(A friend emailed a list of words that he was sure I didn’t know. He was right. I decided to use them here.)

She held the promise of a petrichor in his barren life.

However, to start anew Thierry had to rid himself of the tattoo on his purlicue. He took out a vial no larger than an aglet, and braced himself, felt his stomach wamble.

The acid burned through his skin and he let out a muffled vagitus. [Naughty, naughty – what are you thinking of?] Thierry closed his eyes tight, triggering phosphenes, and choked on the taste of chanking. [Not a Chinese dish, I assure you] Succumbing to the pain, he feverishly washed the blister with spirit and applied a dab of nurdle. [Yes, sounds gross]

Catching his breath, he fingered the lemniscate that covered the rasceta of his left hand and decided, perhaps another time.

Reciting vocables to distract from the pain, he stepped into the crepuscular rays of the brisk morning.

Love and life, beckoned.

************ Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2014 ************

Succinct words perhaps, but I wonder whether these merely make the

story telling pompous, stunted and help alienate the readers.

What do you reckon?



  1. Love this, Eric. Many years ago, a good friend gave me a copy of what was considered the 100 most beautiful words in the English language. Words such as demesne, nemesis, offing, and opulant. Poetry, each in their own right. For quite a while, they served as a ‘jump start’ for whenever I was at a loss for words……for even their reverb was one of mystery and magic……. Perhaps one day, our words will resonate with the same awe. Love to you, my friend. ~ Bobbie

    1. That’s lovely, Bobbie

      Yes, some times I too use a single word to build a story – usually flash fiction. I don’t highlight the word, as it can be quite mundane.

      One word can birth a story – as one tree can contain an entire ecosystem.

      Once written – our words never die 🙂

      Luv and hugz dear,

    1. Oh no, Anne – you can’t be stupid or that would make all of us stupid too. We’re pretty smart people – okay, some people are pretty AND smart but me – I’ll take pretty any time 🙂

  2. Apparently my use of the English language is quite limited 🙂 I’m a lazy reader… if I don’t know one or two words, I’ll look them up. If I don’t know more than that, I put down the book and read Mary Higgins Clark, instead 🙂 I did get a chuckle out of your bracketed asides… fun read, but I’m glad you don’t normally write like this, Eric!

    1. Hello Janna dear,

      I suppose that makes me a lazy reader too 🙂

      Yes, I could not resist those asides 🙂

      I assure you, I don’t normally – and can’t – write like this.


  3. Wow and I think of myself as very literate. I only know one of these words so now I have to spend all this time looking them up. Guess I needed a reminder that I do not know everything. LOL.

  4. Thank you Wikipedia and google or I’ll never finish reading this post. The words do exist but they may as well be extinct for who uses them if not for someone challenging you. Looks like some mispelled English, LOL. It’s painful to have to check but also triggers my curiosity to find them. Trust you to take up the challenge and come up with this.

    1. Hello Jasey dearest,

      I resisted the temptation and did not list the meanings at the tail end of this post. This way, the frustration of reading a work such as this is brought to the fore. Like many commenters here, after the third mystifying word, I too would not have bothered to continue reading something like this.

      Actually, it took me all of half an hour to write this post – before it turned me off! LOL!

      Luv and hugz,

  5. This is proof that language has both the power to communicate and perplex. I didn’t know most of those words!

  6. What fun, Eric. I’m a bit strapped for time so chose “nurdle” because I like the sound and found the definition of it as a verb: “to gently waffle or muse on a subject one clearly knows nothing about”. A winner in my book–can’t wait to try it out. Many thanks for the vocabulary lesson.

    1. Hello VB,

      Ah, so “nurdle” has another meaning. Obviously, I didn’t research enough.

      Thank you, VB, I learned another new thing here.

      All good wishes,

  7. Good post. It’s hard to read a piece with so many unfamiliar words. I’m stubborn, I look up each one I don’t know. But most people would stop reading, I think. One new word in a work is sufficient to tweak the reader, More is too much.

    1. That’s great advice, Connie – one new word in a work. And most times, that word is new only for the author. The idea, I suppose, is to tweak a person’s curiosity without turning them off.

