22 Words You Didn’t Know Were Words
Ever at a loss for words? Can’t find the perfect word to describe what you so desperately need to describe? Maybe you’re not so crazy after all and there actually is a word out there for you. Take a look at these lesser-known words to beef up your vocabulary skills.
The day after or following tomorrow. Finally someone found the word we’ve all been looking for.
The day before yesterday. Finally someone found the other word we’ve all been looking for.
The action of throwing someone out of a window; the action of dismissing someone from a position of power or authority. It’s Latin and is devised by putting “de-” (down from) with “fenestra” (window).
To beat vigorously (think: thrash); to attack or excite vigorously (think: goad). It comes from a Middle English word that means “to bind tightly.” Yerk is also in the bottom 40% of word popularity. Poor yerk.
Tawdrily and falsely attractive; superficially significant. Don’t confuse this one with delicious.
Tidbit from Merriam-Webster: “Meretricious can be traced back to the Latin verb merere, meaning ‘to earn, gain, or deserve.’ It shares this origin with a small group of other English words, including ‘merit, meritorious, and emeritus.’ But, while these words can suggest some degree of honor or esteem, ‘meretricious’ is used to suggest pretense, insincerity, and cheap or tawdry ornamentation.”
An alcohol-soluble amino acid occurring in high concentrations in collagen. Apparently, it’s just an alteration of the word “pyrrolidine.” Pretending to be a scientist is fun.
A theory that denies the universe possesses any absolute reality or that it has any existence apart from God. It comes from the German word “akomismus” — which sounds way fancier, for the record.
A song or poem greeting the dawn; a morning love song; a song of poem of lovers parting at dawn; morning music. It’s a French word (shocker) that means “dawn serenade.”
Tidbit from Merriam-Webster: “As the relationship of ‘aubade’ with the English language grew, its meanings became a little more intimate. It blossomed into a word for a song or poem of lovers parting at dawn. Later it came to refer to songs sung in the morning hours.”
A mood disorder characterized by chronic mildly depressed or irritable mood often accompanied by other symptoms; dysthymic disorder. With this new Latin word in your pocket, WebMD ain’t got nothin’ on you.
The hollow of two hands held together as if forming a bowl. It’s also important to know that a gowpenful means a double handful. This word will definitely come in handy.
Inability to identify and express or describe one’s feelings. People with alexithymia typically display a lack of imaginative thought, have difficulty distinguishing between emotions and bodily sensations, and engage in logical externally oriented thought. If you’d like to describe yourself or someone you know, use “alexithymic” as the adjective.
A feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people. It comes from the German words “schaden” (damage) and “Freude” (joy). No, this is not a word that you want to relate to.
A luminous impression due to excitation of the retina.
Tidbit from Merriam-Webster: “Phosphenes are the luminous floating stars, zigzags, swirls, spirals, squiggles, and other shapes that you see when closing your eyes tight and pressing them with your fingers. Basically, these phenomena occur when the cells of the retina are stimulated by rubbing or after a forceful sneeze, cough, or blow to the head.”
A person who seeks to know all the latest news or gossip (think: busybody).
You can use it in a sentence like this: “With the arrival of our other friend, we at last had a quorum of quidnuncs and enough material to while away a long lunch hour.”
Impress your gossiping friends with this word that is way too fun to say. Quidnunc, quidnunc, quidnunc.
A dollar’s worth of foreign exchange obtained by a petroleum-exporting country through sales abroad. Make a mental note that it’s usually used in plural. Fun facts include that it’s in the bottom 10% of word popularity and wasn’t used until 1974.
An anxiety arising from awareness of guilt; distress of mind over an anticipated action or result; a twinge of misgiving (think: scruple); “compunctions of conscience.”
Tidbit from Merriam-Webster: “An old proverb says ‘a guilty conscience needs no accuser,’ and it’s true that the sting of a guilty conscience — or a conscience that is provoked by the contemplation of doing something wrong — can prick very hard indeed. The sudden guilty ‘prickings’ of compunction are reflected in the word’s etymological history. Compunction comes from the Latin compungere, which means ‘to prick hard’ or ‘to sting.’ Compungere, in turn, derives from pungere, meaning ‘to prick,’ which is the ancestor of some other prickly words in English, such as ‘puncture’ and even ‘point.’”
An absorbing or pervasive interest in England or things English. This word that resides in the bottom 20% of word popularity goes out to your annoying friend who hasn’t ever left America but can’t stop speaking in a British accent and talking about the royal family.
The sound of wind in the trees and leaves. Basically just a fancier version of “rustling,” because being basic is unacceptable.
Another name for deadly nightshade; belladonna. This one is of Scandinavian origin, so thank your viking friends.
A person who pretends to know more about something than he actually knows as a way of impressing or manipulating others; someone who claims to be a philosopher, but who actually has only superficial knowledge of the subject. Gotta hate those freaking philosophunculists.
One who fakes a smile. Use this word to describe a person who goes in front of a camera and has to fake a smile for the sake of the audience or a literary character who’s reluctant to display genuine emotion.
The categorizing of something that is useless or trivial; the action or habit of estimating something as worthless.
Use this tongue twister in a sentence (if you dare) like this: “Humans are quick to partake in the floccinaucinihilipilification process, it has happened before and it will happen repeatedly until evolution explicates perfect men.”
Feel smarter? Of course, you do. Just don’t turn into a philosophunculist or you might have some compunctions of conscience.
Featured photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr via flickr.com