Words I Learned in 2023

I am continually in awe of how vast the English language is. When I came across a new-to-me word this year I wrote it down and at the end of the year I had a list of 106 words.

Are any of them ones you have never seen before? 

You can quiz yourself by using the arrows to the left of each term to reveal the definition. Otherwise, scroll on down to see the full list.

AnthropophagousFeeding on human flesh.
AntimacassarA small covering placed over the back or arms of a chair to protect it from macassar oil.
ArabesquesElaborate and intricate patterns or designs.
ArgotA specialized language or set of terms used by a particular group, often as a form of secret communication.
ArrogatingTaking or claiming something without justification.
AtavismThe reappearance of a trait or characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence.
AvariceExtreme greed for wealth or material gain.
AvuncularCharacteristic of an uncle, especially in being kind or indulgent.
BannsPublic announcement in a Christian parish church of an intended marriage.
BollsSeed capsules of certain plants, especially cotton.
BombazineA fabric made of silk or silk and wool, often used for mourning garments.
BoskyCovered with bushes or shrubs.
BotulismA rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves.
BrisA Jewish ceremony of circumcision.
BurghersInhabitants of a town or borough, especially as distinct from those of rural areas.
CabochonA gemstone that has been shaped and polished but not faceted.
CatafalquesA decorated platform or framework on which a coffin rests during a funeral.
CatamiteA boy kept for homosexual practices.
CathexisInvestment of emotional energy in a person, object, or idea.
CharnelAssociated with burial places or containing the remains of the dead.
ChattelAn item of property other than real estate.
CherootA cigar with both ends clipped.
CiceroneA guide who gives information about antiques, artifacts, etc., especially in a museum.
CognoscentiPeople who are considered to be especially well-informed about a particular subject.
DebouchedTo march out from a narrow or confined place into open country.
DecoupagedThe art or craft of decorating objects with paper cut-outs.
DefenestratingThrowing someone out of a window.
DefenestrateTo throw out of a window.
DeleteriousHarmful or damaging.
DetritusWaste or debris of any kind.
DirndlA traditional dress worn in Germany, especially Bavaria, consisting of a bodice and full skirt.
DovecotesA structure intended to house pigeons or doves.
DowagerA widow with a title or property derived from her late husband.
DraysA low, strong cart without fixed sides, for carrying heavy loads.
DyspepticSuffering from indigestion or a feeling of unease or depression.
EbullientCheerful and full of energy.
ElaeomancyDivination by interpreting the patterns formed by oil poured on water.
ExcoriatedCriticized or berated severely.
FecundityThe ability to produce offspring or fruit in large quantities.
FillipA quick, sharp blow or movement.
FinialA distinctive ornament at the apex of a roof, pinnacle, canopy, or similar structure.
FrangipaniA fragrant tropical shrub or small tree with large clusters of fragrant flowers.
GallinippersLarge mosquitoes known for their painful bites.
GambolingRunning or jumping about playfully.
GehennaA place associated with suffering or hell.
GoferA person who runs errands, especially for a boss.
HauberkA tunic of chainmail worn as armor during the Middle Ages.
HoaryGrayish-white in color, old, and trite.
ImprecationsCurses or abusive language.
InchoateJust begun and so not fully formed or developed.
InculateTo instill or teach gradually or systematically.
IntubatedFitted with a tube, especially a breathing tube.
JejeuneNaive, simplistic, and superficial.
JurisprudenceThe theory or philosophy of law.
LazaretteA small storeroom on a ship.
LicentiousPromiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters.
LoessA loosely compacted yellowish-gray deposit of windblown sediment.
MalodorousHaving a bad smell.
MantillaA lace or silk scarf worn by women over the hair and shoulders, often over a high comb.
MaudlinSelf-pityingly or tearfully sentimental.
MawkishSentimental in a feeble or sickly way.
MienA person’s look or manner, especially one of a particular kind indicating their character or mood.
MoueA pouting expression used to convey annoyance or distaste.
MuftiCivilian clothes worn by a person who usually wears a uniform.
NugatoryOf no value or importance.
ObstreperousNoisy and difficult to control.
OleaginousExaggeratedly and distastefully complimentary; oily or greasy.
OnanisticOf or relating to masturbation.
PalimpsestA manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing.
ParulasSmall, brightly colored North American warblers.
ParvenusPeople of obscure origin who have gained wealth, influence, or celebrity.
PellucidTranslucently clear.
PidginA simplified language used for communication between groups speaking different languages.
PorcineResembling or characteristic of a pig.
PresentimentAn intuitive feeling about the future, especially one of foreboding.
PrurientHaving or encouraging an excessive interest in sexual matters.
QuoitsA game in which rings are thrown at a stake in the ground.
RataplanA continuous drumming or beating sound.
RatiocinationThe process of exact thinking; reasoning.
ReconditeLittle known; abstruse.
RejoinderA reply, especially a sharp or witty one.
RutilantGlowing or glittering with red or golden light.
SagacityThe quality of being sagacious; wisdom.
SatoriIn Zen Buddhism, a sudden enlightenment or intuitive understanding.
SeneschalA medieval official in charge of domestic arrangements and the administration of servants.
SibilationA hissing sound.
SinecuresA position requiring little or no work but giving the holder status or financial benefit.
SolipsismsThe view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.
SpallingThe process of breaking up or reducing material into smaller fragments.
StevedoreA person employed, or a contractor engaged, at a dock to load and unload cargo from ships.
SuccoringGiving assistance or support in times of hardship or distress.
SusurrantWhispering, murmuring, or rustling.
SwiddenAn area of land cleared for cultivation by slashing and burning vegetation.
TorporA state of physical or mental inactivity; lethargy.
TrepanningThe practice of drilling a hole in the skull as a medical treatment.
TrephinesSurgical instruments used for cutting out a circular piece of bone or other tissue.
Trompe l’oeilAn art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions.
TruculentEager or quick to argue or fight; aggressively defiant.
TureensA deep covered dish from which soup is served.
UlsterA long, loose, heavy overcoat of Irish origin.
VeldtOpen, uncultivated country or grassland in southern Africa.
VouchsafeConfer or give (something) in a gracious or condescending manner.
WeirA low dam built across a river to raise the level of water upstream.
WestersMoves or progresses toward the west.
WorstedA fine smooth yarn spun from combed long-staple wool.
YeggA burglar or safecracker, especially a criminal who specializes in breaking open safes.
Zaftig(of a woman) Having a full, rounded figure; plump.

