The Dictionary of Purple Prose: 100 More Words for Logophiles

I’m a bit of a collector of words. Several years ago, I began keeping a list known as The Dictionary of Purple Prose, which has been quite well-received among this blog’s readers. Occasionally, I remember to update the thing, as I did last year. It’s time to do it again. Here are 100 new additions to The Dictionary of Purple Prose for the year 2016. Have some fun and ameliorate your vocabulary skills!


Dictionary of Purple Prose: 100 New Additions

abecedary – (noun) a book relating to the alphabet.
acataphasia – (noun) loss of the power to formulate a statement correctly. [medical]
ailurophile – (noun) a person who loves or fancies cats.
ameliorate – (verb) to grow better or improve.
avuncularity – (adj.) of, relating to, or characteristic of an uncle.
bucolic – (adj.) rustic, rural, or pastoral.
bunkum – (noun) bombastic speechmaking for propaganda; a claptrap.
cachet – (noun) a private seal affixed to a letter or official document, or to commemorate an event.
callipygous – (adj.) having a beautiful buttocks.
canard – (noun) a false rumor; a hoax.
chatoyant – (adj.) [of feathers, gems, etc] with a changing luster, iridescent, shimmering.
crepuscular – (adj.) of or relating to twilight; dim, dark.
dalliance – (noun) 1. dallying or toying; 2. an amorous relationship.
demesne – (noun) any estate in land; a manor with attached lands not lent out to tenants.
desideratum – (noun) something much desired or wanting. Also desiderate (verb) to long for; desiderium (noun) grief for what is lost.
desuetude – (noun) disuse; discontinuance.
desultory – (adj.) jumping from one thing to another; rambling; hasty; loose; random.
diaphanous – (adj.) transparent; translucent; clear; delicate.
dissemble – (verb) to disguise or mask; to feign; to pretend; play the hypocrite.
dulcet – (adj.) sweet; melodious, harmonious.
ebullience – (noun) cheerful enthusiasm. Also ebullient (adj.) enthusiastic; agitated; boiling over.
effervescent – (adj.) boiling, bubbling; lively, vivacious, exuberant.
effluence – (adj.) flowing out; (noun) a stream that flows into another stream; liquid sewage waste.
elide – (verb) to cut off; to suppress, abridge; to rebut. Also elision (noun) an omission; suppression of vowel or syllable.
embrocation – (verb) to moisten and rub [with lotion].
emollient – (adj.) softening; making supple; advocating a more peaceful attitude.
eschatology – (noun) the doctrine of the last or final matters , such as death, judgement and the state after death.
evanescent – (adj.) fleeting, passing; vanishing.
fugacious – (adj.) inclined to run away, flee; fleeting [literary]; readily shed [petals, etc.]
fungible – (adj.) interchangeable; exchangeable for something similar.
furtive – (adj.) stealthy, secret.
gambol – (verb) leap; skip playfully; (noun) frolic; skipping movement.
gamine – (noun) a street urchin; (adj.) boyish, impish. [feminine: gamine]
halcyon – (adj.) calm, peaceful, happy, carefree [phrase: halcyon days]
henotic – (adj.) tending to unify or reconcile.
hericide – (noun) the murder of a lord or master.
hircine – (adj.) goat-like, having a strong, goatish smell. Also hircosity (noun) goatishness.
imbrication – (adj.) [of scales, leaves, tissue, teeth, etc.] overlapping like roof tiles.
indolent – (adj.) disliking activity; lazy; causing little or no pain; slow to heal [in ulcers, etc.]
ingénue – (noun) an artless, naive, inexperienced young woman [masculine: ingénu]
inglenook – (noun) an alcove by a large open fire; chimney-corner. Also ingle (noun) a fire in a room; a fireplace.
insouciance – (adj.) indifferent, unconcerned, nonchalant; heedless; apathetic.
inure – (verb) to accustom, habituate, harden, to come into effect; to serve to one’s own benefit.
inveterate – (adj.) firmly established by usage or custom; deep-rooted; stubborn; hostile.
jacent – (adj.) lying flat; sluggish.
jacinth – (noun) blue gemstone; reddish-orange color; slaty-blue fancy pigeon.
jalouse – (verb) to suspect; to be jealous of.
jark – (noun) a seal on a document; a pass, safe-conduct. Also jark man (noun) a swindling beggar.
jobation – (noun) a tedious scolding. Also Job (noun) a person of great patience. [phrase: Job’s comforter (someone who aggravates the distress of the person they have come to comfort)]
jumentous – (adj.) to smell strongly of an animal.
labyrinthine – (adj.) like a labyrinth or maze.
lagniappe – (noun) something given beyond what is strictly required; gratuity.
languor – (noun) languidness, listlessness, weariness, pining; a stuffy suffocating atmosphere.
lassitude – (noun) faintness, weakness, weariness, languor.
lilt – (noun) cheerful song or air; cadence; a springy gait; (verb) to hum, to do anything briskly; to sing or play absent-mindedly.
