Are you looking for some of the most inspiring English words with deep meanings?
I’m all about learning new vocabulary, so I decided to compile a list of such words. These are rare elements of the lexicon you wouldn’t necessarily hear in everyday speech. Moreover, I embellished them with lush definitions that’ll tease your senses.
I was looking to build a glossary of words that could serve as magic spells, igniting your imagination and giving you that goose-bumpy sensation. Like secrets hiding in plain sight.
I did my best to include some of the rarest specimens here, but this list is by no means complete. Please feel free to suggest your favorites!
“I believe in the magic and authority of the words.” – René Char
Now here’s a list of 65 English words with deep meanings:
Bibliopole – a dealer in books, especially rare or decorative ones.
Callipygian – having shapely buttocks.
Sabaism – the worship of stars or of spirits in them, especially as practiced in ancient Arabia and Mesopotamia.
Mundivagant – archaic word for “wandering over the world.”
Woodnote – a natural and untrained musical note resembling the song of a bird.
Luminescence – The emission of light by a substance that has not been heated, as in fluorescence and phosphorescence.
Denouement – the outcome of a complex sequence of events.
Effervescence – the property of forming bubbles (or an appealingly lively quality).
Phosphenes – an impression of light that occurs without light entering the eye. It’s usually caused by stimulation of the retina (as by pressure on the eyeball when the lid is closed).
Audacity – the confidence to say or do what you want, despite difficulties, risks, or the negative attitudes of other people.
Desiderium – an ardent desire or longing (a feeling of loss or grief for something lost).
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Ataraxia – calmness untroubled by mental or emotional disquiet.
Somnambulance – walking while asleep.
Psithurism – The sound of the wind rustling the leaves.
Lore – traditional knowledge about nature and culture that people get from their parents and other older people, not from books.
Ardor – an often restless or transitory warmth of feeling or extreme vigor and energy.
Alchemy – studies about substances through which the generation of gold and silver may be artificially accomplished.
Caravan – a company of travelers on a journey through a desert or hostile regions.
Macabre – having death as a subject: comprising or including a personalized representation of death.
Serendipity – the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.
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Synchronicity – the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic phenomena (such as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens). They seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality.
Sidereal – relating to, or expressed in relation to stars or constellations.
Dreamtime – the time of creation in the mythology of the Australian aborigines.
Enubilous – Clear from fog, mist, or clouds.
Talisman – an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune.
Zenith – the highest point reached in the heavens by a celestial body (culminating point).
Pulchritudinous – great physical beauty and appeal.
Feuillemort – having the color of a faded leaf.
Vellichor – the wistfulness of a second-hand bookshop.
Aquiver – marked by trembling or quivering.
Ineffable – incapable of being expressed in words.
Elysian – resembling paradise, causing happiness, relating to the Elysian Fields.
Vigil – the act of keeping awake at times when sleep is customary.
Elope – to run away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent.
Yore – time past (especially long past).
Nefarious – flagrantly wicked or impious.
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Troglodyte – a person, characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes.
Utterance – an oral or written statement, a stated or published expression, power, style, or manner of speaking.
Magniloquent – speaking in or characterized by a high-flown often bombastic style or manner.
Cavalier – marked by or given to disdainful dismissal of important matters.
Apotheosis – elevation to a divine status.
Alcazar – a Spanish palace or fortress of Moorish origin.
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Lazuline – of the color of lapis lazuli (vibrant azure blue).
Evanescent – lasting only for a very short time, tending to vanish like vapor.
Exhortation – language intended to incite and encourage.
Equanimity – a calm mental state when you deal with a difficult situation.
Bravado – a brave and confident way of behaving, especially when you do not feel like this.
Doryphore – a pedantic and annoyingly persistent critic.
Disenthrall – to free from bondage.
Erudite – having or showing knowledge that is gained by studying.
Cosmopolitan – having broad international sophistication.
Felicide – the killing of a cat.
Gerontocracy – a form of social organization in which a group of old men or a council of elders dominates or exercises control.
Unbecoming – unsuited to the wearer, place, or surroundings.
Clandestine – done in secret.
Callow – without the experience of the world.
Epicure – one with sensitive and discriminating tastes, especially in food or wine.
Ignoble – low in character or purpose.
Parallelism – essential likeness.
Antiquarian – one who collects or studies antiquities.
Arborescent – having the nature of a tree.
Ambidextrous – having the ability to use both hands with equal skill or ease.
