Mathom Words for the Word-Grubber

“You know, Doc, men are suspicious of a man who doesn’t talk their way.  You can insult a man pretty badly by using a word he doesn’t understand.  Maybe he won’t say anything, but he’ll hate you for it.  It’s not the same thing in your case, Doc.  You’re supposed to be different.  They wouldn’t trust you if you weren’t.’ ” (In Dubious Battle, John Steinbeck, p. 148).


ante-jentacular (adj.) before breakfast.

aprosexia (n.) <a – pr – oh – ss – e – x – ee- ə>: abnormal inability to concentrate one’s attention

ataraxia (n.) <a – t – er – a – x – y>: freedom from disturbance of mind or passion; stoical indifference

battology (n.) <b – a – t – o – l – ə – dj – y>:  a needless and tiresome repetition in speech or writing

battologer (n.): one who practices or commits battology

bavardage (n.) <b – a – v – a – r – d – a – zh>: idle talk, prattle, chattering

bel esprit (n.) <b – e – l – e – sp – r – ee>: a clever genius, a brilliant wit

beaux esprits (n.) <boz’ɛspri>– plural form

bellwether (n.):  leading sheep of a flock, on whom a bell is hung; figuratively, a chief or leader (mostly contemptuous)

boondoggle (n): a trivial, useless, or unnecessary undertaking; wasteful expenditure; (v.): to engage in trivial or frivolous work

mathom (n.): 1. a precious thing, a treasure, a gift; 2. a trinket, a piece of bric-a-brac

ochlophobia (n.) <a – kl – ə – f – oh – b – ee – ə>: fear or aversion to crowds

word-grubber (n.): a person who uses difficult or obscure words

All definitions excerpted OED Online. March 2013. Oxford University Press.