English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there an English word meaning "the use of uncommon words" or similar?

share|improve this question

It depends on what you mean by "uncommon". Lexiphanicism is the use of excessive terminology, while patavinity is the use of local or provincial words.

(I hope you are not just looking for slang or jargon.)

share|improve this answer
+1 : Wow two new words learned in a single answer! – hippietrail May 21 '11 at 6:54
Thank you, thank you for telling me about lexiphanicism. What a beautiful word. I'll keep it on my desktop, and wait for an opportunity to use it. – Pitarou Oct 23 '12 at 10:42

In the category of similar words, there's sesquipedalian, meaning prone to using long words.

share|improve this answer

If the uncommon words are being used specifically to obscure meaning, then "obfuscation" might apply.

share|improve this answer
Obfuscation could be achieved with uncommon use of common words as well. – Kris Oct 23 '12 at 10:20

Obscurantist is related to the 'obfuscation' direction of your question.

share|improve this answer

Depending on how and why you want to use it, logorrhea (also spelled logorrhoea) might do the trick. It doesn't specifically mean using uncommon words but either a. excessive verbosity generally or b. a psychological disorder resulting in incoherent talkativeness.

As an added bonus it conjures up a little hint of a certain other word ending -rrhea.

share|improve this answer

Esoteric Writing

Esoteric (merriam-webster)
1 a : designed for or understood by the specially initiated alone
a body of esoteric legal doctrine — B. N. Cardozo
b : requiring or exhibiting knowledge that is restricted to a small group
esoteric terminology;
broadly : difficult to understand esoteric subjects

esoteric (wiktionary)
1. Understood only by a chosen few or an enlightened inner circle.
The writing in this manual is very esoteric; I need a degree in engineering just to understand it!

share|improve this answer

If you mean use of words or meanings that are outdated, you might be looking for archaic.

share|improve this answer

Perhaps you mean using uncommon words in a pompous way: pontification. To express your opinion in a pompous or dogmatic way.

share|improve this answer
Welcome to English Language & Usage! This answer would be improved by citing an external source with the definition of this word. – SuperBiasedMan Mar 16 at 19:14

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.