Scintillate – To admit or send forth sparks are little flashes of light.
Misanthropy – hatred of humankind.
Confidant – one to whom secrets are entrusted.
Perennial – continuing through many years.
Sagacious – able to discern and distinguish with wise perception.
Ravenous – furiously voracious or hungry.
Glimmer – a faint, wavering, unsteady light.
Heresy – an opinion or doctrine subversive of settled beliefs or accepted principles.
Verdant – green with vegetation.
Diaphanous – transparent.
Nonentity – a person or thing of little or no account.
Fallacy – any unsound or delusive mode of reasoning, or anything based on such reasoning.
Preternatural – exceeding what is natural or regular.
Ascetic – given to severe self-denial and practicing excessive abstinence and devotion.
Metaphysics – the principles of philosophy as applied to explain the methods of any particular science.
Vociferate – to utter with a loud and vehement voice.
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Harbinger – something that foreshadows a future event: something that gives an anticipatory sign of what is to come.
Petrify – to convert into a substance of stony hardness and character.
Encomium – a formal or discriminating expression of praise.
Fastidious – hard to please.
Ultimatum – a final statement or proposal concerning terms or conditions.
Truculent – having the character or the spirit of a savage.
Congenial – having kindred character or tastes.
Octogenarian – a person of between 80 and 90 years.
Euphonious – pleasing to the ear.
Eudaimonia – the condition of human flourishing or of living well.
Maxim – a principle accepted as true and acted on as a rule or guide.
Parable – a brief narrative founded on the real scenes or events usually with a moral.
Eclipse – the obstruction of a heavenly body by its entering into the shadow of another body.
Blasé – sated with pleasure.
Aspiration – an earnest wish for that which is above one’s present reach.
Mobocracy – lawless control of public affairs by the mob or populace.
Anticlimax – a gradual or sudden decrease in the importance or impressiveness of what is said.
Usurious – taking unlawful or exorbitant interest on money loaned.
Contumacy – contemptuous disregard of the requirements of rightful authority.
Munificence – a given characterized by generous motives and extraordinary liberality.
Blaspheme – to indulge in profane oaths.
Annals – a record of events in their chronological order year-by-year.
Concordance – harmony.
Poignant – severely painful or acute to the spirit.
Allusion – an indirect and incidental reference to something without definite mention of it.
Incandescence – the state of being white or glowing with heat.
Subaquatic – being, formed, or operating underwater.
Continence – self-restraint with respect to desires appetites and passion.
Herbaceous – having the character of herbs.
Equilibrium – a state of balance.
Debonair – having a gentle or courteous bearing or manner.
Panacea – a remedy or medicine proposed for all professing to cure all diseases.
Archetype – an original model on which something is patterned.
Enrapture – to delight extravagantly or intensely.
Pariah – a member of a degraded class, a social outcast.
Anthropomorphous – having or resembling a human form.
Apostasy – a portal departure from one’s faith or religion.
Efflorescence – of the state of being flowery, or a flowery appearance.
Hypocrite – one who makes false professions of his views or beliefs.
Defamation – malicious and groundless injury done to the reputation or good name of another.
Heterogeneous – consisting of similar elements or ingredients of different kinds.
Antediluvian – of or relating to the period before the flood described in the scriptures.
Vacillate – move or sway in a rising and falling or wavelike pattern.
Hereditary – passing naturally from parent to child.
Benefactor – a doer of kindly and charitable acts.
Polytechnic – pertaining to embracing or practicing many arts.
Convalescence – the state of progressive restoration to health and strength after the cessation of disease.
Luxuriate – to live sumptuously.
Iridescent – exhibiting the changing rainbow colors, use of the interference of the light.
Clairvoyance – intuitive sagacity or perception.
Perpetuate – to preserve from extinction or oblivion.
Translucent – allowing the passage of light.
Polygamy – the fact or condition of having more than one wife or husband at once.
Propaganda – an institution or systematic scheme for propagating a doctrinal system.
Pandemonium – a fiendish or a riotous uproar.
Reminiscence – the calling to the mind of incidents within the range of personal knowledge or experience.
Are you inspired by these rich and meaningful words?
The philosopher Terence McKenna once said that the world is made of language. He was definitely on to something because by using words, we construct our realities.
The more pieces of vocabulary you have in your mental arsenal, the better you can describe what’s going on around you and within you.
I hope that the list above inspired you and filled you with a sense of wonder and yearning for high literature. Please feel free to submit some of your own goosebump-inducing favorites.
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