A Dozen Undeservedly Obscure Words We Should Embrace & a Logophilia Playlist
"I hate music
It's got too many notes"
- "I Hate Music", The Replacements
Someone might just have a touch of melophobia, the fearful cousin of melolagnia ("Amorous feeling inspired by music").
Phobias cause suffering and of course that isn't funny, whether or not the fear is one we relate to doesn't much matter. However, the words chosen to describe some phobias can be a bit amusing, at least for logophiles (word-lovers). There's a certain beauty and quirkiness in the choice of pantophobia to define "a fear of everything":
For some reason, the word paranoia is bandied about casually, but people don't seem to accuse others of having pantophobia. Odd, that. Did a series of pantophobia accusations create too much confusion due to mistaken (although understandable) assumptions that charges had been made involving something pants-related?
While the term pantophobia seems iffy at best, many obscure words have a charm, usefulness, and/or fun factor that merits their popularization. Anyway, we deserve some nice words after our Clockwork Orange-style reintroduction to the unlovely word "widget" (I dislike widget spam and the word widgets, but I try to find some solace in the fact that they're "a dream for marketers".)
After perusing two eximious sources of obscure and interesting words, the Grandiloquent Dictionary and Luciferous Logolepsy, I made a Logopgilia Playlist, with tracks inspired by obscure words. But first... after intense deliberation, I drafted a list of a dozen words I propose we start incorporating into our vocabulary:
A Dozen Undeservedly Obscure Words We Should Embrace:
1. bromatology - "A discourse on food". Not eating carbs, not eating meat/animal products, not eating anything their great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food, can't eat gluten/peanuts/etc., only buy organic, only buy local, only buy union/fair trade... A lot of people have dietary needs, beliefs, and preferences... which others may not want to hear about, at least not at length. "Bromatology" has a boring, slightly painful ring to it. If you didn't know what it was, it would sound like something to avoid.
2. blatherskite - "An obnoxious braggart". Simply fun. Plus, unlike some popular modern insults, using it doesn't automatically gray your white hat.
3. bletcherous - "Pertaining to something poorly designed or disgusting in design" Another joy-inducing word; it rolls off the tongue beautifully and is amusing to read. Opinions will differ, but with design everywhere, how could there not be frequent occasions to dub it bletcherous? Injury-inducing toys, cars with design defects... a couple of the easy "bletcherous" calls.
4. chiliad - "A period of one thousand years". Could be a helpful term when exaggerating to make a point.
5. emacity - "An urge to buy or to spend money". "Emacity" sounds like a young actor's name, created as a cross between "Emma" and "Felicity". Picturing some young "Emacity" in an After School Special or PSA about our global footprints and corporate responsibility, and such might be a good way to remember the meaning of the word, or teach it to your own little Emacitys.
6. fashimite - "Someone who is a slave to fashion". Although it sounds kind of like "termite", it still sounds too much like "vegemite" to make a terribly cruel insult. It's a soft, strange-sounding term, perfect for using whilst explaining why you don't intend to purchase gaucho pants now or ever. "I am not a fashimite. No matter how many times I'm told something is 'stylish', I won't buy it if I think it's bletcherous."
7. lusa - "An Indonesian word for the day after tomorrow". How handy is that? Doesn't everyone waste time confirming "Right, not tomorrow, the day after tomorrow" with people? If a word meaning "the day after tomorrow" was commonly used in the U.S. since Pilgrim days, we might have put someone on the moon in the roaring 20s.
8. nullifidian - "skeptical". There's already a perfectly good word with the same meaning as nullifidian, but that shouldn't push it out of anyone's vocabulary. It's a funny, lovely word. If people have room in their thesauruses, and in their hearts, for ginormous, there should be room for nullifidian.
9. perendinate - "To delay until the day of tomorrow or to delay indefinitely". I'll write thoughts on this one later (don't hold your breath).
10. risorial - "pertaining to or causing laughter". That's great, and easy to incorporate into our vocabulary. Sure, at first some people might say "a spot of risorial entertainment" sounds perfect without knowing what it is. But they might find it harder to be disappointed while they're laughing.
11. sorbile - "Drinkable". This pleasant-sounding beverage-centric version of "edible" would be a useful edition to the popular vocabulary. We most commonly use "edible" rather than "eatable", so it seems a bit odd to use "drinkable".
12. sphallolalia - "Flirtatious talk that leads nowhere". Slightly tricky in terms of pronounciation? Yes, but I think this word makes up for it in terms of its potential for good. If sphallolalia caught on, think of all the long, redundant stories friends just might be spared.
1. anaxiphillia - "The act of falling in love with the wrong person"
I'm not what I could be, I need a true love
I went looking and I found one
The wrong girl
The wrong kind
The wrong hand to be holding
The wrong eyes to go searching behind
- Belle & Sebastian - The Wrong Girl
2. ananthous - "having no flowers"
"Send me no flowers, baby
Don't need any flowers, baby
I need affection sometimes
To soothe this heart of mine"
- The Supremes - Send Me No Flowers
3. deliquesce - "melt away; gradually dissolve"
"Jackie Cane was everybody's sugar
She'd melt away if only she could've"
- Hooverphonic - Jackie Cane
4. jentacular - "Pertaining to breakfast"
"You can try to be smart,
You can try to be fancy,
You can even call them crepes,
But I know what they really are,
They're just plain ol' pancakes"
- Lucinda Williams - Pancakes
5. metrophobia - "hatred or fear of poetry"
"Don't tell me what the poets are doing
Those Himalayas of the mind
Don't tell me what the poet's been doing
In the long grasses over time"
- The Tragically Hip - Poets
6. pantophobia - "A fear of everything"
"I've got nothing to be afraid of,
So I'm afraid of nothing.
I've emptied out the cupboard underneath the stairs
Because I think the sky is gonna fall in."
- The Boy Least Likely To - I See Spiders When I Close My Eyes
7. philematology - "the study of kissing"
"A nice way to maintain self-control without offending the other person is to say, 'I'm not ready to handle what I think is coming.'
Then you both go home and daydream.
Tomorrow you can start again fresh.
Remember: you can not get pregnant from kissing."
- Will Powers - Kissing With Confidence
8. wegotism - "The excessive use of 'we' in writing, particulary in newspaper editorials"
"We need a war
We need a war to show 'em
We need a war to show 'em that we can
We need a war to show 'em that we can do it
Whenever we say we need a war"
- Fischerspooner - We Need A War