“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.


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