Quick - need hard words for dictionary game (home-style Balderdash)

Hi folks,

Know I can count on you – we are playing “the dictionary game” tonight, which is the game of Balderdash, played without an actual game and box. In case anyone doesn’t know the game: Players take turns being the leader of a round. The leader finds a word in the dictionary and makes sure no one knows the meaning of it. Then everyone makes up a definition that they think others will vote for, believing it is the true definition, and writes it on a piece of paper. The leader writes the real definition on a piece of paper. The leader reads the definitions and then everyone votes, trying to guess which is the real definition. You get points if people pick your fake definition and points if you pick the real definition. You also get a point if no one picks the real definition when you’re the leader.

Sooooo…my whole fam is here and we are playing the game for my mom’s birthday because she loves this game. I know it is going to be tricky to find words that no one knows the meaning of. I am starting this thread to ask for hard words, words that you know or know of that you think we might not know. If you want to tell us the meaning in the thread, please put it in spoiler boxes because I only want to know the meaning of one of the words (since I’m going to be playing the game). Thanks!
P.S. It just occurs to me – is this a game we could play on the board?


The mechanical component of a ratchet device that prevents the gear from slipping backwards

tintinnabulation: the sound of bells

Thanks! I know I don’t know what that means. Any others anybody? And feel free to list more than one.


Just for fun here on the Dope, here are four possible definitions:

  • as clear and pure as vodka
  • an unfair decision, one that really amount to no choice at all
  • a musical sound that is harsh or discordant
  • hard-working and productive

Very hard-working and productive.

You can find lots of obscure words via sites like this.

I’m going to move this over to The Game Room, where lots of word-loving game and puzzle folks hang out.

twickster, Cafe Society moderator

Pomaceous. (I won the spelling bee on this word in 6th grade!)




Crapulous - Drunk

Hoplophobe - Person with fear of firearms

Gestalt - Could be defined a few ways. German word meaning shape or figure, in English it usually means the whole, an entity where the sum is greater than the parts.

Try picking up some L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry, they use rare and archaic words and also obscure words from medicine and science. That or look through pages produced by the Sugarpum spam poisoner (is that technology still being used?).

Sample words:


Here’s a decent list of obscure words and their definitions. I think it’s important to really nail words that there’s little chance of anyone knowing or figuring out from its roots (there are a good number of words on that list that I think are recognizable enough, like “abattoir” or “abseil,” or “bogart” for instance.) Words like “gestalt” and perhaps even “cwm” or “interrobang” I’d expect a fairly literate person to know.

Yeah, “interrobang” is relatively common, but I thought it might be a fun one to make up fake definitions for. :slight_smile:

:slight_smile: Definitely, Ms. Whatsit. Thanks, twickster, for moving this to the Game Room, duh. I had a flashback to pre-Game Room days when I posted in Cafe Society. Yay, thanks for all the great responses. We had so much fun playing that I’m going to have some people over on Friday night to play again. Now we won’t have to waste time looking for words. And those links to obscure words are excellent. Right now I don’t have time to play but I think I’ll start a thread some other time to play this…

Absquatulate was a mock-Latinate word popular around the time of the Civil War - it meant to leave in a hurry.

Or try:

Defenestration - the act of having thrown something out of a window
Hoplite - armored Greek infantryman
Matriculate - enroll for study at a college or university
Virago - an unpleasant, nagging woman
Harridan - ditto

Many years ago, I played this game and found the word “milt” which is basically “fish sperm.” We were pretty inebriated when we played this, but I could not give the Webster Dictionary definition with a straight face.

I came in here to suggest this word. Weird.

callipygian - having shapely buttocks.

One of my favorite obscure words of all time.

We always used this book when playing Dictionary, however it appears to be out of print:


On the upside, it looks like the author has some other, similar books out.

  1. Retronym

[spoiler]Sometimes new technology forces us to create new words or terms for things that already exist. In 1909, nobody would have knoown what an “acoustic guitar” was. ALL guitars were acoustic! When the electirc guitar was invented, a new name was needed for the old-fashioned type of guitar.

Other examples:
Rotary phone (all phones used to be rotary; the phrase wasn’t necessary until pushbutton phones became popular).

Analog clock (all clocks used to be analog; this was an unnecessary term until digital clocks came along)
2. Retromingent

This is anadjective describing any animal that pees backwards.


a concrete or metal post that stops a car from hitting the ATM or drive-through window.