What are the most neglected words in the English language?

Wayne State University’s Word Warriors have released their top ten words to revive in 2011 . Starting in 2009, the Wayne State Word Warriors have highlighted obscure English words to bring back into common usage. Citing the vast vocabulary available in English – the biggest in the world, in fact — the Word Warriors contend that the depth and elasticity of the language is often disregarded for the quick, easy and accessible word. “Too often we limit ourselves to words that are momentarily popular or broadly applicable, and so rob ourselves of English’s inherent beauty and agility.”

You come to Dictionary.com to find the meaning of a particular word. Okay, so sometimes you come to check the spelling, or the correct usage, or to find a suitable synonym. Here’s a project that focuses on the reverse:  what if you had a list of words that you intended to use regularly, infallibly, and until they became common usage among your circle of friends, family and acquaintances?

Often, students talk about wanting to expand their vocabulary with rich synonyms, but also worry about misusing a less-often used word. We say practice makes perfect. Check out the Word Warrior selection below and start incorporating some of these ten dollar words into your daily speech. Want to practice in the comments below? We eagerly await your samples.





For more information on the Word Warriors project, click here.

Nuance Unveils Hands-Free Messaging on T-Mobile myTouch 4G

Wireless News November 15, 2010

Wireless News 11-15-2010 Nuance Unveils Hands-Free Messaging on T-Mobile myTouch 4G Type: News

Nuance Communications, Inc. said that its natural language voice technology powers the Genius Button and Hands-Free mode innovations on the T-Mobile myTouch 4G, allowing, the Company noted, consumers to speak, receive and send text messages completely by voice.

Nuance said that users press the Genius Button and say “Turn Hands-Free Mode on,” and from there, the Bluetooth-compatible Hands- Free mode allows consumers to speak to initiate an SMS text message, have text messages read out as they’re received, reply to text messages, and of course, send them. Hands-Free mode offers the read back of dictated messages to confirm accuracy, providing users the option to edit the dictated message as needed. Hands-Free mode also introduces voice-activated caller announcement, allowing users to hear both contact names and numbers without having to look at the phone. go to web site mytouch 4g review

“Our consumers love the Genius Button’s one-shot voice capabilities, as it allows them to simply speak to use the services they access every day. And now that Genius Button includes Hands- Free mode, messaging and multitasking just got easier. Users can listen to, send and reply to text messages even when their hands are busy, working, cooking – you name it. And with Nuance’s innovative technology, the voice interface has never been more natural to use,” said Andrew Sherrard, vice president, product management, T-Mobile USA.

Said Michael Thompson, senior vice president and general manager, Nuance Mobile, “T-Mobile’s Genius Button demonstrates how innovative voice capabilities can customize the smartphone experience and add significant consumer value right out of the box – no apps to download, just simple, one-button access to all your favorite apps and services. The T-Mobile myTouch 4G is the world’s first 4G phone to feature Nuance’s full breadth of friendly, natural voice recognition and text-to-speech capabilities, including Hands-Free mode, which is revolutionizing mobile messaging. Working with T- Mobile, we plan to deliver mobile innovation to the consumer market for quite some time.” mytouch4greviewnow.net mytouch 4g review

The Company noted that T-Mobile’s Genius Button is a voice interface that works right out of the box for use of the voice interface. Genius Button and Hands-Free mode is powered by the Nuance Voice Control platform, a platform-agnostic mobile solution that wraps embedded and connected speech capabilities into one mobile solution.

((Comments on this story may be sent to newsdesk@closeupmedia.com))



  1. Xheneta Maliqi -  August 19, 2015 - 4:12 am

    I want to share with you my problem in English,So I’m very good when I write English and I understand so many words but the problem is when I talk with my accent,I want to improve it but I don’t know how can you help me please?

    • fabian -  August 22, 2015 - 10:41 am

      One of the most helpful ways to improve on your pronunciation of any word, that will also help with your accent. Is to speak slower and take pauses in between words, if you pay close attention to any speaker. You will notice they speak in pauses, this makes the message more clearly and easy to understand. It might sound funny, but talking to yourself while driving or walking helps greatly.

      Hope it helps.


  2. Jack McBallSack -  May 25, 2015 - 3:01 am

    My favorite word is aquabib because I ask people if they are aquabibs and they always answer “No” to the rhetorical question. The meaning of aquabib is `someone who drinks water`

    • john smith -  August 4, 2015 - 1:49 pm

      my favorites are:
      hoi polloi

  3. mADIQ -  March 7, 2015 - 6:08 am

    yoyoyo messed up links

  4. interstate furniture -  December 15, 2014 - 11:10 pm

    Thanks for finally writing about >What are the most neglected words in the English language?

    | Dictionary.com Blog <Loved it!

  5. Kyara -  October 1, 2014 - 12:24 pm

    After pondering the list mentioned above, I realized that I may no longer be a word nerd yclept Kyara, but only a word enthusiast.

  6. Marc Brysbaert -  May 22, 2014 - 12:52 am

    On the basis of our vocabulary test (done nearly 500K now), these are the 20 least known words:


    You find more information here: http://crr.ugent.be/archives/1621

    • AD -  September 5, 2015 - 5:46 pm

      Most of these are not well known, because they are extremely specific or can only be used in certain social circles or workplaces, keeping them from being commonplace in the vocabulary of the general populace. Honestly, who besides a chem major would know the compounds, and who apart from an animal expert would know the animal-related ones?
      I can, however, see a few of these words actually being useful in everyday situations, such as: Brummagem, Smaragd, Duvetyn, and Pyknic. Good addition overall, though. Thank you for the insight.

  7. The Other Jay -  February 19, 2014 - 8:52 am

    No longer able to tolerate the prattle of the unctuous poltroon, I admit that – in a paroxysm of annoyance – I defenestrate him.

    • Evy -  July 1, 2015 - 9:20 pm

      Brilliant, I will definitely add that to my quoting cards.

