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

9 Answers 9


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.)

  • 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, 2012 at 10:42

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


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

  • Obfuscation could be achieved with uncommon use of common words as well.
    – Kris
    Oct 23, 2012 at 10:20

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


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.


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!


If you mean use of words or meanings that are outdated, you might be looking for archaic.


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

  • Welcome to English Language & Usage! This answer would be improved by citing an external source with the definition of this word. Mar 16, 2016 at 19:14

The prior answers appertain to the question more precisely, but I think in the right context, a word such as "ponderous," meaning laborious, dull, and excessively detailed, might be suitable; It also carries a more literary connotation than loquacious or garrulous, which describe speaking with superabundant wordiness, droning on, or talking in a roundabout manner.

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