15 unusual words that make writers swoon

Always opt for simple language over the complex—unless you’re dealing with one of these arcane words. Think you could work one into your copy?

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In a previous post, I wrote about the value of using simple words in place of complex words. Readers are not impressed by the use of complex words; they’re frustrated by them.

Though I strive to use simple, clear terms in my own writing, there are some words that I am just dying to use. Archaic, unusual words that I have stumbled upon in fiction. Words that have drawn me in. I like the ways these words sound. I like the way they look.

If I could only find a way to work them into my next article on surgical checklists.

Vex. To cause someone to feel annoyed, frustrated, or worried.

Example: You take delight in vexing me by deliberately using bad grammar.

Portmanteau. A large suitcase or trunk that opens into two equal parts.

Example: That portmanteau will not fit in the overhead bin and must be checked.

Naught. Means zero or nothing. It can also mean to ruin, disregard, or despise.

Example: Her behavior tends to set propriety at naught.

Foible. A weakness or eccentricity in someone’s character.

Example: She loved him in spite of his foibles.

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