Funny Words

Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles,

The following are (in my opinion) some of the funniest words in the English language:

    • Absquatulate – decamp, abscond, leave in a hurry or without warning, flee
    • Argle-bargle – expression of differing opinions in an angry or noisy way
    • Behoove – to be necessary, fit, proper
    • Besmirch – sully, soil
    • Boner – blunder, ridiculous mistake
    • Boonies/Boondocks – rural, rough, remote, brush-covered, or unsophisticated area
    • Brouhaha – commotion, ruckus, brawl
    • Bumfuzzle – fluster, confuse, perplex
    • Caddywompus – crooked, askew, a little off
    • Cahoots – in partnership; to be “in cahoots” is to be conspiring together
    • Canoodle – cuddle and kiss
    • Claptrap – nonsense, absurd speech or ideas
    • Cockamamie – trifling, almost valueless; ludicrous, nonsensical
    • Codswallop – nonsense
    • Crapulence – overeating or drinking too much; a sickness caused by overindulgence
    • Crudivore – one who eats only raw food
    • Defenestrate – throw out of a window
    • Didgeridoo – Australian aboriginal wind instrument
    • Discombobulate – confuse, upset
    • Disgruntled – angry, dissatisfied, discontented
    • Doodad – ornament, decoration, gadget
    • Flabbergasted – surprised, shocked, confused, astonished
    • Flibbertigibbet – flighty, silly individual
    • Floccinaucinihilipilification – estimating something to be worthless
    • Flummox – confuse, perplex, bewilder
    • Fuddy-duddy – a fussy, old-fashioned, conservative, traditional, or unimaginative person
    • Gazump – cheat or swindle via overcharging
    • Giggle – to laugh in a spasmodic way with repeated short catches of breath
    • Glabella – the space above the nose, between the eyebrows
    • Gobbledygook – nonsense, gibberish, drivel
    • Gobsmacked – flabbergasted, astounded, shocked into speechlessness
    • Guffaw – to laugh loudly (verb); a loud, boisterous laugh (noun)
    • Hodge-podge – jumbled mixture of diverse, dissimilar items or ideas
    • Hogwash – nonsense
    • Hoi polloi – commoners, the masses
    • Hoity-toity – grandiose, pompous, pretentious, self-important, affectedly genteel, snobbishly superior
    • Hoopla – unnecessary fuss, excitement, commotion related to an event or situation
    • Hootenanny – informal folk music performance, often with audience participation or dancing
    • Hubbub – noisy, chaotic din, the confused roar of multiple voices in a crowd
    • Hullabaloo – fuss, commotion, excitement, noise
    • Kaboodle – bunch, lot, pack, group, collection
    • Kerfuffle – fuss, commotion
    • Kumquat/cumquat – a small fruit-bearing tree with small, oval, orange fruit
    • Lollygag – waste time, dawdle
    • Malarkey – nonsense, rubbish, gibberish
    • Mollycoddle – pamper, spoil, overprotect
    • Monkeyshines – mischievous behaviour or tricks, pranks
    • Mugwump – one who remains independent from party politics; a person who is neutral or undecided
    • Namby-pamby – weak, insipid, spineless, indecisive, cowardly, foolishly sentimental
    • Nincompoop – simpleton, fool, stupid person
    • Onomatopoeia – the development of words to reflect sounds associated with what they name (i.e., bong, buzz, chirp, cuckoo, ding, fizz, flick, giggle, hiss, meow, plop, poof, sizzle, slap, squish, swoosh, whack, whisper, zap, zing, zoom)
    • Periwinkle – a light shade of blue with a slight purple tinge; certain evergreen herbs in the dogbane family
    • Persnickety – fussy, fastidious, snobby, obsessed with minor or trivial details; requiring careful precision
    • Podunk – small, boring, isolated, insignificant (refers to a village or town)
    • Poppycock – senseless talk, nonsense
    • Quibble – object to or criticize based on trivial issues
    • Rigmarole – meaningless, confused, or rambling speech; complicated, ritualized procedure
    • Rumpus – commotion, uproar, noisy disturbance, heated controversy
    • Scuttlebutt – gossip, rumour
    • Shenanigans – mischievous activities
    • Skedaddle – run off, get out, bolt, scarper
    • Skullduggery – unscrupulous behaviour; devious trick
    • Slangwhanger – user of abusive slang; an individual who attacks others with words, often a politician, editor, critic, or ranting partisan
    • Smellfungus – an individual prone to chronic pessimism, excessive fault-finding, or continual complaining
    • Snollygoster – shrewd, unprincipled, and guided by self-interest (often refers to a politician)
    • Snood – fabric net or bag worn at the back of the head to hold the hair in place
    • Squeegee – implement with a handle and rubber blade used to clean windows (noun); to clean with a squeegee (verb)
    • Troglodyte – ancient cave dweller; person who has outmoded attitudes
    • Turdiform – resembling or related to a thrush or other member of the Turdidae bird family
    • Whoop – loud cry of excitement, exultation, enthusiasm, or joy
    • Whoop-de-do – lively, noisy, exuberant social or political affair or debate

Are there any (kid-friendly) words you’d like to see added to this list? Leave a comment below.

Word lovers may also wish to read Intelligent WordsBeautiful Words, and Commonly Misused Words. For a full list of writers’ articles and resources, visit the Writing Resources page.

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