Wordcount for Lovecraft’s Favorite Words

Update: The free eBook of Lovecraft’s Complete Works is done and can be downloaded here. This post was updated 6/23/2011 with requests from the comments which had a significant number of instances (generally over 10, but sometimes fewer for odd & Lovecraftian words).

One of the things any fan of Lovecraft discovers early on is that Lovecraft was very attached to certain words. We either laugh or groan every time we hear something described as “indescribable” or called “unnamable” or “antiquarian” or “cyclopean.” And sometimes we wonder how many times he actually used the words.

In working on the Lovecraft ebook project (which is nearly complete and is in final proofreading), I compiled all of Lovecraft’s original works in one file. So I took suggestions for words to count on the H.P. Podcraft forums and on Twitter.

The list is below. The only big surprises were “squamous,” which only appears once in an original story—”The Dunwich Horror”—, and “unutterable,” which only appeared 13 times.

Abnormal – 94

Accursed – 76

Amorphous – 19

Antediluvian – 10

Antiqu (e/arian) – 128

Blasphem (y/ous) – 92

Cat – 46 (whole word search)

Charnel – 20

Comprehension – 9

Cyclopean – 47

Dank – 19

Decadent – 32

Daemoniac – 55

Effulgence – 4

Eldritch – 23

Faint (ed/ing) – 189

Foetid – 22

Fungus/Fungoid/Fungous – 54

Furtive – 60

Gambrel – 21

Gibbous – 9

Gibber (ed/ing) – 10

Hideous – 260

Immemorial – 25

Indescribable – 25

Iridescence – 2

Loath (ing/some) – 71

Lurk – 15

Madness – 115

Manuscript – 35

Mortal – 27

Nameless – 157

Noisome – 33

Non-Euclidean – 2

Proportion/Disproportionate – 53

Shunned – 54

Singular (ly) – 115

Spectral – 60

Squamous – 1

Stench – 59

Stygian – 6

Swarthy – 14

Tenebrous – 9

Tentacle(s) – 28

Ululat (e/ing) – 4

Unmentionable – 16

Unnamable – 22

Unutterable – 13

At a commenter’s request, I ran the names of some of the god/great old ones/other eldritch beings:

Gods, Great Old Olds, and other Eldritch Beings

Azathoth – 22

Cthulhu – 42

Dagon – 16

Nodens – 8

Nyarlathotep – 47

Shoggoth – 22

Shub-Niggurath – 8

Yog-Sothoth – 28

And in answer to another request:

Eldritch Tomes, Things and Locations

Tomes

Necronomicon – 49

Pnakotic Manuscripts – 16

De Vermis Mysteriis – 2

Book of Eibon – 3

Eltdown Shards – 1

Nameless Cults (Unaussprechlichen Kulten) – 4

Things

Elder Sign – 2

Locations

Arkham – 159

Dunwich – 41

Innsmouth – 104

Kadath – 67

Kingsport – 43

Leng – 158

Miskatonic – 62

R’lyeh – 16

Yuggoth – 21

Irem – 12

And someone requested a Wordle….so here it is!
Wordle: Lovecraft Favorite Words

(click to view larger) Thanks to the lovely commenter who pointed out Wordle’s advanced function. I really haven’t used it, so I wasn’t able to make the best use of it. This new Wordle is much better.

Got another word for me to check in the file? Leave it in the comments or ask me on Twitter and I’ll add it for you!

Ok, so, someone very crudely asked about his use of the N-word. I’ve deleted the comment because I felt it was inappropriate. The answer however is 20 times, 19 of which refer to the abominably-named cat and the other is in “The Picture in the House” if you want to avoid it. He did use the term of the time, “negro/es,” 25 times to refer to characters and inhabitants of regions and he certainly used that term in derogatory fashion. There is then his disgusting poem “On the Creation of N—,”. To my knowledge, those are the instances. This is not an argument against his racism, just a note that he wasn’t throwing around the N-word except when he was, in “The Rats in the Walls” and in the awful poem.

87 Comments

  1. […] my travels through the stygian corridors of the noisome internet, I ran across the brilliant site Cthulhu Chick in which we’re given a list of some of H.P. Lovecraft’s favorite words—the often antiquated […]

  2. […] I never realized how often I would use this page arkhamarchivist.com/wordcount-love… "Wordcount for Lovecraft’s Favorite Words" THANKS! […]

  3. batcrap says:

    You missed ‘Bas Relief’ Kovecraft over used this word as well

  4. Daniel says:

    I also found out that “gregarious/ness” is one of his favs in epistolary sometimes even up to 4 on a two-page opening.

  5. mikolaj says:

    “Nitrous” – one of my favorites. In “Kadath”, the Shantaks’ wings were nitrous, for instance…

  6. Col Freeman says:

    Well done, and thank you :) As I recall HPL used ‘febrile’ (feverish) quite a bit.
    All the best,
    CF

  7. Todd Hanson says:

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Three words I noticed missing from your list are “sanity”/”sane” (or “insanity”/”insane”), “whisper”/”whispered”, and “hint”/”hints”/”hinted’, that he seemed to over & over in his writings. I am re-reading these stories in the Library Of America edition now and I noticed that certain words were used so often they became almost, as you said, smile- or groan-inducing (but I love it).

  8. Linda says:

    Favorite Words .com could be useful here as well. I think if you add Lovecraft’s favorite words to your page at favoritewords.com, you might see others sharing those same words with you or at least have a safe place to keep and manage these words.

  9. Rod says:

    Great job, Ruth! Having recently re-read nearly all Lovecraft’s works, I had started wondering about a word count for his adjectives. So glad you made this really fun little piece of research and shared with everyone!

  10. Seamus says:

    No mention of his love of all things “Basalt”

  11. […] blogger who operates the Cthuluchick blog has assembled the most common words used in Lovecraft’s fiction. She’s also got a link for the complete works as an e-book for […]

  12. grey says:

    Ithythalic? Or did I imagine that one?

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