Unusual Words

A by no means exhaustive list of rare, obscure, strange and sometimes funny words and their meanings that only seem to crop up in crosswords and dictionaries. Words that are used so seldom, you wonder who invented them and why.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A

abacinateTo blind by putting a hot copper basin near someone's eyes
abderianGiven to incessant or idiotic laughter
abecedarianA person who is learning the alphabet
abliguritionExcessive spending on food and drink
accubationThe practice of eating or drinking while lying down
adelphepothiaAn incestuous desire for one's sister
adelphirexiaAn incestuous desire for one's nephew
adelphithymiaAn incestuous desire for one's niece
adoxographySkilled writing on an unimportant subject
aeolistA pompous windy bore who pretends to have inspiration
agelastA person who never laughs
agerasiaThe state of looking younger than one actually is
agraffeThe wire that holds the cork in a champagne bottle
algeriningProwling around with the intent to commit burglary
alphamegamiaThe marriage between a young woman and an older man
anopisthographyThe practice of writing on one side of the paper
apodyopsisThe act of mentally undressing someone
autohagiographerOne who speaks or writes in a smug fashion about their own life and accomplishments
autolatryThe worship of one's self
autotonsorialistOne who cuts their own hair

B

basorexiaAn overwhelming desire to neck or kiss
bathykolpianDeep-bosomed
batrachophagousOne who eats frogs
blandiloquentSpeaking in a flattering or ingratiating manner
bletcherousPertaining to something poorly or disgustingly designed
bombilateTo loudly hum or buzz continuously
borborygmusThe rumbling sound of gas passing through the intestine
brevirostrateHaving a short nose
bromidrosisStrongly smelling perspiration
brontideThe low rumbling of distant thunder

C

cachinnationLoud or hysterical laughter
cacoethesA bad habit or insatiable urge
cagamosisAn unhappy marriage
callipygeanHaving well-shaped buttocks
cancatervateTo heap up into a pile
capernoitedSlightly intoxicated or tipsy
cataglottismKissing using the tongue, French kissing
causeuseA sofa built for two people
charientismAn artfully veiled insult
cheiloprocliticBeing attracted to a person's lips
chirotonsorAn alternate title for a barber
cleptobiosisThe act of plundering food
clithridiateKey-hole-shaped
colposinquanoniaEstimating a woman's beauty based on her chest
concilliabuleA secret meeting of people who are hatching a plot
cruciverbalistOne who loves doing crossword puzzles

D

dactylionThe tip of the middle finger
dactylonomyCounting using one's fingers
decubitisThe act or attitude of lying down
defenestrateTo throw out of a window
dehisceTo burst open, as the pod of a plant
dentiloquentPertaining to one who talks through their teeth
dephlogisticateTo make something fireproof
digamyA second marriage after the death or divorce of a previous spouse
dippoldismThe act of beating or whipping school children
dompteuseA woman who trains animals

E

eccedentesiastOne who fakes a smile, as on television
emunctionThe act of removing obstructions from or cleaning bodily passages
estrapadeA horses's attempt to remove its rider
exsibilationThe collective hisses of a disapproving audience

F

farctateThe state of being stuffed with food (overeating)
filipendulousSuspended by a single thread
floccinaucinihilipilificationThe categorising of something that is useless or trivial
fuscoferuginousHaving a dark rusty colour

G

gambrinousBeing full of beer
gargalesisHeavy tickling
gargalesthesiaThe sensation caused by tickling
ginglyformHinge-shaped
gongoozlerAn idle spectator
gossypibomaA surgical sponge accidently left inside a patient's body
gowpenA double handful
grapholagniaThe urge to stare at obscene pictures
gymnophoriaThe sensation that someone is mentally undressing you

H

hadehariaThe practice of constantly using the word "Hell" in speaking
hamartithiaBeing likely to make a mistake
hippopotomonstrosesquipedalianPertaining to extremely long words
honorificabilitudinitatibusWith honour

I

inaniloquentSpeaking foolishly or saying silly things
interfenestrationThe space between two windows

J

jentacularPertaining to breakfast
jumentousSmelling like horse urine

K

knismesisLight tickling
krukolibidinousThe act of staring at someone's crotch
kyphorrhinosHaving a nose with a bump in it

L

lalocheziaThe use of foul or abusive language to relieve stress or ease pain
lethologicaThe inability to recall a precise word for something
liripipThe long tail of a hood in medieval or academic costume
lygerastiaThe condition of one who is only amorous when the lights are out

M

maledicentOne who is addicted to abusive speech
mallemarokingThe carousing of seamen on board Greenland whaling ships
mammothreptA child who is raised and spoiled by their grandmother
maritodespotismTyrranical rulership of a woman by her husband
matronolagniaAn attraction to older women, especially ones who have children
misocapnistOne who hates the smell of tobacco smoke
misodoctakleidistSomeone who hates practicing the piano
mulligrubsA state of depression or low spirits
mumpsimusOne who sticks obstinately and wrongly to their old ways
mytacismThe incorrect or excessive use of the letter M

N

nelipotSomeone who walks without shoes
nepheligenousProducing clouds of tobacco smoke
nidorosityBelching with the taste of undigested meat
nudiustertianPertaining to the day before yesterday

O

oculoplaniaLetting one's eyes wander while assessing someone's charms
onychophagyThe habit of biting one's fingernails

P

pandiculationStretching and yawning before going to bed or after waking up
petrichorThe smell of rain on dry ground
philosophunculistOne who pretends to know more than they do to impress others
pogonotomyThe act of cutting a beard
polyphloisboianMaking a lot of noise or loud racket
preantepenultimateFourth from last
prosopographyThe description of a person's appearance
psithurismThe sound of wind in trees or rustling leaves
pyknicShort and fat

Q

qualtaghThe first person you see after leaving your house
quidnuncOne who always wants to know what is going on
quomodocunquizeTo make money by any means possible

R

recumbentibusA knockout blow, either verbal or physical
runcationThe act of weeding

S

sabrageThe act of opening a bottle with a sabre
saprostomousHaving bad breath
scacchicPertaining to the game of chess, or to chess pieces
sciapodousHaving huge feet
scolecophagousOne who eats worms
sgiomlaireachedThe habit of dropping in at mealtimes
skoptsyThe act of self castration
slubberdegullionA filthy, slobbering person
sphallolaliaFlirtatious talk that leads nowhere
steatopygicHaving a fat behind
strikhedoniaThe pleasure of being able to say to hell with it

T

tachyphagiaFast eating
tarantismAn urge to overcome melancholy by dancing
tetrapyloctomyThe act of splitting a hair four ways
thelemicPermitting people to do as they like
tibialoconcupiscentHaving a lascivious interest in watching a woman put on stockings

U

ulotrichousHaving very wooly hair
ultracrepidarianOf one who speaks or offers opinions on matters beyond their knowledge
usufructuaryA person who has use or enjoyment of something, especially property

V

ventripotentBig-bellied, gluttonous
vesthibitionismThe flirtatious display of undergarments by a woman
vigesimationThe act of killing every twentieth person
viraginityMasculine qualities in a woman

W

wanweirdAn unhappy fate
witzelsuchtA feeble attempt at humour

X

xenobombulateTo malinger
xerophagyA diet of bread and water
ximelolagniaThe urge to stare at women who are sitting with crossed legs
xylopolistOne who sells wood products

Y

ycleptBy the name of; called

Z

zenzizenzizenzicA number raised to the eighth power

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