“The English language has more words in its lexicon than any other,” says Jerry Herron, dean of WSU‘s Irvin D. Reid Honors College and a member of the website’s editorial board. “By making use of the repertoire available to us, we expand our ability to communicate clearly and help make our world a more interesting place. Bringing these words back into everyday conversation is just another way of broadening our horizons.”

Absquatulate   

  • To discreetly leave a gathering or party without informing the host.
  • At the party, I made such a fool of myself that I felt it was best to absquatulate after a half hour.

 

Sockdolager

  • Something that settles a matter; a decisive blow or answer.
  • On the playground, “I know you are, but what am I” is the ultimate sockdolager to many an argument.

 

Hebetude 

  • Mental dullness or lethargy.
  • Free-roaming domestic cats compensate for their depredations on wildlife –and the intellectual hebetude of their owners– by dying much sooner than indoor cats.

 

Paroxysm

  • A sudden, uncontrollable outburst.
  • Leonard was surprised, to say the least, when his pledge of love sent Emily into paroxysms of laughter.

 

Fantods

  • A state of extreme anxiety, nervousness or distress; the willies to the max.
  • Jeremy’s love for islands was tempered by the fact that driving over high bridges always gave him the raging fantods.

 

Degust

  • Taste (something) carefully, so as to appreciate it fully.
  • He savored the meal, pausing to degust every morsel.

 

Desuetude(Des’ wi tyood).

  • Obsolescence; a state of disuse.
  • Knowing the regrettable desuetude of manners today, I wasn’t surprised that no one thanked me for their gifts.

 

Knavery

  • A roguish or mischievous act.
  • His presidency was founded on malice, lies and knavery.

 

Torpid

  • Mentally or physically inactive; lethargic.
  • The torpid teen sat on the couch shoveling chips into his mouth, his eyes never breaking from Cartoon Network.

 

Acedia

  • Spiritual or mental sloth; apathy.
  • When she broke up with him, he fell into a state of acedia and didn’t leave the apartment for two months.

 

Lissome

  • Thin, supple and graceful.
  • She was enraptured with ballet from the moment she saw the lissome dancers glide across the stage.

For more underused words, visit the word warriors site.


Responses

  1. Psy

    Quite an interesting array of words, Deniz! 🙂 Funny how degust sounds so similar to disgust, yet they have completely different meanings.

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