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  • February 2010
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What is a Coruscation? A Librocubicularist? A Lollapaloosa?

The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.) contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use. The average 16 year old has a vocabulary of only 10,000-12,000 words. You do the math, but basically, there are more than 160,000 words that you don’t know! Let’s see if we can fix that.

Here is a haphazard selection of weird and wonderful words that you probably have never heard of (I hadn’t.)

Coruscation: (1) glitter; sparkle (2) a brilliant flash of wit

Librocubicularist: one who reads in bed.

Lollapaloosasomething outstandingly good of its kind

For example: In 1897 the Idaho Daily Statesman wrote: “‘A lalla-pa-loosa,’ answered big John, and threw his hand to Scovel. There was a jack of hearts and a deuce, tray, four and five of diamonds.”  Read more>>


On Dictionary.com, you can sign up to receive their “Word of the Day.” How much easier can it get? Today’s “Word of the Day” is:

Pecuniary: related to money


Want more? (Yes! YES!) Check out these websites.

World Wide Words – Includes a list of weird words AND their etymologies!

Etymology*: the study of the history of words and how their form and meaning have changed over time

*Etymology is not on the World Wide Words list, but it’s a good word to know given the topic. Don’t you think? =)

Cool and Obscure Words

Deipnosophist: someone skilled in making dinner-table conversation

Obscure Words

Nelipot: someone who is walking without shoes


If you still crave more (as you should), here are some books to appease your appetite for the unusual, obscure, and preposterous.

Mrs. Byrne’s dictionary of unusual, obscure, and preposterous words : gathered from numerous and diverse authoritative sources By: (Guess who?) Mrs. Byrne.

The highly selective thesaurus for the extraordinarily literate By: Eugene Ehrlich


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