Strange Words Indeed

I was reading a book and the author used the word sclerotic. I wasn’t sure what “sclerotic” meant, but it seemed rather interesting and descriptive. I looked it up to learn that it means, in terms of its use in the book, becoming rigid and unresponsive or losing the ability to adapt. Its first meaning was “having sclerosis”, which to me was nonsensical. “We NEED a word like sclerotic in the English language” was my 2nd thought. My 3rd thought was, “A lot of people on the internet have too much time to think about nonsensical words. “Nonsensical” means, by the way, “making no sense”.

I began thinking about weird words and remembered that, long ago, I learned that a word not used since 1755 is considered officially dead. That means that it was once a legit word, but no one has used it recently so it died. Not being sclerotic, I began looking for unusual words still considered usable. They are legion and on the internet.

What do you think impignorate means? Considered one of the weirdest words in English, I had to call on both Merriam and Webster online to find out that it’s a verb that means to “pledge, pawn, or mortgage”. I have little or no use for impignorate at the present time. Also on the list with it were the words anachronism and accismus. Both qualify as weird all right, but I knew that an anachronism is “a thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists”, making it a useful and wonderful word. I love anachronisms in movies and books. Barney the Dinosaur comes to mind as an example. However, I had no idea what accismus” means. It’s a form of irony in which a person pretends to refuse something he or she desires”. If the humanized coyote caught the roadrunner but refused to eat him that would be accismus.

I found a list of someone’s idea of the 12 weirdest words in the English language. They included gerrymandering, fungus, kerfuffle, berserk, and vex. Vex? I found the best word ever a kind of intriguing opinion. Someone decided that it’s diphthong. I tend to agree. A diphthong sounds kind of sleazily sexual, but it means “a sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable, in which the sound begins as one vowel and moves toward another”, like the word oil for example. The vowels in this word create a sound different from anything “O” or “I” can produce alone. Understand? Another thinker suggested that the most random word in English is potato. I don’t get it. What is the most beautiful sound that 2 English words together can produce? I recall learning a long time ago that it’s “cellar door”. Talk about nonsensical! How about mellifluous serendipity?

In conclusion, what are the 10 longest words in the English language? If you guessed the “super” word from Mary Poppins you’d be close. However, the super word is number 3 and pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoniosis is 11 letters longer and #1. Please don’t ask me what it means or request that I ever type it again.

Hank

About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road is...today's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

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