Full List of Words

  1. Anthropophagous: Feeding on human flesh.
  2. Antimacassar: A small covering placed over the back or arms of a chair to protect it from macassar oil.
  3. Arabesques: Elaborate and intricate patterns or designs.
  4. Argot: A specialized language or set of terms used by a particular group, often as a form of secret communication.
  5. Arrogating: Taking or claiming something without justification.
  6. Atavism: The reappearance of a trait or characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence.
  7. Avarice: Extreme greed for wealth or material gain.
  8. Avuncular: Characteristic of an uncle, especially in being kind or indulgent.
  9. Banns: Public announcement in a Christian parish church of an intended marriage.
  10. Bolls: Seed capsules of certain plants, especially cotton.
  11. Bombazine: A fabric made of silk or silk and wool, often used for mourning garments.
  12. Bosky: Covered with bushes or shrubs.
  13. Botulism: A rare but serious illness caused by a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves.
  14. Bris: A Jewish ceremony of circumcision.
  15. Burghers: Inhabitants of a town or borough, especially as distinct from those of rural areas.
  16. Cabochon: A gemstone that has been shaped and polished but not faceted.
  17. Catafalques: A decorated platform or framework on which a coffin rests during a funeral.
  18. Cathexis: Investment of emotional energy in a person, object, or idea.
  19. Charnel: Associated with burial places or containing the remains of the dead.
  20. Chattel: An item of property other than real estate.
  21. Cheroot: A cigar with both ends clipped.
  22. Cicerone: A guide who gives information about antiques, artifacts, etc., especially in a museum.
  23. Cognoscenti: People who are considered to be especially well-informed about a particular subject.
  24. Debouched: To march out from a narrow or confined place into open country.
  25. Decoupaged: The art or craft of decorating objects with paper cut-outs.
  26. Defenestrating: Throwing someone out of a window.
  27. Defenestrate: To throw out of a window.
  28. Deleterious: Harmful or damaging.
  29. Detritus: Waste or debris of any kind.
  30. Dirndl: A traditional dress worn in Germany, especially Bavaria, consisting of a bodice and full skirt.
  31. Dovecotes: A structure intended to house pigeons or doves.
  32. Dowager: A widow with a title or property derived from her late husband.
  33. Drays: A low, strong cart without fixed sides, for carrying heavy loads.
  34. Dyspeptic: Suffering from indigestion or a feeling of unease or depression.
  35. Ebullient: Cheerful and full of energy.
  36. Elaeomancy: Divination by interpreting the patterns formed by oil poured on water.
  37. Excoriated: Criticized or berated severely.
  38. Fecundity: The ability to produce offspring or fruit in large quantities.
  39. Fillip: A quick, sharp blow or movement.
  40. Finial: A distinctive ornament at the apex of a roof, pinnacle, canopy, or similar structure.
  41. Frangipani: A fragrant tropical shrub or small tree with large clusters of fragrant flowers.
  42. Gallinippers: Large mosquitoes known for their painful bites.
  43. Gamboling: Running or jumping about playfully.
  44. Gehenna: A place associated with suffering or hell.
  45. Gofer: A person who runs errands, especially for a boss.
  46. Hauberk: A tunic of chainmail worn as armor during the Middle Ages.
  47. Hoary: Grayish-white in color, old, and trite.
  48. Imprecations: Curses or abusive language.
  49. Inchoate: Just begun and so not fully formed or developed.
  50. Inculate: To instill or teach gradually or systematically.
  51. Intubated: Fitted with a tube, especially a breathing tube.
  52. Jejeune: Naive, simplistic, and superficial.
  53. Jurisprudence: The theory or philosophy of law.
