Thoughts, Opinions, Gripes, and Grievances


Kian Pfannenstiel, Writer

There are a lot of words in the English language that we don’t seem to need. For instance, spanghew. Merriam-Webster defines this as “to throw violently into the air; especially, to throw (a frog) into the air from the end of a stick”.

Another one is axinomancy, which describes a kind of divination that uses an ax. The ax is balanced on its head and a list of names of people they believe committed a crime (or, any list of possible outcomes), and whichever item on the list is said when the ax moves is decidedly the correct answer to whatever question was asked. For instance, if a lump sum of money was stolen and you have a list of suspects, you’d place an ax on a post and read of the list. Whomever’s name is said when the ax moves is guilty of having stolen the money, according to axinomancy.

One fun word is poltophagy: the act of chewing food until it is of a consistency like porridge. That’s all there is to it. Once the food you chew is like porridge, you made poltophagy happen (poltophagy is a noun, so you didn’t “do poltophagy,” you make one occur).

Habiliment, thought it has a reasonable meaning, doesn’t seem to need to be. It seems that habiliment, which is defined as “the dress characteristic of an occupation or occasion—usually used in plural,” can be more easily described as work attire or business uniform, as opposed to an obscure and difficult-to-pronounce (discovered personally through attempting) word.

Mytacism is an interesting, and almost useless, word, whose definition is the over-use or misuse of the letter ‘m’. I find that kind of funny, because it starts with the letter, although it doesn’t really over-use or misuse the letter ‘m’. Mytacism isn’t an example of a mytacism, I just think it’s a little funny, is all.

The following word is more fun to say than it is useless, but it can only really be used in theater or the like centered in the middle ages. Whiffle is that word, and its meaning is “to flourish a sword in sword dancing so as to produce a whistling sound,” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary.

One that I truly thought was gibberish (defined as “unintelligible or meaningless language”) was shindig, which is just a social occurrence or event that has dancing, similar to a hootenanny, which is a social event that has folk singers provide entertainment that the audience typically joins in on.

There are plenty more words out there that have a definition of intrigue, and I recommend, if you want to find more, looking at dictionaries (the bound kind, with paper pages, are a lot easier to find odd words in than the dictionaries found on the internet). Merriam-Webster has plenty of peculiar words.