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Josefa Heifetz Byrne: Mrs Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words

1. Omphaloskepsis: meditation while gazing at one’s navel.

2. Malneirophrenia: depression following a nightmare.

3. Junkettaceous: frivolous, worthless.

4. Sinciput: the forehead.

5. Whigmaleery: a knickknack or a geegaw; a whim.

6. Cuggermugger: whispered gossiping.

7. Goubemouche: a gullible person (literally, one who swallows flies).

8. Nibby-jibby: narrow margin; a close call.

9. Anaphalantiasis: the falling out of the eyebrows.

10. Quakebuttock: a coward.

11. Humdudgeon: an imaginary illness or pain; a loud complaint about nothing.

12. Floccinaucinihilipilification: the categorizing of something as worthless trivia.

13. Bumfodder: toilet paper; an opprobrious name for a collection of documents

14. Cacophrenic: pertaining to an inferior intellect

15. Ingannation: deception, fraud

16. Ingluvious: gluttonous

17. Philoxenist:  one who is happiest whilst entertaining strangers

18. Ructation:  belching

19. Vecordious: senseless, insane mad

20. Furfuraceous: covered with dandruff


Note: First published in 1974 and later revised and expanded, Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words: Gathered from Numerous and Diverse Authoritative Sources has brought junkettaceous entertainment to two generations of ingluvious writers and readers. All 6000 weird entries lovingly compiled by Mrs. Byrne are “real” English words, legitimized by at least one major dictionary. This is a must-read for literary philoxenists.



2 comments on “Josefa Heifetz Byrne: Mrs Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words

  1. elizabethromero73
    July 15, 2020

    I wish there was a class in this I could attend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tricia Knoll
    July 21, 2018


    Liked by 1 person

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