The following is a light compendium of rare English words, compiled and provided in the hopes that it may aid the avid writer in the improvement of their art.
ablutomania (n) – a passion, obsession or preoccupation with bathing or cleanliness. e.g. I saw a video of an armadillo given to fits of ablutomania.
absquatulate (v) — to leave somewhere abruptly; run away; leave off; abandon. 1840-. e.g. Swiftly did the crook absquatulate the scene, the deputy, hot on his trails. During the Civil War, the military slang ‘skedaddle’ (1861-) replaced absquatulate as the go-to word for ‘clearing off with haste.’
acrasial (adj) – ill-regulated; ill-tempered. 1851-1851. e.g. The acrasial machine writhed, hissing steam. e.g. The woman was given to acrasial humors.
addecimate (v) – to tithe. 1612-1755. e.g. Though he addecimated regularly, the cook was otherwise miserly.
adimpleate (v) – to fill up. 1657-1657. e.g. Adimpleate the bucket with water. e.g. The workers adimpleated the zepplin envelope with hydrogen.
adumbrate (v) – to prefigure in a vague way; to broadly outline; to provide an inconclusive conceptualization. e.g. I could scarcely comprehend his arcane adumbrations.
adventitious (adj) – arising or derived from some other source; not intrinsic to that which it is found in. e.g. It is crucial for the man of letters, seeking originality in his work, to avoid adventitious additions.
agnothesia (n) – the state of confusion as to one’s feelings on a matter, which compels one to reevaluate their behavior, as if they were some other person. 2020. e.g. She fought through the fog of agnothesia and stumbled, after a deep reverie, upon the source of her discontent.
agonarch (n) – judge of a contest or activity. 1656-1656. e.g. Let the agonarch decide the victor.
airgonaut (n) – one who journeys through the air. 1784-1784. e.g. The intrepid airgonaut steered the balloon through the thermals.
alabandical (adj) – barbarous; stupefied from drink. 1656-1775. e.g. The spirits had worked her up into an alabandical state.
amandation (n) – an act of dismissing or sending away. 1656-1755. e.g. President Trump’s terse amandations of activist journalists has engendered considerable amarulence amongst the chattering class.
amarulence (n) – bitterness; spite. 1731-1755. e.g. Twitter, an engine of amarulence.
amorevolous (adj) – affectionate; loving. 1670-1670. e.g. My girl is the most amorevolous of women.
anguilliform (adj) – resembling an eel. e.g. Strange, anguilliform shapes moved beneath the murky waters.
antipelargy (n) – reciprocal or mutual kindness; love and care of children for their parents. 1656 -1731. e.g. The anarchist is want to eschew antipelargy in the children of the nation, so as to bring strife between mother and daughter, father and son.
apanthropinization (n) – withdrawal from human concerns and affairs. 1880-1880. e.g. Writer’s of a artistic stripe are often given to bouts of apanthropinization.
apeiron (n) – that which is boundless and infinite. e.g. The apperception of the infinite can never be gauged by the mortal senses, an apeironic elevation is required.
aporrhoea (n) – a bodily emanation; an effluvium. 1646-1880. e.g. The blade showered the emerald ground in sanguine aporrhoea.
archiloquy (n) – beginning of a speech; introduction of an oration. 1656-1656. e.g. The room swelled as the speaker launched into his archiloquy.
aretaloger (n) – braggart; one who boasts about his own accomplishments. 1623-1656. e.g. It is a unwritten rule that a politician in a democracy be an incorrigible liar, as well as a skillful aretaloger.
artigrapher (n) – writer or composer of a grammar; a grammarian. 1753-1753. e.g. Grammarian pedantry is the death of fluid prose.
assectation (n) – to follow after something else. 1656-1656. e.g. Social media is designed to excite in its users a mode of action comparable to a cat’s assectation of it’s owner’s laser-pointer.
astrobleme (n) – a large, ancient crater made by the impact of a meteorite or comet. e.g. The crevice was massive and of considerably different composition than the surrounding land; possibly an astrobleme.
auriferous (adj) – of, or like, gold. 1655-. e.g. The lord’s armor gleamed auriferous in the mid-morning light.
auturgy (n) – self-action; independent activity. 1651-1656. From the Latin auturgia. e.g. The artist is inclined to auturgy in all their creative activities.
bajulate (v) – to bear a heavy burden. 1613-1662. One of the reasons many were skeptical of including women in the US military was due their inability to bajulate standard-issue backpacks.
benthos (n) – the flora and fauna on the bottom of a sea or lake. e.g. The diver was treated to the wonders of the local benthos.
bergschrund (n) – a type of deep, sometimes broad, crevasse occurring near mountain glaciers. e.g. With great effort, the climbers over-leapt the bergschrund and continued up the face of the glacial mound.
