I was recently reminded of one of my favorite words. It’s not a word that is in common use, and I’ve often wondered exactly why people felt the need for such a word. So I went digging, and was pleased at what I discovered.
Here it is.
Defenestration. The act of throwing someone out of a window.
I know, right? Now you can say, “Man, that dude just defenestrated his best friend!” instead of the boring, “Man, that dude just threw his best friend out a window!” So much more satisfying!
Apparently Prague in 1419 and 1618 was not a place to be if you were a window. Or an official. Or if you didn’t want to participate in a war. Since these events, known as the Defenestrations of Prague, defenestration has become synonymous with political dissent. As an added bonus, dozing off and falling out of a window can now be referred to as accidental autodefenestration. And if that doesn’t make you chuckle I have more for you: SOMEONE WROTE A POEM. It’s called “Defenestration”, and was written by R. P. Lister, about a philosopher who got thrown from a window and contemplated why the word exists on the way to the ground. You can read it for yourself here.
I don’t know what it is about these words. Some words are just more fun than others. Words like onomatopoeia (which is just as hard to spell as it looks), triskaidekaphobia (even spell check struggles with that one), and petrichor are just fun to say, despite the fact you will most likely never need to use them or know what they mean to survive in the world.
But your world can become more beautiful through knowing some of these words. Also, more hilarious. So here are a few pointless and beautiful words I have discovered.
Erinaceous: Hedgehog like. For all those people who want to hide their fangirl status in life and sound super sophisticated when describing Martin Freeman.
Petrichor: The smell of dust after rain. Beautiful word, beautiful sentiment, beautiful smell. Never mind the fact that most people who know this word only know it from watching Doctor Who.
Triskaidekaphobia: Fear of the number thirteen. People who actually have this fear are either super superstitious, or want Peter Capaldi to be the Doctor forever.
And let’s be honest: who wouldn’t?
onomatopoeia: The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named. Cow goes moo. Bees buzz. Bacon sizzles. You get the picture.
Bombinate: To make a humming or buzzing noise. Because the onomatopoeic words “hum” and “buzz” aren’t enough for some people.
Borborygmus: The sound of your stomach rumbling. Again, because some people just need complicated words sometimes.
Vellichor: The strange wistfulness of a used bookshop. Pretty sure I’m addicted to vellichor.