  8. Jared -  April 23, 2013 - 3:05 am

    I have a question… Is the word “indignation” used frequently?

  9. Kayla -  February 2, 2013 - 3:36 pm

    Schadenfreude runs in my family; if someone gets hurt, we’re thrown into a paroxysm of laughter so violent that we can’t assist the injured person until we have recovered. (Our laughter often causes the person to wonder if we are hornswoggling [?] them.)

  10. Olivia -  August 12, 2012 - 5:14 pm

    allow me to point out that the reason Hornswoggle and Skullduggery arent used to often, especially among young students, is probably because they aren’t exactly what one would describe as “inherent beauty and agility.” just saying that thats the logic of a 12 yr old.

    but if u want some uncommon synonyms, try:

    misconstue– to misunderstand/misinturpret
    sobriquet– a nickname/ pet name
    kismet– destiny/fate (also my fav. word!)
    equivocal– several awesome meanings (look it up your on a dictionary site!!)
    facetious– not suppose to be taken literally/ humorous (including some other definitions… ive heard this word used before but not often enough!)
    epitome– i cant actually rephrase the def. without quoting dictionary.com, but you know if it was used more im’m sure I’d have a better understanding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ive written those words down in a notebook and try to use them as often as possible. not to be facetious, but farewell! may we meet(blog) again if kismet determins it.
    i hope no one will misconstue that……………….

  11. fabgirl -  July 19, 2012 - 8:45 am

    I just used draconian on a mean boy at school.(I am a 6th grader.)So fun making him look stupid!

  12. Hank -  June 26, 2012 - 11:13 am

    “disgarded” (in the first paragraph)??? Did the author mean “discarded” or “disregarded”? I suppose there is a certain schadenfreude in seeing a typo on dictionary.com.

  13. Name not mentioned -  June 5, 2012 - 8:41 pm

    These are some of the weirdest words ever,…. just like concupiscence or schadenfreude. I wish I knew these words earlier,….

    Do you think these words should be added?

    :) Yes, I think they should because…

    :( No, I think they shouldn’t because…

  14. Jamie -  May 27, 2012 - 8:19 am

    Wow, that’s actually interesting. I didn’t know that concupiscence was a real word, that’s really amazing!

  15. Tara -  May 25, 2012 - 8:19 pm

    I have a song on my ipod called “Draconian Crackdown” (Rasputina)

  16. Emma Taylor McJoan -  May 23, 2012 - 3:53 pm

    Wow… FAIL! These words are awesome. I know all of these words and my favorite is hornswoggle because I like the sound of of it.
    Don’t you DARE to neglect these words!

  17. Debbie K -  May 18, 2012 - 7:42 am

    We don’t want our language to ossify, so we need to keep it fresh and alive by using fresh words…

  18. San -  May 17, 2012 - 1:26 pm

    My co-workers seem to have a bad case of Schadenfreude.

  19. Erin -  May 11, 2012 - 6:30 am

    *Hornswoggle, rather! : )

  20. Erin -  May 11, 2012 - 6:28 am

    Great words. However, the hyperlinks to “hornswaggle” and “ossify” both re-direct to the ossify page.

  21. shannonzor -  May 10, 2012 - 9:05 pm

    I knew six out of the ten words. I am neither a professional writer nor a wordsmith. Then again, how many people with a lackluster vocabulary read the blo of a dictionary website?

    Here are my suggestions for the list:
    1. unctuous
    2. effulgent
    3. superfluous
    4. maven
    5. bailiwick

  22. Paulk -  May 10, 2012 - 8:05 am

    I think Draconian is overused, at least in Europe. It tends to be applied to anything the opposition legislators, or the taxpayers, or the trade unions, etc., don’t particularly like. It can’t be threatened, as it gets about 13,500,000 hits on Google. Concupiscence, on the other hand, may be somewhat underused (only 974,000 references). I have to admit that “hornswoggle” is something I never knew was a verb. My wife has used it for the past 40 or so years as a noun, intended to refer to any foreign object that defies close identification (such as the small fly that just landed in my wine glass). All the other words are in what I would consider daily use.

  23. Lace -  April 27, 2012 - 8:32 am

    I go to school in The Draconian High. The head’s heart must be ossifying. With a heart of stone and bone she created the rule ‘if you forget one bit of equipment you get an immediate after school detention. Remember your planner-dairy, a calculator, sharpener, rubber, highlighter, pencil, pen, ruler’. Her schadenfreude-ness is evident.

  24. thatpersonwhosalive -  April 27, 2012 - 6:16 am

    I like these blogs… only time I would use words like those would be when I’m writing, I probably will pronounce them wrong otherwise.

  25. Seven -  April 19, 2012 - 5:20 am

    Surely the inclusion of schadenfreude is a mistake. It is not an English word. Period.

  26. dr.jill -  April 16, 2012 - 9:48 pm

    TERRIBLE sentence, but I got ‘em all! BTW, I use all of these commonly – just not in the same paragraph!

    Upperclassmen balked at paroxysmal sibilance of ossifying school administrators’ efforts to impose draconian measures to lesson concupisence in dorms. “Social propriety is evanescent and irresponsible skullduggery: students need monitors to lessen sneaking around after curfew.” Students cried foul: “We’re being hornswoggled by a schadenfreude of now-joyless school officials casting moral aspersions on us, just to garner additional money for penurious department heads trying to stretch budgets!”

  27. jessie -  April 16, 2012 - 2:20 pm

    The list needs to go on. Skullduggery is not neglected. i love the word

  28. linda kozub -  April 13, 2012 - 10:37 am

    Please consider N-o-t using contractions. English speakers, particularly Americans, often do not make a different sound, when uttering “can” and “can’t” …and similar contractions. (I’m Amercian, btw). Also, please, can we find a hole-in-the-ground and bury the word “interesting.” Ugh.