      All good wishes,

  8. A ‘fun’ exercise Eric, but I agree to many such words strung together makes reading arduous, and yet each individually is a delight and could bring additional subtlety to communication which is what words are all about.
    I began by looking up “petrichor’, a delightful word, not in my “old” unabridged Webster as it was coined in 1964 (Wikipedia) and is packed with meaning – the smell after a rain exquisite!
    Then I jumped to ”aglet”, another delightful word, which I expect to use in the future. Wikipedia gave an expose on the various anglet construction types.
    Eric, this exercise could take all day – thank you for sharing!
    Thank you

    1. Hello Jane dear,

      Did not mean this to be an exercise and certainly not of the ‘fun’ variety but am pleased that you took it as such.

      I agree that discovering rare words – on occasion – can be rewarding and delightful. Beyond a point, for me – it becomes an English lesson with Mrs Pincher — Most of the teachers I knew, had the knack for turning any lesson or subject into a chore.

      It was only in my adult years (read 16 years and above) I re discovered the delights of learning.

      You’re very welcome Jane dear and thank you for treating this as fun.


  9. I think it does alienate the reader. I don’t mind looking up the occasional word but to have to look up so many… well I would just stop reading…

    1. I’m totally with you, Diana

      The occasional word, yes sure and as it adds to our vocabulary. Beyond a tip point, I’ll trash the book and remember never to read that author again!


  10. Some I knew, others I had to look up. Even after looking them up I was confused by their use here.


    One wasn’t even in my extended Dictionary, am I insane? – Nurdle

    It is difficult to use these without sounding pompous. I enjoy it though, it is fun and challenging.

    1. Hello Val,

      You’re better than me because I had to look up every word highlighted in blue. It’s possible I’m not using the words in their proper context. Also, be aware that some of these words are not readily found in ‘free’ dictionaries – nurdle could be one.

      Incidentally, nurdle > a tiny dab of toothpaste

      That’s what I thought too – pompous. One thing is for sure – one does not employ these words in popular fiction. Perhaps if one is a North Korean prisoner and wants to display a message to the world while paraded on a ‘peoples’ TV program …

      All good wishes,

      1. I subscribe to the paid version of Merriam, I love words! I suspect I knew some of them because I have teachers in my family and we play Scrabble, my dearly loved heart mother was a champion. None of us ever beat her. It is my suspicion she collected words for our games.

      2. Wow! Val dear,

        You’re the first person I’ve come across who actually subscribes to a paid version of Merriam – you must love words.

        Yes, Scrabble helps in improving one’s word count.


  11. A great weave with these challenging words – we should use them more as our language is becoming narrower and dull but as you say, hard to do without sounding pompous. Try texting at least 1 of these words a day 😉

    1. Hello Laura,

      Yes, our language usage is getting narrower and people are (seemingly) getting by with a smaller repertoire of words. Communication as we know it, is a dying art.

      That’s evolution, I suppose.

      All good wishes,

  12. I recognised only two: Wamble and vocables. The latter because of the German word ‘vokabel’, which allows me to recognise the first though I’ve never heard it before. Now, after this ‘thrifty’ lesson of the day I have more knots in my head than the boy scouts can ever create.

  13. If the purpose of writing is communication, then the use of these words defies and denies it. They’re fun to play with, as mankind has always played with language, but scream of pedantry and screech with pedagogy when seriously presented as a common denominator.

  14. The cryptic word choices really add a kick. Reminds me of the Word of The Day games my friends and I used to play in school. Nice work, Eric!

  15. Eric – I thought a petrichor was a leathery giant bird from the days of the dinosaurs!

    You sent me back to school there. Poetry is about nuanced meaning, and prose about distinct meaning, and words that are not commonly used hinder us. Now it’s off to look the rest of them up. It drives me crazy when a word ties me into a pretzel.

    1. Hello Bill,

      Yes, in the old days petrichor could have been a dinosaur but one never knows about evolution.

      You’re right about poetry and prose. Uncommon words do derail reading pleasure. The trick I suppose is to use common words but uncommonly.

      Happy discoveries 🙂

    1. Hello Ian,

      Just be aware that not all these words are available in regular ‘free’ dictionaries.

      The depth and scope of English, as most languages, is astounding.

      All good wishes,

      1. I guess that’s because it has borrowed from many other languages. The mix of Anglo Saxon, French and Latin not to mention Cantonese and Hindi makes it a difficult language to construct poems with.

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