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Unusual Words You Should Add to Your Vocabulary

Every day we are faced with something new to describe. This in turn, creates the need for new words and original descriptions. That understood, the bombardment of all these additions, has left the world with less time to bother with fashioning these necessary words and phrases. Consequently, we give in to the laziness of human nature, and merely bang two or more words together to make up a new one.

Even so, with the increase of the use of texting, spell check and social networking sites (where fast and furious short-hand speak is the norm), our brave new world’s language is beginning to change rapidly.  Spelling doesn’t seem to be important – as ‘apparently’ proved by a research done by Cambridge University, and the necessary introduction of new words to our vocabulary seem to be leaving a lot of us grammar nerds out in the cold.

In this article I want to do three things:

  1. Ask the question, ‘Is correct spelling of our words important?’
  2. Bring your attention to some words that seem to poke fun at our otherwise very serious dictionaries.
  3. Share some words that I’ve made up to keep abreast with the evolving events of our modern lives.

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Is correct spelling of our words important

With the age of short-hand words in general use (words like ‘asap,’ ‘natch.’ ‘pos,’ ‘info,’   ETA, fab and gorge, urgently spring to mind), spelling seems to be the last thing on our brains.  Is spelling really important though? Take a look at the following paragraph found on the Cambridge University’s website.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in
waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht
the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a
toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae
the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a

My opinion is that, the only reason you could read this without a problem is because you know the correct spelling to begin with.  In my opinion, learning correct spelling is important, for it’s only then, that you can know what the incorrect version looks like.


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Funny words in serious dictionaries (have you seen these before?)

In light of the progressive situations creating the need for additional words, here are a few that you would find in newer dictionaries today. Have you used these before and can you spell them?

Pejorist – one who thinks the world is getting worse.

Scrimshanker – one who accepts neither responsibility nor work.

Jiggery-pokery – deceitful or dishonest manipulation.

Spelunking - the hobby or practice of exploring caves.

Ischial callosities  - refers to the leather-like pads on a monkey’s bum.

Natiform – buttock-shaped.

Humongous – a combination of enormous and huge (so it’s now actually a real word).


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Some words I’ve made up

I appreciate that there are things we need to express, for which we still do not have words.  Here are a few which I’ve worked out that would be perfect for the situations in which we presently find ourselves.

If someone else can make up words  like WAGS (wives and girlfriends – of football players) wannabes, metrosexual, blogging, and digging, I felt at liberty pen these.

Netmating   (net – mating) making friends on a social networking site.

Wally market – trading comments with your netmates so that he/she will comment on your work.

Obamarite – a person who reads, follows and backs Barak Obama.

Socianemania  (so-shi-a-ne-mania) – an addiction  to social networking sites.

Olly – a friend you know only online.

Cowelise (Cowell – as in Simon Cowell – ise) to criticize someone in the worse way possible, using only superlatives – the worst, the most out of tune, the fattest etc.

Petromania – to take part in discussions about the current petrol prices’ craze.

Celmaniac - a person who constantly opens and closes his/her mobile (cell) phone to check for messages.

Gadgehoar/Gadgerette (gadge-hor, gadger-ette:  a man or woman respectively) who makes it a practise to go out and grab the latest gadgets available – but hardly ever uses them.

I’m sure we’ve all got our own made up words, which we think should be included in the next print of the Oxford dictionary.  Who knows, they may even think them worthwhile to be included.



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User Comments
  1. mdegenhardt

    On October 24, 2008 at 10:59 am

    I like what you have to say here and must say that I feel spelling is of the utmost importnce as it helps to understand the word, its derivations, its meaning. Kids nowadays have no talent for spelling nor see an importance because everything is quick, now, no time for understanding. I must also comment on the picture you chose, embracing the words as a being, that’s marvelous! Michael

  2. C. Jordan

    On October 24, 2008 at 11:27 am

    I agree with md, that picture is a great illustration for this very good article and enjoyed your inventive words at the end Anne, my fellow Triondite.

  3. BC Doan

    On October 24, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    I’ve heard and use “humongous” occasionally, but not the other words. You came up with many good words also..

    My favorite: netmating, olly, celmaniac, and wally market!!!Who knows? These words can go viral on the internet…

  4. K D Blakley

    On October 24, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    I love words! Some of my favorite words are portmanteaux. I also enjoy humorous, new uses for old familiar words such as “ginger” (a “Southpark” recommissioning of the adjective form meaning red-colored to a noun meaning a red-headed, freckled, pale person.)

    However, wally is a new term for me – I see that it is British slang for a fool and so here I go a-wally marketing!

  5. nobert soloria bermosa

    On October 24, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    interesting list,only spelunking is familiar to me,and your new list-awesome.thanks Olly!!!!

  6. Liane Schmidt

    On October 24, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Very cute, imaginative article!



    -Liane Schmidt.

