Contents · Índice
World’s Weirdest words
“Very strange and unusual, unexpected, or not natural”… This is the definition that the Cambridge Dictionary provides for Weird. It goes without saying that I could have given this post a different title: “Top rarest words”, or “Unusual words”, or even “Most wonderful words in the world”, since some of them strike me as little works of art. Be that as it may, the following words feature among the most curious, odd, original or funny ones in the world. The reasons why I have ranked them among the top 10 are varied: from its meaning and its sonority to the way they were formed and its originality. You will also find some honorable mentions at the end of this post. I’m sure you know more interesting words in other languages worthy of featuring in this post, so please feel free to share them in the comments box below.
Language: Yiddish. Incorporated into English language.
Phonetic transcription: (/ˈhʊtspə, ˈxʊt-/)
Origin/Etymology: It derives from the Hebrew word ḥutspâ (חֻצְפָּה)
Meaning: to be extremely cheeky, impertinent beyound belief.
Language: Spanish (Spain)
Phonetic transcription: ͡ʧ i ͡ʧ i n a β̞ o (AFI)
Origin/Etymology: from De chicha (spirits) and nabo (turnip)
Meaning: third-rate, valueless, inferior, very poor quality. The word turnip usually has sexual connotations in Spanish. Even in Spanish, It sounds funny and playful.
Phonetic transcription: /kaˈrəʊʃi/
Origin/Etymology: from 過労 (karō, “overwork”) + 死 (shi, “death”).
Meaning: death caused by overwork or job-related exhaustion.
Phonetic transcription: /ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdə/
Origin/Etymology: from Schaden, “damage, harm”, and Freude, “joy”.
Meaning: taking delight in the misfortune of others
Phonetic transcription: /ˈskʲimiɫəɾʲəxk/
Alternative form: sgimilearachd
Origin/Etymology: sgimilear (intruder) + -achd
Meaning: the habit of dropping in at mealtimes. To drop in means call informally and briefly as a visitor.
Phonetic transcription: /eɪp/
Origin/Etymology: From Middle English ape, from Old English apa (“ape, monkey”), from Proto-Germanic *apô (“monkey, ape”),
Meaning: to imitate or mimic, particularly to imitate poorly. (v., transitive)
Origin/Etymology: from Latin arachis (“peanut”) + butyrum (“butter”) + -phobia.
Meaning: to have a morbid fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth
Meaning: to scratch one’s head while trying to remember something.
Phonetic transcription: m ã m p o r e ɾ o (AFI)
Origin/Etymology: from mamporro (a blow) + ero (suffix)
Meaning: Person who helps horses when breeding, by placing the colt’s member into the mare’s pudenda.
Phonetic transcription: /ʃʊlt/
Origin/Etymology: from Old High German sculd, from Proto-Germanic skuldiz.
Meaning: Schuld means debt, but, fancy that! It is also a synonym for guilt.
+10 Honorable mentions
Needless to say, there are thousands of weird or curious words which deserve to feature in this ranking. The following are just a few examples. Again, feel free to contribute with any word you deem weird, curious or interesting:
TARTLE (Scottish Gaelic): that moment before you introduce someone and you suddenly forget their name.
DÉPAYSANT (French) the feeling you get when you’re in a new place and experiencing very new things that make you feel foreign, like a fish out of water.
KERFUFFLE (British English): to make a fuss or a bother, usually when people have different points of view.
TOCAYO (Spanish) A person who shares your first name.
TSUNDOKU (Japanese): it really means a book only intended to put it on the shelf and never read it
CAFUNÉ (Brazilian Portuguese): delicately running one’s fingers through someone’s hair
CAPICUA (Catalan). Literally “head-and-tail”: number, word, phrase, or other sequence of characters which reads the same backward as forward. Spanish borrowed the Catalan word, so “capicúa” (with an accent) is also a Spanish word.
FLÂNER (French): to wander with no particular destination
MENCOLEK (indonesian): the act of tapping someone on the shoulder to fool them into thinking someone is on the other side
HULLABALLOO (English) loud noises and yelling that people make when they’re angry.