  29. Anonymous -  April 10, 2012 - 3:31 pm

    When seeing the lists I automatically thought of the band Evanescance, and the book series Skullduggery Pleasant. :L Is that just me, or did anyone else?

  30. Afghan Whig -  April 9, 2012 - 6:02 pm

    I see the word draconian every time I stumble across a political forum.

  31. oniya -  February 25, 2012 - 4:51 pm

    absterse seems to be neglected, even spell-check thinks it’s worng to schadenfreude is the name of song fortnight.

  32. Joe Brown -  August 24, 2011 - 2:11 pm

    Absterse seems to be neglected, even spell-check thinks it’s wrong!

  33. Alan -  July 19, 2011 - 3:51 am

    What kind of skullduggery is going on here when “fortnight” isn’t on this list?

  34. Penny -  July 18, 2011 - 7:15 pm

    “Schadenfreude” is the name of a song in the musical “Avenue Q.” Check it out.

  35. Hannah -  July 11, 2011 - 11:25 pm

    We shouldn’t ossify the words we use because some words might become
    Evanescent. Also we most be careful not to Schadenfreude. :)
    I’m a 7th grader and I loved your article!! :D

  36. JS -  June 29, 2011 - 12:45 pm

    In attempts to ossify in a draconian world, I learned to see right the evanescent skullduggery of the modern legal system.

  37. Maddie -  June 12, 2011 - 9:33 pm

    Regarding the word “concupiscence”: I learned in my 11 (so far) years of Catholic schooling that this word refers to something entirely different than its somewhat dirty connotations in the link. Originally, it refers to a Catholic teaching about the innate tendency of man to sin due to his fall from a state of grace after the expulsion from Eden. In other words, it’s the annoying temptations to wrongdoing that come to us, and there’s nothing we can do about it, even if baptized and removed of original sin. Later on, when atheism began to run rampant, the definition was changed to eliminate the religous meanings, and it now means a tendency to do evil (although they do not see the irony in their concept of “evil”, not believing in such things of course).

  38. Catharine -  June 11, 2011 - 5:54 am

    Our knowledge of the word evanescent is evanescent.

  39. Sllim -  June 9, 2011 - 6:16 am

    Favourite under-used word ……


    Especially when used toward a group of 9-11 year old boys (Scouts, sports team etc) as in “Next one to make that mistake will be castigated”. That usually elicits (another good word) a fit of giggles.

  40. Rhonda Lillie -  June 7, 2011 - 12:37 pm

    I want to give Kudos to Evan for writing the passage that used all of the words in such a way that was enjoyable to read. Thank you so much!

  41. Rhonda Lillie -  June 7, 2011 - 12:25 pm

    “The sufferer of a broken heart only need be aware of the evanescent quality of pain to endure it.”

    (without the “to” included)

  42. Rhonda Lillie -  June 7, 2011 - 12:24 pm

    “The sufferer of a broken heart only need to be aware of the evanescent quality of pain to endure it.”

  43. Rhonda Lillie -  June 7, 2011 - 12:17 pm

    “When her eyes met his she realized her own concupiscence would be the downfall of her attempts to stay virtuous in his presence.”

  44. hasan -  June 6, 2011 - 9:52 am

    WXYZ) – As part of its initiative to draw attention to some of the English language’s most expressive – yet regrettably neglected – words, Wayne State University has released its annual list of the year’s top 10 words that deserve to be used more often.

    Now in its third year, Wayne State’s Word Warriors series promotes words worthy of retrieval from the linguistic closet.

    And now, the Word Warriors’ 2011 list of eminently useful words that should be brought back to enrich our language:
    • Concupiscence
    Sexual desire or longing; lust.
    Too many political figures, drunk on power and the heady liquor of self-esteem, let concupiscence get the best of them.

  45. Sarah Palin -  June 5, 2011 - 11:43 pm

    I think the least needed words in the English language are:

    1> Intelligence
    2> Truth
    3> Knowledge

    …Look how far I’ve gotten with my life without any of those things!

  46. JPete -  June 5, 2011 - 4:08 pm

    These are wonderful words, but one must remember that sesquipedalianism obfucscates pellucidity!

  47. vinay -  June 5, 2011 - 2:03 am

    Oh concupiscence is a yummy word will remember this one

  48. Archon -  June 4, 2011 - 12:23 pm

    @ Arthur

    Atta-way fella. That’s the attitude we like to see. Don’t learn big words and improve your mind, vocabulary and ability to communicate, just because you can. That would show interest, drive and commitment to your life and fututure. Don’t rise above the level of the flock of sheep you hang out with, they might think you’re intelligent, or even worse, educated. Don’t do it to please your parents, you’ll only disappoint them later. And definitely don’t do it to impress any colleges/universities or potential future employers, that way my kids have just that much better chance to get a good education and job. As long as you can say, “Yuh want fries with that?”, your unemployed friends on welfare can still visit you.

  49. Postman -  June 2, 2011 - 11:57 pm

    When I saw Schadenfreude I stood askance and akimbo.

  50. Garrett -  June 2, 2011 - 11:29 pm

    Excellent. You are the first person on this site to use these words correctly. When a person reads a dictionary definition, s/he is not ready to use the corresponding word. For example, there are only a few classes of things which ossify, including some biological materials and also immaterial, temporal qualities, such as an emotion.

    For those who disdain loan words,
    for whatever reason, and who are pretentious, there is the English word “epicaricacy” from Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary. This word is a synonym of “schadenfreude” and comes from the Greek “epi” (upon) + “kara” (joy/grace) + kakon (bad/evil).

  51. ??? -  June 2, 2011 - 7:05 pm

    Two more words for the list:
    I win.
    ( I am not going to bother to get the chemical compound name for tobacco mosaic virus)

  52. Dumbidamdam -  June 2, 2011 - 5:27 pm

    The most neglected English word of all time is HONESTY… in different views that is… :p

  53. SAY -  June 2, 2011 - 3:50 pm

    I would like to see “vice” added to the list; the form that means “in lieu of”.

