Five Great Words That Probably Aren’t in Your Vocabulary

We're going to help you bulk up that vocab and start impressing people immediately (results not typical).

I’m a words man. I think I’ve proved that time and time and time and time and time again. I realized, however, that my nature on this topic seems to be predominantly negative; if I’m not telling people that they’re pronouncing a word incorrectly, I’m talking about how your go-to adjective is boring or how several forms of media are overloaded with failures of language. [sigh] I’m better than that.

Thus, I have decided to shake the word game up a bit (translation: more balanced, less lame) and so, I’m giving you some freebies. No seriously, I’m here to help, for once. With the list of five words below, I am going to help you bulk up that vocab and start impressing people immediately (results not typical).

5. SCHERZANDO

[skert • sawn • do]

adjective – playful; adverb – playfully

Generally, as an English-speaking American, I try to avoid implementing words from other languages in my speech because I end up sounding like a toolbag when I try (usually ineffectively) to throw some accent or foreign pronunciation in the middle of a relatively mundane conversational statement.

But this word comes from the Italian music world (and who doesn’t like Italy and/or music?), it’s extremely entertaining to say, and a lot of things in our world definitely need to be more fun and playful. I wouldn’t recommend you put in your rotation full-time but the occasional “I don’t know, why don’t you try being a little more exciting – a little more scherzando – when you do your presentations at work?” might elicit some embarrassed, confused smirks and that’s what I’m here for, people: nervous laughter.

4. INELUCTABLE

[inna • luck • tuh • bull]

adjective – incapable of being evaded; inescapable

This word really has very little application in most human vernacular but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s unique and pretty righteous. Truthfully, it really only lends itself to science-fiction or fantasy situations where there’s either a giant labyrinthine fortress and/or a lifelong destiny guaranteed to end in a sword fight.

I do believe that our world would be notably more interesting, though, if there were more ineluctable objects.

3. FROWARD

[fro • werd]

adjective – habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition

I like this word mostly because, in written form, most people will assume you meant to say “forward” (Microsoft Word actually flags it as a misspelling and automatically corrects the spelling without asking you) and when they attempt to correct you, you can drop some serious linguistic silence all over their face.

Personally, I find it most useful when discussing pets and professional athletes:

  • “Riley is a sweet dog but when he gets in the car, he’s extremely froward”.
  • “Would I want Terrell Owens on my team? Well, I mean, I can’t argue with his talent but in the real world, he’s too habitually froward for my taste.”

2. OLIGOPOLY

[awla • goppa • lee]

noun – a market situation that exists when there are a few sellers that affect but do not control the market

Maybe it’s just because of the longstanding popularization of the Parker Brothers product but “monopoly” inexplicably has a monopoly when it comes to words that end in “-opoly” (frighteningly appropriate, I know). I say “inexplicably” because actual monopolies are few and far between in our world, whether seriously in terms of the business world or figuratively, in your social circle.

Do you know what are pretty common in our world? Situations where an entire market is dominated – though not entirely – by just a few entities, rather than a single one (monopoly) or two (duopoly).

You will very quickly find at least a dozen ways in which to employ “oligopoly,” if you aren’t already running with it. And if you can’t jam it into any conversation, try harder. Because it’s fun to say.

1. PULCHRITUDINOUS

[pul • cri • tude • enuss]

adjective – physically beautiful

At first, this word gives you pause. It looks ugly, it conjures up thoughts of “putrid,” and it has a bunch of lumpy sounds that make you want to give up pronouncing it halfway through. Also, it’s long.

But its definition betrays its appearance and that’s why it’s wonderful. (I’m trying to think of a good simile for a situation like this, wherein a hideous object actually signifies beauty but I am failing miserably. Maybe this failure itself is pulchritudinous? No? All right. Fine. See you next week.)

Justin Brown is an artist and writer living in Virginia. He channels most of his enthusiasm into making things for his online art shop, Artness! by Justin Brown. You can keep up to date with him, his worldly adventures, and his dogs by following him on Instagram and on Facebook