20 Geeky Words to Add to Your Lexicon

I’m a word geek. No way around that. I have spent literally days of my life trolling the Online Etymology Dictionary and, back when I had a university subscription, the Oxford English Dictionary. English, while being an absolute mish-mash of languages, has a delightfully wacky catalogue of words and phrases that aren’t just fun to learn about, but fun to say. Learning new words and word origins isn’t just a matter of education, it’s often hilarious.

To add to your lexicon, I thought I’d share some rather intriguing words you can use in various geeky pursuits.

  1. floccinaucinihilipilification – is the act of estimating (something) as worthless. Floccinaucinihilipilification holds the title of official “longest real word” in the English language, and has been in use (by probably a total of eight people) since 1741. Some geeks are probably guilty of this in regard to hobbies outside our comfort zone. 
  2. benzoxycamphors, sesquioxidizing, and oxyphenbutazone – Basically, these are Scrabble jackpots. According to Wikipedia, though the words have never been used, sesquioxidizing, for instance, could result in 1674 points if placed correctly.
  3. hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia – Anyone have an elderly aunt who screams and starts muttering prayers at the sight of ’666′? Seen one too many horror films? This is the word you might find some use for as it is fear of the number 666. It also uses the letter x a total of three times.
  4. aboulomania – I see this at the D&D table a great deal; aboulomania is pathological indecisiveness. I’ll admit to being an occasional aboulomaniaic. Or maybe I’m not. I don’t know. It’s just so hard to say!
  5. grammatolatry – A rather appropriate word for this list. Grammatolatry is the worship of letters and words (but I bet some of your smarty pants people could figure that out just by looking at the word and knowing your roots).
  6. labtebricole – Some geeks are accused of this. Those who are labtebricole are literally living in holes. We call them Geek Dens, thankyouverymuch.
  7. omphaloskepsis – The self-reflective geek will find good use of this word. Omphaloskepsis is navel-gazing.
  8. heterodyne – No, no, not that Heterodyne. An actual heterodyne is described as interference due to different wave frequencies.
  9. maffick – This is what you do when you find out your favorite show has been renewed for a second season or locate that first edition you were looking for: you celebrate exuberantly and boisterously. I am going to maffick around the house later today if I get past this next part in Dragon Age. Stupid Branka.
  10. molybdosis – Some blame the fall of Rome on molybdosis, that is, lead poisoning. So the next time you’re in the antiquities section at the museum, you can bemoan the loss of such greatness by declaring, “Damn the molybdosis.” People will think you’re smart. I promise.
  11. chiliahedron – That would be a one-thousand sided figure, and a sincere pain to try and roll…
  12. cobaltiferous – Although this sounds like a fake word, it’s not. If something is cobaltiferous, it bears cobalt. Now, where’s my mining pick?
  13. unconsentaneous – This happens in our comment threads sometimes, or on forums. Sometimes geeks are unconsentaneous; that is, they are not in agreement. However, if one of the arguing geeks use the word unconsentaneous, I think they win by default.
  14. neophobe – There are also many neophobes in geek culture, those who fear change or novelty. As in: “The next edition is never going to be good enough.” “They should never have remade that film.” “I can’t believe they’re rebooting that comic.” And so on.
  15. quantophrenia – Quite a few geeks I know suffer from quantophrenia, the obsessive reliance on statistics and mathematical results. You know the sort, whether it’s in a game situation or online, they need citations and double-backed stats on everything! Come on guys, loosen up. Have some fun. Sometimes you just need to go with the flow.
  16. borborygmus – We all suffer from borborygmus every now and again, but I remember it being worse in college when I ate a whole lot more Doritos and Coke. Borborygmus is a rumbling noise in the intestines. Usually a bad sign of things to come… *cough*
  17. elflock – Really? This is a word? Truly. An elflock is a lock of tangled hair. The tangled part throws me a little, but for some reason I can’t stop thinking about Legolas…
  18. vituperation – Something many geeks have in common is vituperation during childhood, or rejection and abuse. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?
  19. tyroid – Hobbits rejoice. If something resembles cheese or is cheesy, it’s tyroid. Not to be confused with thyroid.
  20. worsification – Many fantasy novelists dabble in worsification, or the composition of bad poetry. It’s not usually intentional, of course, but even Tolkien just barely got away with it. Maybe we should all leave it alone.

