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More Weird Words

By Edited Jul 1, 2015 2 3

For you lexophiles...

Below are more selections from the Weird Word list. As before, the italicized form, uh, in the pronunciation guidelines indicates the schwa, the neutral vowel in English such as the a in alone, e in system i in easily, o in gallop and u in circus.

barbel  \  BAHR-buhl  \  noun                                                                                          1.  a slender, external process on the jaw or other part of the head of certain fishes.    2.  any of various cyprinoid fishes of the genus Barbus, especially B. barbus of European waters.

catfish
Credit: Wikipedia Commons

"Barbel" by Pearson Scott Foresman

Note: Anyone who has felt the sting of a catfish barbel is a lot more careful when he frees the next bullhead from his fishhook.

deipnosophist   \  dahyp-NOS-uh-fist \  noun                                                                   a person who is an adept conversationalist at table, though one whose facts you should not trust. The latter half of the word, sophist, means one cunning at making skillful but fallacious arguments.

dord  \  noun                                                                                         a “ghost word” printed in the 1934 Webster’s New International Dictionary and defined as a noun used by physicists and chemists meaning “density.” In sorting and separating abbreviations from words in preparation of the second addition a card marked “D or d,” meaning the symbol scientists use for “density,” somehow migrated from the “abbreviations” stack to the “words” stack and ended up being typeset as a word, dord. The error was not discovered until 1939.

erinaceous \ er-uh-NEY-shuhs \ , adjective
of the hedgehog kind or family.

fainaigue \ fuh-NEYG\  verb                                                                 1.  to shirk; evade work or responsibility.                                               2.  to renege at cards.

logomachy  \ loh-GOM-uh-kee \   noun                                              1.  a dispute about or concerning words.                                                 2. a debate or argument marked by the reckless or incorrect use of words; meaningless battle of words.

mulligrubs  \  MUHL-i-gruhbz  \  noun (used with singular or plural verb) Southern US                                                                         a whole bunch of larvae. No, just kidding. It actually means ill temper; colic; grumpiness. Origin: A mispronunciation of megrims, which means low spirits, which is in turn a mispronunciation of migraine, an extremely severe headache.

nostomania  \ nos-tuh-MEYN-nee-uh \ noun                                                                     intense homesickness; an irresistible compulsion to return home.

obfuscate  \  OB-fuh-skeyt  \  verb (used with object)                                                                 to confuse, bewilder or stupefy. Note: What politicians do when they bloviate (see earlier Weird Words article).

politician bloviating
Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Politician bloviating -- a cartoon from Punch

obnubilate \ ob-NOO-buh-leyt \ verb                                                                                           to cloud over; becloud (to obfuscate)

omphaloskepsis  \  om-fuh-loh-SKEP-sis \  noun                                                           contemplation of one's navel as part of a mystical exercise.

onomasticon  \ on-uh-MAS-ti-kon, -kuhn \  noun                                                                      1.  a list or collection of proper names                                                                                              2.  a list of specialized terms, as those used in a particular field or subject area.

potvaliant  \  POT-val-yuhnt  \ adjective                                                                               brave only as a result of being drunk. Related forms: potvaliantly, potvalor, potvaliancy.   Note: This gets a lot of people in trouble.

sesquipedalian \ ses-kwi-pi-DEY-lee-uhn \ adjective                                                                   1.  given to use of long words                                                                                                            2.  (of a word) containing many syllables

Note 1: Mark Twain made great use of this in a short story which made fun of a pretentious hat drummer (salesman) who misused big words.

Note 2: Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (fear of long words) was derived from the above word. It’s an extension of sesquidelian with monstrum (monster) and a truncated, misspelled form of hippopotamus, intended to exaggerate the length of the word and the idea of the size of the words being feared. All that with phobia tacked on at the end. Admittedly, whoever came up with this word had a sense of humor.

Note 3: No one has probably ever used these words in a conversation. It’s likely that hippopoto-whatever-it-is cannot even be pronounced.

Hippo Mouth
Credit: Wikipedia Commons
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Comments

Jun 28, 2015 11:50pm
StefanCollins
Interesting, but there's a typo:
"see earkier Weird Words article" - and a link to the earlier article would be nice.
Jul 1, 2015 11:03am
lemay246
Oops! Thanks, Stefan. By the way, I enjoy your articles.
Jul 20, 2015 9:02pm
asereht1970
I love reading articles that teach how to pronounce words properly and tells what is the meaning of that word. Your collection of words here are so new to me. I didn't even know that we have such words, except for barbel. Very informative article.
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