The English Language Is Weird And These 51 Words Prove It

English is a fascinating language, filled with thousands of weird words that are rarely used in everyday conversation. From quirky nouns to obscure adjectives, the English language is full of surprises. Have you ever wondered what being bumfuzzled means? Or why should we avoid frankenfood? Or why do some people suffer from kakorrhaphiophobia? Just some of the weird words found in the English language.

Abactor

This is an archaic term that refers to a cattle thief or someone who steals livestock.

Abaft

The term “abaft” is a nautical term used to refer to the rear or aft section of a ship or boat. Specifically, it refers to any location or direction behind or towards the stern (rear) of a vessel.

weird words: abatjourAbatjour – A French term that refers to a lampshade or lightshade.

Agastopia

A relatively rare word that refers to the admiration or love of a particular part of someone’s body, such as the eyes or hands. The term comes from the Greek words “agape,” meaning “love,” and “stopein,” meaning “to look at.”

“Argle-bargle”

Somewhat whimsical term that means a noisy or heated dispute, often characterized by confused or meaningless language.

Bacchanal

A drunk, wild event (we’ve all had one of those at some point in time, no?).

Balderdash

Nonsense or foolish talk, often used to describe something that is blatantly false or ridiculous.

Blatherskite

A person who talks excessively or foolishly without making much sense.

Brouhaha

A noisy and way too hyped reaction to something, often with a negative connotation.

weird words: BumfuzzleBumfuzzle – A somewhat whimsical term that means to confuse or perplex.

Callipygian

Having shapely buttocks. Be careful when using this one around, people might think you are insulting them.

Cattywampus

Something is in a disorganized or diagonal position, crooked or askew.

Codswallop

Nonsense or foolish talk. A very British word, used since the 1960s.

Dragoman

A historical term that refers to an interpreter or translator, especially in the Middle East or Eastern Europe.

Eellogofusciouhipoppokunurious – A 30-letter adjective that basically means “very good”.

Erf

A plot of land, building lot.

Fallaciloquence

Deceitful speech; insincere or false language.

Flummox

To confuse or perplex someone.

Flibbertigibbet

A frivolous or flighty person who lacks seriousness or commitment.

Frankenfood

Genetically modified food.

Gadzooks

A mild oath or exclamation of surprise.

Gobbledygook

Language that is meaningless, confusing or difficult to understand, often consisting of technical jargon or convoluted syntax.

Hallux – The big toe, surprisingly, while hallux rigidus means the toe is stiff and can’t move.

Haussmannize

The term “Haussmannize” describes the process of tearing down old buildings and replacing them with new, modern structures, as well as the creation of wide boulevards and parks.

Hullabaloo

A loud and chaotic commotion or uproar.

Ibidem

A Latin term that means “in the same place.”

Jabberwock

A term that was coined by Lewis Carroll in his famous nonsense poem “Jabberwocky”, it means nonsense or gibberish.

Kainotophobia

Irrational fear of change, especially when it comes to unfamiliar or new situations.

Katzenjammer

German loanword that refers to a hangover, a severe headache, or a feeling of discomfort after excessive drinking.

Kerfuffle

A commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting opinions or behavior.

Lollygag – To spend time aimlessly or idly, often in a lazy or unproductive way.

Malarkey

Meaningless or nonsensical talk, often used to describe false or exaggerated claims.

Meldrop

A drop of mucus at the nose

Mumpsimus

A person who stubbornly adheres to old customs or ideas despite evidence to the contrary.

Nephelococcygia

Rare and obscure word that refers to the act of watching and seeking out clouds in the sky.

Nincompoop

A foolish or silly person, often used in a lighthearted or humorous way. This is used quite a lot but it’s still a funny word. Coming from the Latin legal term, “non compos mentis”, meaning insane or mentally incompetent.

Nudiustertian

The day before yesterday. Oh, so there is a word for it.

Obloquy

Strong public criticism or censure.

Oryzivorous – Adjective that describes an organism that feeds on rice.

Popinjay

A person who is vain, pretentious, or overly concerned with their appearance.

Quincurion

Leader of five men

Rectrix

The quill feathers from a bird’s tail

Skedaddle

To leave quickly or suddenly, often in a frantic or disorganized manner. The word skedaddle dates at least 150 years back, being first used as a slang in the American Civil War. One of the weird words that have been around for a long time.

Skullduggery – Dishonest or underhanded behavior, often involving deception or trickery.

Snollygoster

A shrewd or unprincipled person, a term that is mostly used when referring to a politician.

Tatterdemalion

An adjective used to describe someone or something that is in a state of raggedness or shabbiness.

Unzymotic

Another way to say fancy or fabulous.

Vaaljapie

Raw, young wine, considered inferior.

Widdershins

Moving or rotating in a counterclockwise direction, often associated with supernatural or occult practices.

Yarborough

Hand of cards containing no card above a nine, in both Bridge or Whist.

Zoanthropy – rare psychological disorder in which a person believes that they have transformed into an animal, usually a wolf or other wild predator.

From the unusual and strange-sounding words to the tongue-twisters and all the idiomatic expressions in between, it’s clear that English is full of quirky, humorous, and downright weird words that make it a fun language to learn and use. After all, there’s no harm in embracing the oddities of the English language and having a little fun with the way we communicate. Whether it’s bumfuzzle, argle-bargle, or obloquy, there’s no denying that the English language has some truly unique and amusing words that are just waiting to be discovered.

Recommended reading next: Weird City Names In Australia. There are some really… interesting names in there.

FUN WORD FACTS

The word “quiz” was originally a slang term used by Dublin students in the late 18th century. It’s believed to have been derived from the Latin phrase “quis est?” which means “who is?”

Scofflaw” is a term that was coined during Prohibition in the United States. It was used to describe people who continued to drink alcohol despite it being illegal.

Pumpernickel” is a type of dark bread that originated in Germany. The word is believed to have come from the German words “pumpern” (to break wind) and “Nickel” (a nickname for the devil), which were combined to create a term that meant “devil’s fart.” Talk about weird words.

The word “robot” was first coined by Czech writer Karel Čapek in his 1920 play “R.U.R.” The word comes from the Czech word “robota,” which means “forced labor.”

Serendipity” is a word that was first coined by English author Horace Walpole in 1754. He based it on the title of the Persian fairy tale “The Three Princes of Serendip,” in which the main characters make unexpected discoveries.

Squawk” is a word that originated in the nautical world. It was originally used to describe the sound made by a bird, but sailors began using it to describe a complaint or protest made by a crew member.

Berserk” is a word that comes from Old Norse and was originally used to describe Viking warriors who would go into battle in a frenzied state. The word “berserk” literally means “bear-shirt,” which may have referred to the wearing of animal skins during battle.

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