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There has been a lot of hubbub about the colorful terms surrounding Arizona’s unusual (not for us, but for the rest of the country) weather. We’ve got haboobsAzboobs™ Scott Hanson – and gustnados, but it seems as though until recently they were referred to as dust storms and dust devils.  Apparently weathercasters have shelved “dust” (pun intended) and expanded their terminology.

So that got me thinking – what other silly words are out there that we should be using? I’m not talking about words to replace mundane language in your day-to-day work (although I’m not discouraging it either, but typically you don't want to have to include a definition for people to know what you are talking about). These are words to have fun with; to amaze your friends with your vocabulary or lose a few for being too pretentious. It’s a fine line.

Hornswoggle – n. bamboozle, hoax  Ex. That email from the African Prince offering you money is hornswoggle.

Impignorate  - v.  to pawn or mortgage something NOT: v. – to impregnate a pig

Flibbertigibbet – n. a silly, flighty, or scatterbrained person, especially a young woman with such qualities. Ex. I went to pick up my friend from the airport, but the flibbertigibbet forgot that her flight was today.

Bespangle – v. to cover or adorn with or as if with spangle. Ex. I bespangled my house for the 4th of July.

Tintinnabulation - the ringing sound of bells. Ex. I am in charge of tintinnabulation during Christmas caroling because I can’t sing.

Wheedle – v. to persuade or attempt to persuade by flattery. Ex. I wheedled my way into the event by shmoozing the security guard.

Williwaw – n. a violent gust of cold wind blowing seaward from a mountainous coast. Ex. Arizona may have haboobs, but Alaska has williwaws.

Hootenanny – n. An informal performance by folk singers, typically with participation by the audience. Ex. A flash mob is a modern day hootenanny.

Floccinaucinihilipilification – n. the estimate that something is valueless. Ex. After spending time trying to come up with a sentence, a floccinaucinihilipilification was made and I gave up.


What are some of your favorite sesquipedalian words?


Stephanie Lough
Stephanie Lough
A former HMA Public Relations employee.


  1. Costumery — the wearing of unnecessary accoutrements, particularly as it relates to sports uniforms.

  2. Stephanie Lough says:

    My two favorite are ballyhoo and phantasmagorical, but I left them off because I claimed them as my own years ago.

  3. C E says:

    Can anybody at that office send a williwaw this way? We sure need one more than words!! VERY creative and enjoyable spot!!

  4. Wonkiness – a word to describe what happens to Facebook when they launch an update.
    Tzatchkes – trinkets that clutter dust on your desk
    Kibbitz — to chat with friends

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