Novel Words

How’s your vocabulary? The first time I played Scrabble on my old keyboard Kindle, the built-in opponent, AI, played a bizarre word, so I quit the game to look it up in the dictionary. The next time it happened, however, I jotted down the word to look up later. From my little scraps of paper I recently compiled a list to show you. (An alphabetical list with definitions from The Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary, published in 2005, comes at the end of this post.)

How many of these 27 words could you use correctly in a sentence? sixmo, daut, wair, atap, arvo, gybe, myc, ephor, xysti, dogteeth, octoroon, quern, chegoe, debye, cadge, jomon, gascon, tivy, fuddy, yett, groszy, boyla, feeb, boart, siluroid, heddle, dobla.

You say, “Wait a second, I know English. These can’t be real words!” My sentiments exactly. I like learning new words, but I didn’t know how many I didn’t know.

For some reason the Scrabble game doesn’t work on my Kindle PaperWhite, which turns out to be a good thing because I read a lot more books now. But sometimes, while playing Scrabble or Quiddler or Word Rummy or Upwords with my husband, I play one of AI’s obscure words. It doesn’t go unnoticed.

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Arvo: afternoon
Atap: the nipa palm tree
Boart: bort, a low-quality diamond
Boyla: a witch doctor
Cadge: to get by begging
Chegoe: chigoe, tropical flea
Dak: transportation by relays of men and horses
Daut: to fondle
Debye: unit of measure for electrical dipole
Dobla: a former gold coin of Spain
Dogteeth: a cuspid
Ephor: a magistrate of ancient Greece
Feeb: a wimp (a weak or ineffective person)
Fuddy: fussy person
Gascon: booster
Groszy: pl of grosz or grosze, a Polish coin
Gybe: to shift from side to side while sailing
Heddle: a part of a loom
Jomon: pertaining to a Japanese cultural period
Myc: a gene that transforms a normal cell into a cancerous cell
Octoroon: a person of one-eighth black ancestry
Quern: a hand-turned grain mill
Siluroid: a silurid (any of a family of catfishes)
Sixmo: a paper size
Tivy: with great speed
Wair: to spend
Xysti: pl of xystus, a roofed area where athletes trained in ancient Greece
Yett: gate

Fortunately for me, writers don’t have to know a ton of words, just enough to get the message across.

Thanks for reading!

6 thoughts on “Novel Words

  1. I’ve picked up a lot of good words the same way. My favorites, because they score high and fill small spaces, are:

    QAT – a small evergreen shrub (var. of khat)
    QI – energy believed to circulate around the body in currents (var. of chi)
    ZA – the 11th letter of the Arabic alphabet

  2. Norma, I play a game online called Word Womp and I have come across lots of words I am not familiar with also. I know what you mean about saying that can’t be an English word. I’ve written many down and looked them up later. Pelf is one of them, it means money and riche; pelfre I have as in pelfre booty as the pirates did. Happy word hunting, now the secret is to remember these words when you get a chance to use them. Becky

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