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80 Intriguing Words That Sound Made Up

My primary purpose in this moment in time is to perplex and delight Word Weirdos with my love and delight in words.

Intriguing words

Intriguing words

Here's the Deal, Wade

This time around, Beloved Readers, we aren’t going to tell you if the words are real or not. We can only say that many are words and some are something else. Now the fun way to do this thing is to read the list and take the quiz with no pesky dictionaries, online or otherwise, involved in this first part.

Of course, you wouldn’t be one of our tribe if you didn’t let these words and wonderment about their veracity ensconce themselves in your gullets. We believe you will consult references; we just suggest you wait until you decide which words are real and which are not.

We set a few parameters for our fanciful exercise. Some of the words are actual words that people are using today, and you will find them in a standard dictionary. By a standard dictionary, we mean an unabridged dictionary. We can’t promise you’ll find any of our words in an abridged dictionary.

Some of these words, and their accompanying definitions, are made up, literally from proverbial whole cloth right here at Yes, we sat around and made up new words, or maybe just false definitions for real words, so we could intersperse them in this article and play flim flam on our readers with them later.

The Words, Perhaps

  1. Chinoiserie: noun shēn′wäz-rē′ refers to a style in art reflecting Chinese influence through use of elaborate decoration and intricate patterns.
  2. Cockeyed: adjective kŏk′īd′ means turned or twisted toward one side.
  3. Collywobbles: noun kŏl′ē-wŏb′əlz is an upset stomach.
  4. Coimetrophile: noun is a person who loves cemeteries. Here is a link to an online pronunciation guide.
  5. Crocus: noun krō′kəs is any perennial Eurasian herbs of the genus Crocus, having grass like leaves and showy, variously colored flowers.
  6. Eketahuna: noun i-have a roost-er is the archetypal small country city lacking amenities and which no one is expected to know anything about, similar to Timbuktu, pronounced tim buk tu, which does not exist in the US and to Waikikamukau, pronounced why-kick-a-moo-cow, which does not exist in New Zealand. Eketahuna, a small town, does exist in New Zealand. When did we stop lying?
  7. Dewberry: noun do͞o′bĕr′ē refers to any of several trailing prickly shrubs of the genus Rubus of North America and Eurasia, having purple or black fruit resembling blackberries.
  8. Dilly-dally: intransitive verb dĭl′ē-dăl′ē means to waste time, especially in indecision, to dawdle or vacillate. If there was an Olympics of dilly-dallying, we could bring home the gold around here.
  9. Dilly-dilly: noun dĭl′ē dĭl′ē is a toast meaning nothing and invented by Budweiser to sell more beer.
  10. Dirtdobber or Mud Dauber: noun is any one of various solitary predatory wasps, especially of the families Sphecidae and Crabronidae, that build nests of mud and provision them with paralyzed prey.
  11. Don Juan: noun don wahn is a legendary Spanish nobleman famous for his many seductions and dissolute life.
  12. Doolally: adjective duːˈlælɪ means completely out of one’s mind. The full phrase is doolally tap. This word comes to English from Mumbai where an infamous military sanitorium is in Deolali.
  13. Doomsday: noun do͞omz′dā′ means Judgment Day.
  14. Dumbstruck: adjective dŭm′strŭk means so shocked or astonished as to be rendered speechless.
  15. Etymon: noun, plural etyma ‘e-tə-mə is an earlier form of a word in the same language or an ancestral language, progenitor word.
  16. Fair Dinkum: adjective fare dink ahm means good, honest, and truthful.
  17. Flapdoodle: noun flăp′do͞od′l is foolish talk or nonsense or the content of all network television programming in the US.
