When you’re a lover of words and curious by nature and you see a quirky, uncommon word you take notice. Some words are so damn alluring you can’t help but be captivated by their appearance alone. Indeed, words can be quite seductive.
Take cryptoscopophilia for instance. This is not a word one passes by without taking a second look. What makes cryptoscopophilia amazing is its meaning, which will be defined in my list below and which is what gave me the idea for this “word hunt” project! I recently learned that having cryptoscopophilia is quite common, even though the word itself is practically unknown!
So, what does a particular word mean, what part of speech is it? What is the origin of a word and why is it unusually appealing? How can I use this word in a sentence, a poem, a story? These are questions I sometimes ask myself when I see a word that screams, “I’m strange and funky and unfamiliar. I’m such a cool, kickass word? Use me, use me…in your next article, your next poem!”
I compiled a list of intriguing words and their definitions from each letter of the alphabet. These are words that appeal to my senses for their oddities and their gracefulness. The way they sound or roll off my tongue when I say them out loud, or just for their interesting definitions. A few of the words on my list are more known than unknown, but charming nonetheless. I also included some cool words pertaining to writing, reading, the arts and intelligence; as a writer, those types of words grab my attention, and they demanded to be included here.
This ended up being a lengthy project, more than I anticipated it to be, certainly cerebral and amusing. I searched for unusual words and wanted at least one for each letter of the alphabet. I did not include the pronunciation on any of the words searched. Neither did I list origin or part of speech for every word listed. Google is always a handy dandy and readily available reference if you so desire to explore any of the words further.
I encourage you to add to this quirky and unusual list of words below in the comment section. Will be fun to see what you come up with!
Abience – (n) the strong urge to avoid someone or something
Adopyopsis – (n) the act of mentally undressing someone
Adoxaography – a term coined in the late 19th century which means beautiful writing on a subject of little or no importance.
Aphasia – (n) loss of ability to understand or express speech, caused by brain damage
Atychiphobia – (n) fear of failure; fear of not being good enough
Bibliophile – (n) a person who collects or has a great love of books
Brontide – a low muffled sound like distant thunder heard in certain seismic regions especially along seacoasts and over lakes and thought to be caused by feeble earth tremors
Cafuné – (Portugese ) the act of running your fingers through your lover’s hair.
Commuovere – (v) to stir, to touch, to move to tears
Cryptoscopophilia – (n) the urge to look through people’s windows as you pass by their houses
Dauwtrappen – (v) go for an early walk at dawn
Discombobulate – (v) disconcert or confuse
Eesome – (adj) pleasing to the eye
Eunoia – beautiful thinking; a well mind
*Eunoia is the shortest English word containing all five main vowel graphemes.
Flânerie – (French) the act of strolling, aimless idle behavior
Forelsket – (n) the euphoria you experience when first falling in love
Gezellig – a Dutch word which, depending on context, can be translated as convivial, cozy, fun, or nice atmosphere, but can also show someone belonging, time spent with loved ones, the fact of seeing a friend after a long absence, or the general togetherness that gives people a warm feeling.
Heliophilia – an attraction or adaptation to sunlight, as the sunflower. heliophile, n. heliophilic, heliophilous
Illecebrous – (adj) alluring, attractive, enticing
Induratize (v) – to harden the heart.
Irenic – (adj) promoting peace
Jazzerty – poetry read to jazz accompaniment
Knissomancy – divination using burning incense
Kyriolexy (n) the use of literal or simple expressions, as distinguished from the use of figurative or obscure
Lacuna – (n) an unfilled space or interval; a gap.
a missing portion in a book or manuscript.
a cavity or depression, especially in bone.
Mellifluous – (English) a sound that is pleasing to hear
Honorable mention to the similar words, “euphonic,” “symphonious,” and “sonorous.”
Metanoi – (n) change in one’s way of life resulting from penitence or spiritual conversion
Micawber – (n) an eternal optimist
Mizpah – (n) the deep emotional bond between people, especially separated by distance or death
Nemophilist – (n) one who is fond of forests or forest scenery; a haunter of the woods
Novaturient – (adj) desiring or seeking powerful change in one’s life, behavior, or situation
Obambulate – to wander about
Obsolagnium – waning sexual desire due to age
Orenda – (n) – a mystical force or spiritual power inherent in all people and their environment
Ostranenie – (n) the artistic technique of presenting to audiences common things in an unfamiliar or strange way in order to enhance perception of the familiar.
Philophobia – the fear of emotional attachment; fear of being in, or falling in love. Medical science defines philophobia as an abnormal, unwarranted and persistent fear of falling in love. Its name comes from two Greek roots, “philo” meaning love and “phobia” meaning fear of.
Philocaly – (n) the love of beauty
Quaintrelle – (n) a woman who emphasizes a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life’s pleasures
Quidditative – (adj) quirky, eccentric
Raconteur – (n) a talented storyteller
Sapiosexual – (adj) (of a person) finding intelligence sexually attractive or arousing.
(n) a person who finds intelligence sexually attractive or arousing
Sillage – (n) the degree to which a perfume’s fragrance lingers in the air when worn
Sphallolalia – (n) flirtatious talk that leads nowhere
Synchronicity – German: Synchronizität is a concept, first introduced by analytical psychologist Carl Jung, which holds that events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related
Symphonious – harmonious; in harmonious agreement or accord
Serendipity – (n) the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
Slubberdegullion – (n) scoundrel, wretch, a worthless person
Thantophobia – the fear of death or dying. The origin come from the Greek work thanato (meaning death) and phobia is Greek (meaning fear)
Toska – (n) Russian word roughly translated as sadness, melancholia, lugubriousness. No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause.
Tsundoku – the Japanese word for repeatedly buying books, without reading them
Tristful – Middle Eastern origin meaning full of sadness; sorrowful
Twitterpated – (adj) love-struck
Ughten – German origin; the part of the night immediately before daybreak; early morning
Undecennial – Occuring or observed every eleventh year; belonging to, or continuing, a period of elevenyears; undecennary; as, an undecennial festival
Viridity – (n) naïve innocence
Wanderlust – (n) an irrestible, incurable desire to travel or wander
Yugen – (n) a deep awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and mysterious for words. Yugen is an important concept in traditional Japanese aesthetics. … Japanese aesthetic ideals are most heavily influenced by Japanese Buddhism. … This appreciation of nature has been fundamental to many Japanese aesthetic ideals, “arts,” and other cultural elements.
Xenodocheinology – love of hotels
Xenoglossia – (n) person’s knowledge of a language never studied
Zendik – (n) heretic; magician
Zwischenzug – (n) chess move made to play for time