Last week on PR Daily, a subheading to a post used the word “brouhaha.” It was the first time this writer had seen the word written out.
The word is one of those coinages that is common in spoken English, but less so in writing. These words can be colloquialisms or jargon and should be used with caution since not all readers will share the linguistic background necessary to grasp their meaning. However, they can spice up dull verbiage and go a long way toward establishing a conversational rhythm.
Here are some words for adventurous writers—and the spellings for each word to earn plaudits instead of titters. (Definitions courtesy of Wordnik.)
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Bumfuzzle — confused or perplexed; flustered
Brouhaha — an uproar; a confusing disturbance
Cahoots — a partnership; in league
Cattywampus — in disorder or disarray; askew
Cockamamie — foolish or silly; worthless
Codswallop — utter nonsense
Collywobbles — stomach pain; anxiety or fear
Copacetic — satisfactory or acceptable
Doohickey — an unnamed object or gadget
Flibbertigibbet — a silly or scatterbrained person
Gobbledygook — nonsense; meaningless or confusing language
Higgledy-piggledy — disordered or confused; jumbled
Hornswoggle — to trick or deceive
Hootenanny — an informal gathering or concert featuring folk songs
Kerfuffle — a disturbance or outburst
Malarkey — nonsense; foolish talk
Namby-pamby — spineless, weak, or wishy-washy; sentimental
Ornery — mean or disagreeable; stubborn
Persnickety — overly picky; fussy or finicky; focused on trivial details
Ragamuffin — an untrustworthy and disordered person; a child dressed in dirty, worn clothes
Rigmarole — rambling or confusing language; a succession of confusing instructions or statements
Scalawag — a rascal or scamp; a mischievous person
How many of these words did you know how to spell, PR Daily readers?
Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor and a regular contributor to PR Daily. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.