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All living languages are constantly changing: they are adding new words, changing and adding to the meanings of old words, and forgetting words which are no longer seen as being useful. English has lots of neat words which are rarely used in daily conversation. Some of these are listed below the infamous squiggle thing.

Mulibrity: this word describes the state of being a woman.

Aposiopesis: this describes the sudden breaking off of thought.

Crytoscopopilia: this is the urge to look through the windows of the homes that you pass by.

Hendiadys: this describes a figure of speech in which two connotative words are linked by a conjunction to express a complex notion that would normally be conveyed by an adjective and a substantive working together. I’m hoping that one of the grammarians here will explain this one more fully and perhaps in non-grammarian vocabulary.

Velleity: this describes a mild desire, wish, or urge which is too slight to lead to action.  

Ugsome: this is actually a late medieval word meaning loathsome or disgusting. While this word has fallen into disuse, it seems to be useful in describing parts of today’s political process.

Slubberdegullion: this is a seventeenth-century word which signifies a worthless or slovenly fellow. Perhaps we should consider re-invigorating this word as a way of describing certain politicians.

Polysemy: this refers to a word which has many meanings. For example, “fine” has fourteen definitions as an adjective, six as a noun, and two as an adverb.

Polyandry: this is an anthropological term which describes the marriage of one woman to two or more men at one time.

Arachibutryrophobia: this is the morbid fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. There are also many other “phobia” words describing different kinds of fears:

Phobia Crowds


Phobia Knees

Phobia Needles

Phobia Clowns

Originally posted to Ojibwa on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:36 AM PST.

Also republished by Pink Clubhouse and Cranky Grammarians.

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