6 Silly Words to Make You Smile

Life is too serious. 

Politics, terrorists, natural disasters, scandals—they make me want to pull the covers over my head and never get out of bed. Today, however, I’d like you to set all that aside for a few minutes and have some fun. 

I love the English language. As crazy and illogical as it sometimes is, it’s also beautiful, poetic, and sometimes downright funny. Today I’ve chosen six words, courtesy of, that are hilarious, either in their spelling, meaning, or pronunciation. I hope they bring you a smile. 

#1 Anencephalous
Pronunciation: æn-en-se-fuh-lus 
Definition: To be anencephalous is to be brainless, empty-headed, to have a skull with an echo. 
Sample: The current election cycle has proven again that anencephalous humans elect other anencephalous humans to high public office. 

#2 Formication (Read this one carefully. It’s not what you think.) 
Pronunciation: fôrmiˈkāSHən
Definition: The sense of ants crawling on your skin. 
Sample: Seeing one bug climbing the table leg was enough to stir up my proclivity for formication.

#3 Pandiculation 
Pronunciation: pan-dik-yuh-ley-shuh n
Definition: A full body stretch. 
Sample: My dog, Winston, always began his day with leisurely pandiculation. 

#4 Sialoquent 
Pronunciation: sai-æ-lê-kwênt 
Definition: Spitting while speaking. 
Sample: The sialoquent preacher never understood why his congregants refused to sit on the front row. 

#5 and my personal favorite: Abibliophobia 
Pronunciation: uh-bib-li-uh-fo-bee-yuh
Definition: The fear of running out of reading material. 
Sample: When my Kindle library of new books dwindles, my abibliophobia rears its ugly head. 

Musicians will love this final word, but even if you’re not musically inclined, have fun trying to pronounce it. Take it slowly and don’t miss a syllable. 

#6 Hemidemisemiquaver
Pronunciation: hemēˌdemēˈsemēˌkwāvər/ 
Definition: A musical timing of 1/64. 
Sample: My fingers can’t move fast enough to play a selection in hemidemisemiquaver. 

Well, there you have it—six funny words from the English language. Since we’ve barely scratched the surface, I invite you to share your personal favorite by leaving a comment below. If you’re reading by email, click here to visit Hungry for God online, scroll to the bottom of the post, and comment there. 

Remember, just because the world is filled with serious things doesn’t mean we can’t lighten things up every now and then with a little laughter. I challenge you to incorporate one of these silly words into your conversation today and watch what happens. 

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones,” (Prov. 17:22).

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  1. Nice list, Lori. I've challenged myself to use at least one in an upcoming blog post.
    One of my favorite words (and one equally suited to this political season) is quockerwodger -- a wooden puppet controlled by strings. Fun to say, but can generate an anencephalous environment if allowed to run amok.

    1. Oh, Rosemarie, that's an excellent word, and one I haven't encountered yet. Great example, too. Something tells me we'll have LOTS of opportunities to use it this year. Blessings to you!

  2. Well, you chose my all-time favorite word as one of your silly words. I have a degree in music and theater. Hemidemisemiquaver has always been my favorite. I have some words I just love to say, like nomenclature. But, hemidemisemiquaver tops my list.

    1. Karen, you're the second music major who's homed in on that word. I love the way it just gallops off my tongue.