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-cream Accismus: pretending not to want something you truly do desire
 bombinate Bombinate: to make a humming or buzzing noise
 bookstaves Bookstaves: the letters of the alphabet
 chatoyant Chatoyant: like a cat’s eye
unlucky-13 Cledonism: the use of superfluous words to avoid saying something that is supposedly unlucky
 candlelit Crepuscular: dim or twilit
 legs-walk Dottle-trot: to walk with short, quick steps rather than long strides.
 bubbling-enthusiasm Ebullience: bubbling enthusiasm
bs Eusystolism: using the initial letters of profanity or an embarrassing phrase to avoid saying it in full
 fugacious Fugacious: fleeting
 dog-gaze Gazing-stock: someone at whom everyone else is staring
 huffle Huffle: a sudden gust of wind
 bend-knee Ingeniculation: the act of bending a knee
 hearth Inglenook: a cozy nook by the hearth
 infinity Jingbang: the entirety of something
 junkettaceous Junkettaceous: frivolous, worthless
 mugwumpery Mugwumpery: a total disinterest in politics
 umbilical-cord Nawlstring: a baby’s umbilical cord
 petrichor Petrichor: the smell of earth after rain
 phosphenes Phosphenes: the lights you see when you rub your eyes
 pickerdevant Pickerdevant: a short beard, trimmed to a point at the chin
 purple-tinge Purpurescent: tinged with purple
 bikini Quatopygia: the enticing movement of a man or woman’s buttocks
 quinqangular Quinquangular: to have five sides or corners
 recumbentibus Recumbentibus: a knockout blow
 susurrous Susurrous: whispering or hissing
 Syzygy Syzygy: an alignment of celestial bodies
 shorthand Tachygraphy: shorthand writing
 Vellichor Vellichor: the strange wistfulness of used bookshops

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