20 Weirdly Specific Words

There are a lot of words in the English language. Some are really common, some are really old, and some are really weird. If you Google "weird words" or "unusual" words, there are words with way too many letters, words that are super short but you've never heard of, and a variety of other weird, wacky, and fun words.

There are also dozens of lists of old words, weird words, long words, short words--pretty much anything you might be looking for.

But this list is one of words that are oddly specific. Who knew we needed words for these things? And yet, they exist.

1. Abecedarian

Someone who is learning the alphabet. It is certainly important to learn the alphabet. At least, an alphabet. But not only does this word remind me of octogenarian, but does someone learning the alphabet really need their own title? Every kindergartner everywhere: an abecedarian.

This graphic even shows you how to draw the letters. Although, I didn't draw any of my letters like this ever. Just goes to show how much education changes.

This graphic even shows you how to draw the letters. Although, I didn't draw any of my letters like this ever. Just goes to show how much education changes.

2. Accubation

The practice of eating and drinking while lying down. Probably more people do this than are willing to admit. After all, what is Netflix for? It's for watching shows and eating while lying down. Therefore, I think many could admit to accubation.

I searched for grapes, and found raspberries. Yum.

I searched for grapes, and found raspberries. Yum.

3. Batrachophagous

Feeding on frogs. Not something I personally do, but my parent's dog does. And so do some humans. So now we know what it's called.  The batrachophagous human enjoyed deep fried frog legs with abandon.

It appears that someone has already eaten this frog. Please go find your frog meal elsewhere.

It appears that someone has already eaten this frog. Please go find your frog meal elsewhere.

4. Brevirostrate

Having a short beak or bill. I guess I can see how this word might be important if you were a bird scientist. In fact, I might use it in my next book. But I'm sure that even brevirostrate birds would agree that the word is extremely specific.

This owl is bored/not amused by your word play.

This owl is bored/not amused by your word play.

5. Chirotonsor

Barber. Yup. According to my research, it is constructed from the Greek words for "hand" and "clipper." Handclipper. Henceforth, all barbers and hairdressers everywhere shall be yclept HANDCLIPPER.

Isn't this a very elegant-looking pair of scissors? I'm a fan. A Sieling fan. PUN. Also, tangent.

Isn't this a very elegant-looking pair of scissors? I'm a fan. A Sieling fan. PUN. Also, tangent.

6. Dehisce

To gape or burst open (as in a pod or a wound). Yeah this is kind of gross. Unless you're talking about the snap dragon plant, in which case, it's super cool. When you pop a snap dragon pod, little springy seeds jump everywhere and it is epic.

Okay, so not exactly a pod or a wound, but it'll have to do. It kind of looks like it just exploded...?

Okay, so not exactly a pod or a wound, but it'll have to do. It kind of looks like it just exploded...?

7. Deltiologist

A collector of picture post cards. This seems like a profession I could get behind.

I have sent many epic postcards in my life, but none so epic as this.

I have sent many epic postcards in my life, but none so epic as this.

8. Erinaceous

Of a hedgehog family. I'm guessing there is a group of erinaceous aliens somewhere who will very much appreciate the existence of this word once they've encountered English-speaking humans for the first time. In fact, humans will probably appreciate this word at that point as well. How else are we supposed to describe them?

OMG HEDGEHOGS. IT'S PLAYING WITH AN APPLE. MOM, CAN I GET ONE?

OMG HEDGEHOGS. IT'S PLAYING WITH AN APPLE. MOM, CAN I GET ONE?

9. Estrapade

When a horse tries to get rid of its rider. Never again will you have to say, "the horse tried to rid itself of it's rider by kicking and bucking." Now you can simply say, "the horse estrapaded!"

This horse isn't technically estrapading, as it has no rider. Instead, you can see clearly that the horse estrapaded successfully, as, well, it has no rider.

This horse isn't technically estrapading, as it has no rider. Instead, you can see clearly that the horse estrapaded successfully, as, well, it has no rider.

10. Favillous

Resembling ashes. I find this interesting because, besides ashes themselves, there aren't a lot of things that resemble ashes. Maybe snow? But when you google "things that resemble ashes" all you get are "The 10 Weirdest Things You Can Do With Your Ashes."

These are supposedly ashes from Mt. St. Helens. I'm not sure if they count as favillous though because they actually are ashes...

These are supposedly ashes from Mt. St. Helens. I'm not sure if they count as favillous though because they actually are ashes...

11. Gossypiboma

An object, such as a sponge, that is left behind after surgery.

