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fundevogel's avatar

Improve a girls vocab will ya?

Asked by fundevogel (15489points) September 6th, 2010

One of the things that bugs me these days is that I don’t run into new words very often. However I suspect that collectively we probably know a fair number of not so common words. So how about you share some of the more esoteric words in your vocabulary with the rest of us? Definitions are appreciated.

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67 Answers

ratboy's avatar

Noisome: stinky.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Vexing – annoying.
Care for some medical terms? I have a sizable medical vocabulary.

Jeruba's avatar

fulsome: disgusting [ reference ]

enormity: horribleness [ reference ]

I hope we can get through this list without seeing “defenestrate.”

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Oculolinctus – a sexual fetish that involves licking a person’s eyeballs or having your eyeballs licked by another person.

fundevogel's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Medical terms are fine with me

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Antecubital fossa – triangular cavity of the elbow that contains a tendon of the biceps, the median nerve, and the brachial artery (aka the inside of your elbows.)

Oh, I almost forgot: sesquipedalian, meaning characterized by the use of big words

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Intussusception – when a segment of bowel invaginates into a more distal segment.
Invaginate – to push the wall of a cavity or hollow inwards.

muppetish's avatar

Hapax legomenon – “a word which occurs only once in either the written record of a language, the works of an author, or in a single text.” We came across a particular word in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight that was an example of this, but I cannot remember what it was. Tons of lurve if anyone can find it. My copy is buried under books.

Luciferous Logolepsy is a collection of “obscure” English words.

One of my favourite words is “gobbets” which I first read in Le Morte D’Arthur: “Right so came this damosel Linet before them all, and she had fetched all the gobbets of the head that Sir Gareth had thrown out at a window…”

My professor summarized this on the board for us as “defenestrated head gobbets” – or little hacked up pieces of head that had been pitched out the window :)

I love this question. I will be diligently writing words down.

Coloma's avatar


Thanks for that, really made my rocky road extra tasty. The little marshmallows and all. lol

Brian1946's avatar

Defenestrate- to throw a person or thing out a window.

Cynosure- the center of attention or attraction.

fundevogel's avatar

@muppetish “defenestrated head gobbets”

wow, there’s a phrase I’ve never encoutered before.

muppetish's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie I love words like antecubital fossa. I rarely stop and think what the names of certain things are… and when I learn them, it just stays with me. Like “aiglet” – the little plastic tip on the end of a shoelace.

@fundevogel It’s so much fun to say! We read all sorts of kooky things in Middle English texts. I’ve grown quite fond of them :)

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Fourb – a cheat, or impostor. Also spelled fourbe.
Quaaltagh – “The practice or custom of going in a group from door to door at Christmas or New Year, typically making a request for food or other gifts in the form of a song.”

fundevogel's avatar

sesquipedalian – given to using long words, containing many syllables

hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – fear of long words (har, har)

theophagy – the practice of eating gods

TexasDude's avatar

xenium- a gift given to a guest.

fundevogel's avatar

@muppetish “Like “aiglet” – the little plastic tip on the end of a shoelace.”

At some point a knew the word for those little strips of fabric that button down on shirt and jacket shoulders but it’s left me.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

white elephant: Something costly to maintain, possession of questionable value.
thrip: To snap one’s fingers
galea: A headache which covers the entire head
gaberlunzie: A wandering beggar or a harmless hobo
demiurge: The creator of a world, whether real or mythical
kamalayka: A shirt made of seal guts
zob: A worthless person
xenodochiophobia: A fear of foreign hotels
martext: A blundering preacher who stumbles through a sermon
microlipet: Someone who gets upset about trivial things
buffarilla: An extremely ugly young woman
vigesimation: The act of killing every twentieth person
rectalgia: A pain in the ass
qualtagh: The first person you see after leaving your house
quodlibertarian: A pedantic person who engages in elaborate arguments about minor things

Thank you so much for this question. I’ve got a new favorite web site.

fundevogel's avatar

@py_sue a thrip is also a major pain if they get into your garden

Coloma's avatar


Definition: No kicking ( for use around hooved mammels ) lol

Jeruba's avatar

My hope was in vain.

fundevogel's avatar

@Jeruba – Well you laid the ground for a classic literary prohibition/violation. You may as well have told Red to go straight to grandma’s. Is there a word for that? Designating a certain action as unacceptable and thereby ensuring it will happen?

