Take Advantage of the Full, Bizarre Scope of the English Language: Obscure, Oddly Specific Words

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 Have you ever seen or heard any of those words that have really, really specific meanings? You know, the ones that when you see them you think to yourself “wow, there’s exactly one situation where I’d be able to use this word.” They seem kind of unnecessary, but at the same time it’s kind of nice that they exist. It really speaks to the human desire to describe our experiences for each other as accurately as possible.

Plus, they’re just cool. Here are some of the best ones the Internet has to offer. I’ll admit, I definitely didn’t intend to have this many when I started, but there are so, so many amazing words we don’t use enough!

Eighty Words You Should 100% Add to You Vocabulary

1. Abacinate: to blind by holding a red-hot metal plate before someone's eyes

2. Acersecomic: a person whose hair has never been cut

*So if you’re ever talking to a toddler who’s about to get their first haircut, nod wisely and say “Ah, so you’re an acersecomic.”*

3. Acnestis: the part of an animal's skin that it cannot reach to scratch itself, usually the space between the shoulder blades

4. Alexithymia: the inability to identify and express or describe one’s feelings

5. Amphisbaena: a mythical serpent with a head at each end

6. Anatidaephobia: the fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you

*Well, I wasn’t afraid of that until now.*

7. Anophisthographic: having writing or printing on one side only

8. Antepenultimate: one before next to last, third from last (see also Preantepenultimate)

9. Bathykolpian: deep-bosomed

10. Batrachophagous: feeding on frogs

11. Blatherskite: a person who talks at great length without making much sense

12. Cacodemonomania: the pathological belief that one is inhabited by an evil spirit

13. Callipygian: having well-shaped buttocks

*The best part about this one is that you can use it to talk to your friend about your crush without too much worry that they’ll overhear your embarrassing adoration. And if by some chance they do hear and undferstand what you’re saying, they’re definitely a keeper.*

14. Colposinquanonia: estimating a woman’s beauty based on her chest

15. Diplasiasmus: the incorrect doubling of a letter when spelling a word

16. Drintling: the clucking noise made by turkeys

*Answering the age-old question of “what does the turkey say?”*

17. Dysania: the state of having a rough time waking up in the morning

18. Eccedentesiast: a person who fakes a smile, such as on television

19. Ecdysiophile: a person who likes to visit strip joints or watch people strip

20. Engastration: the stuffing of one animal inside another before presenting it for dinner

21. Erinaceous: of, pertaining to, or resembling a hedgehog

22. Escutcheon: decorative metal plates around doorknobs or locks

23. Floccinaucinihilipilification: the action or habit of estimating something as worthless

*So if you’re staring at someone you don’t like and they ask what you’re doing, say “floccinaucinihilipilification.” A blank stare on their part will bolster your assessment.*

24. Filipendulous: suspended by a single thread

25. Gargalesthesia: the sensation commonly associated with tickling

26. Girouettism: altering one's opinions to match public trends

27. Gossypiboma: a foreign object, such as a mass of cotton matrix or a sponge, that is left behind in a body cavity during an operation

28. Griffonage: illegible or sloppy hand writing

*We already use the phrase “chicken scratch” for this, but just in direct animal-to-animal comparison, “griffonage” is infinitely better.*

29. Groak: to stare at someone who is eating in hopes of getting food

30. Gynotikolobomassophilia: proclivity for nibbling on women's earlobes

31. Hadeharia: the practice of constantly using the word "Hell" in speaking

32. Halfpace: a platform of a staircase where the stair turns back in exactly the reverse direction of the lower flight (see also Quarterpace)

33. Haptodysphoria: an unpleasant feeling caused by handling any fuzzy surface

34. Hypobulia: trouble making up one's mind

35. Iatrapistia: a lack of faith in the medical system

*Next time a doctor misdiagnoses you or informs you that you have a gossypiboma, simply shake your head and let them know that they’re reinforcing your iatrapistia.*