  18. Flibbertigibbet: noun flib-er-tee-jib-it is a chattering or flighty, light-headed person.
  19. Flim Flam: noun flem flam is a confidence trick, a swindle involving money, goods, etc, in which the victim's trust is won by the swindler.
  20. Gadabout: noun gad-uh-bout is a person who moves about restlessly or aimlessly, especially from one social activity to another. Another possibility is that your mom made the word up.
  21. Geewillikers: noun g wil ah kers is an expression similar "oh my God" or "Jesus Christ." It is used to convey shock. Gee is a euphemism for Jesus.
  22. Gewgaw: noun (jē′-, gē′-)is a decorative trinket or bauble.
  23. Gobbledygook: noun gŏb′əl-dē-go͝ok′ is a name for unclear or wordy jargon and is meant to imitate the sound of a turkey’s gobble.
  24. Gobsmacked: adjective gŏb′smăkt is to be utterly astounded.
  25. Gollywobbles: noun gawl e wob uhlz is a general feeling of dis-ease or queasiness felt in your gut, stomach or abdomen.
  26. Heebie-jeebies: noun hē′bē-jē′bēz is a feeling of uneasiness or nervousness; the jitters.
  27. Highfalutin’: adjective hī′fə-lo͞ot′n also high·fa·lu·ting means something is pompous or pretentious.
  28. Hobblebush: noun hŏb′əl-bo͝osh′ is a deciduous shrub of eastern North America, having flat clusters of white flowers with the marginal flowers larger than the others.
  29. Hobbledehoy: noun hŏb′əl-dē-hoi′ refers to a gawky, adolescent boy or an awkward, ungainly youth. It seems much less than kind that this word was handmade to use to verbally abuse children.
  30. Hobgoblin: noun hŏb′gŏb′lĭn is an ugly, mischievous elf or goblin, and is an object or a source of fear, dread, or harassment.
  31. Hobnob: verb hŏb′nŏb′ may mean you like to hang out with snobby folks while you dress up fancy and sip champagne. However, strictly dictionary-speak, it merely means to socialize or talk informally
  32. Hoity-toity: adjective hoi′tē-toi′tē means pretentiously self-important or pompous.
  33. Hornswoggle: transitive verb hôrn′swŏg′əl also horn·swog·gled, horn·swog·gling, horn·swog·gles is used primarily in the Northern & Western US and means to bamboozle or deceive.
  34. Hygge: noun. This Danish word, pronounced "HOO-guh," describes the penchant in Denmark for appreciating life's simple pleasures. Hygge is the state of happiness and contentment that one feels in a cozy, relaxing environment.
  35. Jabberwocky: noun jăb′ər-wŏk′ē is just nonsensical speech or writing but is often mistaken for a monster.
  36. Juvenoia: noun jo͞o′və-noy ah is the fear one generation of adults holds towards the younger generations succeeding them. Feeling that entertainment, social practices, and fashion was superior in one's past characterizes junvenoia.
  37. Juggernaut: noun jŭg′ər-nôt′ is an unstoppable force.
  38. Jumpin Jehosaphat: this phrase originated in the US as a mild expletive or oath. Jehoshaphat may be a less-blasphemous euphemism for Jesus.
  39. Kerfuffle: noun kûr-fŭf′əl is a to-do or fuss.
  40. Kibble: noun kĭb′əl is an iron bucket used in wells or mines for hoisting water, ore, or refuse to the surface.
  41. Lardy-dardy: adjective lahr-dee dahr-dee means characterized by excessive elegance.
  42. Lollygag: verb LAH-lee-gag is to spend time idly, aimlessly, or foolishly, to dawdle.
  43. Lothario: noun a loh-THAIR-ee-oh is a man whose chief interest is seducing women.
  44. Lovey-dovey: adjective lŭv′ē-dŭv′ē is expressing affection in an extravagantly sentimental way, mushy.
  45. Madcap: adjective măd′kăp′ means characterized by undue haste and lack of thought or deliberation.
  46. Meshuggener: adjective mə-sho͝og′ə-nə means crazy or senseless.
  47. Metagenes: noun meta-jeans is an ancient Greek architect.
  48. Milquetoast: noun mĭlk′tōst′ is one who has a meek, timid, and unassertive nature.
