Words for Sesquipedalians : A Compendium of Fun Words

A collection of fun words and idioms I’ve come across. Feel free to chip in in the comments if you know any good ones :)

Words

      • ansatz – In physics and mathematics, educated guess serving as starting point for result that verifies it.
      • arete – Excellence esp. in reaching your highest potential
      • armamentarium – 1. The medicines, equipment, and techniques available to a medical practitioner.
        2. The resources available for a certain purpose: “the entire armamentarium of electronic surveillance”
      • avoidupois – Heaviness or weight.
      • bhav (भाव) – (Hindi) Interaction that stems from an understanding of how relationships are formed, through positive, friendly behavior
      • bibulous – excessively fond of drinking alcohol
      • brogate – To abolish, do away with, or annul, especially by authority.
      • bruit – (v) spread rumour (n) rumour; also abnormal sound or murmur in auscultation
      • aleatory – Insertion of chance into the process of creation.
      • alogia – (Greek α-, “without”, and λόγος, “speech”), or poverty of speech, is a general lack of additional, unprompted content seen in normal speech
      • antimetabole – repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed grammatical order
      • bowellian – An assiduous and devoted admirer, student, and recorder of another’s words and deeds
      • bromidic/bromide – unoriginal, ordinary, dull / he uttered another of his bromides
      • cafuné – act of running one’s fingers through a lover’s hair
      • caitiff – contemptible or cowardly person
      • calumny – a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions
      • captious – tending to find fault or raise petty objections
      • catachresis – use an existing word to denote something that has no name in the current language
      • catawampus – askew
      • celerity – Swiftness of action or motion; speed
      • cenacle – clique or circle esp. literary, small dining room on upper floor
      • changeling – A child secretly exchanged for another.
      • chiaroscuro – light/dark contrast to bring features out in a painting
      • chiasmus – two or more clauses are related to each other through a reversal of structures in order to make a larger point (A B B A)
      • clerisy – distinct class of learned or literary people
      • contretemps – An unforeseen event that disrupts the normal course of things; an inopportune occurrence.
      • coruscant – glittering, sparkling
      • crispate – wavy or notched and curled very irregularly
      • demimondaine – a woman whose sexual promiscuity places her outside respectable society
      • dépanneur – (verb dépanner, meaning “to help out of difficulty”) Quebec corner shop
      • deracinate – tear something up by the roots, displace from native environment
      • desideratum – Something considered necessary or highly desirable
      • détente – easing of strained relations in a political situation
      • disjunctive – lacking connection
      • dithyramb – 1. A frenzied, impassioned choric hymn and dance of ancient Greece in honor of Dionysus. 2. An irregular poetic expression suggestive of the ancient Greek dithyramb. 3. A wildly enthusiastic speech or piece of writing
      • divaricated – spread-out, divergent, especially of a branch etc. which is at nearly ninety degrees to the main stem
      • druthers – a choice or preference.
      • elide – omit (sound, syllable) when speaking: “elided consonants or vowels”, join together; merge.
      • elision – The omission of a sound or syllable when speaking (as in I’m, let’s, e’en), An omission of a passage in a book, speech, or film
      • eldritch – unearthly, alien, supernatural, weird, spooky, eerie
      • embonpoint – The plump or fleshy part of the body, in particular a woman’s bosom
      • encomium – warm, glowing praise:a tribute
      • epigone – less distinguished follower or imitator, esp. of an artist or philosopher
      • eschaton – the final days, end of the days
      • estivation – act of spending summer in torpor, summer equivalent of hiberation
      • etiolated – having lost vigor or substance; feeble.
      • farrago – a confused mixture
      • fernweh – farsickness, a longing to explore far places, a sickness from staying too long at home
      • fuliginous – sooty, smoky
      • funambulist – a tightrope walker
      • gewgaw – useless thing
      • gezelligheid – (Dutch) depending on context, can be translated as convivial, cosy, fun, quaint, or nice atmosphere, but can also connote belonging, time spent with loved ones, the fact of seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness that gives a warm feeling. The only common trait to all descriptions of gezelligheid is a rather general and abstract sensation of individual well-being that one typically shares with others.
