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Keep talking wordy to me…


It’s been a while since I did a column about awesome words and I’m sure you’ve missed them as much as I have. If not, I guess you’re just not as much of a word nerd as I am, but that’s okay, I forgive you. Last time I talked about having a scurryfunge and how curmudgeons complain about millennials, and hopefully this time you’ll learn a whole host of new words that you can use as a secret weapon the next time that you play a game of Scrabble (which is why I’ve included Scrabble points!).

Cattywampus: not lined up or not arranged correctly; or diagonally. For a real life example, please come and visit the Library and see our shelves after Rhyme Time. It can also be used to describe the positioning of buildings within a town: “The tractor store is cattywampus to the library.”
Scrabble score: 23 points

Taradiddle: a petty lie; pretentious nonsense. You know, when men boast about the size of their…fish. “Honestly, it’s such taradiddle – that fish was tiny, three inches at most!”
Scrabble score: 13 points

Erinaceous: relating to, or resembling a hedgehog. I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall when this word was first coined. To be fair, it can also be used to describe people who get defensive when under pressure, those who are always alarmed, or those who sleep more over winter – not just people who look like hedgehogs. “Benedict Cumberbatch may look like an otter, but Martin Freeman is erinaceous.”
Scrabble score: 12 points

Pauciloquent: using few words in speech or conversation. The complete opposite of loquacious (or, if you want to be mean, the opposite of me). “I couldn’t tell if he was just pauciloquent or if he just didn’t like me.”
Scrabble score: 25 points

Donnybrook: Nope, we’re not talking about the place down south where apples are grown, we’re talking about a scene of uproar and disorder or a heated argument. “There was a huge donnybrook between my aunt and uncle which made my Nan’s birthday much more interesting.”
Scrabble score: 20 points

Otiose: serving no practical purpose or result, not useful. If you say that my column in NVN is otiose, I will cry, so please be nice. “It’s otiose to spend so much on catering when few people have responded to the invitation.”
Scrabble score: 6 points

Widdershins: in a direction opposite of the usual one; anti-clockwise; the wrong way. If you are a Terry Pratchett fan, you may recognise it as one of the directions used on the Discworld. “For more than a thousand years the kings along the Djel had, with extreme diplomacy, exquisite manners and the footwork of a centipede on adrenaline, kept the peace along the whole widdershins side of the continent.” – Pyramids, Terry Pratchett.
Scrabble score: 19 points