7 Complex Words With Simple Definitions

Updated on September 15, 2016

Big words are often big for a reason. Many of them are highly technical, or are only called for on very specific occasions. However, sometimes a complex looking word can have a very simple definition, like the seven here on this list. These words are a lot like spices; versatile, flavorful, and largely unexpected. So without further ado, let's take a look at some weird words with easy, fun definitions.

Catagelophobia: Afraid of being made fun of

Pronunciation - (Kat-ag-el-oh-phob-i-a)

Catagelophobia, claustrophobia (fear of small spaces) and acrophobia (fear of heights) are 3 of the most commonly reported fears in the world. Nobody likes to be made fun of, and for some people, it can become too much to deal with. This fear often manifests itself in those who were teased extensively at a young age.

Janet's catagelphobia got to her after she spilled coffee on her new pants, so she ran outside before anyone could she her shameful stain.

Ectomorphic: Skinny

Pronunciation - (Ek-to-morph-ik)

Derived from ancient Greek roots, "Ectomorph" is one the 3 major body types. Ectomorphs are generally characterized by skinniness, a dearth of body fat, as well as small amounts of lean muscle. Due to their body type, it can be difficult for ectomorphs to gain muscular development. However, they also generally have high metabolism, leaving them less prone to obesity.

Her ectomorphic build made people think she was anorexic, so she ran to a buffet restaurant, only to find that the restaurant was now just a pit filled with angry crab monsters.

Filipendulous: Hanging precariously (usually, by a single thread)

Pronunciation - (Fil-ip-end-u-lus)

This word first appeared in botany, the study of natural foliage. Specifically, it was used to describe tiny, thread-like rootlets which sprouted from certain types of plants. The word is derived from latin roots, "fil" which means "thread" and "pend" which means "to hang". Today, the word is very uncommon, but it is not yet listed as archaic. This word is a personal favorite of mine, and I make a point to use it anytime I can.

The way she was hanging on the side of the pit was best described as filipendulous; she continued making the crab monsters very hungry.

Floccinaucinihilipilification: An abstract sense of uselessness.

Pronunciation - (Flok-suh-nah-suh-nay-hil-uh-pil-uh-fi-kay-shuh)

This word dates back to the year 1741, when a group of British elites (in jest) made up the longest word they could think of. The word derives from 4 separate (semi-obscure) latin roots, all of which mean "for nothing". Today, it is mainly kept in dictionaries as something of a joke. The word is almost never used in normal conversation, and mainly exists as an example of a very long word with an ironic meaning. This does not mean however, that it is not a good word. On the contrary, Floccinaucinihilipilification is a great way to communicate uselessly with someone who is doing the same thing to you.

Floccinaucinihilipilification overtook Janet as she thought about ways to escape; there was no way out.

Hircus: The medical term for smelly armpits

Pronunciation - Hir-Cuss

Although this word is an accepted medical term, the term's origins were actually somewhat offensive. The prefix "hirc-" is a latin root, but it has nothing to do with the human body. Instead, the words "hircine" and "hircose" mean "goat" and "goat-like," respectively. Apparently, ancient doctors smelled a similarity between bad BO and unwashed goats.

Sweating from anxiety, Janet's hircus became embarrassingly strong.

Honorificabilitudinitatibus: Able to receive honor or rewards

Pronunciation - (On-a-rif-ick-a-bill-ee-too-dee-tart-ee-bis)

This extremely long word, the longest in the English language to consist exclusively of alternating consonants and vowels, is best known for being featured in Shakespeare's "Love's Labors Lost." Used by an extremely pretentious character to demonstrate his academic prowess, the word dates back to the 8th century; it was first used by Latin-speaking pedagogues in Italy. More recently, it was notably used Joyce's famous book "Ulysses" and in the 90s by US News and World Report.

Brad, a passerby, thought he might be honorificabilitudinitatibus if he saved Janet from the crab monsters, so he took a well-placed rope and helped her out of the pit.

Nudiustertian: Something that happened two days ago.

Pronunciation - (Nu-dee-us-ter-ti-an)

Although rarely seen since its original usage in the 17th century, Nudiustertian has solidly founded roots in latin. Coined by famed clergyman and author Nathaniel Ward in 1647, the word was designed to anglicize the latin term "nudius tertius", which itself stems from the phrase "nunc dies tertius est" meaning "now is the 3rd day". Today, the word is generally used for humorous effect rather than as a serious term. In 1963, UCLA professor David Mellinkoff discussed the term in his book "The Language of Law" saying that the word, although amusing became "promptly obsolete". Nevertheless, the word is fair game for describing any event that occurred two days before, and (in moderation) is a personal favorite of mine .

All of the sudden, a nudiustertian thought came to Brad; the day before yesterday, he had seen Janet at a coffee shop, so he decided to invite her out for coffee, an invitation which she accepted.

Want to increase your vocabulary even more? Check out the Grandiloquent Dictionary!


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    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      too cool!! I am working on obtaining an ectomorphic build...rode my biycle around the block today.

      HEY I didn't specify how long its going to take me :)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Love it. Anyone who thinks of y hubs with floccinaucinihilipilification is hamartithian. Voting this Up and Interesting.