CIP School in the Phils.


on July 12, 2012

We all know by now that English, the most widely spoken language on Earth, is a crazy language.

It has the most inconsistent rules of any language, which effectively makes it the most confusing tongue of all. It also happens to have the widest vocabulary, some two million words to be exact, since, among other things, it happily takes words from just about any other language and makes those its own. Coining words from out of nowhere is also quite common; just check out these slang words for more intimate body parts of the female anatomy.


The result? A dictionary that contains some of the most obscure terms that we would never think of using in the real world, except when playing Scrabble or trying to impress academic snobs who probably don’t have any idea what they mean in the first place. Here are 35 of them.

1. abacinate

To blind by holding a red-hot metal plate before someone’s eyes

2. borborygmus

The rumbling/growling sound produced by the movement of gas through the intestines of humans and animals

3. butyraceous

Resembling butter in appearance, consistency, or chemical properties

4. callipygian

Having shapely buttocks

5. cockalorum

A self-important little man

6. defenestrate

To throw someone out of a window

7. depone

To testify under oath

8. erinaceous

Like a hedgehog

9. famulus

A private secretary or attendant, especially used to describe an assistant to a magician or scholar

10. finnimbrun

A trinket or knick-knack

11. flibbertigibbet

A silly, scatterbrained, or garrulous person

12. floccinaucinihilipilification

An act or instance of judging something to be worthless or trivial

13. inaniloquent

Given to talking inanely

14. interrobang

A nonstandard English-language punctuation mark which is a combination of an exclamation and question mark


15. lamprophony

loudness and clarity of enunciation

16. limerence

An attempt at a scientific study into the nature of romantic love

17. liripipe

The long tail of a graduate’s hood

18. mesonoxian

Of or related to midnight

19. mumpsimus

A view stubbornly held even when proven to be wrong

20. nudiustertian

The day before yesterday

21. omphaloskepsis

Navel-gazing, mostly as an aid to meditation

22. phenakism

Deception or trickery

23. pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

A lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust causing inflammation in the lungs; the longest word ever to appear in an English language dictionary

24. pronk

A weak or foolish person

25. pulveratricious

Covered with dust

26. rastaquouere

A social upstart, especially from a Mediterranean or Latin American country

27. scopperloit

rough or rude play

28. selcouth

Rarely known; unusual; strange

29. syzygy

Astrological term pertaining to an event where 3 or more heavenly bodies line up

30. tintinnabulate

To ring or to tinkle a bell

31. tyrotoxism

Poisoning by cheese or any milk product

32. ultracrepidate

To criticize beyond one’s sphere of knowledge

33. widdiful

One who deserves hanging

34. zabernism

The misuse or abuse of military power or authority

35. zyzzyva



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