26 weird, old-school English words to add to your vocabulary

  • These might not help you get a better grade in your exams, but if you are a logophile (lover of words), they will put a smile on your face
  • Just make sure you don’t use them all at once; you don’t want anyone calling you a blatherskite
Karly Cox |

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Weird words are wonderful, so why not add them to you vocabulary?

While we usually share all sorts of useful words and phrases to use on your English exams, here, we’ve put together a list of words that probably won’t help you at all. Instead, these are some old-fashioned words that put a smile on our faces – and hopefully on yours too.

We don’t recommend you use the following words in any of your essays for any subjects. It’s fun to learn their meanings and drop them into conversation, just to make life a bit more interesting.

The weird words we should bring back

1. anguilliform (an-GWILL-i-form)– resembling an eel

2. apricity (ah-PRI-sity) – the warmth of the sun in winter

23 time idioms to make your writing more interesting

3. benthos – the plants and animals found at the bottom of a lake or sea

4. blatherskite – someone who talks for a long time without making much sense

5. borborygmus (bor-buh-RIG-mus) – the scientific term for the noise your tummy makes when it rumbles

6. cacoethes (ka-ko-EE-theez) – an urge to do something you shouldn’t/ inadvisable

7. chad – the tiny round piece of paper produced with a hole punch

8. chiliad (KIL-ee-ad) – a group of 1,000 things

9. deglutition (dee-glu-TISH-un) – the action of swallowing

10. deipnosophist (dype-NOH-so-fist) – someone who’s really good at dinner-table conversation

11. entomophagy (en-tuh-MOF-ah-jee) – the practice of eating insects

12. eucatastrophe (yu-kuh-TAS-tro-fee) – a happy ending

13. flocculent (flok-yu-lent) – having, or looking like it has, tufts of wool (not to be confused with “flatulent”, which means having gas in the stomach so you need to fart!)

14. gasconade (gas-kuh-nade) – extravagant boasting

15. incunabulum (in-kyu-NAB-yu-lum) – a printed book published before 1501. It comes from Latin for the cloths used to wrap a newborn baby, reflecting that books before this time were works of a very new technology

16. ingurgitate – to swallow something greedily

17. logomachy (luh-GOM-uh-kee) – an argument about words

18. mumsimus – a tradition that people follow even though it has been shown to be unreasonable

19. noctambulist – a sleepwalker

20. paraph (par-aff) – a flourish after a signature

21. sternutator (STIR-new-tay-ter) – something that causes sneezing

22. Tellurian (tell-YUR-ee-un) – related to, or living on Earth

23. umbriferous (um-BRIF-uh-rus) – shady

24. velleity (veh-LEE-uh-tee) – a wish or desire, but one that isn’t strong enough for you to do anything about

25. xenology (zen-o-lo-jee) – the study of aliens

26. zoolatry (zoo-ol-a-tree) – the worship of animals, either by ancient religions, or by really, really fond pet lovers

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