Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Word Nerd: Nouns of Distinction


As I remind my students, a noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. Here is a list of distinctive nouns.

haphephobia: an extreme fear or dislike of touching or being touched.

skerrick: a small piece or quantity; a bit.

tohubohu: chaos; disorder; confusion.

hugger-mugger: secrecy; reticence.

chiaroscuro: the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting.

manavelins: miscellaneous scraps or small items, especially of food or gear.

exonumia: items, as tokens or medals, that resemble money but are not intended to circulate as money.

sumpsimus: adherence to or persistence in using a strictly correct term, holding to a precise practice, etc., as a rejection of an erroneous but more common form.

hydra: a persistent or many-sided problem that presents new obstacles as soon as one aspect is solved.

propinquity: nearness in place; proximity.

vibrissa: one of the stiff, bristly hairs growing about the mouth of certain animals, as a whisker of a cat.

concatenation: a series of interconnected or interdependent things or events.

foible: a minor weakness or failing of character; slight flaw or defect.

darg: a day’s work. Interesting that darg and darg share the same letters.

lustrum: a period of five years.

I need to find a way to wendle my appreciation for these fantabulous nouns in my sentences. It might become a foible in my darg to do so, give or take a lustrum.

And the bonus noun:

Do fribblers dribble away time and energy?

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9 thoughts on “Word Nerd: Nouns of Distinction

  1. Great words! Foible was familiar to me. Lustrum sounds like it should be something attractive:)

  2. I love these! I should take time to read my OED just for fun.

  3. I don’t think there exists a word more fun to say than “tohubohu”.

  4. I’ve only heard chiaroscuro in real life, and only if you count art class as real life.

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