  54. Lazarette: A small storeroom on a ship.
  55. Licentious: Promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters.
  56. Loess: A loosely compacted yellowish-gray deposit of windblown sediment.
  57. Malodorous: Having a bad smell.
  58. Mantilla: A lace or silk scarf worn by women over the hair and shoulders, often over a high comb.
  59. Maudlin: Self-pityingly or tearfully sentimental.
  60. Mawkish: Sentimental in a feeble or sickly way.
  61. Mien: A person’s look or manner, especially one of a particular kind indicating their character or mood.
  62. Moue: A pouting expression used to convey annoyance or distaste.
  63. Mufti: Civilian clothes worn by a person who usually wears a uniform.
  64. Nugatory: Of no value or importance.
  65. Obstreperous: Noisy and difficult to control.
  66. Oleaginous: Exaggeratedly and distastefully complimentary; oily or greasy.
  67. Onanistic: Of or relating to masturbation.
  68. Palimpsest: A manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing.
  69. Parulas: Small, brightly colored North American warblers.
  70. Parvenus: People of obscure origin who have gained wealth, influence, or celebrity.
  71. Pellucid: Translucently clear.
  72. Pidgin: A simplified language used for communication between groups speaking different languages.
  73. Porcine: Resembling or characteristic of a pig.
  74. Presentiment: An intuitive feeling about the future, especially one of foreboding.
  75. Prurient: Having or encouraging an excessive interest in sexual matters.
  76. Quoits: A game in which rings are thrown at a stake in the ground.
  77. Rataplan: A continuous drumming or beating sound.
  78. Ratiocination: The process of exact thinking; reasoning.
  79. Recondite: Little known; abstruse.
  80. Rejoinder: A reply, especially a sharp or witty one.
  81. Rutilant: Glowing or glittering with red or golden light.
  82. Sagacity: The quality of being sagacious; wisdom.
  83. Satori: In Zen Buddhism, a sudden enlightenment or intuitive understanding.
  84. Seneschal: A medieval official in charge of domestic arrangements and the administration of servants.
  85. Sibilation: A hissing sound.
  86. Sinecures: A position requiring little or no work but giving the holder status or financial benefit.
  87. Solipsisms: The view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.
  88. Spalling: The process of breaking up or reducing material into smaller fragments.
  89. Stevedore: A person employed, or a contractor engaged, at a dock to load and unload cargo from ships.
  90. Succoring: Giving assistance or support in times of hardship or distress.
  91. Susurrant: Whispering, murmuring, or rustling.
  92. Swidden: An area of land cleared for cultivation by slashing and burning vegetation.
  93. Torpor: A state of physical or mental inactivity; lethargy.
  94. Trepanning: The practice of drilling a hole in the skull as a medical treatment.
  95. Trephines: Surgical instruments used for cutting out a circular piece of bone or other tissue.
  96. Trompe l’oeil: An art technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions.
  97. Truculent: Eager or quick to argue or fight; aggressively defiant.
  98. Tureens: A deep covered dish from which soup is served.
  99. Ulster: A long, loose, heavy overcoat of Irish origin.
  100. Veldt: Open, uncultivated country or grassland in southern Africa.
  101. Vouchsafe: Confer or give (something) in a gracious or condescending manner.
  102. Weir: A low dam built across a river to raise the level of water upstream.
  103. Westers: Moves or progresses toward the west.
  104. Worsted: A fine smooth yarn spun from combed long-staple wool.
  105. Yegg: A burglar or safecracker, especially a criminal who specializes in breaking open safes.
  106. Zaftig: (of a woman) Having a full, rounded figure; plump.