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List of Unusual Words and their Meanings

A Jumbo List of Unusual Words and Their Meanings for Logophiles

Everyone knows that English is a funny language! It is a strange language with many unusual words, which many of us don't even know exist. Find some such words in the list provided in this Penlighten article, and learn when to use them.
Aparna Jadhav
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
When we listen to speeches given by countrymen and public speakers, either live or on television, there are many words which we don't follow instantly. These words make perfect sense, but are uncommon since they are never used in daily English. There are more than million such unusual words, which are still unknown to many of us, but are there in the English dictionary of words. This language is very vast, and many great men who are considered the Gods of literature also have missed out on these uncommon words. There are more than 100 strange words, which come under each alphabet from A to Z.
Obscure Words List
There are words which are used very commonly, and there are a few, which are hardly used. These hardly used words not only sound strange, but also have very strange meanings. Here is a list of unusual words and their meanings.
Words Definition
abacinate to blind by putting red-hot copper basin near the eyes
abaft toward or at the stern of a ship
abbozzo preliminary sketch
absquatulate to decamp, to leave quickly, to flee
azure deep purplish blue, the heraldic color blue
balatron joker, clown
baisemain kiss on the hand
biggin a child's tight-fitting cap
bismer shame, disgrace, scorn
cabas woman's work basket or handbag
cacography bad handwriting or spelling
callow unfledged, inexperienced
daedalist aviator, pilot
dendrolatry worship of trees
deorsumversion turning downwards
edentate toothless; without teeth
email type of dark ink
epeolatry worship of words
factive indicating causation
feuilleton critical article at the bottom of a newspaper page
fontinal growing near springs
gamophobia fear of marriage
gaud trick or practical joke
graphophobia fear of writing
halitus vapor, breath
hirrient roughly trilled
holm island in a river
ichthyophagous fish-eating
idiolect distinctive individual form of speech
ineunt entering
jabberwock nonsense, gibberish
jettatura the evil eye
jutty projecting part of a wall
kakidrosis body odor
keffel a horse, a nag
kine cows
labtebricole living in holes
lacuna a blank space or missing part
latipennate having broad wings
mabsoot happy
manurance cultivation
melomania craze for music
nanocephalous having an extremely small head
naupathia sea sickness
nidificate to construct a nest
objurgate to chide, to scold, to rebuke
obsequies funeral
oligarchy government by the few
pabouch a slipper
palamat having webbed feet
parentelic related by blood
quab something unfinished or immature
quarender dark red apple
quindecasyllabic having fifteen syllables
raffish disreputable, vulgar
recoct to cook again, to concoct, to improvise
reguerdon to reward
sabbulonariu gravel pit
sanguisugen blood-sucking
sciomanc divination using ghosts
tacenda things not to be mentioned
tectiform shaped like a roof
teratism monster, malformed person or animal
ulosis formation of a scar
ulotrichous having woolly hair
unleal unfaithful
vagitus baby's cry or wail
ventripotent with great capacity or appetite for food
verbatim word for word
waftage transportation through water or air
whiskerando a whiskered person
woundy excessively, extremely
xanthippe ill-tempered woman
xerothermic dry and hot
xenodocheionology love of hotels
yaff to bark like a snarling dog
yede to go
yuke to itch
zabaglione frothy custard
zeugmatography imaging using nuclear magnetic resonance to study soft tissue
zoetic living, vital

There are also some words which are used in daily life, but are quite unusual in their meanings. They are not related to what they mean at all, but when said to someone, are understood very clearly. Take a look at a few such strange words and their meanings.
  • To frame someone - Not literally, but to plot against someone.
  • Matches were fixed - Money was paid to win and lose.
  • A couch potato - A lazy person.
  • Get cabin fever - Gets sick of closed places.
  • Jumbo - Related to large things.
  • Dealing off the bottom - Means cheating in business.
  • Hold your cards close to your vest - Be careful, and do not trust anyone.
  • Land of Opportunity - A place or a country, where one can make money.
Certain words are often ignored because of the complexity of their pronunciation and meanings. But even then, it's good to keep track of them, isn't it?