Jeruba's avatar

Is it possible that I’m going to get to use apophasis twice in one week?

Ben_Dover's avatar

Wondrosity…It is a word I made up myself. It is self-explanatory.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Sweet holy moly.

But nugget: Little piece of s***; dumb, Boorish, idiot, dumbass times three.

Chicken head: Loose tramp or low class gold digger but not always for money.

Bucket: (same as ”hoopty”) An older ugly car where most accessories don’t work like radio, A/C, power window, etc.

Dumbstick: Male sex organ

Baby mama: The chicken head you was dumb enough to get pregnant

Conversa: Chat, talk, conversation

5 0: Pronounced “Five Oh”, cops, law enforcement

Toss up: Easy woman you can have no holds barred sex with, a freak

Booty bandit: One who buggers women even if they don’t care for it

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

hymenaios: a wedding song

rebbel's avatar

Cow: thing that goes moo.

Ben_Dover's avatar


FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Ben_Dover That word was already taken by @Brian1946.

Cruiser's avatar

I never ran into “stoichiometry” before I started my job here and is actually quite cool to mess with.

Britannica says…

Determination of the proportions (by weight or number of molecules) in which elements or compounds react with one another. The rules for determining stoichiometric relationships are based on the laws of conservation (see conservation law) of mass and energy and the law of combining weights (see equivalent weight) or volumes. The tools used are chemical formulas, chemical equations, atomic weights, and molecular weights or formula weights.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@Cruiser-That is handy info when making glazes ;)
—Eutectics is the word for what I do when formulating them—eu·tec·tic (y -t k t k). adj. 1. Of, relating to, or formed at the lowest possible temperature of solidification for any mixture of specified constituents

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Cruiser I had to do that with titrations in Chemistry at school. I was so bad my margin of error was around 18%.

Cruiser's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille and when making body oils! ;)

@FireMadeFlesh Dang! I thankfully didn’t have to do the chemistry thing in High school but kinda wish I did doing what I am now doing. You had to throw “titrations” in there! Show off!!

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Cruiser I’m actually quite glad its over – by the end it started to get to me. What exactly do you do?

Cruiser's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I formulate and manufacture adhesives and coatings.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Cruiser Interesting. I hope you had nothing to do with these adhesives.

bob_'s avatar

Schadenfreude: to derive pleasure from the misfortune of others.

ucme's avatar

Bouncebackability: Able to overcome setbacks with panache & vigour :¬)

wundayatta's avatar

gallimaufry n. a hodgepodge, jumble; a mixture of diverse things

incondite badly put together; crude.

haptic 1: relating to, or based on the sense of touch. 2: characterized by a predilection for the sense of touch.

lacuna n. 1: a blank space or a missing part; gap. 2: a small cavity, pit, or discontinuity in an anatomical structure.

risible n. 1: causing or capable of causing laughter; laughable; comical. 2: having the ability to, or disposition to laugh. 3: of or relating to laugher or used in laughing (e.g. ‘risible muscles’).

turophile n. a connoisseur of cheese; a cheese fancier.

abecedarian adj. 1a: of or relating to the alphabet. b: alphabetically arranged. 2: rudimentary.

paronomasia n. the use of a word in different senses or the use of words similar in sound to achieve a specific effect, as humor or a dual meaning; pun.

woodnote n. verbal expression that is natural and artless.

ben trovato adj. characteristic or appropriate even if not true.

algid adj. chilly, cold.

piste n. 1: a trail, especially a downhill ski trail. 2: the area used for fencing.

tinyfaery's avatar

From my word of the day app:
kenspeckle: Conspicuous; easily seen or recognized.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Strange- Lady Gaga
Cheedle- the cheese residue on your fingers after eating Cheetos
Bleemus- the film that forms over the top of soup
Odd- Lady Gaga
Gynecologist- educated person who gets paid to fiddle and tinker with female genitals
Midwife- smart woman who knows the doctor just screwed up
Weird- Lady Gaga
Blossor- your hairstyle after wearing a ballcap
Flarpswitch- lightswitch in your home that has no function
Creepy- Lady Gaga
Photograph- part of your soul that has been captured on paper
Pretzaline- the salt at the bottom of a pretzel bag
Disturbing- Lady Gaga
Chocolate- an orgasm for your mouth

ipso's avatar

“Esoteric” words are not as ameliorative as exacting words. Look for the inimitable, the trenchant; look for the intrepid, the redoubtable words! (But without being too capricious, puerile, or stultifying.)

