11 words we should start using more often
There may not be a word for everything, but there are lots of words for things that you probably don't use every day. The English language is chockfull of fun words that can express specific or complicated situations or concepts, or words that express familiar things in fun, new ways. This list of terms is designed to introduce some newness into your flagging vocabulary:
Meaning: Of, pertaining to, or having well-shaped or finely developed buttocks.
Example sentence: ‘When he turned around, I could see him in all his callipygian glory’
Etymology: From Greek καλλίπῡγο, combined form of κάλλος beauty + πῡγή buttocks: the name of a famous statue of Venus.
Meaning: Form or cause to form into a cluster or group; gather together.
Example sentence: ‘Let’s constellate outside the pub’
Etymology: From Latin constellātus starred, studded with stars.
Meaning: Taste (something) carefully, so as to appreciate it fully.
Example sentence: ‘I know you’re hungry, but can’t you degust your food for once?’
Etymology: From Latin dēgustāre to taste.
Meaning: A sudden and favorable resolution of events in a story; a happy ending.
Example sentence: ‘This is a eucatastrophe!’
Etymology: Coined by J. R. R. Tolkien in 1944: ‘For it I coined the word ‘eucatastrophe’: the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears.’
Meaning: To spill (a liquid) by shaking or unsteady moving of the vessel; to pour out unsteadily.
Example sentence: ‘I jirbled coffee on my shirt as I walked to my desk’
Etymology: Imitative of the characteristic sound.
Meaning: Treat (someone) in an indulgent or overprotective way.
Example sentence: ‘Don’t mollycoddle me!’
Etymology: From molly n. (formerly also Mally) a girl, a woman, especially a lower-class one, pet-form of the female forename Mary and coodle v. ‘to treat as an invalid in need of nourishing food and nursing’.
Meaning: A traditional custom or notion that is adhered to although it has been shown to be unreasonable.
Example sentence: ‘The hubbub about split infinitives is such a mumpsimus!’
Etymology: From post-classical Latin mumpsimus, an error for classical Latin sumpsimus ‘we have taken’, apparently in allusion to the story of an illiterate English priest, who when corrected for reading ‘quod ore mumpsimus’ in the Mass, replied, ‘I will not change my old mumpsimus for your new sumpsimus’.
Meaning: That can be kissed.
Example sentence: ‘Are you osculable?’
Etymology: A nonce-word, from classical Latin ōsculāt-, past participial stem of ōsculārī to kiss.
Meaning: The day after tomorrow.
Example sentence: ‘Does overmorrow work for you?’
Etymology: Probably after German übermorgen.
Meaning: To swallow greedily.
Example sentence: ‘I’m so hungry, I could slonk an entire steak right now’
Etymology: Of obscure origin, perhaps from Dutch slokken to swallow or Middle Low German -slunc, Low German slunk, German dialect schlunk, schlonk gullet, gorge, abyss.
Meaning: A wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action.
Example sentence: ‘Yeah, I do have a crush on him, but it’s just a velleity’
Etymology: From medieval Latin velleitāt-, velleitās, from Latin velle to will.