14 Extremely Useful English Words You Probably Don’t Know

By Paul Thomas Zenki

Once you know them, you can’t forget them — even if you want to …


Some words, when you learn them, you wonder how you ever got along without them. And sometimes, there’s just no right word when you need one, so you have to make your own.

These 14 words fall into both categories for me. And I’ll bet, once you read them, you’ll end up adding at least one to your vocabulary. And hey, it doesn’t matter if other people don’t understand  — they’ll probably just assume you read more than they do.


Glutothermophobia (GLOO-toe-therm-uh-FO-bee-uh), n: An aversion to sitting in a chair still warm from someone else’s butt


Orphan d’œuvre (OR-fun DERV), n: The one appetizer that has to be thrown out because nobody wanted to be the guest who took the last one


Pseudogroom (SOO-doe-GROOM), n: A wave hello that transforms into smoothing back your hair when you realize you don’t actually know that person


Lactover (LACK-toe-ver), n: The jug of milk at the front of the rack that everyone reaches behind to get to the ones with a later expiration date


Poohobble (POO-hob-ul), n: The way you walk when you realize you’ve got dog doo on one shoe


Déjà lose (DAY-zha-LOOZ), n: The practice of rechecking a place where you’ve already looked for something because you could absolutely swear you left it there


Lattiderm (LAT-i-derm), n: The pattern left on your skin after sitting in a lawn chair


Fauxgality (fo-GAL-i-tee) n: Thinking of doing something expensive, then changing your mind and deciding to do something less expensive, and telling yourself you just saved some money


Cinefeign (SIN-uh-fain), v: To pretend that nobody is uncomfortable during an unexpected sex scene


Gezunthalt (geh-ZOONT-halt), n: The condition of being about to sneeze, and then you don’t


Youthinal (YOO-thin-ul), n: That one urinal in the men’s room that’s lower to the ground than all the others


Shplorbing (SHPLOR-bing), n: The act of emptying food from a can so that it emerges still in the shape of the can


Heaveleap (HEEV-leep) n: That jump you do when you go to pick up a heavy container, and it’s empty


Geriosonic (JER-ee-oh-SON-ick), adj: Describing actions, such as getting up from a sofa, which acquire sound effects as you age


Well, class, that’s the lesson for today. Test is next Wednesday. If you have any questions in the meantime, my office hours are 7:30 to 9:30 PM on the back deck of the Blind Pig, table number 7.

Class dismissed!

Paul Thomas Zenki is an essayist, ghostwriter, copywriter, marketer, songwriter, and consultant living in Athens, GA.