15 Uncommon Words I Learned From My Dad

15 Uncommon Words I Learned From My Dad

Unusual and rare words I grew up hearing

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Over the years, my dad has used many words enough times for them to stick in my head. But I don't remember them simply because they were repeated, but also because they were uncommon. They were words I didn't hear other people use very often. Some of them sounded funny, or were spelled funny, or seemed like a funny way to say a simple thing. Regardless, I enjoyed hearing my dad use those words because they helped me expand my vocabulary, which has been beneficial as a writer.

Whether or not you've heard these words before, I encourage you to use them more often. Even if it's just to confuse your friends or make yourself look smarter. You might get some funny looks, but it'll be fun, like being part of a secret group or having an inside joke. Without further ado, I present to you the fifteen words my dad taught me.

1. Affirmative

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Definition: excl. Expressing agreement with a statement or request; yes.

Explanation: My dad uses this as an answer to a question, instead of saying yes.

Example: "Are we having pizza for dinner?" "Affirmative."

2. Benevolent

Definition: adj. Well meaning and kindly.

Explanation: My dad uses this in a phrase. "It's all part of my kind and benevolent nature."

Example: "Thanks for sharing." "It's all part of my kind and benevolent nature."

Fun fact: My dad is a reluctant sharer.

3. Calisthenics 

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Definition: n. Gymnastic exercises to achieve bodily fitness and grace of movement.

Explanation: My dad tells me to do calisthenics usually when I'm waiting for something, as a way to pass the time. I've always taken it to mean 'do some stretches.' I never do.

Example: "Are you ready to go?" "Almost. Do some calisthenics."

4. Capeesh

Definition: excl. (informal) Do you understand?

Explanation: My dad says this as a way of making sure I heard and understood what he said.

Example: "*monologue* Capeesh?"

Fun fact: More often than capeesh, my dad says, "Acknowledge and affirm," which means essentially the same thing.

5. Elicit

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Definition: v. Evoke or draw out (a response, answer, or fact) from someone in reaction to one's own actions or questions.

Explanation: This is part of a phrase my dad uses. "Did it elicit a chuckle?" Which means, "Did it cause the person to laugh?".

Example: "I told that joke to my friend." "Did it elicit a chuckle?"

6. Facetious

Definition: adj. Treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.

Explanation: My dad often defends offensive remarks by saying he was being facetious. It's like when you insult someone and say, "Just kidding!"

Example: "I was just being facetious."

Fun fact: Being facetious is like being sarcastic, but meaner.

Fun fact 2: Before I learned how this word was spelled, I assumed it was something like "phaseacious."

7. Imp

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Definition: n. A small, mischievous devil.

Explanation: "Why, you little imp!" was a phrase I heard a lot when I was little as my dad playfully chased me around the house. I wasn't a bad kid or anything. He meant it in a nice way, I think. It was like calling me fun and feisty.

Example: "You're quite an imp today."

Fun fact: Imps are actually mythological creatures. Don't look them up on Google Images.

Fun fact 2: My dad still calls me an imp sometimes when I'm being especially sassy.

8. Incredulous

Definition: adj. Unwilling or unable to believe something.

Explanation: My dad uses this to describe his or other people's reactions to something they couldn't or wouldn't believe.

Example: "I was incredulous when I heard the news."

9. Indeed

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Definition: ad. Used to emphasize a statement or response confirming something already suggested.

Explanation: My dad uses this either by itself or at the beginning or end of a sentence, usually to express agreement.

Example: "It's nice outside." "Indeed, it is."

Fun fact: Easter was not too long ago, and a common thing religious people say on Easter is: "He is risen." The traditional reply is, "He is risen, indeed."

10. Negatory

Definition: adj. Marked by or having the nature of negation (negative).

Explanation: My dad uses this like he uses affirmative. While affirmative means yes, negatory means no. It's similar to how negative can mean no, like in the case of "That's a negative."

Example: "Are we going out for dinner?" "Negatory."

Fun fact: No matter the context, my dad usually says this in a cheery manner.

11. Problematic

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Definition: adj. Constituting or presenting a problem or difficulty.

Explanation: Instead of saying, "That's a problem," or "That's not good," my dad uses the word problematic.

Example: "I can't find my keys and I have to leave." "That's problematic."

12. Scathing indictment

This is technically two words, so I'll define both before explaining how my dad uses it.

Scathing: adj. Witheringly scornful; severely critical.

Indictment: n. A formal charge or accusation of a serious crime.

Explanation: My dad says this when I insult something or someone. It's like when you insult someone and someone else says, "Ooh, burn!", except it's more sophisticated.

Example: "Planned Parenthood should be called Preventing Parenthood." "Scathing indictment!"

13. Timid

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Definition: adj. Showing a lack of courage or confidence; easily frightened.

Explanation: Whenever I act timid, my dad tells me not to be like Piglet from Winnie the Pooh, who is notoriously timid.

Example: "Don't be so timid."

14. Virtue

Definition: n. A quality considered morally good or desirable in a person.

Explanation: For as long as I can remember, my dad has recited the mantra, "Patience is a virtue." It's a nice way of telling me to stop whining.

Example: "Are we almost there?" "Patience is a virtue."

Fun fact: When you look up the definition of virtue, "patience is a virtue" is one of the example sentences.

15. Witty

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Definition: adj. Showing or characterized by quick and inventive verbal humor.

Explanation: My dad likes to consider himself witty. I like to consider myself witty. It's more than just being funny, though. It's also about being clever, sassy, and able to think quickly.

Example: "I enjoy our witty banter."

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