10 Wacky Words Found in the Dictionary

The English language definitely has some crazy and wacky words. We’ve found ten of some of the wildest ones for you to use with your friends!

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The English language is a crazy language of unique words and slang phrases. While there are many crazy words out there, some of which are borrowed or derived from other countries and languages, we put together a list of ten of the wildest-sounding words in the entire language. Come read some wacky words with us!

1. Pandiculation

This word means the stretching and stiffening of one’s muscles and limbs, especially after waking. You likely didn’t know there was a word for the stiff stretch you do the moment you wake up. Now you do! It also applies to animals. Pandiculation comes from the Latin word pandiculari, which means to stretch oneself.

Brown tabby cat with green eyes yawning and stretching in the sunlight.

2. Sialoquent

Number two means to spray saliva, specifically when speaking. It’s been obscure for hundreds of years, with most people never knowing it exists. I bet you didn’t know there was a word for spraying saliva while speaking. Sialoquent is a combination of both Greek and Latin.

A girl in a dress using a megaphone to shout at two men in khaki shorts, who are covering their ears.

3. Sockdolager

Next, we have sockdolager, which means a forceful blow or an exceptional person or thing. Sockdolager became popular in mid 19th-century America. The things you learn.

A girl with boxing gloves hitting a man next to her.

4. Hornswoggle

In fourth place, we have hornswoggle, which means to get the best of someone by swindling or through hoaxing. Just like you can be swindled, you can be hornswoggled. Similar to the last one, hornswoggle was found in 19th-century America.

A man in a brown shirt with black stripes crossing his fingers behind his back.

5. Foofaraw

This word means to give a great deal of fuss over something minute. It also doubles as a word that means unnecessary frills or decoration. Add this one to your lexicon to use in conversation next time. While it sounds cool, we don’t actually know where this one came from. It showed up in 1845-1850 and is potentially a mishearing of the Spanish word fanfarrón.

A Victorian living room with extravagant decorations and furniture.

6. Widdershins

Six simply means counterclockwise. Now you can sound fancy with this German-derived word.

A black wall clock pointed to almost ten o'clock.

7. Bumbershoot

A bumbershoot is a fun word for an umbrella. This slang phrase has been present in America since the 1800s and could potentially be a combination of the words — bumber (a derivative of umbr in umbrella) and — chute from parachute. We aren’t quite sure. Either way, make sure to take your bumbershoot when it rains!

A bunch of colorful umbrellas outside. There are yellow, blue, orange, red, white, and green.

8. Erinaceous

This is a word you can use to call someone or something that resembles a hedgehog. We don’t know why this is a word, but we know it’s fun to use. It comes from the Latin word for hedgehog (ērināceus).

A brown and white hedgehog with a brown nose and eyes.

9. Nudiustertian

Nine means the day before yesterday. Instead of saying four words (the day before yesterday), you can now just say one. It is derived from the Latin phrase nunc dies tertius est, which means now is the third day.

A calendar planner from 2015 open to a random page with a black and gold pen sitting on top. There is a red mug next to the book.

10. Waffle

No, this one is not a delicious breakfast meal. Instead, waffle means a failure to make up one’s mind. In British English, it also means to talk for long periods of time without saying anything useful. This could be derived from the Scots verb waff, which means to fluctuate. Look at us, waffling on.

A girl in a blue button-up with brown hair in a braid shrugging her shoulders in confusion.

Did you learn any new words today? We recommend adding these to future conversations to spice up your vocabulary!

For a similar article on newly added Gen-Z words in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, click here.