There’s a word for that?!

As PR and communication professionals — as well as writers and editors — many of us spend our days correcting other people’s writing. This can be a taxing task, so sometimes it’s fun to take a break and play with words.

In this post, let’s explore a few words that will make you say “There’s a word for that?” (Definitions from Wordnik and Oxford Dictionaries.)

  1. Aposiopesis — to stop abruptly and leave a statement unfinished, giving the impression that the writer or speaker is unwilling or unable to continue; pretending to conceal something but mentioning it anyway.
    A well-timed silence or aposiopesis is one way to engage an inattentive audience.
  2. Crepuscular — related to twilight; dim
    A crepuscular light seeped through the trees, signaling the end of the day.
  3. Eschatology — the study of end times.
    I’m not sure what the career path would be for someone who studies eschatology.
  4. Fisticuffs — an impromptu fist fight, usually between two people.
    Remember not to mention sock puppets or the dinner could end in fisticuffs.
  5. Fichu — any covering for the neck and shoulders forming part of a woman’s dress; a triangular piece of fabric.
    Be sure and wear a fichu with that dress, otherwise people will talk.
  6. Flibbertigibbet — an offbeat, skittish, or flighty person; someone who likes to chatter or gossip.
    It’s never good when the company flibbertigibbet works in Human Resources.
  7. Glabella—the space between the eyebrows and the nose.
    Josh woke up on his wedding day to discover a newly-formed pimple on his glabella.
  8. Honorificabilitudinitatibus — the state of being able to achieve honors
    The longest word in Shakespeare is “honorificabilitudinitatibus.
  9. Interrobang — a non-standard punctuation mark that combines the exclamation point and the question mark to express excitement and disbelief.
    You haven’t submitted any expense reports since February!?
  10. Nonplussedbewildered or unsure of how to respond.
    My sister’s tirade over her childhood grievances left me completely nonplussed.
  11. Polydactyly — the condition of having more than the normal number of fingers and toes.
    Polydactyly is a rare genetic condition.
  12. Syzygy — the straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies (such as the sun, earth, and moon); the fusion of some or all the organs.
    The planets must be in syzgy because this afternoon’s meeting has been cancelled.
  13. Tsundoku — a Japanese term for buying books but never reading them; acquiring books but letting them pile up unread.
    Tsundoku is much easier to conceal when you have a Kindle. 

Do you have any favorite words to add to this list? Please add them in the comments section.

This post was also published on
Ragan Communication’s PR Daily.


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