brontide (n) – sound which is caused by, or which resembles, thunder. e.g. The boy woke to brontide, harbinger of a storm.
byssiferous (adj) – having tufts or threads. e.g. The byssiferous down was far too expensive for the young woman.
coterminous (adj) – a thing bordering something else; having the same boundaries; coextensive (1630s). e.g. The fence of the family estate is roughly conterminous with the forest. e.g. Cosmopolitanism was coterminous with the decline of Ancient Rome.
cumberground (n) – a object or person so useless that its only function is to take up space; something that is in the way. e.g. He didn’t know what to do with the mass of metal, rust having rendered it to cumberground.
dealate (adj) – a insect shorn of its wings, such as after mating. e.g. A queen ant dealates after its nuptial flight.
dextrosinistral (adj) – that which passes from right to left; a left-handed person who is trained to use their right-hand with equivalent deftness. e.g. The crowd were impressed by the magician’s nibble-fingered performance, unaware he was dextrosinistral.
epitimesis (n) – rhetorical device for excitation, chiefly rebuke, reproach or censure; adverse criticism; epiplexis. e.g. I will not answer, your queries are pure epitimesis.
erinaceous (adj) – resembling a hedgehog. e.g. The stranger’s hair was erinaceous and dark as pitch.
fabrefaction (n) – the creation of a work of art. e.g. The fabrefaction of ebooks is widely considered, unfortunately, as inferior to paperbacks.
ferruginous (adj) – the color of rusted iron. e.g. Certain types of fungi create ferruginous patches on the ground.
feticide (n) – the intential destruction of a fetus. e.g. In the first month of 2021, there was more feticide from abortions than deaths from communicable disease.
gradin (n) – one of a tier of seats or steps along a slope, as in an amphitheatre. e.g. Without the gradin, those in the back would be hard-pressed to see anything on the stage.
helotage (n) – the act of creating a servile class; engendering serfdom (helots were a class of serfs in ancient Greece). e.g. Contemporary helotage is engendered by the policies of expropriation in democratic states.
hypermenesia (n) – supernormal clarity and retention of memory. e.g. “Some may call it a curse,” the detective replied demurely, “But for me, hypermenesia is a blessing.”
ideopraxist (n) – one who is compelled to carry out, or concretize, ideas; a person who strives to embody, or embodies, an idea. Mid 19th Century. e.g. A fanatic is always an ideopraxist, but an ideaoprxist is not necessarily a fanatic.
jentacular (adj) – of or pertaining to breakfast. From the Latin, ientaculum. e.g. The man’s jentacular proclivities furnished a surplus of coffee, jam and bread.
knout (n) – a leather scourge; or, to flog with a knout. e.g. The prisoner lay half-conscious, his back red ribboned from a lengthy application of the warden’s knout.
lattern (n) – a copper tin alloy, akin to bronze. e.g. Her hair was as lattern in the sun.
maculate (adj) – blotched, stained, impure or defiled. Antonym of immaculate (adj) – unblemished, unsullied, pure, undefiled. e.g. Wall Street is often singled out for maculate business practices.
magirology (n) – the art and science of cooking. e.g. The chocolates were unlike anything he had ever tried, surely the resulte of cutting-edge magirology.
metanoia (n) – spiritual transformation, more specifically, a conversion. 1557-. From the Greek, metanoiein. e.g. His work was the harbinger of metanoia.
napiform (adj) – turnip shaped, i.e. round at top, pointed and smaller at bottom. e.g. Her napiform face was surrounded by a thicket of red hair.
narcomancy (n) – sleep magic. e.g. The man sighed, exhausted, his narcomancy unsuccessful.
navicular (adj) – resembling a boat. e.g. The beast’s great, navicular body tore through the bushes in pursuit of its prey.
ostium (n) – maw-like aperture; a small somatic opening. e.g. The cavern’s dark ostium loomed, portal to an expansive, labyrinthian tunnel system.
osteography (n) – a descriptive treatise concerning bones. e.g. “The osteography is somewhat heavy-going, but filled with insights.”
philodox (n) – a person given to a high regard of their own opinions without regard to whether that opinion is correct or incorrect. e.g. He knew better than to argue, for she was an incorrigible philodox.
quinquereme (n) – an ancient Roman galley with five banks of oars on each side. e.g. The shapes cut through the foggy lake; appearing, to that solitary observer, like the hulls and sails of massing quinqueremes.
quinsy (n) – severe inflammation of the tonsils, usually leading to the formation of an abcess. e.g. The quinsy would need to be removed immediately to prevent infection.
quire (n) – twenty four, or twenty five, sheets of paper of like size and quality. e.g. The clerk moved the quires so as to disencumber the table.
quirly – a hand-rolled cigarette. 1930s. e.g. “Pass me a quirly.”