Strive for equanimity and edification equally, but with an eye for the puissant!


Favorite terms:
– Coup d’oeil – absolute favorite term of all time!! The general’s first second understanding of a battlefield.
– Polysemous – as in a billboard that can be interpreted soundly X different ways, embracing the lurid and the righteous and everything in between equally – on their own terms. Or like reading Shakespeare multiple times and conjuring unique interpretations each.
– Tessellation – as in M. C. Escher’s work, or fractals, ..or so many things.
– Pukka – because it’s perfect. It’s pukka.
– Koozie – as in my Glamis koozie kicks ass!

nebule's avatar

Hoon: Referred to in Australia as someone usually young person who fools around. Originally a racing term – hooning around was racing with excessive speedingm skids etc.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@lynneblundell I had no idea that was an exclusively Australian term!

Bogan – An Australian term for an uncouth, classless person, typified by flannel shirts, bare feet and unemployment (although none of these are compulsory). The word is often used by people in a friendly, humorous way, and there are no offensive connotations.

nebule's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh well as far as I’m aware it originated in Australia and New Zealand, I heard about it on a radio show in the UK

fundevogel's avatar

mollycoddle – to be overprotective and indulgent

Hobosnake's avatar

Try not to be too ostentatious of a sesquipedalian, as your words can become a flow of soporific balderdash, leading to the floccinaucinihilipilification that can cause copious amounts of ennui. If you find yourself getting that egregious it’s time for a little perspicacious cogitation regarding your use of such a bombastic repertoire over the simple vernacular.

Hobosnake's avatar

Sorry for all the brouhaha; I just couldn’t resist.

augustlan's avatar

@Hobosnake I just used “brouhaha” this weekend, with my kids. They told they can’t help but laugh when I use words that sound ridiculous to describe a serious situation. I said they were lucky I didn’t use kerfuffle, instead!

augustlan's avatar

Ooh, here’s one I just stumbled upon: Pilcrow. I had no idea that the paragraph symbol had a name!

bob_'s avatar

@augustlan You thought it was like Prince’s symbol? XD

augustlan's avatar

@bob_ Pretty much. :p

augustlan's avatar

@bob_ Mind blown. My favorite expression from the list is “Vulgar fraction”. What would a fraction have to do to be considered vulgar?

bob_'s avatar

@augustlan I don’t know, it swears and stuff? XD

fundevogel's avatar

In case any of you fine wordsmiths are interested in saving endangered words you might head over to Save the Words and pledge to keep a word like pugnastics (displays of pugilistic ability) or gutturniform (shaped like a water pitcher) in circulation.


jiggery-pokery – n trickery, hocus-pocus; fraud

jodhpurs – n riding breeches cut very full over the hips and tapering at the knees to become tightfitting from the knees to the ankles

boondoggle – n a product of simple manual skill, work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy, a project funded by the federal government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation

myriander – adj consisting of 10,000 men

quim – n female genitals

augustlan's avatar

Are ‘jodhpurs’ and ‘boondoggle’ really endangered? I didn’t even think they were particularly esoteric. It’s worse than I imagined. :/

fundevogel's avatar

Those are just words I like. Probably not endangered but then again I don’t know the last time ‘jodhpurs’ came up in conversation.

augustlan's avatar

We should make it a point to use it today. :)

nebule's avatar

<<< racking her brains trying to slip boondoggle into the conversation…

Nimis's avatar

My 11-year-old niece taught me a new term this week! I thought she was pulling my leg at first because it totally sounds made-up. Ha.

glottal fry

wildpotato's avatar

Montane – of or inhabiting mountainous country
Autochthonous – indigenous rather then descended from colonists or migrants (Antonym: Allochthonous)
Mammon – wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion
Syntonicity – understanding something by identifying with it (rather than by grasping it as an abstract concept)

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