  49. Mollycoddle: transitive verb mŏl′ē-kŏd′l is to be overprotective and indulgent toward.
  50. Muckrake: verb mŭk′rāk′ is to search for and expose misconduct in public life.
  51. Mulligatawny: noun mŭl′ĭ-gə-tô′nē is a curried chicken soup adapted by the British from India. Originally the soup was enriched with coconut milk and embellished with almonds and apples. Newer versions make a lighter broth and flavor this with curry and coconut.
  52. Mulligrubs: noun muhl-i-gruhbz refers to ill temper and grumpiness.
  53. Mumbledepeg: noun mʌmbəltɪˌpɛɡ is a fairly stupid game in which players throw a knife in various prescribed ways, the aim being to make the blade stick in the ground.
  54. Muskellunge: noun mŭs′kə-lŭnj′ is freshwater pike that averages between 10 and 30 pounds, or is it?
  55. Namby Pamby: adjective namby pamby is a term for affected, weak, and maudlin speech or verse, or a person displaying such traits.
  56. Nocebo: noun ‘no-see-‘bow is the placebo’s evil twin. When you believe a pill will make you feel bad, you can be assured that it most likely will, just as, conversely, around 30% of people who take a placebo feel better.
  57. Nouveau riche: noun phrase, literally meaning “newly rich” and specifically applied to a showy or ostentatious display of wealth
  58. Numpty: noun ˈnʌmptɪ in informal Scot a numpty is a stupid person.
  59. Panegyric: noun păn′ə-jĭr′ĭk fis a formal public speech, or written verse, delivered in high praise of a person or thing, a generally highly studied and undiscriminating eulogy, not expected to be critical.
  60. Pisser: noun pĭs′ər refers to one that is extremely disagreeable, or does it?
  61. Polliwog: noun pŏl′ē-wŏg′ is a tadpole.
  62. Pooh-bah: noun POO-bah is a person holding many public or private offices.
  63. Poo-poo: noun poo poo just means poop.
  64. Popinjay: noun pŏp′ĭn-jā′ is a vain, talkative person.
  65. Put the Kettle On: is a phrase meaning to prepare for sex.
  66. Quagswagging: noun kwahg swhoging is the irritating action of rocking to and fro.
  67. Quibble: verb kwĭb′əl is to argue or find fault over trivial matters or minor concerns or to cavil.
  68. Rattlebrained: adjective răt′l-brānd′ may mean giddy and talkative; foolish.
  69. Romeo: noun rō′mē-ō′ is an attractive or romantic male lover.
  70. Scalawag: noun skăl′ə-wăg is a reprobate or a rascal, or is it?
  71. Sea-poose: noun cee poo s is the seaward undercurrent created after waves have broken on the shore
  72. Shillyshally: verb shil-ee-shal-ee is to show indecision or hesitation, be irresolute, vacillate.
  73. Shitaree: noun shit-a-ree means the entire thing, job, or project.
  74. Shithole: noun shit-whole, according to the Urban Dictionary, "Shithole" is an adjective that President Trump uses to describe specific countries that have protected immigrants in the United States that he and the Republican Party no longer want to protect. Secondarily, shithole refers to “A horrible place that is considered (by the majority of thinking members of homo sapiens) completely undesirable to live, work, or play in.
  75. Sodbuster: noun sŏd′bŭs′tər is a mean way to say farmer.
  76. Syllabub: noun sil-ah-bub is a short syllable.
  77. Therizinosaurus: noun ˌθɛrɪˌzɪnoʊˈsɔːrəs means “scythe lizard”, from the Greek therizo meaning 'to reap' or 'to cut off' and sauros meaning 'lizard' and is a genus of very large theropod dinosaurs.
  78. Threnody: noun thren-uh-dee is a poem, speech, or song of lamentation, especially for the dead, a dirge or funeral song.
  79. Wifty: adjective WIF-tee means eccentrically silly, giddy, ditzy or inane. Look it up if you don’t believe us!
  80. Ziggurat: noun zig·gu·rat is a temple tower of ancient Mesopotamia, having the form of a terraced pyramid of successively receding stories.
Our neighbors' house at the time we made the words. They didn't approve.

