I was reading a list on Mental Floss of "Obscure words for Collectors" with words like "Deltiologists" for people who collect postcards and "Arenophiles" for people who collect sand samples from around the world. I love new words, and I especially love learning obscure, archaic, or hyper-specific ones. Give me a list like 15 Obscure Words for Everyday Feelings and Emotions and I'm in heaven. And while reading the list about obscure names for different types of collectors I got to thinking...is there an obscure word for a collector of obscure words?

I looked around a bit, but I wasn't getting any good hits (mostly just links to other lists of obscure words, which is great, but not what I wanted in this case). I tried using some possibly related prefixes I could think of, like "grapho-" for "writing" and found "graphophile," but that was someone who loves writing or fancy scripts. Not quite the same. I also found "linguaphile" and "logophile," both of which do mean "one who loves language or words," which is much closer, but still doesn't really capture the more specific "obscure word" aspect of it--because it really is unusual or rare words that I love more than just words in a general sense.

So, I was hoping I could crowdsource some new ideas in case there is such a word that I'm just not finding.


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    How does one “collect” words? I suppose you could say that lexicographers collect words into dictionaries... Maybe complexicographers for obscure words... Commented May 5, 2023 at 20:02
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    @TinfoilHat: The same way folks collect impressions, one would think.
    – Ricky
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 20:35
  • See this question and the ones it references: english.stackexchange.com/questions/529551/… - I'd guess this is a duplicate but not sure exactly what you mean by someone who collects long words (do they use them? learn them? enjoy them? do they write them in a book?)
    – Stuart F
    Commented May 5, 2023 at 22:23
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    Don't forget Johnson's definition in his Dictionary: "Lexicographer: ‘a writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original, and detailing the signification of words’." Commented May 5, 2023 at 22:57
  • If I were such a person, I might call myself a "philologist". It's not exactly what you mean, but philologists often focus on historical language (M-W notes "especially : historical and comparative linguistics") and thus frequently deal with obscure words. Commented May 6, 2023 at 0:52

1 Answer 1


The word wordhound or word-hound, from the semi-productive affix "-hound," has been attested on occasion. Does this count as a "word"? Probably not. But neither do many of the "words" on those "lists of obscure words."

In an article by James Mustich:

I’ve dusted off the Compact Edition of the OED that I used to have in my office back in Common Reader days; [...] The catch is that you need a magnifying glass to read the text (a fine one comes in a small drawer at the top of the boxed set), but this easily becomes a habit, if not a badge of honor: “Wordhound at Work!”

As a joke in a review of Dog Days and Dandelions:

Wordhound Martha Barnette collects more than 300 common (and a few not-so-common) words that have surprising animal roots

From a Washington Post book review:

As collected in this book by a prolific Washington-area word-hound, the Gulf War's neologisms include "scudded" for drunk, a "nittenoid" for someone concerned with petty details and "attrit," a back-formation from the noun "attrition," meaning to reduce a fighting force.

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