Expand Your Vocabulary: Funny Words

English has a great deal of downright silly-sounding words. You know what it's like when you have to repeatedly use one word over and over, it starts to look nonsensical and loses all meaning. These words, even though some are words we use often (awkward and skirt, for example), all sound funny. Well, they do to us anyway! We hope you enjoy this list as well. Try slipping a few of the more outlandish terms into your everyday conversation!


Note: Troy and I recommend only products that we have tried and tested. These include the popular vocabulary-improvement software Ultimate Vocabulary.*


  • absquatulate — leave abruptly
  • anomalous — deviating from normal
  • argle-bargle — extensive meaningless writing or talk
  • argy-bargy — noisy arguing
  • awkward — causing difficulty
  • bauble — small trinket or decoration
  • blimp — an inflated airship
  • blubber — the fat of sea mammals, or to cry noisily
  • blue-footed booby — large tropical seabird
  • bodacious — excellent, attractive
  • bouffant — hairstyle with a rounded puffed up shape
  • brouhaha — loud, overexcited display
  • bumblebee — large bee
  • bumf — useless and dull documents
  • bungalow — low house
  • burgoo — stew or thick soup
  • cahoots — conspiring (in cahoots)
  • canoodle — kiss and cuddle
  • cantankerous — grumpy and argumentative
  • chinchilla — South American rodent with soft fur
  • chocks — wedges to stop a wheel from moving
  • codswallop — nonsense
  • collywobbles — stomach pain, queasiness from anxiety
  • conniption — fit of rage or hysterics
  • crapulent — relating to drinking alcohol
  • cummerbund — a wide sash
  • defenestrate — throw out of a window
  • diphthong — sound made by combining two vowels in one syllable
  • discombobulate — confuse someone
  • dollop — blob of soft food
  • doodle — draw absentmindedly
  • doozy — outstanding or unique thing
  • drizzle — light rain, or to trickle a thin stream of something over food
  • effluvium — unpleasant smell or secretion
  • ensorcell — enchant, captivate
  • euphonium — small tuba
  • fartlek — distance runners' training system
  • fatuous — foolish
  • feeble — lacking physical strength
  • finagle — get by dishonest means
  • firkin — small cask
  • flabbergasted — greatly astonished
  • flibbertigibbet — frivolous, chatty person
  • flume — narrow water channel
  • flummox — greatly perplex
  • flunk — fail
  • foibles — minor failing or eccentricity
  • folderol — trivial fuss
  • furbelows — gathered strip or pleated border of a skirt
  • furtive — secretive
  • gallivant — gad about in pursuit of pleasure
  • gazebo — roofed garden structure
  • gazump — cheat a buyer in a house sale
  • gewgaw — useless or worthless things
  • glabella — area between eyebrows
  • glockenspiel — percussion instrument
  • glom — steal
  • gobbledygook — nonsensical language
  • gobsmacked — utterly astonished
  • goggles — protective eyewear
  • gubbins — small useless bits and pieces
  • hogwash — ridiculous
  • hoi polloi — the common people
  • hoity-toity — snobby, haughty
  • hootenany — informal party with folk music
  • hornswoggle — cheat or deceive someone
  • indubitably — without a doubt
  • jalopy — old broken–down car
  • jerboa — desert rodent
  • jiggle — shake, wriggle
  • kazoo — small wind instrument
  • kerfuffle — commotion or fuss
  • knickerbockers — pants gathered at the knee
  • kumquat — small citrus fruit
  • liripoop — string on graduate's hat, or a smart trick, acuteness
  • logorrhea — tendency to talking to much
  • lugubrious — looking mournful and gloomy
  • masticate — chew food
  • mollycoddle — overindulge or overprotect someone
  • morass — boggy ground
  • namby-pamby — weak, feeble
  • niggle — cause slight but constant annoyance
  • nincompoop — stupid or silly person
  • oblong — having an elongated shape
  • occiput — back of the head
  • peeve — irritate
  • periwinkle — flower
  • petcock — small valve in steam engine or boiler
  • phalange — finger bone
  • philtrum — groove above top lip
  • pilcrow — paragraph mark
  • pinking shears — scissors that cut a zigzag edge
  • pluck — pull out quickly, or courage
  • poppysmic — the sound of smacking lips
  • quack — the sound a duck makes
  • quaff — drink quickly
  • quagga — extinct South African zebra
  • quibble — slight objection
  • quokka — Australian short-tailed wallaby
  • rapscallion — mischievous person, rascal
  • razzamatazz — showy, exciting, loud spectacle
  • rhubarb — plant whose stems are eaten as a fruit
  • rickshaw — two—wheeled vehicle pulled by a person
  • samovar — Russian tea urn
  • sassafras — North American tree, flavouring
  • schnitzel — thin fried crumbed meat
  • shenanigans — secret activity, mischief
  • shrubbery — a bunch of small bushy plants
  • skedaddle — run away
  • skirt — woman's garment
  • snarky — cutting, critical
  • snickersnee — long knife
  • snorkel — swimmer's breathing tube
  • snout — animal's nose and mouth
  • sousaphone — type of tuba
  • spam — tinned meat brand, or irrelevant junk emails
  • spew — expel rapidly in great quantities
  • spry — lively
  • squabble — noisy quarrel over something trivial
  • squeegee — window cleaning tool
  • tittle-tattle — gossip
  • toupee — small wig
  • turducken — a turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken
  • turgid — swollen and distended, or pompous language
  • volvox — spherical microbe
  • wharf — pier where a ship can be moored
  • widdershins — counterclockwise direction
  • winkle-pickers — shoes with long pointed toes
  • zaftig — having a pleasingly curvaceous figure

You can, of course, copy and paste this list into a program such as the popular vocabulary-building program Ultimate Vocabulary, and use its features to help you add this list of funny words to your vocabulary.


*Troy and I have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of the Ultimate Vocabulary software because we are happy to endorse that vocabulary-building software.

Last modified on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 04:09
English Language Skills (Denise)

English Language Skills (Denise)

I'm a syndicated puzzle writer, with 8 puzzle books to my name, including Word Searches for Dummies and Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies (with Mark Koltko-Rivera). I have a background in science and graphic design, and am a trained indexer. My favourite puzzles are cryptic crosswords. and my favourite books are murder mysteries and cookbooks. I am also a very keen knitter.

I write a blog all about puzzles, called Puzzling.

Website: sutherland-studios.com.au E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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