  54. DogCyclist -  June 2, 2011 - 3:43 pm

    I just saw a dog driving a motorcycle!

  55. FrodoSam -  June 2, 2011 - 3:41 pm

    I like pulchritudes.

  56. WE ABOUT THEM MAVSSSSSSS -  June 2, 2011 - 3:26 pm

    the jet son

  57. Sean -  June 2, 2011 - 1:31 pm

    Thanks for the laughs, everyone! I hardly ever use this site, but it’s clear from reading the comments that we’re a great bunch of like-minded people here! Oh, and: AMEN!

  58. JP -  June 2, 2011 - 12:56 pm

    Yeah good thought. But skulduggery , mmmm. Has anyone read skulldugery pleasant?

  59. Gene Bell -  June 2, 2011 - 12:46 pm

    Yesterday, I used ‘Draconian’ in a Facebook post describing the TSA’s practices.

  60. Anonymous -  June 2, 2011 - 12:45 pm

    and claudia. it’s not the kids who fail your class, its the teacher who fails to inspire.

  61. Anonymous -  June 2, 2011 - 12:42 pm

    These words are completely stupid. lust, delight in anothers misfortune, trickery, and violence? are you guys all f***cked up? usualy you display words that inspire you. whoever wrote this needs to be put down like a sick dog.

    • just your average joe -  August 21, 2015 - 2:01 pm

      Anonymous a student fails most often because they refuse to or do not put in the effort, rarely if ever does a student fail because of a teacher. If you want to continue to spout the nonsense and filth you have spouted please do not return to comment on a page which people who like to learn new information because unlike you there are people who do like to learn new things. If you feel offended by my words I simply do not care what you think. Do remember all the things you say here on the internet will stay forever and have a rather high chance of effecting your chance of future or current employment.

  62. Collane -  June 2, 2011 - 11:44 am

    Wow, two weeks after I read an article begging people to please stop overusing “draconian,” I find it on a list of neglected words. I have to agree with the first article, though– “draconian” is way, way too overused, especially in politics. Common usage would have it be a scaremongering way to say “bad because [X] doesn’t agree with our political ideology.” The only thing that’s being neglected is the original meaning: very few so-called draconian measures or policies actually involve anything remotely analogous to a death sentence.

    “Schadenfreude” is similarly out of danger, I think, as is “sibilance” and forms thereof.

    Also agree with Thermogimp about “hornswoggle.” It’s a cute-sounding word, but not unique or really necessary.

    C’mon, guys. What about words like “nacreous,” “diaphanous,” “squamous,” “stentorian,” “lunula” and “vituperation”?

  63. john rhea -  June 2, 2011 - 11:14 am

    Margaret, so you weigh 45 lbs?

  64. gttocx -  June 2, 2011 - 10:59 am

    @ Dale


  65. Danielle -  June 2, 2011 - 10:23 am

    Going away somewhere romantic gives a feeling of concupiscence like no other. ;)
    I’ve heard a few of these before, I love using obscure words to perplex my colleagues with my plethura of prolix phrases. =P

  66. Norm Lampton -  June 2, 2011 - 10:16 am


    While the official origin of the word is yet to be determined sailors and seamen believe that it is a nautical term. A horn for nautical use is a land mass that extends as a point into the sea that must be sailed around (e.g. Cape Horn). Swoggle is a lost word that meant to make a navigation mistake.

    Thus Hornswoggle is to fail to clear a horn because of a navigation mistake.

    The term is still used in this context the nautical communities of both the US & the UK.

    Like most nautical words that become part of the common lexicon it is believed that it was used on land by sailors to mean what your definition says. Now here is a mystery the project should solve.

  67. Evan -  June 2, 2011 - 9:47 am

    Aflame with concupiscence, the penurious youth was yet unable to purchase the engagement ring. Could he hornswoggle his paramour with a faux bijou? No: her response would be draconian. How about skullduggery? Caught at the jewelry store, his frustration erupted in a paroxysm of sibilant rage, while the jeweler’s schadenfreude at his apprehension was plainly evident. But all emotions are evanescent; concupiscence and rage subsided, leaving behind a mood that ossified into grim despair.

  68. Dieter Simon -  June 2, 2011 - 9:35 am

    Oh you Hampshire people are all the same

  69. Bob -  June 2, 2011 - 9:19 am

    Mendacity (i.e. lying)

    Okay, I just saw Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake but what a great word for Brick to use when he tells Big Daddy he is disgusted with the mendacity in the world.

  70. Bored -  June 2, 2011 - 8:49 am

    the words are pretty interesting and i need to write them down so I remember

  71. Socrates -  June 2, 2011 - 8:40 am

    How about some other loan words, in addition to SCHADENFREUDE, which has a somewhat nasty connotation:

    - FAHRVERGNUEGEN, the pleasure to drive, could be one of them,
    - WANDERLUST, the pleasure to hike, another and, best of all,

  72. Bored -  June 2, 2011 - 8:40 am

    the links are messed up but the words are really cool. I’m going to start using them

  73. paul -  June 2, 2011 - 8:17 am

    Why is that most (if not all) of the underused words here are words that directly or indirectly tend to describe things unpleasant or negative? There seems to be a general drift in our culture to be more excited about articulately refuting someone, “telling it like it is” or discussing the melancholy than there is to encouraging, advocating, and articulating the beautiful. It seems to be that a good deal of contemporary poetry tends toward the former.

  74. Pete -  June 2, 2011 - 7:57 am

    The most neglected words in the English language are “Do as you would be done by”!

  75. Dan Maron -  June 2, 2011 - 7:52 am

    I need a certain amount of concupiscence before I can ask a woman out for a date

  76. AJ -  June 2, 2011 - 6:21 am

    Wow…..what an intelligent group of readers. I am proud to be associated with all of you! I myself never use these words, but will start to do so today!

