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Documenting my odyssey into the wonderful world of fantasy writing and beyond. Can't promise I will always be on topic as the world is vast and full of such wonderous, and sometimes terrible, distractions. Email me: cassandra.jade.author@gmail.com

09 June, 2009

5 Words I Would Love To Use

The problem with so many interesting words is that you so rarely have the opportunity to use them, and when you do use them, most people either stare at you blankly or ask if you just swallowed a dictionary.

As a collector of words, I have this problem a lot, particularly with some words that appear quite frequently in medieval fantasy, and nowhere else. I've read them so many times they appear common place to me, but tend to throw people listening to me for a loop.

So, here is my list. Five words that I would love to use, if only I could find a practical application for them.

1. Oubliette - A secret dungeon with an opening only at the top (incidentally the word derives from oublier which means 'forget'). Now I fell in love with this word as a very young child watching Labyrinth (David Bowie was superb as the goblin king) and ever since have looked for opportunities to use this word. I still haven't found any practical use for it but that doesn't stop me looking.

2. Defenestration - the act of throwing someone out of a window. David Eddings is responsible for this one, having used the word to great effect in his Tamuli series. It was then used on an episode of Dark Angel where they made the appalling joke of mixing the word up with deforestation.

3. Felicitate - to compliment upon a happy event. The problem with this word (other than my own inability to pronounce it properly) is that there are so many other ways of saying the same thing that people can actually understand. That doesn't change the fact that I really think this word is interesting, and I would love to hear it in common usage.

4. Piliferous - having hair. You always hear about characters being bald or having thinning hair, but I don't think I've ever heard a character described as piliferous. Probably because unless you are told otherwise, you assume that to be the case. Either way, I don't think I'll be using the word anytime soon, but I would really love to see someone else have a go at it.

5. Suspire - to sigh or to breath. This word I encountered while looking in the thesaurus for a new way to describe a character sighing (as I pointed out in an earlier post, my characters sigh way too often and I was well and truly sick of the word). This one lead me to suspiration, which is a long, deep sigh, and as entertaining as it may be, I think I'll leave both suspire and suspiration out of my writing for the time being.

That's my top 5 of words I would love to use at the moment. I'm sure to think of more at a later date, but I would love to hear your words. There are some wonderfully, fantastic words out there, also some obscure and ridiculous ones, and I would love to hear them all.


  1. Suspire is about the only word out of the five that I may have used more than one time in my life. Sad, but true. Thanks Jade for sharing your five words.

  2. Great post. I used to be a linguist, so I share your love of interesting and unique words. Oh, and Labyrinth is one of my favorite movies. Not only did it have that great word, David Bowie played an awesome fantasy villain.

  3. It's too early for my brain to offer any interesting and unusual words. In a writing class I took a few years ago, we were instructed to refrain from using uncommon words. Our instructor wanted to steer us away from trying to impress our readers with our "intelligence." I was disappointed because I do have a fairly large collection of impressive words hanging out upstairs that I'd like to use but don't. I understand what our instructor was telling us. Rare and incomprehensible words can stick out like a sore thumb!

    Don't get me wrong. There are books wherein unusual words belong and are comfortable. I like your list and hope you can use them in your writing sometime, somewhere, somehow. For now, I appreciate that you shared them and now you can let them rest in your desk drawer until the opportune time comes along.