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22 Words You Didn’t Know Were Words

22 Words You Didn’t Know Were Words

Ever at a loss for words? Can’t find the perfect word to describe what you so desperately need to describe? Maybe you’re not so crazy after all and there actually is a word out there for you. Take a look at these lesser-known words to beef up your vocabulary skills.

1. Overmorrow

The day after or following tomorrow. Finally someone found the word we’ve all been looking for.

2. Ereyesterday

The day before yesterday. Finally someone found the other word we’ve all been looking for.

3. Defenestration

The action of throwing someone out of a window; the action of dismissing someone from a position of power or authority. It’s Latin and is devised by putting “de-” (down from) with “fenestra” (window).

4. Yerk

To beat vigorously (think: thrash); to attack or excite vigorously (think: goad). It comes from a Middle English word that means “to bind tightly.” Yerk is also in the bottom 40% of word popularity. Poor yerk.

5. Meretricious

Tawdrily and falsely attractive; superficially significant. Don’t confuse this one with delicious.

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Tidbit from Merriam-Webster: “Meretricious can be traced back to the Latin verb merere, meaning ‘to earn, gain, or deserve.’ It shares this origin with a small group of other English words, including ‘merit, meritorious, and emeritus.’ But, while these words can suggest some degree of honor or esteem, ‘meretricious’ is used to suggest pretense, insincerity, and cheap or tawdry ornamentation.”

6. Proline

An alcohol-soluble amino acid occurring in high concentrations in collagen. Apparently, it’s just an alteration of the word “pyrrolidine.” Pretending to be a scientist is fun.

7. Acosmism

A theory that denies the universe possesses any absolute reality or that it has any existence apart from God. It comes from the German word “akomismus” — which sounds way fancier, for the record.

8. Aubade

A song or poem greeting the dawn; a morning love song; a song of poem of lovers parting at dawn; morning music. It’s a French word (shocker) that means “dawn serenade.”

Tidbit from Merriam-Webster: “As the relationship of ‘aubade’ with the English language grew, its meanings became a little more intimate. It blossomed into a word for a song or poem of lovers parting at dawn. Later it came to refer to songs sung in the morning hours.”

9. Dysthymia

A mood disorder characterized by chronic mildly depressed or irritable mood often accompanied by other symptoms; dysthymic disorder. With this new Latin word in your pocket, WebMD ain’t got nothin’ on you.

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10. Gowpen

The hollow of two hands held together as if forming a bowl. It’s also important to know that a gowpenful means a double handful. This word will definitely come in handy.

11. Alexithymia

Inability to identify and express or describe one’s feelings. People with alexithymia typically display a lack of imaginative thought, have difficulty distinguishing between emotions and bodily sensations, and engage in logical externally oriented thought. If you’d like to describe yourself or someone you know, use “alexithymic” as the adjective.

12. Schadenfreude

A feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people. It comes from the German words “schaden” (damage) and “Freude” (joy). No, this is not a word that you want to relate to.

13. Phosphene

A luminous impression due to excitation of the retina.

Tidbit from Merriam-Webster: “Phosphenes are the luminous floating stars, zigzags, swirls, spirals, squiggles, and other shapes that you see when closing your eyes tight and pressing them with your fingers. Basically, these phenomena occur when the cells of the retina are stimulated by rubbing or after a forceful sneeze, cough, or blow to the head.”

14. Quidnunc

A person who seeks to know all the latest news or gossip (think: busybody).

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You can use it in a sentence like this: “With the arrival of our other friend, we at last had a quorum of quidnuncs and enough material to while away a long lunch hour.”

Impress your gossiping friends with this word that is way too fun to say. Quidnunc, quidnunc, quidnunc.

15. Petrodollar

A dollar’s worth of foreign exchange obtained by a petroleum-exporting country through sales abroad. Make a mental note that it’s usually used in plural. Fun facts include that it’s in the bottom 10% of word popularity and wasn’t used until 1974.

16. Compunction

An anxiety arising from awareness of guilt; distress of mind over an anticipated action or result; a twinge of misgiving (think: scruple); “compunctions of conscience.”

Tidbit from Merriam-Webster: “An old proverb says ‘a guilty conscience needs no accuser,’ and it’s true that the sting of a guilty conscience — or a conscience that is provoked by the contemplation of doing something wrong — can prick very hard indeed. The sudden guilty ‘prickings’ of compunction are reflected in the word’s etymological history. Compunction comes from the Latin compungere, which means ‘to prick hard’ or ‘to sting.’ Compungere, in turn, derives from pungere, meaning ‘to prick,’ which is the ancestor of some other prickly words in English, such as ‘puncture’ and even ‘point.'”

17. Anglomania

An absorbing or pervasive interest in England or things English. This word that resides in the bottom 20% of word popularity goes out to your annoying friend who hasn’t ever left America but can’t stop speaking in a British accent and talking about the royal family.

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18. Psithurism

The sound of wind in the trees and leaves. Basically just a fancier version of “rustling,” because being basic is unacceptable.

19. Dwale

Another name for deadly nightshade; belladonna. This one is of Scandinavian origin, so thank your viking friends.

20. Philosophunculist

A person who pretends to know more about something than he actually knows as a way of impressing or manipulating others; someone who claims to be a philosopher, but who actually has only superficial knowledge of the subject. Gotta hate those freaking philosophunculists.

21. Eccedentesiast

One who fakes a smile. Use this word to describe a person who goes in front of a camera and has to fake a smile for the sake of the audience or a literary character who’s reluctant to display genuine emotion.

22. Floccinaucinihilipilification

The categorizing of something that is useless or trivial; the action or habit of estimating something as worthless.

Use this tongue twister in a sentence (if you dare) like this: “Humans are quick to partake in the floccinaucinihilipilification process, it has happened before and it will happen repeatedly until evolution explicates perfect men.”

Feel smarter? Of course, you do. Just don’t turn into a philosophunculist or you might have some compunctions of conscience.

Featured photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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