Our neighbors' house at the time we made the words. They didn't approve.

10 Benefits of a Good Vocabulary

People with superior vocabularies

1. Make more money

2. Are promoted faster and more often

3. Command greater respect

4. Have higher IQ’s

5. Are considered more intelligent

6. Read faster and comprehend more

7. Are better communicators

8. Are better and more confident public speakers

9. Write faster and with greater clarity

10. Interview better and land better jobs

Practice Sentences

Most of the time, my brother-in-law gives me the heebie-jeebies. He is generous like that.

I don’t think of him as fair dinkum because I cannot recall him telling me the truth.

My grandma says she likes to wear chinoiserie on date night with Grandpa, but we have been taught not to correct Grandma when she confuses her words.

Sometimes I think my brother-in-law is a flibbertigibbet, but I am afraid to say so because he will get mad about it and be happy about it later, or he will be happy first and mad later, and either way, he will chat me to death about it.

I often beg my batshit-crazy brother-in-law, “Don’t go doolally tap, man.”

I told my brother-in-law that his rummage sale bargain was just a gewgaw, but he insisted it was a Ming Dynasty vase.

Should We, Or Should We Be Ashamed When We Do

A Few More Sentences

I would say he was cockeyed, but that is the least twisted part of him.

I bought my brother-in-law a ticket to Eketahuna, but he insisted he preferred Timbuktu because it is even smaller and more backward.

My brother-in-law was so gobsmacked by the gobbledygook the turkey told him about the flim flam man stealing his money and his wife that he came down with a gollywobbles gut condition caused by extreme astonishment, and I will call the person a liar who says otherwise.

When my brother-in-law goes to whining about his many problems, it is a long threnody he intones.

My brother-in-law isn’t just a pisser to be around, he compounds his disagreeability with the conceit of a popinjay and the high-falutin’ manners of some nouveau riche pooh bah of a shithole country.

They Even Have Apps for That

Reality Check: Beware the Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. I have eaten alibaba fruit.
    • False
    • True
  2. I’ve known about the word, flibbertigibbet for a long time and suspect my brother-in-law is one because he changes his m
    • False
    • True
  3. Acitron is a superhero.
    • False
    • True
  4. Baba Ghanoush is an unelected Gypsy leader serving for only a short interim.
    • False
    • True
  5. A syllabub is served full of brandy and whipped cream.
    • False
    • True
  6. Beurre Blanc is a silent movie actor.
    • False
    • True
  7. Metagenes are bigger than genes and control much of human inheritance.
    • False
    • True
  8. Ziggurat is a hybrid sewer rat imported to New York from Europe via boat.
    • False
    • True

Answer Key

  1. False
  2. True
  3. False
  4. False
  5. True
  6. False
  7. False
  8. False

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 2 correct answers: Please check to make sure you currently have a heartbeat, functioning eyes, and speak English. You didn't get too many answers right. In fact, random chance would have given you a higher score. Close your eyes next time and just guess. Keep reading our articles, though, please!

If you got between 3 and 4 correct answers: OMG! Do you perhaps speak a language other than English? Spanish? Any language experience at all? Please, please read more! We beg you to look at the wondrous worlds inside books and words, please! Don't miss out! You have never been as far as a book can take you!

If you got between 5 and 6 correct answers: Your score on this quiz gives us a sneaky suspicion you like to read and may have Word Weirdo tendencies you are unable to control. We greet you as one of our own kind and invite you to take more of our diabolical and unfair quizzes.

If you got 7 correct answers: Your score on this quiz strongly indicates you are a Word Weirdo, and now you have been found out. You would like to pretend that you know very little, but you keep doing well on these quizzes. . ..

If you got 8 correct answers: Okay, well we never expected anyone to get this far, so we didn’t write up a proper message. If you have made it this far, then we assume you know that there is really no accurate way to calibrate 90% without first gauging the difficulty of the test, and since these tests were all designed to be impossibly difficult, they don’t compare with other such material that could be calibrated for comparison.

We like to pack up before we tell the part about making stuff up.

We like to pack up before we tell the part about making stuff up.

Disclaimer! Kokopelli Took Control for a Minute

We messed with these words to make the test harder: alibaba fruit doesn’t exist; Metagenes was an architect; syllabub is really a creamy brandy concoction; and baekenhofe is a dish. We still love you, though, Beloved Reader.

Crush us with words you thought of or sentences you wrote, Beloved Reader.

Crush us with words you thought of or sentences you wrote, Beloved Reader.

Give Us a Word, Bro

O, perhaps you know a made-up-sounding word or a new use for one of the words on the list? Write it in the comments, please.

Works Cited and Consulted 15 September 2017. Web site. 15 September 2017. n.d. Website. 15 February 2018. 19 April 2011. Webpage. 26 October 2018. 26 October 2018. Webpage. 26 October 2018. n.d. website. 7 December 2017.

"" 28 July 2018. Webpage. 3 August 2018. n.d. Website. 6 March 2018. 11 April 2012. Website. 7 March 2018. 6 september 2017. Website. 6 september 2017.

Webster's New World Dictionary. New York: Warner, 2016. Print. 15 September 2017. Website. 15 September 2017.

© 2018 Richard Green


Richard Green (author) from New Mexico on October 26, 2018:

Lovely! Thank you.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 26, 2018:

It was a Friday treat at work for a colleague to bring in a packet of chocolate covered hobnobs.

Richard Green (author) from New Mexico on October 25, 2018:

Yum! I have too much fun with English. Give us a sentence, Liz.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 25, 2018:

Some of these words have been adopted for other uses. In the UK we have popular biscuits that go by the brand name of 'hobnobs'.