      • heass – the general designation of the donkey used for carrying burdens
      • horology – the science of measuring time
      • hypnopompic – of or relating to the state immediately preceding waking up
      • inamorata – a woman with whom one is in love or has an intimate relationship
      • incarnadine – bright crimson or pinkish-red color
      • indurated – hardened; abnormally hard.
      • ingenue – A naive, innocent girl or young woman
      • ingrate – ungrateful person
      • iniqiuty – Gross immorality or injustice; wickedness
      • invidious – likely to arouse or incur resentment or anger in others
      • irenic – promoting peace, concilatory
      • irredentist – One who advocates the recovery of territory culturally or historically related to one’s nation but now subject to a foreign government.
      • jejune – naïve, simplistic, lacking maturity, juvenile.
      • jeremiad – prolonged lamentation or complaint
      • kaffeeklatsch – an informal social gathering for coffee and conversation
      • kawaii – the quality of cuteness in the context of Japanese culture
      • lapidary – 1. (of language) engraved on or suitable for engraving on stone and therefore elegant and concise. 2. of or relating to stone and gems and the work involved in engraving, cutting, or polishing.
      • kiasi-ism – (Singapore) Takign extreme measures to avoid risk (literally translated as “fear of death”)
      • kiasu-ism – (Singapore) Overcompetitiveness, always trying to get ahead, selfishness (literal translation is “fear of losing”)
      • libation – The act of drinking an intoxicating beverage.
      • lollygag – dawdle, spend time aimlessly
      • louche – of questionable or morality; decadent
      • lyceum – a type of secondary school
      • mammon – material greed or wealth, avarice
      • marmite – apart from the usual meaning of a toast spread, something people either love or hate
      • mawkish – sentimental in a feeble or sickly way
      • mendacious – lying, false, untruthful
      • mephitic – poisonous or foul-smelling
      • meretricious – Appealing in a cheap or showy manner: tawdry, Based on pretense or insincerity
      • morganatic – Of or being a legal marriage between a person of royal or noble birth and a partner of lower rank, in which it is agreed that no titles or estates of the royal or noble partner are to be shared by the partner of inferior rank nor by any of the offspring of the marriage.
      • navvy – A laborer, especially one employed in construction or excavation projects.
      • nichevo (ничего) – 1) tolerable, not too bad but could be better 2) something inessential, not grave 3) nothing
      • noosphere – Sphere of human thought
      • nostrum – quack medicine, ineffective medicine from unqualified person
      • nugatory – of little value or importance, useless, futile
      • obloquy – Abusively detractive language or utterance; calumny
      • obstreperous – Noisy and difficult to control
      • on the QT – in secrecy, not openly wrt gossip heard on the QT : from LA Confidential
      • oneiromancy – interpretation of dreams to foretell future
      • opsimath – a person who continues to learn late in life
      • otiose – serving no useful purpose; having no excuse for being
      • pabulum – food, intellectual sustenance, something (as writing or speech) that is insipid, simplistic, or bland
      • palaver – Prolonged and idle discussion
      • palimpsest – A palimpsest is a manuscript page from a scroll or book that has been scraped off and used again
      • panopticon – prison where an observer can observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates of an institution without them being able to tell whether or not they are being watched.
      • papperlapapp – (German) nonsense. Other German synonyms are Quark, Quatsch, Blödsinn, Klimbim, Idiotie, Dummschnack.
      • parlous – perilous,dangerous
      • parvenu – A person who has suddenly risen to a higher social and economic class and has not yet gained social acceptance by others in that class
      • peccadillos – A small sin or fault
      • picayune – Of little value or importance; paltry
      • pickwickian – Marked by generosity, naivete, or innocence. Not intended to be taken in a literal sense.
      • pindarising – of or like Pindar, ancient Greek poet (wrote wondeful, magical poetry)
      • pishogue – magic, witchcraft; a spell
      • potboiler – low-quality creative work produced merely to make the creator a living
