My Word! — 20 Underused Words in the English Language

Daniel Vanderkin Words Leave a Comment

Erstwhile in my life, I have been known to gambol while smelling the sweet petrichor and enjoying the mellifluous voice of a loved one…

Or perhaps this is just bunkum filled with gadzookery

My, my, isn’t the English language a vast and obscure one?

A recent post I came across inspired me to look into some of the more underused, albeit superfluous, words of this great language. From that research I compiled a list of the 20 words that stood out to me as the most obscure, fun to say, or beautifully sounding:

  1. Apricity
    (n.) – The warmth of the Sun in Winter.
  2. Basiate
    (v.) – To kiss.
  3. Bunkum
    (n.) – Empty or misleading talk; rubbish; nonsense.
  4. Cachinnate
    (v.) – To laugh loudly.
  5. Chelonian
    (adj.) – Of, or pertaining to, Chelonians (a turtle, terrapin, or tortoise).
  6. Dragoon
    (v.) – Forcing, or coercing, someone into doing something they’d rather not.
  7. Erstwhile
    (adj.) – At one time; for a time; former.
  8. Gadzookery
    (n.) – The use or archaism; tushery.
  9. Gambol
    (v.) – To skip or leap about joyfully.
  10. Lambent
    (adj.) – (of light or fire) gleaming, glowing, or flickering with a soft radiance.
  11. Meliorism
    (n.) – Believing the world can be made better by human effort.
  12. Mellifluous
    (adj.) – (of a voice or words) sweet or musical; pleasant to hear.
  13. Omphaloskepsis
    (n.) – Contemplation of one’s navel (as an aide to meditation).
  14. Ossify
    (v.) – To become rigid or inflexible in habits, attitudes, opinions, etc.
  15. Panacea
    (n.) – A solution for all problems.
  16. Persiflage
    (n.) – Light, and slightly contemptuous, mockery or banter; frivolous talk.
  17. Petrichor
    (n.) – The scent of rain on dry earth.
  18. Skulduggery
    (n.) – Underhanded, or unscrupulous, behavior; trickery.
  19. Velleity
    (n.) – A wish, or inclination, not strong enough to lead to action.
  20. Verisimilitude
    (n.) – The appearance of being true, or real.

What are some favorites from this list?

Which words are missing and should be added?

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