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Have you ever heard these 25 obscure English words? Options
coag
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 2:38:28 PM

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Source: GrammarBook.com

Here are 25 weird, obscure, and downright cool words hidden in the English language.

1) Epeolatry: The worship of words. What better piece of vocabulary to kick off this list with?

2) Aglet: The little piece of plastic on the end of your shoelaces. (Crossword puzzle fans know this one.)

3) Grawlix: You know when cartoonists substitute a bunch of punctuation marks for curse words? They're using grawlix.

4) Borborygmus: A rumbling in your stomach. Time for lunch!

5) Accubation: While you quell your borborygmus, you might engage in accubation—the act of comfortably reclining, often during a meal.

6) Jillick: To skip a stone across a surface of water.

7) Nibling: Here's a handy word you might just now realize you were missing. Nibling is a gender-neutral term for a niece or nephew.

8) Tatterdemalion: Some words just sound like their meaning. A tatterdemalion is somebody wearing tattered clothing. It can also be used as an adjective meaning tattered or ragged in appearance.

9) Tittle: The word tittle has got just one tittle in it, but this sentence has six—no, seven—more. It's the little dot above a lowercase j or i.

10) Pogonotrophy: You probably know someone who engages in pogonotrophy, the act of growing a beard, even if they don't call it that.

11) Pilgarlic: On the opposite end of the spectrum, a pilgarlic is a bald-headed person—usually one you're mocking or feeling sorry for.

12) Balter: One thing we can definitely do here at GrammarBook.com is balter. It means "to dance badly."

13) Pandiculation: When you get up in the morning, sit on the edge of your bed, and stretch your arms in all directions, you’re actually pandiculating.

14) Sciapodous: Having large feet. Simple as that.

15) Natiform: Shaped like a butt. Perfect—no more relying on the peach emoji.

16) Defenestrate: You've got to wonder about the kind of mind that thinks there needs to be a word for throwing someone out of a window.

17) Bruxism: Do you grind your teeth at night? Tell your dentist that you suffer from bruxism.

18) Phosphene: While you're pandiculating, you might also press your knuckles into your eyes until little stars appear. Those specks of light are called phosphenes.

19) Cataglottism: Technically, you may already know another word for cataglottism, but it's a great way to make "french kiss" sound a lot less sexy.

20) Lemniscate: A figure 8 turned on its side—in other words, the infinity symbol.

21) Obelus: The division symbol (÷), which we were surprised had an actual name.

22) Preantepenultimate: Ultimate is last, penultimate is second-to-last, antepenultimate is third-to-last, which makes this the preantepenultimate word on this list.

23) Griffonage: You might call sloppy handwriting "chicken scratch," but griffonage rolls off the tongue much more easily.

24) Archimime: Frankly, we didn't think that this word would mean exactly what it sounds like, but it does. The archimime is the chief buffoon or jester. The boss clown, in other words.

25) Tyrotoxism: Scratch what we said about defenestrate earlier—the fact that somebody came up with a word for "to poison with cheese" is much more unbelievable. ⬜

I had known of only two, "aglet" and "defenestrate".
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:39:37 PM

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I knew of 4 of them, aglet and defenestration the same as you Coag, bruxism as I do grind my teeth and wear a mouth guard at night.

The last one is phosphenes I get those as a side affect of a degenerative eye condition that will send me blind eventually, at the moment interocular injections of a drug called Eyelea are keeping it a bay. I did not recognise the word until I saw the definition though.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
mactoria
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:58:53 PM
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Learned about 'nibling' several yrs ago when my cousins and my siblings/I lost our parents about the same time, but our maternal aunt keeps going so we, her niblings, treat her like our mother. Great word, don't know why more people don't use it as it's a lot shorter than "nieces and nephews." It's also kinda cute.
Marek Guman
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 4:03:37 PM

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When I'm honest I have to admit I knew only "defenestrate". And bruxism looked familiar. It's funny how, as weird as these words are, many of them describe phenomena encountered in everyday life. Like 4, or 13.
Parpar1836
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 4:13:45 PM
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I knew five (aglet, defenestration, tatterdemalion, phosphene, and bruxism), but we all just received a big vocabulary boost with a single post!
Sarrriesfan
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 4:45:27 PM

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I forgot tatterdemalion, it's used as the name of a character in the Void and the Word series of books by Terry Brooks.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
RuthP
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 8:36:36 PM

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2) Aglet: The little piece of plastic on the end of your shoelaces. (Crossword puzzle fans know this one.) Yes and yes about crossword puzzles, too.

3) Grawlix: You know when cartoonists substitute a bunch of punctuation marks for curse words? They're using grawlix. Yes and it's good for Scrabble.

4) Borborygmus: A rumbling in your stomach. Time for lunch! Yes

8) Tatterdemalion: Some words just sound like their meaning. A tatterdemalion is somebody wearing tattered clothing. It can also be used as an adjective meaning tattered or ragged in appearance. Yes And if you read much Victorian lit you'll see it.

9) Tittle: The word tittle has got just one tittle in it, but this sentence has six—no, seven—more. It's the little dot above a lowercase j or i. Yes and usually as "a tittle and a jot", where "jot" derives from "iota" which was the smallest Greek letter. Biblical ref: Matthew V 18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." KJV

14) Sciapodous: Having large feet. Simple as that. No, and it bothers me, because "podous" is easy for "foot-ish", but the only "scia" root I'm aware of means "shade". There's "sciatica", but that's a corruption of "ischia" which means hip--which makes sense as sciatic pain comes around the hip or shooting down the leg. Wait, wait: Edit: Was this Gulliver's Travels or something else. These were the people who had one big foot (just one leg/foot) which they used to shade themselves. Was that Gulliver? Or was it something else?

