Becoming fluent in English is a tricky business, and even it is your native tongue it’s certain to surprise you again and again. Sure, you can talk with ease on topics such as religion, politics, and global warming, but do you know how truly strange the English language can be? Learn a little more about your native tongue with these 10 weird English words. They may sound like they’re made up, but you can find them in the dictionary (and even incorporate them into your daily life, if you’re feeling jaunty).
Snickersnee may sound like a pimped up version of a certain caramel-chocolate snack, but it actually has a pretty serious definition. A snickersnee is a type of long knife, generally used as a weapon. So beware of the snickersnee, my friends! You don’t want to encounter one in a dark alley, is all I’m saying.
I’m not really sure why so many of these words sound like they might be cute, fluffy items, but turn out to have completely opposite meanings. Either way, you have to admit that kerfuffle is a lot of fun to say! As for its meaning, kerfuffle means ‘to make a commotion.’ This is the perfect word to save for when you’re elderly and want to shout at kids for making a kerfuffle on your front lawn.
I know, I know, just reading this is making my brain hurt too. Kakorrhaphiophobia is the fear of failure, which is ironic because I’m feeling some kakorrhaphiophobia when it comes to trying to pronounce kakorrhaphiophobia.
This one, folks, is a real gem and definitely a word that will be delightful for everyday use. Bumbershoot is another word for umbrella. If it sounds familiar, that’s because you may have overheard it in a Disney movie or two. Now just wait for that perfect rainy (or sunny) day to say out loud, “Looks like I’ll need my bumbershoot today!” And cue the puzzled looks…
You’ve probably encountered someone bibbling on more than one occasion and just didn’t know it! Remember that gentleman at the table next to you at your favorite restaurant who was eating and drinking just a little too noisily? Well, what he was doing is known as a bibble.
Compared to several of the other terms on this list, frankenfood is a relatively young word. It came into existence (much like Frankenstein’s monster, hardy, har, har) as a combination of word parts. It experienced peek popularity in the 90s as a phrase used to refer loosely to foods that have been genetically modified.
It’s actually not that uncommon to hear the word brouhaha in modern vocabulary, but that doesn’t make it any less weird! Brouhaha is similar to kerfuffle in that it refers to a commotion, but usually a brouhaha is specifically related to an event. As in, you can create a brouhaha when your favorite sports team wins.
Tittynope is bound to raise a few eyebrows if you are brave enough to use it in a sentence! It means ‘a small quantity of something left over’, but be careful about telling your waiter that you want a doggy bag for your tittynope. It probably won’t go over too well; I’m picturing weird looks and a possible slap in the face.
You’ve probably heard your grandparents use this word and it was a common phrase in the 1920s all the way through to the 1950s. It’s a way of saying someone will get what’s coming to them, or their ‘just deserts’. And, while it is a bit outdated, there’s a certain dignity that comes with telling someone they’re going to get their comeuppance one day, isn’t there?
This one’s another mouthful and make take some practice getting down, but once you master it you’ll have a lot of fun saying it! A flibbertigibbet is someone who is silly or flighty and loves to talk all the time. Now that I think about it, I may know a flibbertigibbet or two!
Do you know any weird English words? Which are your favourites on this list?