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.
- pathological indecisiveness
Stanley’s abulomania makes him the worst manager ever.
Alternate forms: aboulomania
Etymology: from Latin abulo “without will,” mania “madness”
- bearded; bearing a beard; hairy
Barbigerous hipsters have ruined the beard for everyone.
Etymology: Latin barba “beard”
- divination by opening a book at random
The swindler pretended to tell the future using bibliomancy and Ladies Home Journal.
Etymology: biblio- Latin from Ancient Greek βιβλίον biblíon, “small book,” mancy Ancient Greek μαντεία manteía “divination”
- 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”
- a warning cry
- (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.
Etymology: English corruption of French garde à l’eau, translated means “beware of the water”
- To finish; to put an end to; to kill
Are you going to napoo those fries?
- 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”
- a pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather
- the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil
Other than the petrichor, you’d never know that it rained this morning.
Etymology: Greek, petra, “stone,” ichor, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.
- 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.
Etymology: French, literally “wake, trail”
- 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.
- feeble or worthless person or animal
- runt of the litter
Don’t bother feeding that wallydrag.
Synonyms: runt, reckling
Alternate forms: walligrag, wallydrieg
to bark; yelp
- 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