52 Funny Words in English You Need to Know

These weird and wacky words are not your everyday English vocabulary – but they sure are fun to say.

Start learning now

I want to learn...

By Barney Meekin · June 12, 2024 · 12 minute read

There’ll come a time when you’ve mastered the most common English words – those two or three thousand words make up around 90% of all English communication – and you want to add more exciting and funny words to your vocabulary. Luckily, English is full of unique and weird words you can use to add humor to your language.

If you’re still a beginner, stick to the most common words, bookmark this article, and come back to it when you’re ready. If you’re up for a challenge, we’ve got 52 funny English words from ‘absquatulate’ to ‘zarf’ for you to learn. These doozies will add color and humor to your English and allow you to be playful with your language.

Want to boost your English vocabulary?

Busuu makes vocabulary learning easy. With bite-sized lessons, built-in repetition of important words, and a vocabulary review tool that adjusts to you as you master new words, you can make fast progress to improve your English communication skills.

52 funny-sounding words in English

Before we get into the words, let’s discuss how we chose them. All the words on this list have funny pronunciation, meaning or spelling. They’re all unique words you can use to add humor to your English.

But many of these words are so uncommon and unique that even many native speakers won’t understand them. They’re not words you should use in daily conversations often. Some of them are old words we don’t use anymore. And many of them are slang that is inappropriate for formal communication.

The common words on the list (the words most people understand) have a next to them, so you know which ones are safe to use in everyday communication. The words without might be helpful if you do creative writing, but even then, be careful about using them. When you communicate, the goal is always to be clear. Being funny is great, too. But being understandable is more important.

You’ll find the part of speech, pronunciation, meaning, and an example sentence for each word on the list.

Funny English words

1. Absquatulate

Part of speech: Verb
Pronunciation: ab-SKWAH-chuh-leyt
Meaning: To leave abruptly or to flee
Example sentence: His ex-girlfriend was at the party so he absquatulated as soon as he’d arrived.

2. Baboonery

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: buh-BOO-nuh-ree
Meaning: Foolish or silly behavior
Example sentence: The students' baboonery during class earned them an hour in detention after school.

3. Bloviate

Part of speech: Verb
Pronunciation: BLOH-vee-eyt
Meaning: To speak pompously or at length
Example sentence: The audience was yawning as the politician bloviated about his accomplishments for hours.

4. Blunderbuss

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: BLUN-der-buhs
Meaning: An old gun with a short barrel bore and a flaring muzzle
Example sentence: The old man threatened the trespassers with his trusty blunderbuss.

5. Bumbershoot

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: BUM-ber-shoot
Meaning: An umbrella
Example sentence: She always carried a bright yellow bumbershoot – even on sunny days.

6. Canoodle

Part of speech: Verb
Pronunciation: kuh-NOO-dl
Meaning: To kiss and cuddle amorously
Example sentence: The young couple canoodled in the park without concern for everyone else there.

7. Cater-cornered

Part of speech: Adjective
Pronunciation: KAT-er-kawr-nerd
Meaning: Diagonally opposite
Example sentence: The bank is cater-cornered from the post office.

8. Cockalorum

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: kok-uh-LAWR-uhm
Meaning: A boastful and self-important person
Example sentence: Everyone was tired of listening to the cockalorum talk about how great he was.

9. Collop

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: KOL-uhp
Meaning: A slice of meat
Example sentence: He cooked a collop of bacon for breakfast.


Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: KOL-ee-wob-uhlz
Meaning: Stomach pain or queasiness (from nerves, for example)
Example sentence: I had collywobbles when I was waiting for the job interview to start.

11. Comeuppance

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: kuhm-UHP-uhns
Meaning: A punishment or fate that one deserves
Example sentence: After years of cheating, he finally got his comeuppance when his wife caught him with his girlfriend.

12. Crapulence

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: KRAP-yuh-luhns
Meaning: Discomfort from eating or drinking too much
Example sentence: I had terrible crapulence the morning after the party.

13. Discombobulate

Part of speech: Verb
Pronunciation: dis-kuhm-BOB-yuh-leyt
Meaning: To confuse or disconcert
Example sentence: The process is complex on purpose because they’re trying to discombobulate you.

14. Dongle

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: DONG-guhl
Meaning: A small device that plugs into a computer or TV, allowing access to the internet or software
Example sentence: He plugged the dongle into his laptop to access the internet.


Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: DOO-zee
Meaning: Something outstanding or unique of its kind
Example sentence: The party was a real doozy, with live music and unbelievable food.

16. Fartlek

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: FAHRT-lek
Meaning: A kind of running training that uses intervals and different speeds
Example sentence: The cross-country team made big improvements after including fartlek workouts in their training.

17. Filibuster

Part of speech: Noun, Verb
Pronunciation: FIL-uh-buhs-ter
Meaning: Using long speeches to delay a political decision
Example sentence:** The senator launched a filibuster to delay the passage of the controversial bill.

18. Flibbertigibbet

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: FLIB-er-tee-jib-it
Meaning: An excessively talkative person
Example sentence: The flibbertigibbet chatted non-stop about her social life even though no one was interested.


Part of speech: Verb
Pronunciation: FLUHM-uhks
Meaning: To bewilder or confuse someone
Example sentence: The test question flummoxed even the smartest kids.

20. Folderol

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: FAHL-duh-rahl
Meaning: Unnecessary words or actions
Example sentence: The politician's speech was full of folderol and empty promises.

21. Fuddy-duddy

Part of speech: Noun

Pronunciation: FUH-dee-DUH-dee
Meaning: An old-fashioned or conservative person
Example sentence: Dad’s such a fuddy-duddy – he won’t listen to hip-hop music because it includes swear words.

22. Furphy

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: FUR-fee
Meaning: A false rumor or story
Example sentence: She isn’t dead – that rumor was a furphy.

23. Gastromancy

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: GAS-truh-man-see
Meaning: Predicting the future from the sounds coming from the stomach
Example sentence: The fortune teller claimed to practice gastromancy, so she listened to my stomach, but all her predictions were wrong.

24. Glabella

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: gluh-BEL-uh
Meaning: The smooth part of the forehead between the eyebrows
Example sentence: What’s that on your glabella? It looks like ketchup or something.

25. Gobbledygook

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: GOB-uhl-dee-gook
Meaning: Language that is meaningless or hard to understand because it has too many technical terms or jargon
Example sentence: The contract was full of legal gobbledygook that the average person couldn't understand.

26. Gobemouche

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: GAHB-moosh
Meaning: A gullible person who believes everything they hear
Example sentence: She’s such a gobemouche – she believes everything she sees on Facebook.

27. Gongoozler

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: GONG-gooz-ler
Meaning: A person who enjoys watching boats on canals
Example sentence: When you float down the canal in your boat, wave at all the gongoozlers. It’ll make them really happy.

28. Gonzo

Part of speech: Adjective
Pronunciation: GAHN-zoh
Meaning: Bizarre or unconventional
Example sentence: The gonzo journalist's writing style was full of wild exaggerations and crazy stories.

29. Hobbledehoy

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: HOB-uhl-dee-hoy
Meaning: An awkward or ill-mannered young man
Example sentence: When I was a teenager, I was a hobbledehoy – I never knew how to act in social situations.

30. Hoosegow

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: HOOS-gow
Meaning: A jail or prison
Example sentence: They caught the bank robber and sent him to the hoosegow.

31. Jackanapes

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: JAK-uh-neyps
Meaning: A disrespectful and naughty person
Example sentence: The young jackanapes was always rude to his neighbors.

32. Kerfuffle

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: ker-FUHF-uhl
Meaning: A disturbance caused by conflicting views or a dispute
Example sentence: When the city council announced the new name of the park, there was a kerfuffle in the community.

33. Lollygag

Part of speech: Verb
Pronunciation: LOL-ee-gag
Meaning: To spend time aimlessly or idly
Example sentence: The students are always lollygagging in the halls in between classes.

34. Maverick

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: MAV-rik
Meaning: An independent person who doesn’t follow the group
Example sentence: The maverick scientist's unconventional approach led to groundbreaking discoveries and a Nobel prize.

35. Mollycoddle

Part of speech: Verb
Pronunciation: MOL-ee-kod-l
Meaning: To give someone (usually a child) too much care, attention and protection
Example sentence: Many parents mollycoddle their children, never letting them face challenges on their own.


Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: MUHG-wuhmp
Meaning: A person who is politically independent and remains neutral
Example sentence: The mugwump won’t align with either the Democrats or Republicans – they prefer to make decisions based on merit.

