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The other day, Anne Wareham asked on Twitter "Would twitter survive a ban on the word 'lovely'?". My response was: Noooooooooooooo.
Lovely is used to describe a lot of gardens. At lot of the time. And I believe Anne feels it is used rather too much and that it has become ubiquitous with nice. Something you say when you haven't bothered to either give it more thought or because you don't want to offend anyone. You say: you have a lovely (nice) garden. You think: that was a boring garden.
I hold up my hands to the fact I do use the word lovely a lot. Hence my Noooooooooooooo in response to Anne's question. To me it conveys a sense of warmth and gentle pleasure. But I do see that it can be a by-word for nice and that I could be a bit more creative with my descriptions of the gardens I visit.
A few years ago I worked as Assistant Editor for Gender & Development Journal. This included both editing submissions and researching and writing articles myself. At this time, my best friend was my Thesaurus and I always had it just near my keyboard. I was forever using it to try and expand the ways in which something might be expressed, often finding a better word that the initial one I wrote. It made for better writing and was fun too; sometimes I would go off on tangents exploring words and getting ideas for more creative ways of conveying meaning within a sentence.
With that in mind, I've decided to take Anne up on her challenge to "try and find better ways of putting it". It being the word lovely. So to start this enterprise, I thought I would list here all the words I found under the entry lovely in my thesaurus:
beautiful pretty as pretty as a picture attractive good looking appealing handsome adorable exquisite sweet personable charming enchanting engaging bewitching winsome seductive gorgeous alluring ravishing glamorous bonny tasty knockout stunning smashing drop-dead gorgeous fit cute foxy beauteous comely fair sightly pulchritudinous scenic picturesque pleasing easy on the eye magnificent stunning splendid delightful very pleasant very nice very agreeable marvellous wonderful sublime superb fine
magical enchanting captivating terrific fabulous fab heavenly divine amazing glorious
From each of these words you can go off on tangents to find other related and perhaps more suitable words to convey the word lovely when describing a garden. Sadly pulchritudinous* doesn't have it's own entry in my thesaurus.
lovely enchanting Orchard Plats at Bryan's Ground
I'm looking forward to visiting a drop-dead gorgeous and a foxy garden. Mmmmm, some derivations of lovely might not be so appropriate...
*Look out for this word appearing in a post**, but don't ask me to pronounce it!
**That is, if I visit a garden that can indeed be described as pulchritudinous.