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14 Weird and Wonderful English Words

We’ve talked before about interesting words in various languages—from French to Arabic to Japanese. 

But what about cool and unique English words? This is an English-learning site, after all!

If you’re a vocabulary lover—or a “word nerd,” as they say—this one’s for you! In this post, we take a look at some English words you’ve probably never heard before (and might never hear in casual conversation). 

Some of these words are old-fashioned, others are only used in specific places, but all of them will add some fun to your vocabulary list and your pronunciation practice.

1. Agelast 

→ (noun) A person who never laughs

I don’t know why I keep trying to tell you my hilarious jokes—you’re an agelast! 

2. Blatherskite

→ (noun) A person who talks (blathers) a lot but doesn’t make sense

My younger sister is such a blatherskite. Most of the time, I don’t even pay attention to what she’s saying. 

3. Bumfuzzle 

→ (verb) To confuse someone

In elementary school, our class used to try to bumfuzzle our teacher by switching seats when she wasn’t looking. 

4. Collywobbles

→ (noun) A strange feeling or pain in your stomach 

She has to do an important presentation at work today and she’s had collywobbles all day.

5. Curmudgeon

→ (noun) A grumpy old person

Make sure you don’t throw your ball into the neighbour’s yard. He’s a curmudgeon and he won’t give it back to you!

6. Erinaceous

→ (adjective) Like a hedgehog 

Your new haircut is . . . interesting. It gives you a very erinaceous look.

7. Hullabaloo

→ (noun) A loud mixture of noises, often when people are shouting and angry

There was a big hullabaloo at work when our manager announced the pay cuts. 

8. Kakorrhaphiophobia

→ (noun) The fear of failing

I’d like to learn to play the guitar but I’ll probably never sign up for lessons because I have kakorrhaphiophobia. I’d rather not even try!

9. Lollygag

→ (verb) To fool around and waste time

You’re supposed to be at school in 20 minutes. Stop lollygagging and get dressed!

10. Macrosmatic

→ (adjective) Having a very good sense of smell

Some animals, such as dogs, pigs, and bears, are macrosmatic. 

11. Nincompoop

→ (noun) A stupid or silly person

You nincompoop! You drove your car through my flower garden!

12. Poppycock

→ (noun) Nonsense; meaningless talk or writing

That old woman says she can predict the future but I think that’s poppycock.

13. Snickersnee

→ (noun) A large knife (usually one that’s used as a weapon)

This area of town is very unsafe; I always carry a snickersnee for protection.

14. Woebegone

→ (adjective) Appearing very sad or miserable

Why do you look so woebegone today? Did something terrible happen?

Give these new words a try

Next time you’re having an English conversation, try using some of these fantastic words. You’re sure to bumfuzzle your friends!

Andrea is a Gabby Academy coach and education technolgy writer based in Vancouver, Canada.