Our language is full of weird words that look as if they mean one thing but actually imply something completely different.

For example, take the word bucolic. If you didn’t already know what this word meant, you might surmise that it was a medical word connected to an illness of the lungs perhaps. In actual fact, bucolic means rural or countryside and it used to portray a lush, green and pleasant rural setting. Not something that immediately springs to mind when you first read the word. This is just one example of weird words and how they can throw you off balance in delightful ways.

Here are 23 weird words that mean something different to what you might imagine:

  1. Abditive

You might think I’ve forgotten to put my spellcheck on, but I assure you this is an actual word. The meaning of abditive is to have the power of hiding away or tending to conceal from others.

  1. Cabotage

This has nothing to do with sabotaging cabbages. It is a nautical term that refers to the transportation of passengers and goods within the same country.

  1. Callipygian

This is a word you might get confused with calligraphy and therefore think it has something to do with handwriting. However, it derives from Greek words kallipūgos, to describe a famous statue of Venus, and pūgē, which mean “buttocks.” It means to have shapely buttocks.

  1. Crepuscular

You wouldn’t want to have a severe case of the crepuscular, would you? This word sounds like some disgusting skin disease that requires a strong dose of antibiotics. It actually means animals or being active at twilight. It comes from Latin crepusculum, meaning “twilight.”

  1. Dinomania

Dinomania has nothing to do with dinosaurs, it means to have a passion for dancing.

  1. Eclipsis

Have you ever seen an eclipsis? One might think it has a connection with the sun and moon and the natural phenomena of eclipses, but it doesn’t. Eclipsis are omissions of words or sounds in speech.

  1. Encomiast

This word is nothing to do with the economy. In fact, it means a person who praises or delivers a eulogy.

  1. Foison

The word foison looks so much like poison that surely, it must have a similar meaning, right? The truth could not be further. Foison means plenty or a plentiful yield.

  1. Formication

Steady on! This isn’t what you think! Formication is very similar to fornication but the start of the word might give you a little clue.

The Latin word for ants is ‘Formica Farris’ and formication means the sensation of ants crawling over your body. It comes from the Latin word formīcāre, which means “to crawl like ants.”

  1. Gravid

This is one of the weird words that looks like it means stern or serious. Actually, it is a medical word for pregnant.

  1. Illutation

Illutation looks like a misspelling of the word illustration. It sounds like it could have something to do with diction or dialect, but its meaning is far more basic. It means to smear the body with mud or to take a mud bath.

  1. Impignorate

You’d be forgiven for thinking this word had similarities with an ignorant person or a lack of intelligence. Actually, it’s a verb that means to pawn or mortgage something.

  1. Jentacular

Unless you know this word, it’s virtually impossible to guess its meaning. Jentacular means eating breakfast as soon as you get up. It’s from Latin ientaculum (“a breakfast taken immediately on getting up“).

  1. Lamprophony

Wasn’t there a king that died of a surfeit of lampreys? Perhaps this is a word that describes his fate? I’m wrong again. This word means to speak clearly and loudly.

  1. Macrosmatic

Don’t managers micro-manage stuff so perhaps this word is something to do with that? I’m not even close. Macrosmatic means having a good sense of smell.

  1. Nocent

This word looks so much like innocent that you’d think it should mean the same thing, but it is the opposite. Nocent means guilty or tending to do harm.

  1. Noisome

Don’t use this word to depict noise, you’ll end up looking less clever than you want people to think!

Noisome comes from an old English word ‘noy’ to annoy and means disagreeable or offensive. This can be in several ways including smelly.

  1. Nudiustertian

Any ideas about this word? The beginning sounds like it could have some connections to people who like lounging about on nudist beaches. But no, this is a fabulously weird word that means ‘the day before yesterday’.

  1. Nugatory

Personally, I love nougat and would imagine that this word describes the tasty confectionary in some manner. Of course, this is an article about weird words, so it has nothing to do with candy. It means of no value or importance. It comes from the Latin word nugari “to trifle.”

  1. Obstriction

Obstriction sounds like obstruction so the chances are they have similar meanings. However, obstriction is a word to denote an obligation or a duty.

  1. Pulchritude

This word sounds like a type of fungus you would expect growing at the foot of a tree, but it is a particularly ugly word to describe exquisite beauty, especially of a woman.

  1. Roscid

This is another one of those weird words that could be mistaken for a similar-sounding word like rancid and therefore put you on the wrong track. But roscid means moist or dewy.

  1. Sinister

We all know that this word means evil or to have harmful intentions, but its true meaning from heraldry is ‘towards the left-hand side’ on a coat of arms.

Do you have any weird words you’d like to share? Let us know!


  1. https://www.rd.com
  2. http://mentalfloss.com

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Mia Smithson

    Someone who loves reading 📚📚

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