Any weird geeky words you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

Words courtesy of Wikipedia and the delightful site The Phrontistery and their International House of Logorrhea section. These words are but a wee drop in the barrel. If you have a spare few hours or so, there’s no end to fun at the Phrontistery (if you happen to be a word geek like me)!





21 Responses to 20 Geeky Words to Add to Your Lexicon

  1. Whats funny about this is, I knew about floccinaucinihilipilification for a while, because its the name of a group I am in which is cool and very geeky. Its my current No1 fav word.

  2. Whats funny about this is, I knew about floccinaucinihilipilification for a while, because its the name of a group I am in which is cool and very geeky. Its my current No1 fav word.

  3. Saying you have aboulomania because you're simply indecisive makes you guilty of propagating a clinomorphism, or amplifying a real medical condition for dramatic effect.

  4. Saying you have aboulomania because you’re simply indecisive makes you guilty of propagating a clinomorphism, or amplifying a real medical condition for dramatic effect.

  5. Defenestration can be satisfying when a piece of hardware doesn't work. You just throw it out the window :-P

  6. Defenestration can be satisfying when a piece of hardware doesn’t work. You just throw it out the window :-P

  7. Defenestration can be satisfying when a piece of hardware doesn’t work. You just throw it out the window :-P

  8. Interesting derivation of "maffick", too.

    It comes from the wild public celebrations after the raising of the Siege of Mafeking during the Boer War.

    Mafeking -> Mafficking -> to Maffick. It was trendy for a while, but I'm not sure anyone's used it seriously since about 1905…

  9. Interesting derivation of “maffick”, too.

    It comes from the wild public celebrations after the raising of the Siege of Mafeking during the Boer War.

    Mafeking -> Mafficking -> to Maffick. It was trendy for a while, but I’m not sure anyone’s used it seriously since about 1905…

  10. I heard elflocks is like bed head. While you're sleeping elves come and mess up your hair. I haven't heard it in years.

  11. I heard elflocks is like bed head. While you’re sleeping elves come and mess up your hair. I haven’t heard it in years.

  12. I can also recommend 'Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary of Unusual, Obsure, and Preposterous Words'. This has been a staple deskside companion for many years, an excellent 'browser's dictionary' where I first learned about hippopotomonstrosesquippedalianism — the inordinate or inapproriate use of extremely long words, something I have been accused from time to time. Also, hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, the fear of such long words.

    Others who flip through it invariably are taken by fubar, fubb, janfu and the several other well known acronyms for describing military situations.

  13. I can also recommend ‘Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obsure, and Preposterous Words’. This has been a staple deskside companion for many years, an excellent ‘browser’s dictionary’ where I first learned about hippopotomonstrosesquippedalianism — the inordinate or inapproriate use of extremely long words, something I have been accused from time to time. Also, hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, the fear of such long words.

    Others who flip through it invariably are taken by fubar, fubb, janfu and the several other well known acronyms for describing military situations.

  14. When my husband saw floccinaucinihilipilification at the top of this post, he called me over right away. I've loved this word ever since someone gave my mother a t-shirt with it back when I was nine. In fact, I like the word so much that I put it on the cover of my most recent book. "The Bad Advice of Grandma Hasenfuss" is about a middle school boy who gets into madcap escapades in his attempts to deal with a group of bullies who tease him. The word floccinaucinihilipilification plays a role in solving his problems. So you can update your count of people who have actually used it to nine!

  15. When my husband saw floccinaucinihilipilification at the top of this post, he called me over right away. I’ve loved this word ever since someone gave my mother a t-shirt with it back when I was nine. In fact, I like the word so much that I put it on the cover of my most recent book. “The Bad Advice of Grandma Hasenfuss” is about a middle school boy who gets into madcap escapades in his attempts to deal with a group of bullies who tease him. The word floccinaucinihilipilification plays a role in solving his problems. So you can update your count of people who have actually used it to nine!

  16. Sesquipedalian was always one of my favorites. It actually means "prone to using large words." :)

  17. Sesquipedalian was always one of my favorites. It actually means “prone to using large words.” :)