quodlibet (n) a trifling philosophical or theological point proposed for disputation, and/or a disputation on such a point; or, a whimsical combination of familiar melodies or texts. e.g. “I don’t know,” Henry replied, “I’ve not the time nor interest for this cyclopean quodlibet.”
ramiferous (adj) – having many branches. Late 18th Century. e.g. The paths before them were ramiferous.
sciatheric (adj) – of, or relating to, a sundial; pertaining to measurement of time by shadows. e.g. A simple stick can, if plied by the trained mind, open a world of sciatheric activities.
scutiform (adj) – shaped like a shield. e.g. The scutiform object turned out to be a horseshoe crab.
spodogenous (adj) – caused by waste-products, particularly as regards an enlargement of the spleen caused by the waste of red blood-corpuscles. e.g. He looked with perplexity upon the spodogenous sedimentary accretion.
tholtan (n) – a dilapidated building. Manx origin. Theorized to have come from the Old Irish tolltach (full of holes); toll (puncture; hole). e.g. The lonely tholtan – Château de Tiffauges – stands to this day.
thurl (n) – a hole; an aperture; the hip joint of a cow. e.g. Milky thurls littered the field.
upstay (v) – to sustain; to support. e.g. With sufficient will, one can upstay the right course, even in adversity.
velation (n) – to cover something (as with a veil); to make hidden. Antonym of revelation. e.g. The velations of Alzheimer’s troubled him greatly.
virago (n) – a female that looks and acts like a male; a termagant or harpy. e.g. The profusion of the feminist virago amongst female sexual equalitarians induces me to conclude they are motivated, chiefly, by envy of the sturdier sex.
weirdward (adj) – bordering upon the supernatural or arcane. e.g. The weirdward journey took them to the house of starless sky.
wifgemana (v) – sexual intercourse for a woman’s parturition. Old English. Recorded in ‘Liber medicinae ex animalibus.’ e.g. wifgemanan to aweccanne. e.g. It is important to plan for fruitful wifgemana.
whereuntil (adv) – until what; until which. 1708-. e.g. Whereuntil time?
wherry (n) – a large light barge, lighter, or fishing boat, varying in type in different parts of Great Britain. e.g.
wuthering (adj) – blowing strongly with a roaring sound. 1888-. e.g. The shutters lept with the night’s wuthering.
xanthippe (n) – an ill-tempered woman. e.g. Rosa Luxemburg was a notorious xanthippe.
xerothermic (adj) – simultaneously hot and dry; an organism adapted to warm, arid climes. e.g.
xertz (v) – to swallow a drink swiftly. e.g. The xertzing of mayonnaise is preferable to the pestilential castigations of the polychromatic pronoun patrol.
xylary (adj) – pertaining to wood, especially xylem. e.g. The xylary handle of the ax was affixed with straps of leather.
xylem (n) – vascular plant tissue; distinct from phloëm. e.g. The plants wilted, their xylem buckling due the depredations of the mysterious disease.
yarborough (n) – a hand of cards in bridge or whist in which all cards are 9 or below and devoid of aces. e.g. His face fell as he noticed the yarborough.
yelve (n) – a garden fork. 1000-1886. e.g. Farmer’s yelves moved with haste to beat the rain.
yepsen (n) – the amount of liquid that can be held in two hands cupped together; two hands cupped so as to contain liquid for drinking. e.g. He bent in yepsen pose to the water.
yuke (n) – an itch. e.g. The sweater was comprised of yukey material.
ylem (n) – in alchemy, the substance from which the elements developed. e.g. If he could untangle the mysteries of the ylem, the secrets of immortality would be within his grasp.
zabernism (n) – the abuse of military force; unwarranted aggression. The word finds its origin in a event known as the Zabern Affair of 1913, in which a German soldier’s insults toward occupied Alsatians, and eventual injury of a Alsatian shoemaker, prompted a political firestorm. e.g. Many consider the American military’s Middle Eastern adventurism, on balance, zabernistic.
zoetic (adj) – living; vital; pertaining to life. e.g. The execration of Man’s zoetic impulse is, in no small part, a consequence of the depravations of environmentalism, being, as it is, a grotesquely misanthropic doctrine.
zoilist (n) – a person who takes pleasure in finding fault. e.g. The leftist ideologue’s zoilism is such that, should there be no fault to find, they will hastily invent it.
zygostatical (adj) – relating to a medieval market official in charge of official weights, which non-official weights would be compared to, so as to ensure the general fidelity of the mercantile enterprise. 1623-1656. e.g. One could hardly describe the machinations of Wall Street as zygostatical.
zumbooruk (n) – a small cannon mounted and fired from the back of a camel. e.g. Swift the riders came, their zumbooruk’s resounding across the field.
zygology (n) – the science of joining and fastening; not to be confused with zymology. e.g. He acclimated to the welding shop with ease, given his background in zygology.
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