16) Defenestrate: You've got to wonder about the kind of mind that thinks there needs to be a word for throwing someone out of a window. Yes, and it also means to put out someone's eye. The eyes being windows on the world, y'know.

17) Bruxism: Do you grind your teeth at night? Tell your dentist that you suffer from bruxism. Yes. Get into medical-type terms and I have a better chance.

18) Phosphene: While you're pandiculating, you might also press your knuckles into your eyes until little stars appear. Those specks of light are called phosphenes. Yes. More medical-type stuff.

20) Lemniscate: A figure 8 turned on its side—in other words, the infinity symbol. ?? A "lemniscus" is a figure 8. "Lemniscate" is an adjective, so the infinity symbol is lemniscate, but I'm not sure one can say it's a lemniscate. It is a lemniscate figure.

21) Obelus: The division symbol (÷), which we were surprised had an actual name. Yes, 'cause it's math stuff. The root is "spit" (for cooking) or "needle".

22) Preantepenultimate: Ultimate is last, penultimate is second-to-last, antepenultimate is third-to-last, which makes this the preantepenultimate word on this list. Hadn't heard this one, but could figure it out. When I was growing up--in the dark ages--one was told that in trying to pronounce Latin binomials (the scientific names for plants and animals, or bacteria for that matter) one should accent the antipenultimate syllable. It doesn't work well today, as that has passed out of favor. I am delighted to learn this one!
Marek Guman
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019 3:44:04 AM

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RuthP wrote:

14) Sciapodous: Having large feet. Simple as that. No, and it bothers me, because "podous" is easy for "foot-ish", but the only "scia" root I'm aware of means "shade". There's "sciatica", but that's a corruption of "ischia" which means hip--which makes sense as sciatic pain comes around the hip or shooting down the leg. Wait, wait: Edit: Was this Gulliver's Travels or something else. These were the people who had one big foot (just one leg/foot) which they used to shade themselves. Was that Gulliver? Or was it something else?


Yes, it is funny, it means shading with leg. (How do you make an adjective from "leg"?)



I found it comes from Greek, there are words like skiamachia (shadow fighting), skiagrapheima (outline, sketch).
And I found one English medical term - skiagraphy - the process of making a radiograph.

I tried to look it up in Gulliver's Travels on Gutenberg project but there is no sciapodous in it, probably it's from some other book.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019 3:57:37 AM

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2) Aglet: The little piece of plastic on the end of your shoelaces. (Crossword puzzle fans know this one.)
-I know this one as aguillette (the French word, used in the navy) - it's the similar thing, but made of gold, on a lanyard.


8) Tatterdemalion: Some words just sound like their meaning. A tatterdemalion is somebody wearing tattered clothing. It can also be used as an adjective meaning tattered or ragged in appearance. - a scarecrow.

9) Tittle: The word tittle has got just one tittle in it, but this sentence has six—no, seven—more. It's the little dot above a lowercase j or i. - or anything tiny.

16) Defenestrate: You've got to wonder about the kind of mind that thinks there needs to be a word for throwing someone out of a window. - a well-known 'accident' which seemed common in the Middle Ages.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
RuthP
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2019 2:23:57 PM

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Marek Guman wrote:
RuthP wrote:

14) Sciapodous: Having large feet. Simple as that. No, and it bothers me, because "podous" is easy for "foot-ish", but the only "scia" root I'm aware of means "shade". There's "sciatica", but that's a corruption of "ischia" which means hip--which makes sense as sciatic pain comes around the hip or shooting down the leg. Wait, wait: Edit: Was this Gulliver's Travels or something else. These were the people who had one big foot (just one leg/foot) which they used to shade themselves. Was that Gulliver? Or was it something else?


Yes, it is funny, it means shading with leg. (How do you make an adjective from "leg"?)



I found it comes from Greek, there are words like skiamachia (shadow fighting), skiagrapheima (outline, sketch).
And I found one English medical term - skiagraphy - the process of making a radiograph.

I tried to look it up in Gulliver's Travels on Gutenberg project but there is no sciapodous in it, probably it's from some other book.


Hah! You found it! That picture popped into my head after I'd posted my answer. I still cannot remember where I know it from. I looked up Gulliver's characters, and that's not it. It's probably some Greek fabulist. Thanks for finding the picture!
L.Rai
Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2019 12:18:26 AM

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I always tease my kids that if they don't behave I will throw them out the window and see if they can fly. Now I can use a new word and make this a learning moment..."I will defenestrate you and see if you can fly"....I love language learning.

"Your life matters more than you will ever know, so live it well"
coag
Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2019 10:37:48 AM

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"Window" is "Fenster" in German. That helped me when I saw "defenestration" first time.

'from Latin fenestra "window, opening for light,"'
(Online Etymology Dictionary)

It's interesting that German adopted a Latin word for "window" and English did not. In some other Germanic languages, the word is as follows.
Swedish: fönster
Dutch: venster
Dannish: vindue
Norwegian: vindu

When I stopped using Windows (operating system) in my home computer, I called that defenestration.
coag
Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2019 11:41:20 AM

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Joined: 3/27/2010
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With regard to 25) Tyrotoxism.

A guy, with whom I talked about these obscure words, brought to my attention "tiropita", which is cheese pie.

"Tiropita or tyropita (τυρóπιτα 'cheese-pie') is a Greek layered pastry food in the börek family, made with layers of buttered phyllo and filled with a cheese-egg mixture."
(Wikipedia)


I like tiropita-style cheese pie. It goes well with a glass of butter milk.

A guy, with whom I worked a long time ago, once said: "How can anyone eat cheese pie without butter milk?". At the time, it was just a funny statement to me, but I realized later that the guy had a point.
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