I have found some words for pleasant sounding words, such as mellifluous and phonoaesthetics. However I am seeking a word, either in English or any other language, that means the feel of a word as it is being spoken. The closest I can get is mouthfeel, or phrases such as rolls off the tongue or feels good to say.

  • ‘How it rolls off the tongue’ is exactly right. Why is that not good enough? Feb 9, 2014 at 8:38
  • I love mellifluous, and think it is a good example of what you're seeking. Feb 9, 2014 at 9:18
  • @Leon Conrad you should edit your answer, downvotes can be reversed. And, you're very much mistaken that I have posted an answer. I don't know where you got that idea from :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 9, 2014 at 10:01
  • How it rolls off the tongue is too clumsy, I'm seeking a single word. Yes, so far mellifluous is the closest; "sweetly or smoothly flowing; sweet sounding" it would be that first part of the definition, referencing the flow, that would be closest to the mouth movement. I was hoping there was a better word though. Happy to be other than English.
    – Maxine
    Feb 9, 2014 at 11:23

2 Answers 2


There doesn't appear to be a word for this yet, but there are several that come close (most info from waywordradio.org/mouthfeel-of-words)

Mouthfeel has been used with the comparison to wine tasting, using to describe a nice taste to the mouth, like rounded or velvety. The words feel good to say as well, whereas words like moist (the most hated word in the English language), jowls, and phlegm feel uncomfortable for most people.

sonicky (from Ray Blount Jr. in his book Alphabet Juice) is the word used for the feeling we have when words are spoken, but it also ties in the meaning of the word as well; words come from our mouth with a quality of the way we should feel about them, like fuzzy or sleek

Sprachgefuhl: an intuitive sense of what is linguistically appropriate (languagefeel)

Finally, there is synesthesia (first use 1891): a concomitant sensation and especially a subjective sensation other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated; the condition marked by the experience of such sensations (e.g. the feeling of a sound) (more here)

Meaning may be transferred from one sensory faculty to another (synesthesia), as when we say sweet, with primary reference to taste, but extend it to hearing (sweet music), smell ("The rose smells sweet"), and to all senses at once (a sweet person). Sharp may be transferred from feeling to taste, and so may smooth. Warm may shift its usual reference from feeling to sight, as in warm colors, and along with cold may refer in a general way to all senses, as in a warm (cold) welcome." (John Algeo and Thomas Pyles, The Origins and Development of the English Language, 5th ed. Thompson, 2005)

  • Hi Susan thank your for your suggestions. The words you've offered don't quite touch what I'm seeking. I'm looking for a word that refers to the sensations associated with forming words within the mouth. How certain words feel pleasant to form within ones mouth, independent of the quality of the sounds made, or the meaning of the word itself. If I've read the meaning of sonicky correctly, it relates to the emotion experienced as a consequence of speaking the word and the meaning of the word. I'm not focusing on emotion though; rather somesthetic sensation (touch, haptic and proprioceptive).
    – Maxine
    Feb 9, 2014 at 11:10
  • Just as massaging a muscle is experienced independent of meaning and emotion. Synesthesia refers to transferring from one sensory faculty to another, but I want to address that part of the experience of forming a word that is experienced somesthetically. Recognising that forming a word in the mouth has a sensual quality apart from the auditory, emotional and interpretive qualities. Which is why phonoaesthetics doesn't work - that refers to the auditory experience of the word. Perhaps if I asked for the word that means the way the body feels as it moves, and apply that to the mouth?
    – Maxine
    Feb 9, 2014 at 11:18
  • Hi, Maxine. I don't think the word exists, except, perhaps in speech therapy literature. But I did try. :) Feb 9, 2014 at 11:24
  • +1 mouthfeel, -1 all others (none mean what the OP is asking for)
    – Mitch
    Nov 22, 2016 at 18:24

I don't think that there is a single word which describes this exactly.

  • This is really a comment, not an answer. Could you explain why there isn't such a word? Can you suggest alternative expressions?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Feb 9, 2014 at 12:58
  • I can't explain why there isn't a word because I'm afraid that I simply don't know. Feb 9, 2014 at 13:23
  • 1
    Thanks for the feedback on my answer/comment. I could suggest a couple of similar word but I decided that I wouldn'd because in the comments above and question,there is some similar words. :) Feb 9, 2014 at 13:24
  • 2
    @GracieAlicia If you don't know, it is better not to answer, as this site is about answers that provide explanations and examples, rather than opinions. When you have enough reputation, you will be able to comment on questions and answers, and your opinion is welcome in comments. But if you post non-suitable answers you will get downvotes, which affect the reputation that you need to be able to write comments!
    – nxx
    Feb 9, 2014 at 14:42

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