Awesome Words for Dictionary Day

favorite words

I love words and I enjoy lists. So, in honor of Dictionary Day, I thought I would make a list of some of my favorite words. These are either words that I think are fun to say or have interesting meanings, origins or histories.  No limit or order to these, just a list as I think of them. Do chime in with your own favorites in the comments section below.

Plethora – (PLETH-er-ah) 1. a superabundance; an excess. 2. an excess of blood in the circulatory system or in one organ or area.

Abacus – (ABuh-kuhs) a device for making arithmetic calculations, consisting of a frame set with rods on which balls or beads are moved.

Poltergeist (POL-ter-gist) a ghost or entity that manifests itself by noises, movement of objects, and the creation of disorder.

Onomatopoeia (on-ah-mat-ah-PEE-ah) a word or a grouping of words that imitates the sound it is describing, suggesting its source object, such as “click,” “buzz,” or “bluuuh,” or animal noises such as “oink,” “quack,” or “meow.”

Nefarious – (nah-FAR-ee-es) infamous by way of being extremely wicked.

Epoch – (EP-uhk or, esp. British, EE-pok) 1. a particular period of time marked by distinctive features, events, etc. 2. the beginning of a distinctive period in the history of anything.

Nemesis – (NEMuh-sis) 1. something that a person cannot conquer, achieve, etc. 2. an opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.

Oblivion (ah-BLIV-ee-on) 1. the condition or quality of being completely forgotten. 2. the act or an instance of forgetting; total forgetfulness. 3. official overlooking of offenses; amnesty.

Insidious – (in-SID-ee-es) 1. working or spreading harmfully in a subtle or stealthy manner. 2. intended to entrap; treacherous. 3. beguiling but harmful; alluring.

Epinephrine – (ep-uhNEF-rin, -reen) 1. Biochemistry. a hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla upon stimulation by the central nervous system in response to stress, as anger or fear, and acting to increase heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output, and carbohydrate metabolism. 2. Pharmacology. a commercial form of this substance, extracted from the adrenal glands of sheep and cattle, or synthesized: used chiefly as a heart stimulant, to constrict the blood vessels, and to relax the bronchi in asthma.

Asunder – (uhSUHN-der) into separate parts; in or into pieces.

Capricious – (kuhPRISHuhs, –PREE-shuhs) subject to, led by, or indicative of a sudden, odd notion or unpredictable change; erratic.

Havoc – (HAVuhk) great destruction or devastation; ruinous damage.

Nebulous – (NEB-yah-les) 1. cloudy, misty, or hazy. 2. lacking definite form or limits; vague. 3. of, relating to, or characteristic of a nebula.

Abominable – (ah-BOM-ah-nah-ble) 1. unequivocally detestable; loathsome. 2. thoroughly unpleasant or disagreeable.

Eucalyptus – (yoo-kuhLIP-tuhs) any of numerous often tall trees belonging to the genus Eucalyptus, of the myrtle family, native to Australia and adjacent islands, having aromatic evergreen leaves that are the source of medicinal oils and heavy wood used as timber.

Acolyte – (AK-ah-lite) 1. one who assists the celebrant in the performance of liturgical rites. 2. a devoted follower or attendant.

Syzygy – (SIZ-ah-jee) 1. either of two points in the orbit of a celestial body where the body is in opposition to or in conjunction with the sun. 2. either of two points in the orbit of the moon when the moon lies in a straight line with the sun and Earth. 3. the configuration of the sun, the moon, and Earth lying in a straight line. (Also interesting because this is, I believe, the only base word in the English language containing three y’s)

Amaranth – (AM-ah-ranth) 1. any of various annuals of the genus Amaranthus having dense green or reddish clusters of tiny flowers and including several weeds, ornamentals, and food plants. Also called pigweed. 2. an imaginary flower that never fades.

Esoteric – (es-ah-TER-ik) 1. intended for or understood by only a particular group; of or relating to that which is known by a restricted number of people. 2. confined to a small group; not publicly disclosed; confidential.

Archipelago – (ar-kah-PEL-ah-go) 1. a large group of islands. 2. a sea, such as the Aegean, containing a large number of scattered islands.

Ruin – (ROO-in) 1. (nounruins, the remains of a building, city, etc., that has been destroyed or that is in disrepair or a state of decay. 2. (verb) to reduce to ruin; devastate.

Cabalist – (kah-BAL-ist) a person who is well-versed or highly skilled in obscure or esoteric matters.

Necromancy – (NEK-roh-man-see) 1. the practice of supposedly communicating with the spirits of the dead in order to predict the future. 2. black magic; sorcery. 3. magic qualities.

Zephyr – (ZEF-er) the west wind; a gentle breeze; something that is airy or insubstantial.

Superfluous – (soo-PUR-floo-es) being beyond what is required or sufficient.

Hyperbole – (hi-PUR-bah-lee) a deliberate exaggeration of speech or writing used for effect.

Halcyon – (HAL-see-on) 1. calm and peaceful; tranquil. 2. prosperous; golden.

Rue – (roo) 1. (verb) to feel sorrow over; repent of; regret bitterly. 2. (noun) sorrow; repentance; regret.

Tmesis – (tuhMEE-sis) the insertion of one or more words between the words that make up a compound phrase, as in “what-so-ever” inserted in the middle of “whatever.” (According to Dictionary.com, this is the only word in the English language beginning with “Tm”.

Queue – (kyoo) 1. a braid of hair worn hanging down behind. 2. a file or line, especially of people waiting their turn. (Actually referred to the tail of a beast in medieval pictures and designs)

*The definitions of the above listed words may have been taken from various sources, including, but not limited to:





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