limner – (noun) a painter who uses paper or parchment; a portrait-painter.
lissome – (adj.) lithe, nimble, flexible.
malinger – (verb) to feign sickness to avoid duty or work.
mellifluous – (adj.) flowing with honey or sweetness’ smooth, sweet flow.
mirific – (adj.) wonder-working; marvelous.
moiety – (noun) half; either of two parts or divisions; a small share.
mondegreen – (noun) a phrase , often humorous or nonsensical , that results from mishearing the lyric of a song.
musth – (noun, adj.) a dangerous frenzy in some male animals, such as elephants.
obsequious – (adj.) fawning, compliant, dutiful, ingratiating. Also obsequies (noun) funeral rites.
palimpsest – (noun) a manuscript in which old writing has been rubbed out to make room for new.
panacea – (noun) a cure for all things; a healing plant of varying description.
panoply – (noun) complete armor; a full suit of armor; a full or brilliant covering.
penumbra – (noun) a partial or lighter shadow round the perfect or darker shadow produced by an eclipse or by a large unfocused light source shining on an opaque object; the part of a picture where the light and shade blend into each other.
peripatetic – (adj.) walking about; itinerant (as in a teacher that travels).
petrichor – (noun) a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.
plenary – (adj.) full; entire; complete; absolute; unqualified; having full powers.
polemic – (adj.) given to disputing; controversial.
promulgation – (noun) something announced publicly or made widely-known.
propinquity – (noun) nearness.
pyrrhic – (adj.) relating to or associated with the Greek king Pyrrhus [phrase: phyrrhic victory (noun) a victory gained at too great a cost]
ravel – (noun) a tangle; a broken thread; (verb) to entangle; to untwist, unweave, unravel.
reticent – (adj.) reserved; communicating sparingly or unwillingly.
saccharine – (adj.) of sickly sweetness; sugary.
sangfroid – (noun) coolness, composure, self-possession.
scintilla – (noun) a spark; a hint, trace.
scrofulous – (adj.) having a diseased or run-down appearance.
sempiternal – (adj.) everlasting.
seraglio – (noun) a harem; a collection of wives or concubines.
somnolence – (noun) sleepiness; drowsiness.
sozzled – (adj.) drunk.
spurious – (adj.) not genuine; false; sham; forged; bastard, illegitimate.
strepent – (adj.) noisy.
supercilious – (adj.) disdainfully superior in manner; overbearing.
susurration – (noun) a murmuring; whisper; rustling.
swain – (noun) a young man; a peasant, rustic; a lover or suitor. Also swaining (noun) love-making; swainish (adj.) boorish.
syllogism – (noun) a logical argument in three propositions; duductive reasoning; a clever, subtle argument.
syrtis – (noun) a patch or area of quicksand.
tetched – (noun) touched: mildly deranged, somewhat mentally dysfunctional.
tintinnabulation – (noun) bellringing.
turgidity – (noun) swollen; dilated; inflamed; pompous.
verisimilitude – (noun) the quality of seeming or appearing real or true; a statement that sounds true.
vespertine – (adj.) of or relating to the evening; happening, appearing active in the evening.
vicinal – (adj.) neighboring, local.
winnow – (verb) to separate from the chaff; to fan, sift, separate, blow on, waft, etc.

13 thoughts on “The Dictionary of Purple Prose: 100 More Words for Logophiles

  1. Great list! I was surprised to discover how many of these words I knew. Callipygous made me giggle. Could you see someone using that today?

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    1. I might use it one day just to make a very confusing catcall, haha. 😛 But yeah, a lot of them are silly!

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  2. pulchritude…. something I learned from my high school Latin years. After each lesson, we always learned some English word derivations from Latin.

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  3. I love these words. I started a list years ago, combing through the dictionary. I made it to C, but that gave me enough juice to get through college and impress a few lecturers . (It was only an interior design degree)
    I want to print your list! 😊

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    1. I had to comb through the list for a few letters, like Q and X and J, just so they wouldn’t be so lonely… but one day I’ll skim through all of the Chamber’s Dictionary! My problem is retaining words. Living in Japan for so long has stunted my brain’s ability to keep what I’m not using every day. 😦

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  4. Alex, your whimsy and creativity never cease to amaze me! You added one of my favorite words… bucolic! May I suggest another of my favorite words that is not on your list? Defenestrate! Great word! Check it out! 🙂

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