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Avoid obfuscation

The English language has so many words that most of us never use. It seems like such a waste. The following is a list of some of the words I wish I could find a use for in my own stories because they sound fun or different. Alas, even if I could find a place for them, no one would understand what the heck I was talking about. Or maybe that's just me…

(Please excuse my improper use of the bullet.)

oriflamme – Sounds like something that would set your mouth on fire. Like habañero peppers.

  • poetic/literary (in historical use) a scarlet banner or knight's standard. a principle or ideal that serves as a rallying point in a struggle.

carboy – Not your personal detailer, or your chauffeur.

  • a large globular plastic bottle with a narrow neck, typically protected by a frame and used for holding acids or other corrosive liquids.

hadeharia – Not related to the HKs at the airport.

  • constant use of the word “hell”

reremouse – Makes me think of weremouse, which would be a completely different animal.

  • (arch version) bat

emolument – Sounds like something you'd find in your lotion bottle.

  • payment received for work; wages or salary

What are some of your favorite rarely-used words?

Definitions taken from the Mac dictionary, The Phrontistery, and the New World Dictionary (2nd College Edition, 1980).

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  1. Reply

    Cacophony: harsh discordance of sound; dissonance: a cacophony of hoots, cackles, and wails.

    I always liked that word, and rarely ever use it correctly (shocking I know)

  2. Dunx


    pulchritude – sounds revolting, doesn’t it? Especially in the adjectival form “pulchritudinous”… but it means “beauty”.

  3. Reply

    For those patient enough to go through half of this clip – none other than the one and only Carlin to call to mind some unjustly neglected words:

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