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Rare words and their meanings


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so after a bit of a dissapointment with the "Great words" thread, i decided to dedicate a thread to rather rare and mystique and rarely used words and their meanings. This time, its like Great words, but posting a meaning is a MUST DO.


i will start you off with the list of words i have defined in the other thread, also i will add definitions to words i have posted today, and lastly i will add a few more words just to tickle the linguists :confused:


Oh, these are all real words, to my best belief i have not come up with any (in this list) but feel free to call me on that :hihi:




epeolatry - worship of words


acquiesce - satisfy

fen - swamp


atrabilious - bad-tempered or irritable


absquatulate - depart

copacetic - good or even excellent


alexipharmic - having a nature of an antidote (i like this one cuz it has my name in it :P )


esculent - edible


empasm - a powder-like ancient medicine used to take the smell away...


pinguescence - the process of becoming fat :)


kerfuffle - commotion


nychthemeron - period of one day (24 hrs)


yclept - by the name of, as in "there lives a mechanic yclept Willy"


triscadecaphobia - fear of the number 13


haptic - in relation to a touching or feeling sensation


oyez - call to attention


thaumaturgy - performance of miracles


onomasticon - dictionary of names


hypnobioscope - device for learning while asleep (fictional)


jingoism - war-like or aggressive patriotism


zymurgy - the art or practice of fermentation (can you say mmm beer)


umquhile - word relating to others being erstwhile and quondam (which are two more words for you) meaning formerly, previously


quondam - having been formerly, former, sometime


erstwhile - former, archaic


epopoeia - a type of epopee, an epic poem


quocker-wodger - a wooden pupet on a string (perfect for swearing)


anfractuosity - a channel, canal or passage full of windings and turns


floccinaucinihilipilification - an estimation of something as being worthless


scopperloit - rude or rough play


depone - testify under oath


amblygon - obtuse triangle


nihilarian - person who deals with unimportant things


selcouth - rare, strange, marvelous, wonderful


exude - emit


quidnunc - gossip


agnomen - nickname


doppelganger - someone resembling a person (usually evil)


I dunno if anyone has been waiting for the definitions, but here is the list of today's words definitions:


culiage - the right of the lord to spend the first knight with his subject's new bride

demegoric - relating to public speaking

arenaceous - having the texture of sand

deisidiamonia - fear of supernatural powers

huderon - lazy (adj)

pataphysics - The science of imaginary solutions

inhebetate - To make something obtuse, dull or blunt

gulosity - excessive appetite; greediness, voracity


and finally a few more to tickle the brain a little more ;)


noology - study of intuition and comprehension


solecism - error in grammar or wording


makari - archaic Scottish term for poet


sauterne - a sweet wine


scabiosa - a not-so-nice way of saying "pretty flower" (mainly due to words roots)


blarney - flattery designed to gain favor


vernorexia - a romantic mood inspired by Spring



enjoy, post your own wonders, and untill next time :P

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The common name of Scabiosa is scabious, probably because it was once used to treat scabs and other skin problems. If it were still as popular as formerly it would no doubt have been renamed for marketing purposes - an important consideration, as the producers of borage oil and rapeseed oil realised when they repackaged them as starflower and canola respectively. :turtle:

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lethonomia - inability to recall names

apodyopsis - the act of mentally undressing someone

dysania - state of finding it hard to get out of bed


here are some cool 3 letter words that are rather rarely used :naughty:


(reference: Word List: Three-Letter Words)