36. Illeism: the practice of referring to oneself as "he" or "she", or by one's name

37. Infracaninophile: one who supports or defends the underdog

38. Interfenestration: the space between two windows

39. Jeofail: a costly mistake made by a lawyer , usually in court

40. Jentacular: pertaining to breakfast

41. Jowfair: an event which does not occur after much planning, such as a wedding with no groom

42. Jumentous: smelling strongly of horse urine

*This one really makes you wonder about the situation that created a need for this word.*

43. Keraunoscopia: divination using thunder

44. Kirkbuzzer: one who robs churches

45. Lalochezia: emotional relief gained by using indecent or vulgar language

46. Luposlipaphobia: the fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly waxed floor

*I had a difficult time verifying this one, but I decided to include it anyway. Even if it’s not a documented fear, it’s a hilarious image.*

47. Lygerastia: the condition of one who is only amorous, or sexually aroused, when the lights are out

48. Misodoctakleidist: someone who hates practicing the piano

49. Mytacism: the incorrect or excessive use of the letter m

50. Nidorosity: belching with the taste of undigested meat

51. Nudiustertian: of or relating to the day before yesterday

*This is definitely one I could see myself using frequently. But I’ll have to learn how to pronounce it first . . .*

52. Oikonisus: the desire to start a family

53. Omoplatoscopy: divination involving a shoulder blade which has been charred or cracked from a fire

*So, so specific. What exactly are we hoping to divine from this?*

54. Pogonotrophy: the act of cultivating, or growing and grooming, a mustache, beard, sideburns or other facial hair.

55. Preantepenultimate: fourth from last (see also Antepenultimate)

56. Qualtagh: the first person you see after leaving your house; the first person who crosses a threshold, especially after New Year’s Day

57. Quarterpace: a staircase landing where the stair turns at a right angle (see also Halfpace)

58. Raith: a quarter of a year

59. Rouleau: a cylinder of coins rolled in paper

60. Rubricate: to add elaborate, typically red, capital letters or other decorations to a manuscript

61. Sabrage: the act of opening a bottle with a saber

*Yes. So incredibly excessive, but yes.*

62. Scripturient: possessing a violent desire to write

63. Taligrade: walking on the outer edge of one's foot

64. Tarantism: a disorder characterized by an uncontrollable urge to dance

*This one sounds the fakest, but supposedly it’s a real medical thing, especially common in Italy from the 1400’s to the 1600’s and believed to be caused by a tarantula bite. Next time you meet someone, consider using that little fact instead of traditional small talk.*

65. Tegestologist: a collector of beer mugs and beer coasters

66. Thrip: to snap one's fingers

67. Tibialoconcupiscent: having a lascivious interest in watching a woman put on stockings

68. Tritavia: the great grandmother of one’s great grandmother; the female ascendant in the sixth degree

*To avoid the awkwardness of referring to her as my great-great-great-great-grandmother.*

69. Truttaceous: of, pertaining to, or resembling a trout

70. Undecillion: a large number; a one followed by either 36 (US) or 66 (British) zeroes

71. Undinism: an obsession with or a sexual pleasure derived from water, especially urination and urine

*Maybe this relates back to jumentous . . . I’m not sure I really want to know.*

72. Vernalagnia: a romantic mood brought on by spring

73. Vigesimation: the act of killing every twentieth person

74. Warison: a musical note used to signal the start of an attack

75. Wegotism: an obtrusive and too frequent use of the first person plural by a speaker or writer

76. Xeniatrophobia: a fear of going to strange or foreign doctors

77. Xylopolist: one who sells wood products

78. Yarborough: hand of cards containing no card above a nine

79. Zenzizenzizenzic: a number raised to the eighth power

*If it were possible to play this word in Scrabble, it’d be worth 72 points, not even counting triple letters, double words, or the bonus for using all your letters.*

80. Zoanthropy: delusion of a person who believes himself changed into an animal

Now, how much more sophisticated are you going to sound when you comment on the warison in a war reenactment video during history class or when you call a guy out on his colposinquanonia? And of course, I didn’t just come up with all these words out of thin air. Huge credit to the following websites, and dictionary websites as a whole.










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