Sensational words from the film, Manhattan

The characters in a Woody Allen film can attest to this: expressive words used extraordinarily and sometimes inopportunely evoke a slight feeling of awe in the bystander.  A prick of jealousy and a nagging thought, “Why didn’t I think to use that word in such a peculiar and unforgettable manner?  She used it correctly…it just has a captivating strangeness to it.”  The characters in Manhattan are a prime example of such a unique talent; Woody Allen even invents a quirky signature sound for Diane Keaton’s character.  It gives them all a charm, a certain naivete mixed with a not-so-obvious mastery of the English language.  Quite an adorable trait, if you ask me.

Manhattan Cast Woody Allen

Manhattan. Woody Allen. "Well, I'm from Philadelphia..."

Here are my absolute favorite words from the film to use just slightly out of context.  They make observational comments just, well, more interesting than yes and uh-uh and the proverbial American “Awesome!”


(sn-sshn)  A cause of such interest and excitement.

Use: “It was a pleasure and a sincere sensation,” Isaac after meeting Mary

Diane Keaton Woody Allen Manhattan


(nt-sptk)  Capable of preventing infection by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms.  Thoroughly clean.

Use:  “This is so antiseptic. It’s empty,” Issac in response to the television show he both writes and abhors.

Woody Allen Manhattan


(nkout)  Strikingly attractive or impressive.

Use:  “Boy, this is really a great city, I don’t care what anybody says, it’s really a knock-out, you know?”  Issac in regards to New York City.

Manhattan Bridge Scene


(md)  Temporarily or apparently deranged by violent sensations, emotions, or ideas.

Use:   “I had a mad impulse to throw you down on the lunar surface and commit interstellar perversion,” Isaac to Mary.

Manhattan Planetarium Scene


(nchr--l, nchr-)  By nature; inherently.  Without a doubt; surely.

Use: “…Louis Armstrong, recording of Potato Head Blues… um… Swedish movies, naturally…,” Isaac listing the reasons why life is worth living.

Woody Allen Manhattan


(ˈdɛvəˌsteɪtɪŋ)  Extremely effective in a destructive way.  Capable of wreaking complete destruction.

Use:  “Really opened me up sexually.  Taught me everything.  Women found him devastating,” Mary Wilke about her ex-husband.

Woody Allen Diane Keaton Manhattan


(tts)  A girl or young woman.

Use:  “Where the hell does a little Radcliffe tootsie come off rating Scott Fitzgerald, Gustav Mahler, and Heinrich B?” Isaac in response to Mary’s ‘Academy of the Overrated’.

Diane Keaton Manhattan

“Six months isn’t so long.  Not everybody gets corrupted.  You have to have a little faith in people.”


*definitions from


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