Weird and Unusual Words

Weird and Unusual Words Weird and Unusual Words

Here is Will and Guy's funny collection of unusual English words, we also have weird foreign phrases to describe particular situations.

Unusual Words: Topics on This Page

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List of Unusual Words on Other Pages

10 Weird, Wonderful and Unusual Words in Other Languages

[Thanks from Will and Guy to BBC Online for help In researching this topic]

  1. The French have the phrase 'l'esprit d'escalier', which translates to spirit of the staircase. This is used to describe the precise moment a person comes up with a clever retort to an embarrassing insult. In Will and Guy's experience this moment occurs some time after the event.
  2. In Chinese if you tell a man they are 'dai lu maozi', meaning "he wears the green hat", it means that his wife is sleeping with someone else.
  3. It's weird that English doesn't have words for the German 'vorgestern' [the day before yesterday] and 'ubermorgen' [the day after tomorrow].
  4. A favourite word, and not for its literal meaning, is the Spanish 'puente' meaning bridge. Unlike ourselves, the Spanish hold their bank holidays on a Tuesday so that Monday will, on most occasions, be treated as a bridge day [an extra day of holiday] ensuring a four day weekend.
  5. Another favourite is 'faire du leche-vitrines' which literally means 'to lick the windows' and translates as window-shopping in France.
  6. The German word 'luftkissenfahrzeug'. The literal translation being 'air cushion vehicle', but to you and I it is the simple 'hovercraft'.  Jude, Birmingham, UK
  7. In Cyprus, the instrument used to remove staples from paper is termed a 'petalouda', literally translated into 'butterfly'.
  8. In Japanese, 'amakudari', literally translates as descent from heaven, describes the phenomenon of being employed by a firm in an industry one has previously, as a government bureaucrat, been involved in regulating.
  9. The Spanish for handcuffs: 'esposas', mi esposa means 'my wife'. So 'mi esposa, mis esposas' means 'my wife, my handcuffs'.
  10. There are a few more interesting German words such as 'handschuhschneeballwerfer', which literally means somebody, who wears gloves to throw snow balls. It is used in general for all cowards.

Examples of Oxymorons

  • Pretty Ugly
  • Microsoft Works
  • Work Party
  • Loners Club
  • Swiss Navy
  • Stripper's Dressing Room
  • Alone in a crowd

Curious English Words

  • Exegete: one who explains or interprets difficult parts of written works.
  • Spoony: foolishly or sentimentally in love.
  • Visage: the face; also, appearance; aspect.
  • Quiddity: the essence or nature of a thing.
  • Sesquipedalian: (of words) long; having many syllables.
  • Predilection: an established preference.

English Words with Quirky Logic

  • Have you noticed that there is neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
  • French fries do not originate in France.
  • A guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
  • And there are no hogs in Hogmanay.
  • Quicksand only works slowly
  • If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?
  • If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
  • When you are incommunicado: you are without the means to communicate.

Playing with a Funny Word or Two - The Illogical English Language

  • Why do performers recite a play, yet play at a recital?
  • When the stars are out they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
  • Dessie decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  • The city tip was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  • In the boat, a row erupted amongst the oarsmen about how to row.
  • Chloe was too close to the door to close it.
  • Sherrie shed her shoes in the shed.
  • Why do our noses run but our feet smell?
  • Freddie filled in his form by filling it out.

Funny Collective Nouns

  1. A sentence of judges
  2. A load of cobblers
  3. An expectation of midwives
  4. A conflagration of arsonists
  5. An illusion of magicians
  6. A horde of misers
  7. An exaggeration of fishermen
  8. A flush of plumbers
  9. A scoop of journalists
  10. A decanter of publicans

See more amusing collective nouns


Washington Post's Word Mensa Invitational Challenge

Word Mensa is an unusual challenge where you take a word, alter it by one letter, then supply a new definition.

  • Paymeant: the cheque is in the post
  • Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high
  • Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period
  • Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it
  • Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late
  • Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
  • Glibido: All talk and no action

See more examples of Neologism

Funny Phrases on Signs



Toponymy - The Study of Unusual Names

  1. Beersville, is a fine town in Pennsylvania
  2. Hellhole, is depressingly to be found in Idaho
  3. Hardup, is in the poor [you must be joking] state of Utah
  4. Rudeville, surprisingly perhaps is in New Jersey
  5. Hell, is in Michigan [Some other places too, I suspect]
  6. Dulls Corner, is in Maryland [Do they wear pointy hats there?]
  7. Toad Suck, is a found in Arkansas

See more unusual place names

Beware! Amusing Children's Names

  • Seymour Legg
  • Sean Head
  • Tim Burr
  • Woody Bush
  • Doug Graves
  • Lowden Clear
  • Bernd Onions
  • Artie Choke

See more funny children's names


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