    AJ from Chicago

  77. Marc -  June 2, 2011 - 4:57 am

    These are all fine examples of sesquipedalian grandiloquence, but there are shorter words we should be promoting, two of my favorites being MULCT and LIMN. We should also be delving into Shakespeare, as he used (or made up) some wonderful words we should be keeping.

  78. Jackson1 -  June 2, 2011 - 2:28 am

    NB. What’s wrong with keeping a good old-fashioned dictionary by your computer then you can check the etymologies and words in tandem with the blog? Great fun most days is this blog – with the comments often leaving me in stitches! (my take: Schadenfreude and Draconian are both overused; but good necessary words–and the English language has been ‘stealing’ words from all over Europe, and then the world, ever since the Angles and Saxons washed up on the shores of Britain…(very much liked the comment on the Great Depression–shows the shades of meaning of two similar words…and whatever school the seventh grad3er is going to needs to be held up as beacon for the rest of the USA!

  79. BiR -  June 2, 2011 - 1:56 am

    The links are messed up…

  80. lolololololololol -  June 2, 2011 - 12:51 am

    but awesome site?

  81. Jindaberry -  June 2, 2011 - 12:34 am

    And I hear most of those words occasionally. Not rarely! Would you care to put “stranger” words in, ones you don’t hear every day? I love words, and would care to learn a few every day! After all – life is for learning! Give me a reply! Checking back soon!

  82. Jindaberry -  June 2, 2011 - 12:32 am

    People totally neglect “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. It’s not like you hear that term every day! Why do they neglect it? Can I have an answer? Checking back soon!

  83. Halle -  June 1, 2011 - 10:36 pm

    I actually use the words skullduggery, ossify and hornswoggle all the time! There was a cat who began to ossify after turning ten, he would hornswoggle all the other cats out of their food by using a combination of skullduggery and hocus pocus! He was a very naughty cat!

  84. Cyberquill -  June 1, 2011 - 9:50 pm

    Everybody can open a dictionary, pick out a list of ten-dollar words, and start reviving them.

  85. poop -  June 1, 2011 - 7:41 pm

    whats a dictionary

  86. Charles McKinney -  June 1, 2011 - 7:16 pm

    Just so you know, “disgarded” is not a word according to dictionary.com yet the writer of this article used it in the first paragraph. What kind of skullduggery is that? The writers of these blogs need to take more draconian measures to ensure the proper use of the vocabulary, grammar, and spelling. I mean, after all, this is a dictionary website and not a mathematics one. Can I get an amen?

  87. Dennis M. Dufour -  June 1, 2011 - 7:09 pm

    A friend said during the Winter that I looked “Zaftig”!Very polite way of saying I looked “puffy”with all my layers! Good word….Zaftig!

  88. Book Beater -  June 1, 2011 - 7:05 pm

    @ Omid
    @ Dee /co Archon
    I had intended to say something else then dropped the pencil in editing.

  89. A -  June 1, 2011 - 6:31 pm

    Concupiscence is a quality I enjoy in people but savor in women.

  90. Dumbidamdam -  June 1, 2011 - 5:15 pm

    I will churva the churvalens…

  91. Megan -  June 1, 2011 - 5:05 pm

    Quit trying to hornswaggle me, I’ve had enough of your skullduggery!
    I’m about to have a paroxysm; your heart has ossified against me so!
    My concupisence toward my husband will never be evanescent.

  92. LisaJ -  June 1, 2011 - 5:05 pm

    I like the word “Shibboleth” The West Wing did a whole episode to that one word. Then again, words like skullduggery and draconian are used quiet often, the other words..hmm..might have to start using them..

  93. Thermogimp -  June 1, 2011 - 4:20 pm

    I like the idea of reviving words that add a certain flavor to the language that simpler words can not convey. Some of the choices are a bit perplexing, however. I find it hard to believe that “schadenfreude” is a dying word since it has no genuine synonyms. “Hornswoggle” is another example of a word that perhaps does not need to be on the list. Although I enjoy it for it’s colorful nature, there are many equally colorful exact synonyms in the language (take hoodwink, flimflam, bamboozle for example). Why include one of these and not the rest? I don’t feel that “hornswoggle” is differentiated well enough from the others to give it its own specific, nuanced meaning.

    Paroxysm, on the other hand, is an example of a word that warrants a spot on the list. It has a few specific meanings and, while it does have synonyms, it does not have any synonyms that exactly convey the same emotion.

  94. sunny flow -  June 1, 2011 - 3:58 pm

    my favorite is concuiscence.(; D)

  95. Archon -  June 1, 2011 - 3:31 pm

    Bethany; How is this article possibly draconian? Just a joke? Hard to tell. Don’t know? DON’T say!

    Dale; Try “strengths.” 5 continuous consonants.

    BookBeater and Kat; from Dee; It’s YOUR founding fathers, not you’re, and, in case YOU’RE wondering, not your.

    Wrasfish; It gets earlier the farther west you go, not east. 4thgrader is probably in Ontario, but it’s 2:41 in British Columbia.

    Margaret; I hope you retired at 230. If it was at 130 and you lost 85, we’ll be looking up anorexic.

  96. Omid -  June 1, 2011 - 3:23 pm

    My favorites are sesquipedalian, procrustean, stygian,yim and yang.

  97. christie -  June 1, 2011 - 3:04 pm

    I’m in seventh grade and I’ve heard or used half of these words.

  98. Earl -  June 1, 2011 - 2:05 pm

    Dale –

    Unless you count Y as a vowel, how about rhythm ?

  99. ShadowWalkyr -  June 1, 2011 - 1:40 pm

    I hear “schadenfreude” at least once a week and often much more often than that. I recommend its removal from this list and “iconoclast” as a replacement.