  7. Karen Gross

    On October 24, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    I don’t know if the whole language craze hit British schools, but when I took my teacher training in Canada in the 80’s, the new theory was that language study should not be broken up into specific skills such as spelling, grammar, vocabulary, etc. Students were to be provided with reading material, and the theory was that they would pick up skills the same way that first language is acquired – by exposure. Phonics was tossed in favour of ‘creative spelling’. Apparently, the creative writing process would be stifled if students had to stop to think about correct spelling. I don’t know if the public schools here have finally gone back to traditional teaching methods – I taught in a private Christian school where we imported curriculum from the states for teaching language arts and science.

  8. Lucas Dié

    On October 24, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    reel kwel artcl!

    Actually, spelunking has already moved on from the (natural) caves and now means going on a pub crawl in the lowest dives you may find.

    I am so glad the language is still alive :)

  9. Ruby Hawk

    On October 24, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    I have heard and used the words splunking ( that is the way I have seen it spelled). My son is a splunker from way back.(caves) And humongous for many years but I don’t know the other words.WE do need new words to keep up with the times.

  10. valli

    On October 24, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Cool! Excellent article.

  11. swapna

    On October 24, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    great article….

  12. B Nelson

    On October 24, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    Good Spelling probably is important, but mine sucks, and never was good. My handwritting is horrid too.
    I like the idea of making up words!

  13. Enzo Silvestri

    On October 24, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    In Australia we too had the teachers trained in the whole language idea. I called them the Hippie teachers who ruined two generations of public school graduates. Now those teachers are the lecturers at University. The correct spelling is important as can be seen by that test passage above. If people never learned the correct spelling in the first place they’d never know what the word was meant to be. It is only because the brain can recognise and rearrange that it makes sense of the passage.

  14. Dorothy Valone

    On October 24, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    Sometimes it helps to read misspellings out loud. It took me a long time to realize that urip meant Europe.

  15. Judy Sheldon

    On October 24, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Personally, I think spelling is important. Sometimes misspelled words cause us to think of an entirely different meaning.

    My mother used to make up words, and we got a kick out of it. I liked yours, too, Anne. Good job.

  16. Rookie Expert

    On October 25, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Fantabulous (fantastic + fabulous) aritcle Anne (I interchanged teh two n’s in your name, and it still spells the smae, ain’t tht swell? ). Loeved yuor aritcle!

  17. sheila

    On October 25, 2008 at 12:34 am

    i thought “obamarite” means to tell tall tales or to terrorize.
    that was a lousy word i guess.

  18. rocky

    On October 25, 2008 at 1:50 am

    yeah you are right, there’za need of new words to increase the fluency of English, well mine is all punkish english but i always prefer to speak punk in a classy way . Nice post

  19. Anne Lyken-Garner

    On October 25, 2008 at 2:44 am

    Tnahks for the ftasanic repsonse eyverone.


  20. RJ Chamberlain

    On October 25, 2008 at 5:56 am

    Yeh I’ve heard the one about spelling and that it doesn’t matter as long as the first and last letters are in the correct order. But you might be right in your opinion that its because we already know how to spell the word. One of those things you’ll never be able to prove though because if you couldn’t read in the first place then how would you know whether the letters were in the correct order or not anyway. My head is spinning now. Aswmeoe wrok hree Anne.

  21. GordonG

    On October 25, 2008 at 6:45 am

    I will first say I really like some of the new words you have made up. More importantly I agree that it is important that people know how to spell because if they didn’t then no they could not read the miss spelled words on the university web site. I find that the suggestion that only needing to have the first and last letter correct is not only the most ubsurd thing I have ever heard it makes me wonder where they got thier degree in education to start with. Thanks again Anne for a great piece of work.

  22. David irvine

    On October 25, 2008 at 7:43 am

    You have spent some time working on this. I thought it was great. Well done.

  23. RJ Evans

    On October 26, 2008 at 6:08 am

    The new words are great and I will be using them immediately! Not only with my ollies but when I wally market (which has the joyous status of a word that can be both a noun and a verb!).

    :-) )

  24. Mockingbird

    On November 3, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Anne…. perfect. I love your new words.

  25. Anne Lyken Garner

    On November 13, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Thanks for your lovely comments, everyone. They’re much appreciated.

  26. Gijo George

    On November 15, 2008 at 12:56 am

    To express our ideas clearly we need to add more words to our vocabulary. Good article.

  27. nutuba

    On January 12, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Wonderful article! Another new word I’ve heard a lot recently is a combination of gigantic and enormous — ginormous.

  28. Bill M. Tracer

    On January 12, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    A most impressive article. I’m in total agreement with you about spelling.

    I may read things a little differently from the good folks at Cambridge. I stumbled over a few of those words, slightly pausing to think about what the word was supposed to be. But it was fairly easy to surmise a great deal merely from the context of each sentence. It is not just having the first and last letters in the right places, the contextual meaning of the written words constantly tells you what the next word is likely to be. So the combination of first letter/last letter clue along with the context of the written paragraph together give one enough information to surmise the words. From what is said here, it would suggest that perhaps the folks at Cambridge overlooked the possible significance of usage context within the given paragraph. That of course assumes they conducted their research, using only the paragraph you quoted as their research tool.

    Which leaves me with the question, Do you know if this paragraph was the extent of their testing, or was their research more involved?

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