Doctor: I'm sorry to say, you have a gossypiboma.
You: Oh no! Am I going to be okay?
Doctor: *laughs*

Hopefully he won't leave this kind of sponge in after surgery or else you may have bigger problems, as in, you need a new doctor :P

Hopefully he won't leave this kind of sponge in after surgery or else you may have bigger problems, as in, you need a new doctor :P

12. Kyphorrhinos

A nose that has a hump. What kind of hump? Like, a bulb on the end? Like, a little rise on the bridge? A camels' hump?

At any rate, if you or someone you know has a nose with a hump, you now know what to call their condition. "How's your kyphorrhinos today, friend?" Also, did you notice it has the word "rhinos" in it?

This guy doesn't have to worry about kyphorrhinos.

This guy doesn't have to worry about kyphorrhinos.

13. Nelipot

Someone who goes barefoot. This is me. Definitely me. I'm looking forward to adding nelipot to my list of accomplishments on my resume.

This is a foot.

This is a foot.

This is also a foot.

This is also a foot.

Quite a different foot.

Quite a different foot.

14. Pogontomy

The cutting of a beard. This is not something I have practiced personally, but I come from a family of men who practice this religiously. Every couple of weeks or so, when the beards get too long or scraggly, some pogontomy is required. 

bearded-man
nice-shave

15. Psithurism

The sound of the wind in the trees and the rustling of leaves. I love this word almost as much as I love the word petrichor. Yes, it is a bit unnecessary, as you could just say "the trees rustled in the wind" instead of trying to somehow fit "psithursim" into a sentence, but the fact that there is one word that encapsulates the essence of this sound is wonderful. I am happy to live in a universe where this word exists.

This is the kind of woods where I imagine the space around me is filled with psithursim.

This is the kind of woods where I imagine the space around me is filled with psithursim.

16. Qualtagh

The first person you encounter after leaving home. This is an amazing concept, actually, I've decided after reflecting on it. Think about it: the first person you meet after leaving home has the ability to completely shape the rest of your day. If they're a thief, and they rob you, then instead of going out like you were planning, you have to spend the rest of the day at the bank and DMV doing annoying things. Or if they're nice and run over to hand you something you dropped, they could have saved you the trip to the DMV or bank or wherever. They might say something nice or mean or irrelevant, and in doing so, impact what you do and how well you do it!

Which one of these people would you like to meet after first leaving your house? I'm thinking the lady with the goose.

Which one of these people would you like to meet after first leaving your house? I'm thinking the lady with the goose.

17. Scolecophagus

A person who eats worms. A horrific concept, I know, but there is a song about it... "Nobody loves me, everybody hates me--I'm gonna go eat worms... big fat juicy ones, itsy bitsy tiny ones, the wriggly ones that make you squirm..." or however it goes. Anyway, not sure we needed this concept to begin with, let alone a word for it.

I agree--the picture makes it ten times worse.

I agree--the picture makes it ten times worse.

18. Tetrapyloctomy

The art of splitting a hair four ways. WHAT A SKILL. WHAT A TALENT. I believe this word is facetious in origin, which makes it metaphorically and literally hilarious. So while yes, this word is totally unnecessary and ridiculously specific, it is also amazing.

You could spend a lot of time splitting hairs if you used the hairs on this... creature. I think it might be a dog, but I'm not entirely certain.

You could spend a lot of time splitting hairs if you used the hairs on this... creature. I think it might be a dog, but I'm not entirely certain.

19. Ulotrichous

Belonging to a group of people with wooly or crispy curly hair. I think I probably belong to this group, except that I've never considered my hair "cripsy". Just thick and curly and frizzy. Do you have crispy hair?

This guy does look a lot like me though.

This guy does look a lot like me though.

20. Xerophagy

The practice of eating dry food. Please raise your hand if your diet consists entirely of dry food. And then write a comment or message me or email me or SOMETHING. I am SO CURIOUS about what this actually looks like (if it's real). Although, I guess my cats are on an all dry food diet. Hm.

Seems like the Canadians from Calgary are already on their way to a successful dry food diet.

Seems like the Canadians from Calgary are already on their way to a successful dry food diet.

So there you have it--my list of weird words. I love words and I love weird words. What are your favourites?

BONUS WORD

21. Grimalkin

It literally means cat. It's derived from the word "grey" and the word "malkin" which basically means cat, in addition to a few other things. I like it because it kind of sounds like 'gremlin' and boy are my cats little gremlins :)

This cat has a quail on its head. Seems like an unfortunate position for the cat. No one wants to be the statue, if you get my meaning ;)

This cat has a quail on its head. Seems like an unfortunate position for the cat. No one wants to be the statue, if you get my meaning ;)