15 Uncommon Words I Learned From My Dad

15 Uncommon Words I Learned From My Dad

Unusual and rare words I grew up hearing


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


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 


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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A Letter To High School Seniors On Graduation Day

The rest of your life begins today.

Dear High School Senior,

Today's the day you've been waiting for your whole life. You'll wake up a little earlier than usual, brush your teeth and go downstairs for your last breakfast as a high school student. Your mom will look at you with tears running down her cheeks wondering how her baby grew up so quickly. Your friends will be texting your group message non-stop with words of disbelief, wondering where the time went. You guys made it to the day you've been counting down to all year long.

You'll start to reminisce on things like your first pep rally and the dorky outfits you wore freshman year. You'll laugh at things your old teachers did and remember the ones who left to teach somewhere else. You'll wonder how the guys in your grade actually managed to grow up and laugh at how young you all looked when you had just begun. You'll remember all of the football games you attended and consider how strange it will be seeing other people wearing your guy friends' numbers when the Thanksgiving game rolls around. You'll drive by the soccer field and think of all the blood, sweat and tears you gave to it over your high school career.

You'll recall your first real kiss and joke about how upset you were when the first boy broke your heart. It'll feel like yesterday when you walk through those doors for the final time and look around at all of the empty lockers. You'll gather with your classmates together in the same place for the last time and think about how you're all going to be in different places next year. You'll be excited but nervous because in a few hours, life as you know it will change.

So before you sit down to hear the Valedictorian's speech and walk the stage to receive your diploma, make sure you take the time to appreciate the memories you made in those halls. Thank your teachers, even the difficult ones, because when you're sitting down in your first college class, you'll feel grateful for the work they made you do. Thank your parents for supporting you. It's not easy raising a teenager, but they did not give up on you regardless of how brutal puberty was.

Thank your friends. They're the ones that got you through your first heartbreak and made sure that you were going to be okay. They listened to your complaints after a big fight with your mom, even if they thought you were wrong. They forgave you when you were wrong and understood your bad days. They stood up for you when you got yourself in a bad situation. They brought you coffee when you didn't have time to get it yourself. They took you home when you couldn't make it there alone. They celebrated your good news and helped you through the bad. They made you laugh uncontrollably and created memories that you'll hold on to forever. They made you who you are today.

After you receive your diploma and throw your cap in the air, make the most of the time you have left with your high school friends before you all head off to college. You only have a few months before you're sitting in a dorm room surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Work, but don't forget that memories last longer than money. Go to the beach, take lots of pictures, go out on Friday nights and enjoy the days that summer has to give. Trust me, college will be awesome, but you'll never be the same person that you are today.


Your College Self

SEE ALSO: 11 Pieces Of Advice All High School Students Need To Hear

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College Can Be Difficult, But Trust Yourself, Girl

Life can throw you curveballs sometimes, and times can get tough, but it is SO important to pick yourself up and trust that you can do anything.


I'll be honest, this school year was one of the hardest years of my life. There were lots of moments throughout the year that I just wanted to go home and get away from it all. I had to be reminded that I have been raised to try as hard as you possibly can, and I was doing that. It took some determination and time, but I didn't give up.

No matter how bad I felt, I stayed and persevered.

Now that I am home for the summer, I have been reminiscing on the past two semesters of school. At the beginning of the school year, I had a much different idea of how it would go. It was going to be "my year," but somehow while the year was going on, I felt that I had been completely wrong. It's easy to come to quick conclusions when life doesn't exactly go your way. Conclusions like "this year has been the worst year ever" and "I can never get a break" were often popping up in my head. My grades weren't where I wanted them, and I was surprised by a lot of occurrences that I never expected to happen (imagine a wild ride). I found out who my true friends are and who I could rely on, and luckily, my circle only grew. Being extremely extroverted, it was hard for me to get out and just do something. Being in this "rut" took a toll on me. I had to make those hard decisions about doing what was best for me in the long run instead of doing something just for the moment. Trust me when I say, this was NOT easy at all.

Through all the tears and change all around me, I decided to proceed to the finish line because I am NOT a quitter.

I decided that it was time for me to allow myself to fully, undeniably be me. I wanted to start doing the little things I enjoy again like working out, taking pictures, and simply just going out to do anything. I started forcing myself to take any opportunity that came my way, and it helped. One of the things that brought me so much joy was kickboxing – talk about therapeutic, people! Kickboxing at least three times a week helped my mood shift so much, and it was a start to seeing me again. I am so blessed with friends who would come over at, literally, any time of the day. Spending time with them helped me more than they could ever know. We did anything from just hanging out in my living room to splurging on a fun dinner. Through everything that I was doing daily, I was learning how to rely on myself. Looking back now, I have never really had to know what it felt like to rely mainly on myself. I did get so much help from my family and friends, but what good could their help do if I didn't want to help myself first?

Even though I felt like this was one of the worst years of my life, it taught me so much more than I ever expected. Looking back now, I grew so, so much. I learned how to smile when times get tough. I learned that it really is okay to not be okay sometimes, and it will be okay eventually. I learned that it's okay to ask for help because we weren't made to do life alone. Most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. My hope for anyone reading this, you will learn from my experience that the worst seasons get better. I am in such a good place right now because I never gave up, and I will continue to never give up. In a short amount of time, I am seeing how far I have come and how much I grew.

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