News Advisor ‘Vellichor’ and other wonderful English words
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‘Vellichor’ and other wonderful English words

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Some English words are unutterable, not for their rudeness but because to say them aloud would make you sound like a stick-in-the-mud.

No, these tasty old words (like “pickerdevant” and “susurrous”) should be savoured on the page, in the quietude of our minds, and there remain a secret, guilty pleasure.

A reason, perhaps, why these words feel so good to read but make us sound pompous when spoken is that these two worlds – of speech and writing – are so divergent.

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So much so that it is possible to damage the part of the brain responsible for one without affecting the other, a recent study found.

“It’s as though there were two quasi-independent language systems in the brain,” said lead author Professor Brenda Rapp, a cognitive scientist.

With this in mind, the author trusts that you will savour the following list of weird and wonderful words without daring to give them voice.

List of words

 child-ice-creamAccismus: pretending not to want something you truly do desire
 bombinateBombinate: to make a humming or buzzing noise
 bookstavesBookstaves: the letters of the alphabet
 chatoyantChatoyant: like a cat’s eye
unlucky-13Cledonism: the use of superfluous words to avoid saying something that is supposedly unlucky
 candlelitCrepuscular: dim or twilit
 legs-walkDottle-trot: to walk with short, quick steps rather than long strides.
 bubbling-enthusiasmEbullience: bubbling enthusiasm
bsEusystolism: using the initial letters of profanity or an embarrassing phrase to avoid saying it in full
 fugaciousFugacious: fleeting
 dog-gazeGazing-stock: someone at whom everyone else is staring
 huffleHuffle: a sudden gust of wind
 bend-kneeIngeniculation: the act of bending a knee
 hearthInglenook: a cozy nook by the hearth
 infinityJingbang: the entirety of something
 junkettaceousJunkettaceous: frivolous, worthless
 mugwumperyMugwumpery: a total disinterest in politics
 umbilical-cordNawlstring: a baby’s umbilical cord
 petrichorPetrichor: the smell of earth after rain
 phosphenesPhosphenes: the lights you see when you rub your eyes
 pickerdevantPickerdevant: a short beard, trimmed to a point at the chin
 purple-tingePurpurescent: tinged with purple
 bikiniQuatopygia: the enticing movement of a man or woman’s buttocks
 quinqangularQuinquangular: to have five sides or corners
 recumbentibusRecumbentibus: a knockout blow
 susurrousSusurrous: whispering or hissing
 SyzygySyzygy: an alignment of celestial bodies
 shorthandTachygraphy: shorthand writing
 VellichorVellichor: the strange wistfulness of used bookshops

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