More Unusual Words and Meanings

Unusual words are back, and they’re ready to make your vocabulary the BEST it can be.

Use these words to inspire your allies, shame your enemies, and shape the world to your whim.

You’re worth it!


Noun: playful repartee or banter

Comes from the French badiner (“to banter, jest, play the fool). 

Badinage examples:

What’s a little badinage between friends? 


Noun: A Minor or inferior Critic

Criticaster comes from the English “Critic” and the suffix -Aster, which denotes poor quality. 

Criticaster example:

He gave my book three stars, but I don’t worry about the opinions of a criticaster


Noun: A person who loves working.

A rare word whose origin is unknown. The best guess is that it comes from the Greek érgon (work, labor) and the suffix -Phile (to delight in a specific thing). 

Ergophile Example:

Being an ergophile has its perks- long hours, more pay, and something to do besides contemplating your existence. 


Adjective: Producing images or ideas.

It comes from the French idéo- (idea) and the Greek gignesthai (to be born). 

Ideogenetic examples:

All writers are ideogenetic by nature, but not all of them can bring those ideas to life. 


Noun: a word borrowed from another language. Literally to “loan” a “word.”

Loan-word example:

To make it in the big leagues, you need a certain je ne sais quoi. 


Noun: The origin of myths or giving something a mythical property. 

It comes from the Greek mŷthos (narrative, fiction, legend) and the Greek gignesthai (to be born). 

Mythosgenesis example:

Kyle hoped the mythogenesis experiment would keep his name in the annals of history- forever! 


Adj: not being able.

Unfortunately, this word has an unknown origin as it was only popular for around a year. 

Nequient example:

Sorry, but you’ll have to feed the dogs today. I’m doing the dishes and am currently nequient.


Noun: a Lover of Learning

It comes from the Greek philomathēs, a combination of the prefix Phile- (to delight in a specific thing) and mathein (to Learn). 

Philomath example:

Others may complain about college, but I’m a philomath at heart and enjoy the challenge! 


Noun: a contest of poets.

A fascinating term coined in the War of the Theaters, a literary quarrel between several Elizabethan playwrights that began in 1599 and ended with a peaceful resolution in 1602. However, the newly reformed friends found themselves imprisoned in 1605 after writing a play that offended King James. 

Poetomachia example:

Jane’s writing group exploded into a fierce poetomachia when someone declared Shakespeare the only true bard in history. 


ADJ: Annually or once a year

Solennial is another word without a definite origin. However, it could be related to the Roman sun god Sol and the suffix  -ennial (“Recurring at or marking intervals”). 

Solennial examples:

The bar’s solennial event starts tomorrow! I can’t wait! 

Now you have a few more big, unusual words to add to your vocabulary! If you’d like more information, check out the Phrontistery or any of the links above. 

What are your favorite obscure or unusual words? Let me know in the comments, or check out part 1

Leave a Reply