  100. Christopher -  June 1, 2011 - 1:09 pm

    I’ve never used to say: Concuiscence, Draconian, Evanescent, Hornswoggle, Ossify, Paroxysm, Penurious,
    Schadenfreude, Sibilance, Skullduggery unless If I’m going to learn a new
    language to go somewhere for that purpose. But if it is from a different
    country, I would go to that country that would use it alot. But If I’m here in
    California studying and sharing wonderful ideas, I would not need to use neglected words to my friends, neighbors, and to those who I don’t know.
    I just need to be smart and speak smart. so be it .

  101. Dianne -  June 1, 2011 - 12:59 pm

    I’ve always liked the word amongst. It sounds like a word from another century altho it’s used regularly in England today.

  102. Christopher -  June 1, 2011 - 12:53 pm

    It’s not mandetory to use any of the listed topics unless any of you want to
    become a writer, and put to the use of it.

  103. Christopher -  June 1, 2011 - 12:50 pm

    Nobody uses the words as described above that were listed from
    Wayne State University. Due to the facts that none of my collegues uses
    any of the term words for educational purposes.

  104. Christopher -  June 1, 2011 - 12:40 pm

    What is undeserved mean , and what is deserved mean today ?

    I thought that from all schools teachers taught that undeserved means
    not deserved , and deserved means deserve or you deserve this as it is today. Two different biblical scriptures are different and not the same.
    One from Jehovah witnesses and one from a The Church of Christ.

  105. Adam -  June 1, 2011 - 12:15 pm

    I live in Germany. The only people that I hear saying “Schadenfreude” are the expat Brits and Americans that live here (but they all mispronounce it, by excluding the final “e”). It is not a common word in German.

  106. Kat -  June 1, 2011 - 12:07 pm

    I like the word “pulchritudinous too!! :) It means pretty in case your wondering.

  107. arthur -  June 1, 2011 - 12:05 pm

    these words are too old and only good to use for people who are 500 years old; they really needs to be forgotten. let’s move on people, we are now living in modern times. and also note that languages evolve too that’s why we don’t use those words anymore.

  108. Kat -  June 1, 2011 - 11:57 am

    I have heard discombobulate before.

  109. Sarah -  June 1, 2011 - 11:46 am

    his concupiscence for skullduggery made evident his schadenfreude, throwing her into an evanescent paroxysm as this realization ossified her old passion.

  110. km -  June 1, 2011 - 11:09 am

    I used ossify in a short story prior to reading this list, and y’all are correct, no one knew what the hell it meant.

  111. Dieter Simon -  June 1, 2011 - 10:33 am

    Why would you want to replace ‘Schadenfreude’ with ‘tergiversate’? Am I missing something here? They mean entirely different things:
    to ‘tergiversate’ is ‘to act evasively’ or even ‘to be a renegade’, whereas ‘Schadenfreude’ means ‘being glad at (or even laughing) at the misfortunes of others’.
    I hope this was only an evanescent paroxysm of inattention. I am quite discombobulated!

  112. Jim -  June 1, 2011 - 10:17 am

    I consider myself somewhat of a wordsmith; at least I like to puts some color in things I write. I thought I was familiar with this list of words, but decided to click on them to make sure. No problem with the links for “concupiscence” and “paroxysm”. But click on “draconian” and you are taken to “evanescent”. The other six words are also paired so that clicking on the first takes you to the next one. Why the skullduggery? Why not just include a simple definition for each one?

  113. jo -  June 1, 2011 - 10:16 am


  114. FrodoSam -  June 1, 2011 - 9:37 am

    Gollum’s skullduggery led him to a bad end. :)

  115. Alex -  June 1, 2011 - 9:30 am

    This must be a USA thing, because pretty much everytime the UK government passes a new law most of our newspapers call it draconian

  116. claudia b wolfe -  June 1, 2011 - 8:33 am

    The Great Depression was a Penurious time, but it had a common side effect for those who experienced that period of time. A penurious state of mind developed that lasted a lifetime for many and no matter how fiscally stable some of these folks became, there remained an over riding fear of not having enough. In this context, to call them stingy may be a bit harsh.

  117. Kate -  June 1, 2011 - 8:10 am

    if anything it is overused and seeing it on your list sent me into a paroxysm of ranting much to the botheration of my fellow cube drones

  118. Annie2220 -  June 1, 2011 - 7:48 am

    My concupiscence for the love of my life grows everyday… ;)

  119. Raina bo baina -  June 1, 2011 - 7:41 am

    This is a very interesting article…. I just wish the links weren’t messed up. FIX IT!!!

  120. Rory -  June 1, 2011 - 7:37 am

    I could make a really inappropriate joke about concupiscence causing ossification here…

    But I won’t. I fear it would induce a paroxysm, and while I would enjoy schadenfreude at someone’s repulsion, I fear my welcome would be evanescent.

  121. Book Beater -  June 1, 2011 - 7:17 am

    I’d add glub, as in the sound of the average american vocabulary going down the tubes; glub glub glub.
    We are the clan of dictionary people. Alas! Woe.
    Thomas Jefferson would be so… atrabilious.
    These words were 8th grade vocabulary when I was a lad and 4th grade vocabulary when John Hancock was a lad.
    So “Gen Y’ers” don’t wait for your baccalaureate to learn what you’re founding fathers learned at their kitchen tables on the family farm. Pick up a Dictionary.com and browse. It’s good food for thought. Got Words.

  122. JJ Rousseau -  June 1, 2011 - 7:10 am

    Fighting with Pens and Pencils — often with the misplaced point. — Mrs. Malaprop has taught us well — don’t get your nose out of joint. Oui? con’t. J.J.Ruosseau.

  123. Kimster -  June 1, 2011 - 6:55 am

    I like many of the words listed, but my all time favorite is one that I believe deserves greater use in our culture of politics, organized religion and commercialism. The word is – Shibboleth

  124. Wrasfish -  June 1, 2011 - 6:51 am

    Uh, Gifterfourthgrader, if it’s 5:41 where you live in Canada, it’s probably 2:41 somewhere in Canada, too. Say, in Nova Scotia? Or somewhere in eastern Ontario?

    Just about a week ago, I accused a friend of aggravated muggery, skullduggery, and unrepentant chili making. A bystander exclaimed in mock horror about environmental pollution. The culprit replied that he hasn’t dug any skulls in years, though he was guilty of chili manufacture.

    Heck, I love science fiction conventions, don’t you?

  125. Kate -  June 1, 2011 - 6:14 am

    Schadenfreude is totally swiped from German, but since I don’t know of an English word that means “to delight or take pleasure in someone else’s misfortune or pain” I have to use it all the time to describe reality TV shows like American Idol and Dancing With the Stars.

  126. Spike -  June 1, 2011 - 6:13 am

    I think “dagnabit” should come back into use as a milder-than-usual cuss word.

  127. maximonk -  June 1, 2011 - 6:08 am

    @ dale 4 consonants in a row
    How about Wordsmith? Blacksmith?
    I love the sound of ‘sibilance’ – so onomatopoetic!

  128. Keith -  June 1, 2011 - 6:00 am

    10 words, only 6 links and Skullduggery’s definition points to Skulduggery…

    Way to drop the ball dictionary.com

  129. Bob Moss -  June 1, 2011 - 5:58 am

    Matthew Koth was here 6/1/11

  130. NotDumb -  June 1, 2011 - 5:53 am

    Really folks, you should read a bit more. These are pretty standard words IMHO and not under-used; I would wager that each appears weekly in any British broadsheet newspaper.
    And @Dale: how about rhythm (and that was after about 3 seconds thought … )

  131. Tom -  June 1, 2011 - 3:37 am

    My own favorite neglected word is ‘fulsome’. Modern consumerist culture provides so many opportunities for its use!

  132. Geebaldo -  June 1, 2011 - 3:11 am

    Our school systems are to blame for the dearth of these words in everyday use. Teachers encourage pupils to keep it simple and prefer the five-letter synonyms. My argument has always been: if these words exist why shun them? I then realised that these teachers do not know these words themselves!!

  133. dc41 -  June 1, 2011 - 2:34 am

    @ Parsely

    Nah, don’t feel bad…Schadenfreude is awesome.

  134. kowsmic -  June 1, 2011 - 1:57 am

    “Disgarded in the first paragraph is not a word. I think you meant “discarded”.

  135. Rachel -  June 1, 2011 - 1:14 am

    I think we can credit “Avenue Q” for reviving ‘schadenfreude’ some time ago.

  136. sarthak -  June 1, 2011 - 1:10 am

    I think the words ‘HITHERTO and HARPY’ should also be included in this list!!As they are very normal words but then also used very seldom!!

  137. Gholson -  June 1, 2011 - 1:10 am

    My vote is for ‘evert’, which means ‘to turn inside out’. This would be such a useful and succinct word if only it were more generally known.

  138. sarthak -  June 1, 2011 - 1:07 am

    Nice one!! I was not knowing that English language has such words as well!!And many of are friend who have commented above were actually knowing them!!
    But I am extremely glad to know these unpopular words!!

  139. Virginia Slim -  June 1, 2011 - 12:34 am

    MEEEE!!!! your comment is obscure.

    When you say “its like my theme word!” perhaps you mean “It is my leitmotif.”?

  140. Duana -  May 31, 2011 - 11:49 pm

    Correct me if I am wrong- but isn’t the word for ‘thrown out/replaced’ _discarded_ and not disGarded? I have never seen the word disgarded…(disREgarded, yes)

  141. Neumms -  May 31, 2011 - 10:50 pm

    I’m not sure I need to hear the word “sibilance” more often, but I’d like to hear more hissing. People only boo nowadays.

  142. Sehdev -  May 31, 2011 - 10:22 pm

    I like it just bcs. of comfort in searching vocabs

  143. Diane D. -  May 31, 2011 - 10:00 pm

    I don’t know that I’d pick these ten words as particularly neglected yet worthwhile. Many of them are quite familiar to me (draconian, penurious, paroxysm…), a couple are retro-slangy, and Schadenfreude’s linguistic “adoption” has already been discussed. Just take this post and the Word Warriors’ campaign as general encouragement to enrich your vocabulary beyond “OMG LM*O”.

    BTW, @Cathy — I’ve always said I DON’T agree with Hercule Poirot: roughly, “Me, I do not believe so much in this _coincidence_.” Coincidence is a fascinatingly real phenomenon. Just don’t let it turn you into a conspiracy theorist!

  144. MEEEE!!!! -  May 31, 2011 - 8:05 pm

    DISCOMBOBULATE!!! it needs to be on this list!!! its like my theme word!

  145. xtinie -  May 31, 2011 - 7:23 pm

    In order for men to be thoughtful and perceptive, they must overcome their concupiscence for the female entity.

  146. Jess -  May 31, 2011 - 7:14 pm

    I think “indubitably” should be on here. Its such a wonderful word, yet no one uses it anymore!

    And another word on here should be “thrice.” I used it at work yesterday and my boss corrected me! She didn’t think it was actually a word.

    As for the 10 words on here, I’ve never heard of most of them. Which goes to show that they are neglected, if a Gen Y’er doesn’t know them.

  147. Charmie -  May 31, 2011 - 7:06 pm

    I should add that the reason I know what “evanescent” means is because of the band Evanescence. And people think goth bands are a bad influence. ; )

  148. Charmie -  May 31, 2011 - 7:01 pm

    I actually say some of these words…I feel obscenely proud of myself right now ; )

  149. Kat -  May 31, 2011 - 6:52 pm

    I’ve heard of “Draconian”

  150. Kat -  May 31, 2011 - 6:51 pm

    When the girl had a paroxysm she broke th vase.

  151. Darci T -  May 31, 2011 - 6:14 pm

    My favorite word has always been penultimate, & I relish every opportunity to use it. :)

  152. Noelani -  May 31, 2011 - 6:00 pm

    Wow…so may neglected words…tsk tsk tsk…shame!

  153. Megan -  May 31, 2011 - 5:58 pm

    Wow I feel dumb, you see I only heard of two of these words, Draconian and Evanescent. I guess I don’t really mind living without the others, they are a bit strange to me, anyhow. I do like the work pulchritudinous though!

  154. Dale -  May 31, 2011 - 5:41 pm

    My favorite is not on the list: chthonic. 4 consonants in a row. Beat that!

  155. the knd -  May 31, 2011 - 5:18 pm

    i love skullduggery on poptropica!

  156. emochick -  May 31, 2011 - 5:03 pm

    i dont know what half of these words mean!

  157. Dee -  May 31, 2011 - 4:52 pm

    Skullduggery has been a part of my vocab for quite some time! I LOVE that word! lol I’m totally on board for bringing more words back into rotation? However, I’m much more interested in people know that contractions DO still exist! Your vs. You’re… And, Breathe vs. Breath?… Not the same thing. Not interchangeable. #IJS (^_^)

  158. you -  May 31, 2011 - 4:44 pm

    draconian shouldn’t be on the list

  159. 7thGradePerson -  May 31, 2011 - 4:38 pm

    Wow. Isn’t Skullduggery an island on Poptropica? TEEHEE! -.-”

  160. Arcanis -  May 31, 2011 - 4:07 pm

    and no, none of you out there know me

  161. Arcanis -  May 31, 2011 - 4:07 pm

    @ gifted4thgrader

    why are you on this, just a quick question?

  162. Arcanis -  May 31, 2011 - 4:06 pm

    yes, it’s american

  163. ss -  May 31, 2011 - 3:30 pm

    Evanescent is the writer of this article

  164. Cathy -  May 31, 2011 - 3:28 pm

    What a happy coincidence! I came here to look up the meaning of the word “concupiscence” because it’s in the book I’m reading (The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas). Then I decided to check out Hot Word because I think it’s one of the most interesting blogs around, and here is the word in the most recent entry!

  165. Brianna -  May 31, 2011 - 3:26 pm

    and german loanwords are perfectly okay <3

  166. Brianna -  May 31, 2011 - 3:24 pm

    Schadenfreude is my favorite! I think there are many words that need to be added into our vocabulary on a basic and daily basis.

  167. Margaret Harris -  May 31, 2011 - 3:20 pm

    I actually use the word penury on a regular basis. When I retired my pension was much less than my salary had been. I needed to reduce expenses drastically. I tried not to spend money! Hence, I ate no fast food or dined in restaurants. I discovered vegetables. I retired at about 130 pounds. I am now 85 pounds lighter having gone on a penury diet!

  168. Gifted4thGrader -  May 31, 2011 - 2:41 pm

    Hey, is this site american or something? Where I live, it’s 5:41 pm!
    ( of course I am Canadian and proud!)

  169. Gifted4thGrader -  May 31, 2011 - 2:40 pm

    Some of these words I have never heard of before, but I use words similar to them. Do that count as reviving them? (BTW yay, today is my 10th bday! WOOT!)

  170. Joe -  May 31, 2011 - 2:23 pm

    The only time I’ve seen “concupiscence” used, it was as an adjective in Wallace Stevens’ “The Emperor of Ice Cream” where he writes of “concupiscent curds.”

  171. Book Beater -  May 31, 2011 - 2:05 pm

    How could one have a discussion about government without all those words?

  172. K -  May 31, 2011 - 2:02 pm

    I use most of these words often, as do my classmates. I don’t think most of these are neglected at all.

  173. Parsely -  May 31, 2011 - 1:19 pm

    I feel badly that I have so many opportunities to use ‘schadenfreude.’ It makes me sound like I am a terrible person.

  174. Kat -  May 31, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    I use and have heard the word “droconian” before. Also, I come to this website to learn words using the thesaurus, nearby words, word picks and the word of the day.

  175. Arcanis -  May 31, 2011 - 1:10 pm

    although i do tend to use skulduggeries when trying to get what i want

  176. Arcanis -  May 31, 2011 - 1:08 pm

    i don’t abuse the word skulduggery, but i do read the book series Skulduggery Pleasant

  177. Hazel A -  May 31, 2011 - 1:07 pm

    I have a paroxysm of concupiscence and wish to ossify a draconian.

    How’s that?

    (Also, your links are all messed up.)

  178. Fitz -  May 31, 2011 - 1:00 pm

    Hornswoggle is linked to the Ossify page and Draconian is linked to the Concupiscence page, I’ve having a Paroxysm over this mistake.

  179. Sara -  May 31, 2011 - 12:51 pm

    Skullduggery is my favourite word, and it shall never fall into obscurity as long as I’m alive.

    *chest thump*

  180. Jake -  May 31, 2011 - 12:46 pm

    Um, I may be wrong, but isn’t “Schadenfreude” actually a German loanword? How about we replace “Schadenfreude” with something like “Tergiversate” and I’ll be totally on board.

  181. Colin -  May 31, 2011 - 12:35 pm

    I totally use the word paroxysm all the time. Bringing it back!

  182. Bethany -  May 31, 2011 - 12:23 pm

    This article is draconian.


  183. Glaedr -  May 31, 2011 - 12:14 pm

    I don’t think “draconian’, ‘paroxysm’, ‘schadenfreude’ and ‘skullduggery’ are neglected.

  184. claudia -  May 31, 2011 - 12:05 pm

    Me again… Some of my students’ knowledge of English is evanescent… it seems to be there one moment and it’s gone the next.

  185. claudia -  May 31, 2011 - 12:04 pm

    After marking my students’ tests today I am going to take draconian measures… (Claudia, EFL teacher, Italy)


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