or extravagant in language, style or manner).

Plus, calling my IBS collywobbles or my tendency to stay in bed as long as possible on Saturdays just a bit of a hurkle-durkle makes me happy. Is that really so bad?

I thought about this when talking to a photographer friend on Threads Sunday. who mused, "I am 100 percent that annoying person who squeals and goes, 'bird, bird, bird! Did you see that bird!?! BIRD!' while with other people. I apologize to anyone in the vicinity." I told her that earlier in the day I'd been sitting in the car in the pharmacy drive-through lane yelling "Puppy!!!!" every time the dachshund in the car in front of me poked his head out the window.

And why not? If it gives you joy to act goofy sometimes, act goofy. As I told my friend, "Little bursts of joy should be enjoyed because you never know when you won't be able to find them. My mom always told me to find the funny, and I do, but I look for the joy too."

And words? Pure joy.

Assistant Editor Brenda Looper is editor of the Voices page. Email her at blooper@adgnewsroom.com. Read her blog at blooper0223.wordpress.com.

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