aba - garment of camel or goat hair; camel or goat-hair fabric

abb - yarn used for warp

aby - to make amends; atone; pay a penalty

ait - small island in lake or river

ala - membranous outgrowth on a plant or animal

alb - long white robe worn by priests

alk - sap or resin from turpentine trees

alt - high musical tone

ama - a Japanese pearl-diver

ana - in equal quantities

ard - plough used to scratch top surface of soil

awn - beard or similar bristly growth on stalk of grain

bar - unit of pressure of one million dynes per square centimeter

bee - hardwood on either side of bowsprit through which forestays are reeved

bel - unit of noise intensity equal to ten decibels

bis - twice; in two places

bot - larva of a botfly that infests horses

cep - brown edible mushroom

cog - single-masted, square-sailed ship with raised stern

col - depression or pass in a mountain range

cwm - valley or glen

dag - dirty tatted tuft of sheep's wool

dah - short heavy Burmese knife

dal - a dried legume, such as lentils, beans or peas

dap - to dip gently into water; to fish with a surface fly

daw - simpleton; bird of the crow family

dit - poem; words of a song

dol - unit for measuring intensity of pain

dop - copper cup for holding a diamond while cutting it

eft - again; afterwards

eft - newt

eke - in addition; also; likewise

ell - old unit of length equal to 45 inches

ere - before

erg - unit of work measuring force of one dyne applied over one centimeter

eth - old English letter for voiced 'th' sound

fid - conical wooden pin used to splice strands of rope

fie - expression of disgust or disapproval

fub - to put off; to fob

fug - hot; close; smoky state of atmosphere

gad - to wander about idly or in pursuit of pleasure

gal - unit of acceleration of one centimeter per second per second

gar - mild oath

gat - opening or strait between two sandbanks

gib - wedge-shaped piece of metal that holds another in place

gid - brain disease suffered by sheep

gig - light two-wheeled one-horse carriage

hoc - card game, now obsolete

hod - V-shaped trough for carrying bricks or mortar on the shoulders

hoy - large one-decked boat

ife - tropical African fibrous plant

iff - if and only if

ist - one who holds to an 'ism'

