Awesome Arcane Words Part 3

I love the English language. It is so old that there are words that haven’t been uttered in centuries. It’s impossible to know the entire language, which is what makes it fun. Every time I run across a random word that no one has heard since your grandpappy was a pup, I write it down and eventually, I share them with you.

A while ago, I gave you a list and another list of words that were so awesome they shouldn’t have gone extinct, but they did. Some of these don’t even have synonyms.




  1. lack of self-control; excess; intemperance
    The judge’s acrasia showed in her rants at younger lawyers.

Synonyms: acrasy, incontinence.

Derivatives: adjective acrasial, comparative more acrasial, superlative most acrasial

Etymology: from Ancient Greek ἀκρασία (akrasía) (lacking command (over oneself))




  1. Pompous, high sounding, or pretentious in speech
    I simply cannot stand your altiloquent bloviation anymore.

Synonyms: hifalutin, bombastic, vainglorious, vaunting.

Derivatives: noun altiloquence, altiloquy

Etymology: Latin altus (adverb alte) high + loquens, p. pr. of loqui to speak



  1. A novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character.
  2. A novel tracing the spiritual, moral, psychological, or social development and growth of the main character, usually from childhood to maturity.
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a bildungsroman.
Synonyms: none
Etymology: German: Bildung, formation (from Middle High German bildunge, from Old High German bildunga, from bilidōn, to shape, from bilōdi, form, shape) + Roman, novel.



  1. A traitor.
    That brutus narced to my boss that I was writing a post instead of working.

Synonyms: Benedict Arnold, Judas, backstabber, two-timer, traitor.


  1. heavy, unwieldy
    Help me carry this brutus sofa, please.
  2. dull, stupid, insensible, unreasonable, irrational
    My coworker is so brutus during deadline week.

Synonyms: gravis, burdensome, cumbersome, unmanageable.

Etymology: An Oscan loanword, from Proto-Indo-European. Cognate with Ancient Greek βαρύς (barús), Persian گران (gerân) and Sanskrit गुरु (gurú).




Plural catachreses

  1. A misuse of a word; an application of a term to something which it does not properly denote.
    Stanley was sick of Sylvia’s constant catachreses and wished she would learn to speak English.
  2. (rhetoric) A misapplication or overextension of figurative or analogical description; a wrongly-applied metaphor or trope.
    The sky is the limit is an outdated catachresis since we can leave the earth’s atmosphere now.

Synonyms: (misuse of a word): misnomer, malapropism; ( bad metaphor or trope): abusio

Alternate forms: catechresis (17 th century, obsolete, now a misspelling), katachresis (17 th century)

Derivatives: adjective catachrestic, adjective catachrestical, adverb catachrestically

Etymology: From Latin catachrēsis, from Ancient Greek κατάχρησις (katákhrēsis, misuse (of a word)), from καταχρῆσθαι (katakhrêsthai, to misuse), from κατά (katá, pervertedly) + χρῆσθαι (khrêsthai, to use).


  1. scanty; meager; small; slender
    I can’t afford new shoes on my exiguous income.

Synonyms: meager, skimpy, insubstantial, inadequate, scarce.

Derivatives: adverb exiguously, noun exiguousness

Etymology: 1645-55; From Latin exiguus scanty in measure or number, small, equivalent to exig (ere) + -uus deverbal adj. suffix


  1. fleeting; transitory
    Kim Kardashian has a fugacious claim on the public’s attention.
  2. Botany: falling or fading early.

Synonyms: brief, ephemeral, fleeting.

Derivatives: adverb fugaciously, noun fugaciousness

Etymology: 1625-35; From Latin fugāci (stem of fugāx apt to flee, fleet, derivative of fugere to flee + -ous


  1. a printed punctuation mark (‽), available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), indicating a mixture of query and interjection, as after a rhetorical question.
    He smacked an interrobang at the end of his snarky sentence. Bitches love interrobangs.
Synonyms: none.
Alternate forms: interabang.




  1. protest strongly or vehemently
    The left-handed girl inveighed against a right-handed world.

Synonyms: rail, remonstrate, vituperate, castigate, reproach, censure, Antonym: uninveigh

Derivatives: noun inveigher, adjective inveighing

 Etymology: 1480-90; From Latin invehī to attack with words, equivalent to in- in-2+ vehī passive infinitive of vehere to ride, drive, sail


[kwing-kuhngks, kwin-]

Plural quincunxes


  1. an arrangement of five objects, as trees, in a square or rectangle, one at each corner and one in the middle.
    Stanley rolled the die and waited to see the quincunx.
  2. Botany. an overlapping arrangement of five petals or leaves, in which two are interior, two are exterior, and one is partly interior and partly exterior.
  3. A Roman coin worth five twelfths of an as, the Roman standard bronze coin, and marked with a quincunx of spots.

Synonyms: none.

Etymology: 1640-50; From Latin: five twelfths ( quinc-, variant of quīnquequinque– + uncia twelfth




  1. diligent in application or attention; persevering; assiduous.
  2. persistently or carefully maintained:
    Stanley plied sedulous flattery on his boss.

Synonyms: diligent, hard-working, persevering; Antonym: unsedulous

Derivatives: adverb sedulously, noun sedulousness

Etymology: 1530-40; From Latin sēdulus, adj. derivative of the phrase sē dolō diligently, literally, without guile

More exciting words:

Part 4