Your favorite semi-obscure English word, or, boardless Scrabble

Please enhance our vocabulary with a favorite word of yours that you think less than half of the public could spell or define. No proper nouns, please, and while we all love our schadenfreude, nothing that’s a loan word, or not an obvious one at least. Please give part of speech and definition, and use it in a sentence.

I will arbitrarily assign points that don’t matter in the slightest.

For obscurity:
:rolleyes:Zero points if it’s so fabulously specific/specialized obtuse and obscure as to be ridiculous.
:)One point if I didn’t know what it means.
:DTwo points if I’ve never heard it before.

For usefulness:
:rolleyes:Zero points if I will never, ever have the smallest chance to use it in conversation without getting strange, blank looks from those around me.
:)One point if I can use it in conversation to look witty and well read.
:DTwo points if I can use it in conversation to surreptitiously poke fun at someone.

For that certain je ne sais quoi:
:rolleyes:Zero points if I have no hope of pronouncing it.
:)One points if its a homonym or false cognate with another well known word.
:DTwo point if it fits nicely or humourously with your username or title. You should point this out; I’m pretty dense

For example:

Alacrity (Noun): Cheerful willingness, preparedness or readyness. The scouts greeted with alacrity the tasks of setting up camp and making a fire.

I’d give myself a 1 for obscurity (since I had to look it up today), 1 for usefulness and 1 for je ne sais quoi for sounding a lot like angry.

This game could become very prosaic.

Malamanteau, also Malamanteaux (Noun): A Neologism for a portmanteau created by incorrectly combining a malapropism with a neologism. It is itself a portmanteau. In other words, a malamanteu is a new word for a blended word created by wrongly mixing an inappropriate, similar-sounding word with a new word. Usage: Sarah Palin is a malamanteau factory.

What’d I win? :smiley:

Defenestration: the act of throwing something out a window.

Sorry, but I don’t enage in rodomontade.

OXBOW: A U-shaped piece of wood or stream/river
KOINE: Greek dialect
ORIBI: antelope
ZEATIN: plant hormone
PAEAN: Joyous song
TUN: A cask
MUUMUU: Hawaiian dress (gotta love those Hawaiian words for Scrabble)
UNAU: A TWO toed sloth (as opposed to its more well-known cousin, the three-toed AI)
TSKTSK: Uhhh, to “tsk”

sesquipedalian: a big word that seems like it’s about a foot-and-a-half long.

hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian: a big word that seems like it’s about the length of a monstrously large hippopotamus’s foot, plus another half of the same foot.

hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia: fear of really big words.

I’ll join on an eleemosynary basis.

How about:

imago - an insect in its sexually mature adult stage after metamorphosis: larva, chrysalis, imago

velleity - the lowest degree of volition - a slight wish or tendency

Couple of my faves; I use them regularly. But I teach about Byzantine architecture. . .


boustrophedon noun. An ancient method of writing in which the lines run alternately from right to left and from left to right. Or like ox-turning in plowing or mowing a lawn.

karmadharaya noun. A compound of two words in which the first is an adjective and the second is a substantive. blacksmith, grandson, gentleman


osculate me, osculate me, baaayyy beeeeee

Abecedarian adjective In alphabetical order.

An Abecedarian insult: “Sir, you are an apogenous, bovaristic, coprolalial, dasypygal, excerebrose, facinorous, gnathonic, hircine, ithyphallic, jumentous, kyphotic, labrose, mephitic, napiform, oligophrenial, papuliferous, quisquilian, rebarbative, saponaceous, thersitical, unguinous, ventripotent, wlatsome, xylocephalous, yirning zoophyte”.

Callipygian and steatopygian. Fun to say, fun meanings.

I’m also fond of wrestling slang, which is more useful than you’d think in entirely wrestle-free contexts. From that world, we’ve got kayfabe. (Work is another one that I like, but that doesn’t fit into this thread.)

Is. 3rd person singular of the verb “to be”. Meaning = ‘Is’ or alternatively ‘Is not’.
e.g. “It depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is”.


To cause confusion, I know it’s not all that rare I just like the sound of it :slight_smile:

“Thither” (to there).

I think “hither” (to here) & “whither” (to where) are used more.

And of course there are “thence” (from there), “hence” (from here), & “whence” (from where).

Not terribly obscure, I think, but rarely enough used.

For a bonus, “masticate” & “datum” probably both fit your criteria, sadly.

“Thither” (to there). My house is over there, I will go thither shortly.

I think “hither” (to here) & “whither” (to where) are used more, in the phrases “Come hither,” & “Whither thou goest.” And of course there are “thence” (from there), “hence” (from here), & “whence” (from where). Not terribly obscure, I think, but rarely enough used.

For a bonus, “masticate” & “datum” probably both fit your criteria, sadly. Masticating, of course, is done with the mouth, a datum that will give many a titillating image.

(to chew, & a unit of information)

Cromulent is acceptable :smiley: