Words that don’t get used enough

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Often when I’m copy writing the phrase ‘layperson’s terms’ comes up in briefs.

People need their web text, brochure copy or marketing material explained in the simplest way possible, so that everyone can understand. And rightly so. I also look around and see the way copy increasingly keeps it modern, with those hashtag references, emojis and LOL style abbreviations that we’re all getting used to. Language is a constant evolution, as demonstrated to me recently by my Words With Friends app allowing my uncle to play ‘LUV’ (which still hurts). Sometimes though, I get so itchy to include some less used words that people might have to visit dictionary.com to get their heads around. Here are some of my favourites.

Beazley-isms Back in the days when we were all still using hotmail and ‘being social’ still meant going to the pub, Kim Beazley was in charge of the Labor Party. He got called out more than once for using words that were deemed above common understanding. For some reason all those terms stuck in my brain though: Boondoggle If something is a boondoggle it’s a pointless and time wasting exercise. Prolix The dictionary defines this word as meaning ‘tediously lengthy’. Verbiage Similar to prolix, verbiage means excessively long. Spiflicate To utterly destroy. Sigh. I miss Kim Beazley.

Words that sound rude but aren’t. Tee hee… If you masticate on something, you’re chewing it. If you nictitate at someone you’re winking at them. If you jaculate you throw or hurl something (like a dart or spear). If you’re a clatterfart you spread gossip or rumours.

Simply awesome words

Collywobble This means a feeling of fear. For example: the thought of a typo gives me the collywobbles.

Spondulicks The Head of Accounts at my old job introduced me this word. I guess I’d get sick of saying ‘money’ all the time as well!

Antidisestablishmentarianism At age ten, someone told me this was the longest word in the English language. I’m still waiting for a chance to use it in someone’s business blog! Here’s the wiki description of what it means: “The position opposes proposals for the disestablishment of the Church of England—meaning to remove the Anglican Church‘s status as the state church of England, Ireland, and Wales.”

Philately Stamp collecting!

Liliputian Very small. This word came to be thanks to Jonathan Swift’s book Gulliver’s Travels. e.g. My bank balance is Liliputian this month.

Sisyphean Pointless. This actually gets used reasonably often in articles relating to politics. Sisyphus was a character from Greek mythology who was condemned to push a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down again. I apply this word to housework around my place. I won’t spiflicate your afternoon with a list that is overly prolix, as I don’t want this post to be a boondoggle. I’ll leave you with this ultimate list of unused words from Buzzfeed – I dare you to throw a few into conversation this week!

Clea Sherman is a Sydney writer. Read more: Eight words we all get stuck on How much does a copywriter charge? Feature image by Horla Varlan

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