ivi - Tahitian chestnut tree

jib - small triangular sail extending from the head of the foremast

jow - to ring a bell; a stroke of a bell

jud - mass of coal ready for final removal

jug - sound of the nightingale

jus - law; legal right

keb - ewe that gives birth to stillborn lamb

ked - wingless fly that feeds on livestock

kef - state of dreamy or drug-induced repose

kep - to catch an approaching object or falling liquid

ket - carrion; matted wool

kex - dry hollow plant stalk

kif - drug like marijuana smoked in North Africa

kip - skin of a young animal

kip - unit of weight equivalent to 1000 pounds

kir - drink of black currant syrup and white wine

kit - a small pocket violin

kop - bank of terracing at a football field

lac - dark red transparent resin used to make shellac

lar - local god of a house

lea - arable land left fallow or used for pasture

lev - monetary unit of Bulgaria

ley - mystical straight line between features of landscape

lux - unit of illumination equal to one lumen per square meter

mel - honey

mew - to shed, moult or change

mho - unit of electrical conductance

mil - unit of 1/1000 inch used for measuring thickness of wire

mim - prim, demure

mon - Japanese family crest

mor - humus layer formed by slow decomposition in acidic soil

mow - to make a grimace

neb - bird's beak

nef - ornamental stand in shape of ship for holding salt or cutlery

nim - to steal; to pilfer

obi - broad sash worn with a kimono

ord - point of a weapon; a beginning

orf - viral infection of sheep

ort - scrap of food; morsel

pam - card game in which jack of club has highest value

pax - tablet decorated with sacred figure and kissed by participants in mass

ped - naturally formed mass or aggregate of soil

per - through; according to; by means or agency of

pro - in favour of; for

pug - ground clay mixed with water

puy - small volcanic cone

pyx - box or vessel in which coins or consecrated Eucharist are kept

qat - leaves chewed or brewed in tea as a stimulant

qua - in the capacity of

ras - headland

rep - plain-woven fabric with crosswise ribs

ret - to expose to moisture; to soak; to soften by soaking

rev - to run an engine before bringing it into use

ria - normal drowned valley; long wide creek

roc - enormous legendary Arabian bird

rom - a gypsy man

rya - colourful Scandinavian knotted-pile rug

sal - a salt

saw - saying or proverb

say - delicate woollen fabric

seg - stud or metal plate in sole of a shoe to prevent wear

sic - thus

suq - Middle Eastern marketplace

taj - crown or head-dress

taw - to prepare skins by soaking, salting, stretching and paring

ted - to spread grass for drying

teg - a sheep in its second year; the fleece of such a sheep

tej - Ethiopian honey-mead

tex - unit of measurement of fineness of fibres and yarn

tod - old unit of weight of wool equal to 28 pounds

tog - unit of measurement for insulation properties of fabric

ton - unit of cooling power equal to 12,000 BTU per hour

tot - bone or other object retrieved from garbage pile

tow - bundle of untwisted natural fibres

tup - ram; pile-driver; striking face of steam hammer or jackhammer

tye - inclined trough for washing ore

ure - use; custom

vis - force; power

vug - small cavity in a rock

wen - enormously congested city

wey - old measure for dry goods usually equal to 40 bushels

wis - to know, to believe

wye - a Y-branching pipe or railroad track arrangement

wyn - old English rune having value 'w'

yad - rod used by readers of the Torah as a pointer for following text

yag - synthetic diamond made of yttrium aluminum garnet

yam - posting-house along a road

yaw - to move unsteadily side to side; to rotate about a vertical axis

yen - craving or yearning

yeo - stream or drain used in mining

yew - to rise, as a layer of froth in a boiling liquid

yex - to hiccup, belch or spit

yok - pejorative Jewish term for a non-Jew

yon - yonder; that over there; those over there

zek - inmate of prison labour camp

zel - form of Oriental cymbal

zho - cross between a yak and a cow

zug - waterproof leather used for boots


abjure - renounce or turn away from

aught - anything

belie - give a false impression

bight - curvy races at the edge of a geographical feature

bivouac - a temporary camp, usually without a tent

cairn - mound of stones used as a marker, such as a roman road marker or a tombstone

descry - to catch a sight of

ell - a measure of distance, that is no longer used for some reason, equal to 45in or 114 cm

ewer - large, wide-mouthed water jug

eyot - small island usually found in a river

furlong - 1/8 of a mile

hame - hide or pelt

louver - a dome structure on the roof with side-opennings help smoke escape

niggard - mystery person, one that gives gifts, but in a grudging manner (probably not used due to it's similarity with another certain word)

passward - something granting passage of a guard (and you know where another certain misspelled word originated from)

quail - be intimidated by, give way to

tithe - 1/10th

tryst - an arranged meeting

tumult - a noisy disturbance

upbraid - criticize


commonly misused, at least i have had to correct a few people in the last couple of months


wroth vs wraith vs wrath


wroth - adj (angry, wrathful)

wraith - ghost apparition

wrath - fierce anger (as an adjective meaning archaic)


yeah people commonly misspeak that one


another one that i come in contact with even more oftenly is the phrase "I could care less".... seriously, people, get it straight, its "I couldn't care less" if you could care less, then you obviously care some about that subject....

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A few uncommon two letter words:


AA rough, cindery lava

AI three-toed sloth

AL East Indian tree

BA eternal soul in Egyptian mythology

EM printer's measurement

EN printer's measurement

JO sweetheart

KA Egyptian spiritual self

KI vital life-sustaining energy

OD hypothetical force of natural power

OE Faroean wind

QI vital life-sustaining energy

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actually there are a few words that are their own antonyms, also the term for that is contronyms:


here's a list from Fun With Words: Contronyms


anabasis - military advance, military retreat

apology - admission of fault in what you think, say, or do; formal defense of what you think, say, or do

aught - all, nothing

bolt - secure, run away

by - multiplication (e.g., a three by five matrix), division (e.g., dividing eight by four)

chuffed - pleased, annoyed

cleave - separate, adhere

clip - fasten, detach

consult - ask for advice, give advice

copemate - partner, antagonist

custom - usual, special

deceptively smart - smarter than one appears, dumber than one appears

dike - wall, ditch

discursive - proceeding coherently from topic to topic, moving aimlessly from topic to topic

dollop - a large amount, a small amount

dust - add fine particles, remove fine particles

enjoin - prescribe, prohibit

fast - quick, unmoving

first degree - most severe (e.g., murder), least severe (e.g., burn)

fix - restore, castrate

flog - criticize harshly, promote aggressively

garnish - enhance (e.g., food), curtail (e.g., wages)

give out - produce, stop production

grade - incline, level

handicap - advantage, disadvantage

help - assist, prevent (e.g., "I can't help it if...")

