Having just read a couple books by David Grambs, it occurs to me it’s been a long time since I compiled a list of interesting words. Some of these are from Grambs’ books, and some of them have been acquired over the last few years from various sources. I like to jot words like this down when I encounter them. I don’t really expect to find a use for them, but I like to read over the list periodically and familiarize myself with them. Whether it’s because of their interesting meaning, or their sheer musicality, these are words that I think deserve to be better known and appreciated, even if they’ve outlived their usefulness to everyday conversation. Feel free to adopt any which catch your eye; there aren’t enough good homes for all of them!
ultracrepidarian: one of those presumptuous overreachers who try to address something outside their knowledge or field of expertise and shouldn’t, who should know their own limits and don’t.
advesperate: to get dark or late.
nemophilist: the lover of forests and woods, or of the sylvan world. The nature lover who most likes the unbeaten paths in tracts of trees and the beauties of coppices, groves and dells; and who of necessity must also be a dendrophile, or tree lover.
vertumnal: pertaining to spring; vernal.
nullibist: a disbeliever in any kind of spirit, soul, or incorporeal being.
henhussy: a husband or live-in male who busies himself with housework more commonly done by women. Not a nice-sounding word for the modern house-husband, but for some women the henhussy is the true man around the house — one who has no ego or identity problem. Two other words for henhussy are cotquean and betty.
vespertine: during the evening.
asteism: a cleverly polite insult.
lucubrator: one who studies long into the night (or ‘composes by lamplight’ as the original Latin has it), or who gives deep thought to something. One who keeps an all-night vigil without books is not a lucubrator but a pernoctalian.
shunpiker: the driver who avoids highways for byways, taking slower but more relaxing and scenic back roads instead.
callithumpian: boisterous and noisy.
genicon: that fantasied sexual partner, as opposed to the one you’re actually stuck with.
solitudinarian: the loner who prizes the solitary life, who wants to be alone, thank you.
clatterfart: a chatterer or babbler.
ephectic: always suspending judgment.
rejectamenta: things or matter rejected as useless or worthless.
cockalorum: a self-important little man.
sciamachy: an act or instance of fighting a shadow or an imaginary enemy.
misoneism: hatred or dislike of what is new or represents change.
isolato: a person who is spiritually isolated from or out of sympathy with his or her times or society.
aleatory: 1. of or pertaining to accidental causes; of luck or chance; unpredictable: an aleatory element. 2. Law. depending on a contingent event: an aleatory contract. 3. Music. employing the element of chance in the choice of tones, rests, durations, rhythms, dynamics, etc.
percipient:1. having perception; discerning; discriminating: a percipient choice of wines. 2. perceiving or capable of perceiving.
brabble: To argue stubbornly about trifles; wrangle.
sizzard: unbearably humid heat.
decathect: To withdraw one’s feelings of attachment from (a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss.
parviscient: uninformed or knowing little.
hamartia: Tragic flaw.
pharisaic: Practicing or advocating strict observance of external forms and ceremonies of religion or conduct without regard to the spirit; self-righteous; hypocritical.
incondite: 1. Ill-constructed; unpolished: incondite prose. 2. Crude; rough; unmannerly.
banausic: Serving utilitarian purposes only; mechanical; practical: architecture that was more banausic than inspired.
mumpsimus: 1. Adherence to or persistence in an erroneous use of language, memorization, practice, belief, etc., out of habit or obstinacy. 2. A person who persists in a mistaken expression or practice.
apotropaic: Intended to ward off evil.
ruck: 1. A large number or quantity; mass. 2. The great mass of undistinguished or inferior persons or things.
graveolence: a strong or offensive smell.
vilipend: 1. To regard or treat as of little value or account. 2. To vilify; depreciate.
expostulate: To reason earnestly with someone against something that person intends to do or has done.
solecism: 1. A breach of good manners or etiquette. 2. A nonstandard or ungrammatical usage, as unflammable and they was. 3. Any error, impropriety, or inconsistency.
veriest: 1. Utmost; most complete. 2. Superlative of very.
pansophy: Universal wisdom or knowledge.
thanatopsis: A view or contemplation of death.
hobson jobson: The alteration of a word borrowed from a foreign language to accord more closely with the linguistic patterns of the borrowing language.
amaranthine: 1. Unfading; everlasting. 2. Of or like the amaranth flower. 3. Of purplish-red color.
gnathonic: sycophantic or parasitic.
apodictic: 1. Necessarily true or logically certain. 2. Incontestable because of having been demonstrated or proved to be demonstrable.
cater-cousin: An intimate friend.
irenic: Tending to promote peace; conciliatory.
corybantic: Frenzied; agitated; unrestrained.
canorous: Richly melodious; pleasant sounding; musical.
vulpine: 1. Cunning or crafty. 2. Of or resembling a fox.
fastuous: haughty, overbearing, pretentious or showy.
liminal: Relating to the point beyond which a sensation becomes too faint to be experienced.