      • pother – a commotion, agitated talk, a choking cloud of dust
      • prognathic – Having jaws that project forward to a marked degree.
      • proprioception – sense of relative positioning of body parts and effort exerted in motion
      • prurient – characterized by an inordinate interest in sex, salacious, lascivious
      • puckish – playful esp. in a mischievous way.
      • pulchritude – comeliness, beauty
      • pule – cry querolously or weakly
      • punnet – (Cookery) Chiefly Brit a small basket for fruit, such as strawberries
      • quisling – A traitor who collaborates with an enemy force occupying their country
      • quoits – (used with a sing. verb) A game in which flat rings of iron or rope are pitched at a stake, with points awarded for encircling it.
      • traduce – To cause humiliation or disgrace to by making malicious and false statements
      • turgid – 1. Swollen and distended or congested: “a turgid and fast-moving river”. 2. (of language or style) Tediously pompous or bombastic: “some turgid verses on the death of Prince Albert”.
      • rebarbative – unattractive and objectionable
      • rebus – A representation of words in the form of pictures or symbols, often presented as a puzzle
      • recondite – abstruse
      • regnant – adj. ruling, reigning
      • reify – making something abstract more concrete or real
      • saltation – (biology) abrupt evolutionary change, sudden large-scale mutation; (geology) downwind movement of particles in a series of jumps or skips
      • salubrious – Promoting health
      • saturnine – slow and gloomy
      • saudade – yearning for a person or place left behind
      • segue – proceed without interruption; in music or talk
      • sesquipedalian – a lover of obscure words
      • shebeen – An unlicensed drinking establishment, especially in Ireland, Scotland, and South Africa
      • shibboleth – catchword, refrain, slogan.
      • shill – person who publicly helps a person or organization without disclosing that he has a close relationship with them esp. in gambling
      • sonder – the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own http://i.imgur.com/NF6K7.gif
      • sparge – moisten by sprinkling or splashing
      • spoondolicks – moolah
      • sprezzatura – (Italian) studied carelessness
      • sylph – 1. a spirit of the air 2. a thin, slender girl
      • tatterdemalion – wearing torn, ragged clothing
      • tchotchke – a small bauble or miscellaneous item; depending on context, the term has a connotation of worthlessness or disposability as well as tackiness
      • tenebrous – dark, shadowy or obscure
      • terpsichorean – of or relating to dancing
      • tricorn – cocked hat with the brim turned up to form three points
      • tureen – broad, deep, usually covered dish used for serving foods such as soups or stews
      • turpitude – depravity, wickedness
      • usufructuary – one having the right to use or enjoy a thing
      • valetudinarian – person who is unduly anxious about their health, sickly person
      • vibrissae – long stiff whisker hairs in animals, bristlelike feathers
      • verboten – forbidden, prohibited esp. by authority
      • verklempt – overcome with emotion
      • weltschmerz – world weariness from mismatch between ideal and real world; tinged with yearning
      • wildcatter – a prospector who sinks exploratory oil wells, a risky investor
      • williwaw – sudden, violent squall blowing offshore from mountainous coast
      • yokel – An uneducated and unsophisticated person from the countryside.
      • zeitgeist – the spirit of the times.

 

Idioms

    • damascene conversion – a volte-face from disbelieving to believing, ref Conversion of Paul
    • de haut en bas – in a condescending or superior manner
    • je ne sais quoi – an intangible quality that makes something distinctive or attractive
    • mano-a-mano – hand to hand, one on one, esp. with intense competition.
    • noblesse oblige – (French) Whoever claims to be noble must conduct himself nobly.
    • pascalian wager – From Pascal’s Wager, favouring one side of an argument, knowing there is no evidence either way, because one feels more is gained that way.
    • Qui aime bien châtit bien – One is loved is also chastised well
    • salad days – an idiomatic expression, referring to a youthful time, accompanied by the inexperience, enthusiasm, idealism, innocence, or indiscretion that one associates with a young person
    • shikata ga nai – it’s beyond my control, it can’t be helped.
    • très soigné – impeccable, elegant, perfect.

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