Unusual Words from the Puzzle. Christmas Puzzle set by Gordon Gray to raise money for charity since 1991.
Skip navigation

» Site Navigation

A miscellany of mots

Unusual Words from the Puzzle

The Puzzle is always interspersed with unusual words. Here is a selection of some that have appeared over the years. I hope I have included your favourites.

AINU - a people of Japan, taller and with more abundant body-hair than most Japanese
ALECTO - one of the Furies
ALFÉREZ - a standard-bearer
ALTHING - the Icelandic parliament
ANHELATION - shortness of breath
ANTIGROPELOES - waterproof leggings
BHARAL - the blue sheep of the Himalayas
BIRKIE - a strutting or swaggering fellow
BOUSTROPHEDON - alternately from right to left and from left to right
BRACCIO - more than half a metre
CALLIPYGOUS - having beautiful buttocks
CARCAJOU - the glutton or wolverine
CHTHONIAN - ghostly
DJELLABA - a cloak with a hood and wide sleeves
DRACUNCULUS - Green dragon
DUKKERIPEN - fortune-telling
FARDEL - a fourth part
FRAUENDIENST - courtly love
GINNEL - narrow path between high buildings
GLENDOVEER - a heavenly spirit
HAFFET - the side of the head
HEPHTHEMIMER - seven half-feet
HEWGH - imitating the whistling of an arrow
HUNTIEGOWK - a fool's errand
IJTIHAD - the use of reasoning in Islamic law
JNANA - spiritual knowledge
JAMBIYA - a type of Middle Eastern curved, double-edged dagger
JENNET - a small Spanish horse
JINGBANG - company; collection; lot
KALEVALA - a great Finnish epic
KENTLEDGE - pig iron in a ship's hold for ballast
KERATITIS - inflammation of the cornea
KUKRI - a sharp, curved Gurkha knife or short sword
KUMARA - the sweet potato
LAEOTROPIC - turning to the left
LAGNIAPPE - something given beyond what is strictly required; a gratuity
LENGLEN - to lengthen; to tarry; to long
MARKKA - a former unit of currency in Finland,
MAXIXE - a Brazilian dance resembling the tango
METAGROBOLIZE - to mystify; to puzzle out
MORMAOR - a high-ranking or chief steward
NAMASTE - (in India) a traditional form of greeting
NULLIPARA - a woman who has never given birth to a child
NYNORSK - one of the two official written varieties of Norwegian
OLLAV - a learned man among the ancient Irish
OMPHALOS - the navel
ORICHALC - brass
ORMUZD - a later form of the name Ahura Mazda
OUTSPAN - a stopping place
PROSTHODONTIA - the provision of false teeth
QANAT - an underground tunnel for carrying irrigation water
QUONSET - the US equivalent of the Nissen hut
RIBATTUTA - the slow beginning of a trill
RINTHEREOUT - vagrant; vagabond
ROUSEABOUT - an odd-job man on a sheep station
RUFIYAA - the standard monetary unit of the Maldives
RUSALKA - a Russian water nymph
SCILICET - to wit, namely
SHAMIANAH - a large tent, awning or canopy
SHAUCHLE - to shuffle
SMARAGD - emerald
SQUAMA - a scale; a scalelike structure; a thin plate of bone
TAPHEPHOBIA - morbid fear of being buried alive
TOKOLOSHE - (in Bantu folklore) a hairy malevolent dwarflike creature with supernatural powers
TRANSPADANE - beyond or from beyond the Po
UJAMAA - a form of village community based on collective ownership and work-sharing
YATAGAN - a Turkish sword or long dagger, without a guard
YARDANG - a ridge formed by wind erosion from sand, silt, etc,
YOKOZUNA - in sumo wrestling, a grand champion
ZAPATA - a type of flowing moustache
ZAPATEADO - a lively Spanish dance
ZAPTIEH - a Turkish policeman
ZUMBOORUK - a small cannon mounted on a swivel, carried on the back of a camel