Awesome Arcane Words Part 4

This post is part of a series where I share words that shouldn’t have gone extinct. Whenever I run across a word that no one has heard since your grandpappy was a pup, I write it down and eventually, I share them with you in list form. Some of these words don’t even have synonyms.




  1. pathological indecisiveness
    Stanley’s abulomania makes him the worst manager ever.

Synonyms: none

Alternate forms: aboulomania

Etymology: from Latin abulo “without will,” mania “madness”




  1. bearded; bearing a beard; hairy
    Barbigerous hipsters have ruined the beard for everyone.

Synonyms: bearded.

Etymology: Latin barba “beard”




  1. divination by opening a book at random
    The swindler pretended to tell the future using bibliomancy and Ladies Home Journal.

Synonyms: none

Etymology: biblio- Latin from Ancient Greek βιβλίον biblíon, “small book,” mancy Ancient Greek μαντεία manteía “divination”



  1. to laugh loudly or inappropriately
    Everyone in class turned to find out who cachinnated.

Synonyms: cackle, guffaw

Derivatives:  noun: cachinnation ; noun: cachinnator ; adjective: cachinnatory

Etymology: 1815-25; Latin cachinnātus, past participle of cachinnāre “to laugh aloud, laugh immoderately”



  1. a warning cry
  2. (obsolete) Used by servants in medieval Scotland to warn passers-by of waste about to be thrown from a window into the street below. The phrase was still in use as late the 1930s and ’40s, when many people had no indoor toilets.

Synonyms: none

Etymology: English corruption of French garde à l’eau, translated means “beware of the water”




  1. To finish; to put an end to; to kill
    Are you going to napoo those fries?


  1. finished, worn out, dead
    My favorite shoes are napoo.

Synonyms: end, finish, kill, terminate, cease, etc.

Etymology: World War I British and ANZAC army slang, probably a corruption of French il n′y a plus meaning “there is no more”




  1. a pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather
  2. the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil
    Other than the petrichor, you’d never know that it rained this morning.

Synonyms: none

Etymology:  Greek, petra, “stone,” ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.




  1. a scent that lingers in the air after the source is removed; typically of perfume
    Sylvia had gone, but her sillage was a painful reminder.

Synonyms: none

Etymology: French, literally “wake, trail”



noun (pejorative)

  1. an idle, ragged person
    Stanley didn’t get the job because he looked like a ragabash.

Synonyms: riffraff, rabble, scum, lowlife

Alternate forms: ragabrash

Etymology: unknown, probably a contraction of ragged and brash.



noun (pejorative)

  1. feeble or worthless person or animal
  2. runt of the litter
    Don’t bother feeding that wallydrag.

Synonyms: runt, reckling

Alternate forms: walligrag, wallydrieg

Etymology: Scottish



  1. to bark; yelp
  2. to bark like a snarling dog
    Sylvia yaffed when Stanley honked her behind.

Synonyms: yelp, yip, howl, bark, bay

etymology: 1600-10; perhaps blend of dialect waff, bark and yap or yawp

More awesome arcaneness:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3