37. Mumpsimus

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: MUHMP-sih-muhs
Meaning: A person who insists on sticking with an unreasonable custom or an incorrect word out of habit or stubbornness
Example sentence: We told him it was a mistake, but the mumpsimus didn’t listen and continued using the wrong word in his speech.

38. Ornery

Part of speech: Adjective
Pronunciation: AWR-nuh-ree
Meaning: Being bad-tempered, irritable and difficult to control
Example sentence: The ornery old man complained nonstop and started fights with his neighbors.

39. Pettifogger

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: PET-ee-fog-er
Meaning: An inferior, petty and unscrupulous lawyer
Example sentence: It’s no surprise the court case went badly for the defendant because he had hired a pettifogger to defend him.

40. Rambunctious

Part of speech: Adjective
Pronunciation: ram-BUHNGK-shuhs
Meaning: Energetic and difficult to control
Example sentence: Enjoy the peaceful time with your newborn child, because before you know it, they’ll be a rambunctious toddler.

41. Ranivorous

Part of speech: Adjective
Pronunciation: ruh-NIV-er-uhs
Meaning: Animals or birds that eat frogs
Example sentence: This ranivorous snake hunts frogs in the wetlands.

42. Rigmarole

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: RIG-muh-rohl
Meaning: A long, complicated, and tedious procedure
Example sentence: Getting a visa to live in Australia is a rigmarole.

43. Shenanigan

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: shuh-NAN-i-guhn
Meaning: A mischievous or deceitful trick
Example sentence: The last day of school is usually full of shenanigans.

44. Skedaddle

Part of speech: Verb
Pronunciation: ski-DAD-l
Meaning: To run away
Example sentence: If the teacher comes around the corner, skedaddle.

45. Skullduggery

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: skuhl-DUHG-uh-ree
Meaning: Deceitful and dishonest behavior to get an advantage
Example sentence: The company recorded record profits last year, but an investigation found that it was an illusion created by accounting skullduggery.

46. Slangwhanger

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: SLANG-hwang-er
Meaning: A person (usually a journalist or politician) who uses insulting and critical language
Example sentence: The slangwhanger's comments in the newspapers led to thousands of angry complaints.

47. Snollygoster

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: SNOL-ee-gos-ter
Meaning: An intelligent, unprincipled person (often a politician)
Example sentence: The snollygoster used empty promises and secret deals to gain power in the government.

48. Snool

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: SNOOL
Meaning: A person afraid of people with higher status
Example sentence: The snool was so afraid of his boss he never said no to his requests, no matter how unreasonable they were.

49. Tatterdemalion

Part of speech: Noun, Adjective
Pronunciation: tat-er-dih-MEYL-yuhn
Meaning: A person wearing ragged clothing
Example sentence: You’ve become a tatterdemalion like your father.

50. Troglodyte

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: TROG-luh-dahyt
Meaning: A person who is deliberately ignorant or old-fashioned
Example sentence: The stubborn troglodyte refuses to try new methods or technologies.

51. Valetudinarian

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: val-i-tood-n-AIR-ee-uhn
Meaning: A weak or sickly person who worries constantly about their health
Example sentence: The valetudinarian visited the doctor for every little thing.

52. Yahoo

Part of speech: Noun
Pronunciation: YA-hoo
Meaning: A crude, rude, or stupid person
Example sentence: The drunken yahoos caused a lot of trouble in a quiet neighborhood last night.

Add some humor to your English

These 52 funny words will add humor and color to your English. It’s safe to use the common words on the list (those with a * next to them) in everyday conversation. But don’t overuse them. The goal when speaking English is to be clear and easy to understand. Always. So sprinkle these words in when the time is right.

For the more uncommon words, it’s probably best to file them away under ‘interesting but useless’ knowledge. Even native and fluent speakers won’t understand them (to be honest, many of them were completely new to me, and I’ve spent most of my life teaching English). So while they’re not appropriate for everyday communication, they can certainly be a fun bit of language to know.

Ready to learn more English vocabulary?

Learn the vocabulary you need for real-life communication with Busuu’s complete online courses. Busuu offers free English courses and a community of millions to interact with. You can practice with native speakers, learn vocabulary and grammar, and develop your English skills.