17 unconventional words to describe people

Are you a logophile? If so, use these less common terms the next time you refer to a friend, client or co-worker.

In the words of author Philip Pullman: “People are too complicated to have simple labels.”

We are all guilty of superficially labeling people. We like to take shortcuts, make assumptions, classify and categorize.

English is full of words that capture the depth and breadth of the people in our lives. Below are 17 such words. How many do you recognize?

1. Ailurophile: A person who loves cats.

My mom prefers “ailurophile” to “crazy cat lady.”

2. Bel-esprit: A person of great wit or intellect.

My favorite bel-esprit is John Oliver.

3. Cognoscente: A person with specialized knowledge; a connoisseur.

Alex is a cognoscente of cognac and armagnac.

4. Confrere: A colleague, associate or fellow member.

My confreres and I are interested in the latest changes to the AP Stylebook.

5. Convive: An eating or drinking companion.

My convive for this evening will be Jake from accounting.

6. Coxcomb: A foolish or conceited person.

Coxcombs abound in the 2016 presidential election campaign.

7. Deipnosophist: A person skilled at conversation during meals.

We need a deipnosophist to liven up this dismal dinner party.

8. Grandee: A person of high rank.

He was a grandee in the world of “Star Trek” character impersonators.

9. Inamorata/inamorato: The woman/man with whom one is in love.

Is it possible to find an inamorato outside the world of fiction?

10. Logophile: A lover of words.

Like many other logophiles, I subscribe to several “word a day” newsletters.

11. Nabob: A wealthy, influential or powerful person.

John is a nabob within the alumni association.

12. Nonesuch: A person without equal.

Patrick O’Brian is a nonesuch in the genre of historical fiction.

13. Potentate: A person with great power; a ruler.

Because she ran the mailroom, Colleen thought herself a potentate of the company.

14. Raconteur: A person skilled in telling anecdotes.

A gifted raconteur, Melvin was a hit at every party.

15. Scion: A descendant of a wealthy family.

Scions look down their noses at the nouveau-riche.

16. Virago: A loud, scolding woman; a shrew.

Planning for her wedding turned my sister into a virago.

17. Votary: A person who is bound by religious vows; a devoted follower.

I am a votary of 19th-century British literature.

What words would you add to the list, PR Daily readers?

Laura Hale Brockway is writer and editor from Austin, Texas. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.

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