left - remaining, departed from

liege - sovereign lord, loyal subject

mean - average, excellent (e.g., "plays a mean game")

off - off, on (e.g., "the alarm went off")

out - visible (e.g., stars), invisible (e.g., lights)

out of - outside, inside (e.g., "work out of one's home")

oversight - error, care

pitted - with the pit in, with the pit removed

put out - extinguish, generate (e.g., something putting out light)

quiddity - essence, trifling point

quite - rather, completely

ravel - tangle, disentangle

rent - buy use of, sell use of

rinky-dink - insignificant, one who frequents RinkWorks

sanction - approve, boycott

sanguine - hopeful, murderous (obsolete synonym for "sanguinary")

screen - show, hide

seed - add seeds (e.g., "to seed a field"), remove seeds (e.g., "to seed a tomato")

skinned - with the skin on, with the skin removed

strike - hit, miss (in baseball)

table - propose (in the United Kingdom), set aside (in the United States)

transparent - invisible, obvious

unbending - rigid, relaxing

variety - one type (e.g., "this variety"), many types (e.g., "a variety")

wear - endure through use, decay through use

weather - withstand, wear away

wind up - end, start up (e.g., a watch)

with - alongside, against

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This thread is funny because referring to these words as rare is pretty accurate and says something about IQ tests at the high end. I always ace every number, pattern, spacial reasoning etc based IQ test (haven't taken REALLY hard ones) but always score around 140 iq on verbal tests. I don't spend a lot of time around people, don't watch much tv, don't spend a lot of time around really brainy pipe-smoking people that use big words.


Most of these words serve no real purpose for communication and are not used 99% of the time. They are used when they hail from a certain culture and that culture is being represented, or when someone is trying to use words as an art form etc.


At low - avg - slightly above average levels verbal IQ tests are supposed to measure your vocabulary size based on the belief that people are constantly bombarded with words and their meaning and only intelligence limits how many of those words a person learns. But you can't test IQ above a certain point just by having more and more rare words on the test. At some point the fundamental assumption fails and the person simply hasn't heard or seen those words before.

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clew of worms


murder of crows


gam of whales


drey of squirrels


dule of doves


hurtle of sheep


warren of rabbits


haras of horses


clowder of cats


dissimulation of birds


covey of quail


farrow of piglets


nye of pheasants


sord of mallards


rake of colts


cast of hawks


gaggle of geese


skulk of fox


mute of hounds


sedge of herons


kine of cows


cete of badgers


kindle of kittens


turn of turtles

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kerfuffle - commotion

Interesting. I grew up with an Afrikaans word, karfoefel, which loosely meant what a boy and girl do, which they should not do, when out of sight of the elders. Acts not necessarily of the sexual kind yet, but definitely leading to it.


Could it be related, as listening to some people, one can call their bedroom antics a commotion. :)

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Adding to Turtle's list, I was assured by a former assistant that the collective noun for secrataries was a knowledge of secretaries.


There is an interesting one page article in the current National Geographic about new words ot be added to the Oxford English Dictionary. I don't have it with me, but one that caught my eye was one that described the tendency to overuse a word that was new to you. Which I would assuredly be guilty of if I could remember what the word actually was.

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from the world of botany. :bouquet:


alate - winged


sulcate - marked with longitudunal grooves


hirsute - pubescent with rather course or stiff but not pungent hairs


mesic - moist; neither very wet nor very dry


verticil - a whorl of leaves or flowers


flabellate - shaped like a fan


castaneous - chestnut-colored; dark reddish-brown


didymous - developing in pairs


umbo - a blunt or rounded elevation or protuberance on the end or side of a solid organ, as on the scales of many pine cones


pyriform - shaped like a pear


erose - irregularly notched, toothed, or indented margin, as if gnawed

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