This list is for the lady logophiles out there, and I'm willing to bet there are at least a few words you probably don't know! I learned early in life that an impressive vocabulary can do as much for you as an impressive wardrobe. The key is to have fun with language and grow in knowledge without using it to make others feel excluded. These are some of my favorite not so known words from the dictionary as well as the book "The Gilded Tongue". This purple velvet hard cover book is a must read for anyone interested in language, humor and words you probably don't know.
Table of contents:
(im-PAV-id): adj. from Latin impravidus, from in- (not) and pavidus (fearful): not afraid; fearless.
It's natural to have some fear, like the type of fear that protects you from touching a hot stove or playing in traffic. But if you find that fear consumes you or even stops you from pursuing what's in your heart, then that fear needs to be escorted to the closest exit door. Impavid is probably my favorite word because it's a great approach to life. It also doesn't sound too weird so you can incorporate it in your everyday vocab and not sound too stuffy.
(AG-uh-thist): n. from Greek-derived agath- (good): a person who believes all things tend toward ultimate good.
Sometimes I memorize new words by remembering clues. When I first came across this word I thought of Agatha Christie. If you don't know who Agatha Christie is, you should. Anyway, then I thought, "It's good to solve crimes. Therefore Agatha = Agathist". My next thought was Agathist reminds me of Optimist, and they have similar meaning. If that doesn't work, think of one bubbly hopeful person you know in your life and repeat. "********_ is such an agathist" 10x.
(skuhl-DUHG-uh-ree): n from Scottish sculduddery: underhand dealing; trickery
Imagine the look on your sister's face when you find your sweater in her closet and shout "Skulduggery!" She probably wouldn't know exactly what face to make. Skulduggery is an obscure word, but for no real reason. It sounds so much more indignant than "trickery"— which sounds like a word Dora the Explorer would say. Skulduggery really packs a punch and gets the point across.
(bel-GAHRD): n. from Italian bel guardo (lovely look): a kind or loving look.
It's not unusual for a person to give a belgard when they plan to bogart you. Then again, there are some genuinely kind and loving people in this world and it shines through their eyes. Honestly, I hadn't heard of this word before but I could see how easy it would be to incorporate into my daily vocab and even become common between my friends and me. "Stop belgarding me, you know I can't say no to those eyes!"
(KAHL-uh-KAYT): v. from Latin collocare, from com-, cum (together, with) and locate (to place): i. to set or place together in proper order, ii. to arrange side by side.
When I first saw the movie Clueless, I was forever changed. How, you might ask? It was the way Cher decided to collocate her closet by color. I had never seen a rainbow in a closet before and it stuck with me forever. Today my closet is not only collocated by color, but also type of clothing (i.e. shirts, dresses, etc.). Is there something in your life that you have to collocate?
(doo-EN-DAY): n. from Spanish dialectal (charm), from Spanish (ghost): the ability to attract others through personal magnetism and charm.
Before I even read the meaning of this word, I was drawn to it. It's not only fun to say, but you kind of have to pucker your lips to say it correctly. So, it makes sense that it means magnetism and charm. Instead of saying swag (if you even use that word), try using the word duende for a week just for fun. I can see your duende multiplying already girl.
(ee-NAHL-uh-jee): n. from Greek oinks: the science of wine or winemaking, viticulture.
If you have ever gone wine tasting, you know that there is a certain air about wine culture. There is a lot to learn about the process, the grapes, the regions, and more. There really is a science behind making amazing wine. Next time you find yourself having a conversation with a sommelier, drop enology into a sentence. Or even better, you can learn more about enology through sites like winespectator.com so you can come with questions for the next time you go wine tasting.
(lɪmɪrəns): n Coined by an American psychologist, Dorothy Tennov: a state of mind resulting from romantic attraction, characterized by feelings of euphoria, the desire to have one's feelings reciprocated
My favorite words are ones invented by people, instead of those with vageuly identified origins that have simply eveloved over time alongside mankind. Limerence is one of my most adored words because a 20th century psychologst created it. Created words always arise out of a need, which Dr. Tennov evidently noticed. This word sums up the state of being in love quite well, as it isn't just a feeling, but a strong desire to be loved in return.
(FAHRD): v. from Middle English farden, from Middle French farder, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German faro (colored): to paint the face with cosmetics.
Fard is a word that we all can use because we all paint our face at least a little. Don't we ladies? I personally don't think it's the most lovely sounding of words, but I found it interesting and thought that maybe you would too. Do you have a favorite professional fard artist? My personal favorite is bebebooth.com. If you don't have a favorite fard artist, what's your favorite cosmetic line?
(GAM-ur): n. from probably a contraction of godmother: an old woman.
This word should be easy enough to remember and incorporate into your daily vocal because gammer sounds a lot like grandma. I found it interesting that this was an alteration of godmother. It's another word that can easily slip into Rolodex of words although I don't think it sounds too flattering. "Hey, check out that gammer over there." What do you think ladies? Would you want to be called a gammer when you are a silver fox one day?
(PAR-uhk-siz-uhm): n from Greek-derived paroxysmós (irritation): a fit of violent action or emotion
All women are familiar with the paroxysm in some form or another. Think of a time when you lashed out at your friend or partner for no logical reason, maybe you threw something or simply screamed at the top of your lungs. There's a word for the condition from which you're suffering, it's "paroxysm".
(hy-PUR-guh-mee): n. from Greek hyper- (beyond, over, above) and gamos (marriage): marrying someone at or above one's social station.
I think most of us marry at least at our social station in life. Some of my friends have married above the station they were born into. I can't think of many women who have married beneath the station they were born into, though I have read many stories about women falling for a man who can only offer them love. Hypergamy sounds pretty cool when you say it, though I probably won't add it to my daily vocab.
(JEE-joo-nay-tur): n. from Latin jejunus (hungry) and English -tor (signifying an agent): a person who fasts.
Of all of the words on this list, I love saying this word the most. It sounds like terminator with juice in the beginning. It's a funny sounding word that can easily slip into our daily vocab. Even if you don't personally fast, there is always some celebrity fasting that this can apply to. Also, juicing is growing in popularity and this term only seems appropriate for those who choose to juice. I'm surprised a health coach hasn't grabbed this term and ran with it yet.
(drey-KOH-nee-uhn): adj from Latin, of Draco: unusually severe or cruel
I personally love this word! It doesn't work in every situation, but when you really want to describe the grueling task you just accomplished for work or school , draconian should be your go-to word! Draconian also works for taxing classes in school, atheletic drills, or even a rough Yoga class. Draconian should make appearances in our vernacular more often!
(PUHL-kri-tood): n from Latin pulchritūdō: physical beauty; comeliness.
I personally attribute this unfortunate word's unpopularity to the disconnect between the word and it's definition. If you look into your daughter's eyes while tucking her into bed and tell her how "pulchritudinous" she is, she might start crying! The word's ugly nature betrays it's beautiful definition, making it the last kid picked for the kickball team, or last adjective picked for the poem, nine times out of ten.
Did you know any of the words on this list? Which word was your favorite, if any? What other words would you add to this list? Until next time ladies!
This article was written in collaboration with editor Sabrina Yates.
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